Have You Reviewed Your Cybersecurity Insurance Policy?

Coverage Loopholes

Cybersecurity rates are increasing while coverage is decreasing. Per the Wall Street Journal, “Direct-written premiums collected by the largest U.S. insurance carriers in 2021 swelled by 92% year-over-year”. Most of the increase is due to the sophistication of the attacks, higher ransomware payment demands, and the number of attacks. The State of Ransomware 2021 global survey (per Sophos) includes the following chilling facts:

  • The average cost of remediating a ransomware attack more than doubled in the last 12 months. Remediation costs, including business downtime, lost orders, operational costs, and more, grew from an average of $761,106 in 2020 to $1.85 million in 2021. This means that the average cost of recovering from a ransomware attack is now ten times the size of the ransom payment, on average
  • The average ransom paid was $170,404. While $3.2 million was the highest paid out of those surveyed, the most common payment was $10,000. Ten organizations paid ransoms of $1 million or more
  • The number of organizations paying ransom increased from 26% in 2020 to 32% in 2021, although fewer than one in 10 (8%) managed to get back all their data.

All this bad news results in cybersecurity insurance increases for your organization. 

Steps you can take to get the most value out of your cybersecurity insurance

Review your cybersecurity posture – take a self-assessment against theCIS Critical Security Controls (CIS Controls). Seeing how your organization ranks against the control can provide a snapshot of focus areas for improvement before obtaining or renewing your cybersecurity policy. If you aren’t sure where to start with the assessment or need help implementing improvements, Dewpoint’s cybersecurity experts are here to assist.

Review your data – the more highly sensitive data your organization holds, the more risk. Taking the simple step of reviewing your data can reduce your premium. Determine if you need the data to conduct your business and review the best way to safeguard it through additional security and limiting access to critical employees. If you need to print the information, make sure the paper is kept in a locked cabinet and office and destroyed in a secure method. If it is all virtual, use encryption software for email and limit file-sharing capabilities. 

Review your policy for loopholes – most insurance policies do not cover “an act of war.” If a ransomware attack occurs because of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, would you be covered? It’s an excellent question to ask your provider, given the uncertainty in our world, and determine the definition of “war.” For more information on different types of insurance and what they cover, click here.

What’s Next?

Navigating through the cybersecurity insurance maze can be a daunting task. Dewpoint can help by starting with an assessment to identify gaps in your current environment and recommendations to reduce those gaps. Organizations with poor security controls may be uninsurable or unable to afford a policy if available. Reach out to one of our security experts to help you get the most value out of your cybersecurity insurance and increase your overall security posture.

Will Your Business Survive a Ransomware Attack?

Most Small and Midsize Businesses Won’t Survive an Attack

Ransomware attacks are on the rise. Over 46% of the world’s total attacks are targeted against the US. Unfortunately, new research from CyberCatch, a cybersecurity platform provider, shows that 75% of small- and midsize businesses would be forced to close if a bad actor demanded a ransom. It is not a question of “if” an attack will occur for most companies but “when.” You can take steps to mitigate your risk and prepare for an attack.  

To Pay or Not Pay

Even if your business decides to pay the ransomware demand, it does not guarantee that you will recover your data in a usable format. Remember, you are dealing with criminals; thus, there is no code of ethics. Per the available research, 58% of extortionists attempted a second ransom after receiving payment, and 42% did not decrypt the files after payment, so the data was still unusable. Furthermore, if you pay in Bitcoin, the transactions are public and traceable. If used for any illegal transactions, they could be traced back to your business.

Even if you pay and recover your data, it takes an average of 16.2 days to remediate an incident. Think about having your business interrupted for more than two weeks. Not to mention the damage that is done to your reputation and inability to service your customers. The devastation done to one Illinois College is causing them to shut down indefinitely. In Michigan, Kalamazoo Community College was forced to close its campus after an attack. These are just two recent examples of attacks.

What Happens if Attacked

If your business becomes a ransomware target, these steps can help your business survive.

