How cyber insurance is shaping ransomware risk mitigation

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Ransomware costs are at an all-time high, and as AI-powered cyberattacks unfold, threats could become more prolific and expensive. Recent findings forecast the cost of cybercrime worldwide will amount to $13.8 trillion by 2028. Businesses are progressively seeking ways to limit their liability against such attacks to avoid expensive regulatory compliance penalties and other damaging ramifications. One of the most effective methods to mitigate the impact of ransomware and enhance defenses is with cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance policies help alleviate the financial and operational burden on organizations in wake of an attack; however, the insurance industry faces challenges of their own to maintain profitability amid surging claims. These setbacks lead underwriters to impose stricter policy qualifications and skyrocketing premiums on organizations. Companies are left weighing the benefits of cyber insurance in the thick of rising costs and shrinking coverage.

This article demystifies the role of cyber insurance against today’s modern ransomware threats by explaining how it works, exploring key features and analyzing its costs and benefits.

Candid Wüest

VP of Research at Acronis.

How cyber insurance qualification and claims work

As ransomware groups craft increasingly complex techniques to bypass traditional security layers, the importance of creating a robust cyber defense strategy is more vital than ever. A comprehensive defense strategy not only needs to complement existing security measures but also provide a safety net in case a breach occurs. The cyber insurance qualification process helps organizations develop a holistic security strategy by addressing the unique obstacles presented by ransomware.

Insurance providers will assess an organization's existing ransomware risk to determine the best-fit coverage and premiums. When organizations satisfy strict qualification requirements and identify ongoing cyber risks, they ensure crucial areas of security are in place to counter ransomware. In the event of an attack, the insurance claims process enables businesses to seamlessly access operational and financial assistance based on their insurance policy.

The claims process involves six critical steps:

  • Incident identification and notification
  • Compiling evidence and documentation
  • Filing
  • Claims assessment
  • Negotiation and settlement
  • Claims resolution

This process ensures that organisations implement technologies, processes and practices to gather critical cyber evidence and information to submit a claim. This can include forensic analysis, logs, reports and ransom notes. These documents are integral for the claims process to progress.

Organizations with an incident response plan can validate communication costs that are sometimes reimbursable in a claim. Communication expenses include seeking public relations expertise, notifying law enforcement, and coordinating information to key internal and external stakeholders. The incident response plan provides a framework for the roles, responsibilities, planning and communication protocols to contain and eradicate active threats.

To maximize success, businesses should understand the specifics of their cyber insurance policy, such as coverage limits and filing requirements, to ensure a successful claims process.

Key features of cybersecurity insurance

The fundamental aspects of cyber insurance policies are designed to address the unique challenges of today’s cyberthreats. Key features and typical coverage options incorporate data recovery coverage, financial compensation, legal support, public relations and reputational damage assistance, and incident response. These attributes tackle the financial, reputational and operational repercussions in the aftermath of a ransomware attack.

By collaborating with cybersecurity insurers, businesses are empowered to create and tailor policies specific to their needs, requirements and risk levels. Well-designed policies guarantee that organizations leverage the most complete coverage possible and reduce the likelihood of security gaps.

Breaking down the cost-benefit of cyber insurance

Resource-constrained businesses might view cyber insurance as an additional expense. Despite incrementally rising premiums, the investment continues to serve as a cost-effective risk management strategy that pulls its weight when compared to the potential financial losses from a ransomware attack. Companies should gain a deep understanding of the catastrophic costs associated with forgoing an insurance policy and measure the difference in expenses associated with a possible data breach versus the predictable cost of an insurance premium.

There are a lot of variables that factor into cyber insurance premiums, such as business size, industry, risk exposure levels and amount of coverage needed. An insurance policy, however, can yield impactful cost savings in the event of a cyber incident. Having a cyber insurance policy proves to be a wise investment time and time again by not only providing coverage to offset data recovery, incident investigation, legal fees and fines, but also giving companies access to specialized cybersecurity services and response talent that would otherwise fall outside of budget. This could help accelerate response times and mitigate the impact of damage due to an attack.

Embracing cyber insurance to reduce ransomware risk

Extracting the most value from cyber insurance starts with developing a deep understanding of current risk exposures, security strategies and organizational needs. Cyber insurance plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the financial health and reputation of a business. An insurance policy can be the difference between keeping a company running and meeting its demise. Having coverage fortifies overall risk management by helping businesses adhere to cybersecurity best practices. By demonstrating ongoing measures to mitigate ransomware risk, companies with cyber insurance can potentially reduce premiums over time.

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Candid Wüest is VP of Research at Acronis.