Cybersecurity insights from industry experts.

How to Optimize Your Cyber Insurance Coverage

From prevention and detection processes to how you handle policy information, having strong cyber insurance coverage can help mitigate cybersecurity attacks.

Microsoft Security, Microsoft

February 8, 2023

3 Min Read
Businessman with outstretched palm holding a constellation of circles overlaid with the words cyber insurance
Source: Adobe Stock

Enterprise cybersecurity is a team sport involving multiple players. It encompasses everything from technology vendors to cyber insurance providers and cyber defense platforms. And while many organizations have implemented plans for prevention and detection, they often fail to consider remediation.

Despite the best preparations, cyberattacks may be inevitable. That's why it's important to have specific remediation policies like cyber insurance in place to mitigate the effect of potential future breaches. Keep reading to learn how enabling certain security features can help obtain favorable cyber insurance coverage.

Determining Your Risk, Right-Sizing Your Coverage

While all businesses run the inherent risk of cyberattacks, the scale of your operations and type of industry you operate in will impact the type of threat you experience and, consequently, the rate you will pay for cyber insurance. Organizations must understand their risk profiles if they want to ensure they're getting the best cyber insurance rate possible.

Small businesses, for example, are more likely to be hacked by outside actors. In part, this is because threat actors have scaled their operations to identify vulnerable targets. Small businesses are also less likely to enable basic cyber hygiene practices that can protect against 98% of online attacks. Large businesses, on the other hand, are disproportionately at risk from insider attacks simply due to the size of their attack surface. These kinds of threats can take the shape of phishing attacks, email compromises, stolen credentials, and more.

Another tool that companies can use to improve their cyber insurance rates is the insurance underwriting application itself. Companies can use this application as a blueprint to identify which steps they should take to most effectively protect themselves. Similar services exist in the marketplace, including Microsoft’s zero-trust maturity assessment quiz or built-in tools like Microsoft Secure Score.

Vulnerability Management Has Evolved

Much like risk profiles, vulnerability management can change based on the size of your company and the space you work in. For small businesses, it's about making yourself a difficult target by conducting regular security scans and enabling basic security hygiene features to ensure a base level of protection. Larger entities also need to worry about external threats, but they have the added responsibility of monitoring internal threats as well. Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your attack surface and spending the time to identify where you are most vulnerable. If you want to optimize your coverage, cyber insurance providers will want to see that you're taking proactive steps to guard against potential threats.

Vulnerability management has also evolved alongside the growth of technology. In the past, cybersecurity was focused on perimeter defense — locking down network ports and devices. Today, the growth of remote work and expansion of attack surfaces has created a much stronger focus on identity management. Employees can take their work identities — and by extension, their network access credentials — with them wherever they go. So it's important companies use tactics like verifying explicitly, employing least-privileged access, and always assuming abreach to guard against modern threat vectors. Following these security hygiene practices can help ensure that you're getting a competitive insurance rate.

Finally, companies should treat all cyber insurance communications and policy documents as highly sensitive information. If threat actors know how much coverage your company has, they're able to use this information to demand the highest possible ransom payment in exchange for restoring services or releasing data. Companies should not only safeguard their policy documents, but they should also protect any email communications or applications that disclose sensitive information about their insurance policies.

While cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, businesses have a wealth of resources that they can turn to when looking for better ways to protect themselves. From prevention and detection processes to ensuring coverage with things like cyber insurance, organizations can better mitigate the effects of a cybersecurity attack. Defenders can enable baseline security controls to help obtain favorable cyber insurance coverage.

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Microsoft Security


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