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Do You Need Cyber Coverage? Here's a Checklist.

Today, cyber threats loom larger than ever before. Businesses are grappling with the potential fallout from cyberattacks, from startups to conglomerates. But amidst these rising threats, there is a solution: cyber insurance. But how do you determine whether your business needs cyber coverage? This blog post will walk you through every step of the decision-making process.

Understanding the Cyber Insurance Market

Before we dive deep, it's essential to note the current state of the cyber insurance market. In recent years, this market has witnessed exponential growth. According to recent statistics, the global market size for cyber insurance was valued at $7.06 billion in 2020 and is expected to jump to $20.43 billion by 2027, growing at a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24%​​. This surge is a clear indicator of the growing recognition of cyber risks and the importance of insurance as a safety net.

In particular, the North American market, with the U.S. at the helm, remains the largest contributor, emphasizing the region's advanced digital infrastructure and heightened exposure to cyber risks​​​​. Such figures underscore the critical role of cyber insurance in today's business landscape.

Assessing Your Risk: A Real-World Perspective

The rationale behind cyber insurance becomes even more apparent when we look at the real-world impacts of cyber threats. The average cost of a data breach globally reached $4.45 million in 2023, marking a significant financial threat to any business​​. Moreover, SMBs, which represent a large segment of the business community, are particularly vulnerable, constituting 98% of cyber claims from 2018 through 2022​​.

These statistics reflect the harsh reality many businesses face in the wake of cyber incidents. From operational disruption to severe financial losses, the consequences are far-reaching. Hence, assessing your business’s risk and exposure to such threats is the first step in understanding the necessity of cyber insurance.

The Checklist: Navigating Your Cyber Insurance Needs

Even though cyber insurance can look daunting, there is a set of clear action items that any company can do to start their cyber protection journey. Usually, cyber insurers or auditors for SOC 2 will provide you with such a list. 

Here are the categories that each company should look into for cyber protection:

  1. Data Vulnerability: Begin by evaluating the type and amount of data your business handles. Companies dealing with large volumes of sensitive information, such as in healthcare, finance, and retail, are prime targets for cybercriminals and thus have a higher need for cyber coverage.
  2. Current Security Posture: Assess your existing cybersecurity measures. Businesses with robust security practices may still require insurance but might benefit from lower premiums​​.
  3. Financial Implications: Consider the financial impact of potential cyber events. With costs running into millions, assessing whether your business can withstand such financial shocks is crucial​​.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: Be aware of the legal and regulatory demands regarding data protection in your industry and region. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and penalties, amplifying the need for cyber coverage.
  5. Historical Incidents: Review any past cybersecurity incidents within your organization. A history of breaches may indicate vulnerabilities that make cyber insurance essential.
  6. Industry-Specific Risks: Understand the unique cyber threats faced by your industry. Certain sectors are more susceptible and thus warrant greater protection​​.
  7. Mitigation Efforts: Implement and maintain risk mitigation strategies. Not only do these efforts protect your business, but they can also favorably impact your insurance premiums and terms​​.

Understanding the Costs of Cyber Insurance

The cost of cyber liability insurance can vary significantly based on factors like your business's size, industry, and risk profile. While smaller businesses might see lower premiums, the level of coverage is equally important. Weighing the potential costs of a breach against the cost of insurance can provide perspective on the value of coverage for your business.

In general, an SME with good cyber security and revenues under $25M can get a $1M to $3M cyber policy for under $10,000. 

Learning from Others

Examining real-world cyber incidents can provide valuable lessons. For instance, the 2017 Equifax data breach, which exposed the sensitive information of millions of individuals, not only led to significant financial losses but also highlighted the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and the role of cyber insurance in mitigating financial damage.

Similarly, the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected businesses across 150 countries demonstrated the global reach of cyber threats and the importance of preparedness, further underscoring the value of cyber insurance in today's digital age.

More Examples

  1. Healthcare Sector: Over 400 healthcare facilities have been attacked by cybercriminals since 2020, demonstrating the sector's vulnerability. The LockBit ransomware group, responsible for numerous attacks, has amassed over $100 million from its operations​​.
  2. FAA Incident: In January 2023, all US flights were grounded due to issues with a critical system operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The disruption raised suspicions of a potential cyberattack, highlighting the fragility of critical infrastructure​​.
  3. Ransomware and Critical Infrastructure: Ransomware groups like LockBit 3.0, BianLian, and Cl0p have been increasingly targeting businesses within critical infrastructure sectors. These attacks have evolved from merely locking files to threatening to release sensitive data if ransoms aren't paid​​.
  4. Supply Chain Attacks: In March 2023, the 3CX PABX platform was compromised in a supply chain attack dubbed “SmoothOperator”, affecting over 600,000 businesses globally. This demonstrates the growing trend of attacking indirect system components to infiltrate a wider network​​.
  5. Massive Data Breaches: In 2023, significant data breaches included the exposure of over 300 million records via a misconfigured Readme bot and the SAP SE Bulgaria incident, where over 95 million artefacts were exposed due to Kubernetes Secrets being publicly accessible on GitHub. Another notable breach was at TmaxSoft, where more than 56 million sensitive records were leaked.
  6. ICMR Indian Council of Medical Research Breach: In October 2023, a massive data breach affected the ICMR, with 815 million records exposed. This breach highlighted the vast scale of some cyberattacks and the enormous amount of personal data at risk​​.

Do You Need Cyber Coverage?

After walking through the checklist and considering the various factors and potential costs involved, the decision ultimately hinges on your business's specific circumstances. However, in an era where cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated and pervasive, the value of cyber insurance as a component of a comprehensive risk management strategy is undeniable.

While cyber insurance cannot prevent cyber threats, it can provide a critical safety net that allows your business to recover and thrive in the aftermath of a cyber incident. As the digital landscape evolves, staying informed and proactive about cyber risks will be key to safeguarding your business's future.