In Depth: Managing cyber risk in an ever-changing security landscape

Businesses face evolving and complex cyber issues, such as phishing and social engineering attacks, supply chain vulnerabilities, insider threats, ransomware attacks and zero-day exploits, to name only a few. Protecting an organisation’s assets against these threats is not just a matter of protecting data, but it is also to ensure business continuity and maintaining trust with customers. In this regard, implementing a robust cyber risk framework is important for business continuity planning and helping employees to mitigate emerging threats.

Organisations must be aware that cyber threats are often not a question of if, but when.
Oliver Osei-Ofosu, Aviva

A working cyber risk assessment will begin with identifying your critical assets, data and systems, assessing potential vulnerabilities in security controls, employee training and third-party connections to help you and your organisation predict the likelihood and impact of potential cyber incidents.

Why Stay Vigilant and Proactive?

Organisations must be aware that cyber threats are often not a question of if, but when. The costs of a cyber attack can be significant, including financial losses and reputational damage. Organisations must stay vigilant and proactive, so they can mitigate these risks and ensure resilience in the face of an attack. Cyber risk assessment is not simply a compliance exercise, but a strategic need for business continuity planning.

Depending on the size of your organisation, industry and the evolving nature of cyber threats, it is recommended assessments are conducted at least annually, with more frequent assessments for organisations with higher security risks or those undergoing important IT infrastructure or operational changes.

Training Employees to Stay Proactive

An important component of an operational cyber risk assessment framework is training employees to identify and respond to cyber threats. Human error remains the leading cause of security breaches, stressing the importance of continuous training and awareness programmes. Organisations can train their employees to become the first line of defence against cyber threats by educating them about cyber security best practices and providing them with essential protective tools and resources.

Essential Elements of a Best-Practice Cyber Plan

A cyber best-practice plan involves a complete approach to cyber security by considering both human and technical aspects of risk management.

These include:

  1. Risk assessment: Regularly conducting risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and having plans to mitigate them.
  2. Threat intelligence: Using threat intelligence to keep updated about emerging threats and trends in cybercrime.
  3. Incident response: Creating and testing incident response plans to ensure a rapid and coordinated response to cyber incidents.
  4. Continuous monitoring: Deploying resilient monitoring tools and processes to rapidly detect and respond to threats in real-time.
  5. Compliance: Ensuring compliance with appropriate cyber security standards and regulations to minimise legal and regulatory risks.

Gaps in Insurance Cover

Organisations should work closely with their insurance brokers to adapt insurance policies and align them with specific risk profile and coverage needs.

In spite of the growing awareness of cyber risks, gaps in insurance cover may still occur. Traditional insurance policies may not sufficiently cover cyber threats faced by modern businesses; for example, some policies may not cover certain types of cyber attacks or enforce restrictions on others. To rectify these, organisations should work closely with their insurance brokers to adapt insurance policies and align them with specific risk profile and coverage needs.

Support for Brokers

Insurance brokers play an important part in helping companies manage the difficulties of cyber risk management and insurance. They can offer important advice on the latest cyber threats and trends, as well as provide guidance on how to select the correct insurance products and services. Furthermore, brokers can help facilitate communication between clients and insurers and ensure that clients obtain the appropriate and effective support in the event of a cyber incident.

Types of Services for Effective Risk Management

Companies can use different services to effectively manage cyber risks.

These include:

  • Cyber security training: Providing employees with full training on cyber security best practices, such how to identify and respond to phishing emails, malware and other known and new threats.
  • Vulnerability assessments: Conducting consistent assessments of IT systems and networks to identify vulnerabilities and prioritise remediation plans.
  • Penetration testing: Simulating cyber attacks to identify weaknesses in security controls and infrastructure.
  • Incident response planning: Creating and testing incident response plans to ensure a coordinated and effective response to cyber incidents.
  • Reputation management: Implementing plans to protect and improve the organisation’s reputation in the event of a cyber incident, including proactive communication with the media and stakeholders.

Cyber risk assessment plays a vital role in ensuring business continuity planning in today’s digital age. Companies should be vigilant and proactive and make a conscious effort to reinforce their cyber resilience and mitigate the impact of cyber threats on their daily operations and protect their reputation. By working with insurance brokers and utilising risk management capabilities, organisations can effectively manage cyber risks and protect their infrastructure.

Visit our Risk Management website for more help and guidance on how to effectively manage the risks of cyber crime.

This document contains general information and guidance. It is not intended to be specific advice and should not be relied on as such. It may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and we recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to your circumstances. We accept no responsibility or liability in respect of any person who may rely upon this document.

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