Comprehensive guide for CISOs to enhance cyber security risk insurability

May 29th '24

Cyber security: in an era where digital transformation accelerates and cyber threats evolve at an unprecedented rate, organisations must prioritise cyber resilience. The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is paramount in fortifying an organisation’s cyber security posture. Enhancing cyber risk insurability is a strategic move that not only strengthens security but also secures more favourable insurance coverage terms. This guide delves into the critical steps and considerations for CISOs aiming to improve their organisation’s insurability and to provide reassurance to regulatory compliance and the board.


Understanding your cyber security risk baseline


Cyber security self-assessment

Before devising an action plan to enhance cyber security, it is crucial for a CISO to thoroughly understand the current state of their organisation’s cyber security controls. Tools such as the cyber self-assessment can evaluate the maturity of an organisation’s cyber security posture by analysing various internal and external data points. This assessment provides a detailed perspective from the insurer’s viewpoint, highlighting areas that need improvement.


Key cyber security risk controls

Based on extensive research, we have identified twelve essential cyber security controls considered best practices by experts and insurers alike:


1. Patch management: regularly update and patch software to address vulnerabilities.
2. Privileged account management (PAM): secure and monitor privileged accounts to prevent misuse.
3. Endpoint protection (EPP): implement comprehensive security solutions for servers and laptops.
4. Endpoint detection and response (edr): deploy tools to detect and respond to threats in real-time.
5. Multi-factor authentication (MFA): strengthen access controls with additional authentication factors.
6. Network segmentation: isolate critical systems to limit the spread of breaches.
7. Backup and recovery: ensure robust backup solutions and recovery plans are in place.
8. Security awareness training: conduct regular training to keep staff informed about cyber threats.
9. Incident response planning: develop and regularly update incident response strategies.
10. Data encryption: encrypt sensitive data both at rest and in transit.
11. Vulnerability management: continuously scan for and remediate vulnerabilities.
12. Third-party risk management: assess and manage risks associated with third-party vendors.


Tailoring cyber security controls to your business model


Balancing cyber security and operational efficiency

Enhancing cyber security controls inevitably supports an organisation’s eligibility for cyber insurance. However, CISOs must balance robust security measures with operational efficiency. For instance, enforcing complex passwords and frequent changes might enhance security but could also lead to increased helpdesk requests and workflow disruptions.


Cost-Benefit Analysis

Performing a cost-benefit analysis helps CISOs Determine the impact of various security measures. For example, excessive scans may disrupt user activities, while overly strict firewall rules might block legitimate traffic. Regularly reviewing third-party vendor contracts ensures that their services align with the organisation’s evolving needs.


Prioritising Cyber Threats


Resource Allocation

A clear understanding of an organisation’s cyber security priorities allows CISOs to allocate resources effectively. Tools are available to help articulate the return on investment for specific controls. For instance, financial stress tests can illustrate the benefits of implementing a Privileged Account Management (PAM) Solution, often resulting in lower claims during cyber incidents.


Communicating Cyber security risks to the C-Suite


Enhancing Awareness

Major cyber-attacks frequently make headlines, yet numerous serious incidents remain undisclosed to protect reputations. Many c-suite executives might not fully grasp the nuances of current cyber threats and trends.


Tabletop exercises

Conducting tabletop exercises simulates cyber incidents, helping executives understand potential impacts on operations, reputation, and legal standing. These exercises are invaluable in preparing for real-world incidents, ensuring that the organisation is well-prepared to mitigate and manage such events.


Demonstrating robust cyber security culture to insurers


Engagement and Communication

Insurers are more inclined to offer coverage if an organisation can demonstrate a strong cyber security culture. regular communication with insurers, including meetings and presentations, allows CISOs to showcase their cyber security measures. Transparency during policy renewals, especially regarding past claims and lessons learned, is essential for maintaining insurer confidence.


How we can assist

Respondents to the global risks perception survey have identified cyberattacks as one of the top risks for 2024. By adopting a proactive approach, organisations can stay ahead of cybercriminals and safeguard their critical assets. Our comprehensive services include:


Incident management

– Reviewing and enhancing your current cyber incident response plan.
– Providing support during and after cyber incidents.
– Assisting with insurer vendor panel reviews.


Risk Advisory

– Enhancing cyber security resilience in light of technological advancements and emerging threats.
– Offering Tailored advisory services to meet specific organisational needs.


Risk intelligence

– Utilising economic modelling and quantification tools to inform risk transfer decisions.
– Leveraging our proprietary tools to make data-driven cyber security decisions.


For further information on improving your organisation’s risk mitigation, please contact us.


This guide serves as a comprehensive resource for CISOs aiming to enhance their organisation’s cyber security risk insurability. By implementing the strategies outlined, organisations can achieve robust cyber security and secure favourable insurance terms, ultimately strengthening their resilience against cyber security threats.


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