As per Wikipedia, the term cyber is a buzzword for a whole range of IT and security policies, strategies, and monitoring techniques based on digital communication pathways. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, has a much more direct purpose and set of objectives – namely, to prevent foreign attacks into a network and to maintain the security and functionality of a secure digital environment.
While the motives of cybersecurity might be clear and well-intentioned, they are certainly far from static and effective. An IT department must be innovative and thorough in order to stem the increasing tide of malware, service attacks and extortions happening across every industry. Below is a rundown of some key trends that have contributed to the rise of cybersecurity attacks in recent years, with a specific focus on the insurance industry to highlight what innovative approaches must be taken in order to retain consumer trust.
Trend #1: A Shift From Tangible Assets to Intangible Assets
A massive shift in the valuation of companies has exposed the business community to increased cybersecurity threats in the past couple of years. Traditionally, the valuation of a company was derived from the collection of tangible assets it could claim to have in its possession. Tangible assets are material entities like machinery, equipment, buildings, land, and stock evaluation. It used to be that these were the defining contributors to the estimation of a company’s overall value. They’re static entities that were more stable than revenue and gross or net yearly earnings.
In the past couple of years, the value of a company has shifted away from tangible assets towards intangible assets. Intangible assets are non-physical features of a company – things like brand recognition, brand reputation, IP address, total value of data collected, customer relations, suppliers relations, and so on. The fact that data has gained so much more value in the business community means that hackers and cyber-criminals have more incentive than ever to hack IT firewalls and hold data for ransom.
Trend #2: The Rise of Mobile
A contributing factor to the rise of cybercrime is the twin force of accessibility and connectivity. More people are using computers and phones now than ever, and increasingly, our phones are connected to our computers (and beyond) without the most robust firewall security in place. As more people take their life and work with them everywhere they go without updating their phones for cyber-crime prevention, intelligent and trained cybercriminals are finding it easier to steal data under the noses of data providers.
Case Study: The Insurance Industry
An excellent industry to observe the impact of cybercrime is the insurance industry, one which deals with reams of confidential data and over $400 billion worth in damages each year. The most important lesson that many insurance companies have had to learn the hard way is that you can never prevent a cyber-attack from occurring. Given the mobile accessibility and ease with which someone can get training, the focus should be less on prevention and more on the following three-step process:
- Detection: Doing whatever possible to monitor and catch breaches when they happen.
- Response: Have in place a thorough crisis management strategy that communicates down the supply chain and directly to customers to ensure transparency.
- Control: Putting together comprehensive legal frameworks to ensure liability coverage is clear.
Accounting for these three stages of the cybersecurity management process is simply what insurance companies must do in 2019 to deal honestly with the risk.
Given the increasing interconnectivity of individual networks across the globe, cybersecurity is only going to become a more pressing issue in the years ahead. Industries that have yet to make appropriate security changes should take inspiration from the insurance industry and formulate a detection and response strategy. Otherwise, the invaluable and intangible assets, like customer satisfaction and personal data, will be lost.