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Can cyber insurance be the stimulant that society needs to protect itself?

All countries are having to cope with huge volumes of the cybercrime and it seems that businesses and governments are struggling to find solutions.

All countries are having to cope with huge volumes of the cybercrime and it seems that businesses and governments are struggling to find solutions.

There is no doubt that notwithstanding the enormous benefits it brings, the threat to businesses and individuals posed by connectivity to the Internet (cyber) is growing exponentially.

What used to simply be fraud with some element of electronic enabling, has now morphed into wholesale global criminal enterprises with the addition of cyber threats posed by espionage, terrorism and other variously motivated hackers.

Governments traditional approaches of legislation and enforcement are failing to contain the threat hosted through an uncontrollable internet and conducted by threat actors who often operate from areas of world where they cannot be reached.

At the same time society’s vulnerability increases as more people, businesses and services are going ‘on line’. And we have seen from the increasing numbers of successful large scale cyber-attacks taking place, that businesses are struggling to create cyber safe environments for their staff and customers.

So how does cyber insurance help? Firstly, by offering reassurance of a practical and financial response in the event of a cyber incident but more importantly through the standards that they in turn will require to provide cover.

Taking steps to increase individuals cyber security awareness has never been more important. The threat we all face is growing each year and shows no sign of slowing down. The scale of attacks taking place are only recently becoming better understood. The Crime Survey of England and Wales in 2016 showed that victims in England and Wales are experiencing 7.5million crimes per year; 5 million frauds and 2.5 million cyber-attacks. Businesses are increasingly being targeted and latest figures show that large scale data breaches can cost the organisation between $1-3million.

In the knowledge that government agencies are struggling to target those responsible, the only solution is to create cyber safe environments where people and businesses are less likely to be attacked. Good prevention is therefore the cure. Unfortunately, there are no common cyber security standards globally, with businesses putting in place very different defence strategies that often miss their most vulnerable areas.

Too much money is being invested in technology focused on defending against cyber-attacks with insufficient priority being given to basic procedures and ‘people focused’ activity necessary to keep information secure. More importantly, not enough attention is being given to individual customers and members of staff who often inadvertently represent the weakest link.

The new market that cyber insurance represents is attracting a great deal of commercial interest. However, getting it right is not as easy as it may seem. Cyber-attacks are complex and it is sometimes difficult to establish exactly what has happened, when it occurred and who was responsible. That’s why many policies that exist focus on cover that is limited to the commercial cost of putting right the damage caused by a cyber-attack. But increasingly cover is being offered for more complex areas such as identity theft and ransomware attacks and being extended into the personal home cover. This will no doubt increase the cost of claims which themselves will be harder to resolve. Preventing a cybercrime occurring is obviously the outcome that will benefit everyone and this means getting the basics right in how individuals and business use technology and the internet.

Good cyber security can’t just be managed through new technology. It needs to embrace the users of computers and systems and we all need some help in getting this right. That’s why the new Personal Cyber Risk Assessment product from DynaRisk is so timely. By completing the ‘on-line’ questionnaire and conducting some simple technical checks the system provides a cyber risk profile for an individual, but more importantly it the offers some tailored guidance to the user on the steps to be taken to improve their cyber security.

Linked with home insurance policies this can be a vital element of reducing risk and within larger organisations it offers a more bespoke and focused means of raising cyber security awareness for staff members.

Society needs cyber insurance. We need peace of mind that if an event occurs the effects can be limited and specialist advice made available. Importantly we need the commercial elements of this necessary cover to drive behavior change to ensure we can all sleep safe while our computers are connected to the internet.