Skip to main content

Insurance For Information Security

We can get insurance for virtually anything these days.  Cars obviously (albeit if that wasn't law, how many would pay for it?).  Ourselves.  Pets.  Eyes.  Teeth.  Holidays.  You name it and The Meerkat can sort it out.  The market for insurance is highly complex, with econometrics playing a large part in determining the potential risk levels of individual insurance consumers.  The insurance underwriters, like any other capitalist organisation, are primarily concerned with making a profit.  They won't provide insurance to those they deem a probable risk and charge higher premiums to those that are a possible risk.  Insurance for the consumer is to cover loss against an unexpected even.  The risks of that unexpected even occurring will obviously change.  Flying to Spain on holiday increases the risk of having a plane crash.  Getting old increases the risk of falling and breaking your hip.  But a lot of the time, the unexpected risk is just that: unexpected.

Unexpected in the Infosec World
The unexpected is all around IT in general.  Power outages.  Component failures.  Bugs.  It keeps ops and devops teams in constant work.  Cyber attacks and data loss are probably the biggest head line grabbing events of the unexpected kind at the moment, from a purely security perspective.  An organisation will of course not know when an attack will happen, even if the odds of such an attack are pretty low.  Data loss too, can occur at so many different levels (lost laptop, malware, IP theft...), that the chances of not losing data are probably higher than the event itself.

Risk Management
Of course some unexpected behaviour is expected and provisions are put in place.  Remote support is purchased.  Consultancy is purchased.  External advice is sort.  Risk management plays a huge part in the planning of any large organisation with risk transfer, mitigation and acceptance all viable alternatives to going alone and being impacted by a breach or disruptive event.  It's interesting to observe the varying risk responses to particular situations.  Whilst a risk assessment will pick out the level of response (or if a risk reduction response is actually required at all), the individual response decisions seems to be quite inconsistent.  For example.  Perimeter security is seen as a zero tolerance area.  Nothing bad can come into the private LAN.  Hence firewalls, next generation firewalls, intrusion detection systems and so on are now incredibly advanced with yearly iterations of new features and detection capabilities.  The risk response is aiming for removal.  Incident response with regards to hacking or data theft on the other hand, is often handled via risk transfer at best or limited risk reduction at worst.  That's like taking insurance out to recover the car in the event of a crash, but having to pay for your own health care to cover your injuries.

Insurance in Different Guises
Obviously there is no such thing as information security insurance per-se.  It exists in truth with a complex mix of risk management responses, tooling, external consultancy, transferred decision making and so on.

Perhaps as organisations continue to look to the outsourcing of services, applications and complex IT support and return focus to their key business goals, insurance may become more apparent in the traditional sense within an information security landscape.

By Simon Moffatt

Popular posts from this blog

Customer Data: Convenience versus Security

Organisations in both the public and private sector are initiating programmes of work to convert previously physical or offline services, into more digital, on line and automated offerings.  This could include things like automated car tax purchase, through to insurance policy management and electricity meter reading submission and reporting.

Digitization versus Security

This move towards a more on line user experience, brings together several differing forces.  Firstly the driver for end user convenience and service improvement, against the requirements of data security and privacy.  Which should win?  There clearly needs to be a balance of security against service improvement.  Excessive and prohibitive security controls would result in a complex and often poor user experience, ultimately resulting in fewer users.  On the other hand, poorly defined security architectures, lead to data loss, with the impact for personal exposure and brand damage.

Top 5 Security Predictions for 2016

It's that time of year again, when the retrospective and predictive blogs come out of the closet, just before the Christmas festivities begin.  This time last year, the 2015 predictions were an interesting selection of both consumer and enterprise challenges, with a focus on:

Customer Identity ManagementThe start of IoT security awarenessReduced Passwords on MobileConsumer PrivacyCloud Single Sign On
In retrospect, a pretty accurate and ongoing list.  Consumer related identity (cIAM) is hot on most organisation's lips, and whilst the password hasn't died (and probably never will) there are more people using things like swipe login and finger print authentication than ever before.

But what will 2016 bring?

Mobile Payments to be Default for Consumers

2015 has seen the rise in things like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay hitting the consumer high street with venom.  Many retail outlets now provide the ability to "tap and pay" using a mobile device, with many banks also offer…

The Role of Identity Management in the GDPR

Unless you have been living in a darkened room for a long time, you will know the countdown for the EU's General Data Protection Regulation is dramatically coming to a head.  May 2018 is when the regulation really takes hold, and organisations are fast in the act on putting plans, processes and personnel in place, in order to comply.

Whilst many organisations are looking at employing a Data Privacy Officer (DPO), reading through all the legalese and developing data analytics and tagging processes, many need to embrace and understand the requirements with how their consumer identity and access management platform can and should be used in this new regulatory setting.

My intention in this blog, isn't to list every single article and what they mean - there are plenty of other sites that can help with that.  I want to really highlight, some of the more identity related components of the GDPR and what needs to be done.

Personal Data On the the personal data front, more and more org…