Assess the attack

Take a picture of the infected device’s screen before unplugging it. Pay attention to the payment deadlines or the number of days. Many times, the longer it takes to pay the ransom, the more the ransom demand. Check all of your systems to see if your network is compromised or if the attack is localized.

Immediately call your experts

This could be your internal IT team or a trusted IT vendor to supplement your team. In addition, if you have cyber insurance, contact them, and you may want to involve local law enforcement.

Determine the data you can recover

once you have identified what is infected, check on your backup systems to assess what data is recoverable. If you determine you need to pay the ransom to recover your data, have a clear communication plan on when and what you will pay.

Reset your systems

immediately reset all passwords. Ensure you have the latest software versions and run any patches to strengthen your security. Watch for backdoors that bad actors could further exploit.   

Do you have a Ransomware Plan?

We can help. Dewpoint has the security and infrastructure experts and experience to mitigate your ransomware risks and create a recovery plan in case you’re attacked. By taking simple cybersecurity steps, you can reduce the probability of an attack and its impact. Like in sports, we believe the best defense against an attack is a great offense. Contact one of our cybersecurity experts today.   

Why the Human Factor is Still the Most Important Part of IT Security

The human factor weakness

Regardless of the number of tools, software, and processes you implement, cybersecurity has one major weakness  – the human factor. Per Gartner, recent industry research shows that “22% of all breaches involved phishing, attackers leveraging stolen credentials accounted for 37% of all breaches, human error accounted for 22% of all breaches, and 30% of all breaches involved insiders”. Continuous monitoring and improvement are the keys to ensuring your human factor is no longer the most significant challenge for an effective threat prevention strategy.  

Tips to reduce the human factor

 Below are some tips to change your weakest link into your most robust in the cybersecurity fight.   

Keep IT simple

The more complex you make IT security for your end-user, the more they will find workarounds. By now, most organizations have implemented a password protocol requiring 10+ characters with a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. The longer and more complex the password, the more likely the employee writes it down or reuses a password from another system. Think about how you can make it easier. Deploying multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) may enable your organization to simplify the password requirements and add a layer of security.  

Trust no-one

We are ‘like’ family – many organizations get caught up in the employee ‘loves’ us and would never do anything to harm the company. Due to financial stress, a change in politics, or unforeseen circumstances, even the ‘best’ employee can be tempted to divulge company secrets or allow a ‘hacker’ to gain access. You can reduce exposure by implementing a zero-trust policy, where you trust no one and limit all users to minimal access – only enough to perform their jobs. Another option is to employ a privileged access management (PAM) tool to restrict access to sensitive accounts. Finally, make sure your organization has auto-monitoring to alert you if your system is attacked from the inside. The sooner you find out about the attack, the more you can control the damage.

It’s All About Education

Security awareness training should be more than a yearly task that employees need to complete. It should be ingrained into their everyday routines. Think about increasing or changing the training. Although computerized classes have become the norm, your employees may just be “clicking through” to get to the end. A few in-person sessions with small groups to talk about the latest threats and reinforce how important they are as the frontline defense will make more of an impact. In addition, include testing as part of your overall IT security awareness education. Periodically send out “fake” emails to judge if employees apply what they learn. Finally, ensure your employees know who to contact in case of a ransomware attack, know the protocols to follow, and aren’t afraid of reporting an incident. Don’t assume they know what to do.

How to improve your Human Factor

Making your organization cybersecurity ‘human proof’ starts with understanding where you are today. Dewpoint can help by evaluating your current organization and making recommendations to improve your overall security posture. As a technology company, we understand the software and tools that may help take the “human factor” out of the equation. Furthermore, we are partners with cybersecurity leaders in training and also provide individual training sessions. Contact us today.

Five Steps to Lowering Your Cyber Insurance Premium

Increasing Attacks and Higher Premiums

Protecting your company’s assets in case of a cyber security breach is critical. Most organizations choose to buy cyber insurance to cover the cost of paying ransomware and recovering from an attack. With the continued threat of cyber-attacks, insurance premiums continue to rise, and coverage is decreasing. Per Gartner, “Less than one in five organizations spent the past 12 months without experiencing any phishing attack”.

Emerging Threats

Attackers are becoming more sophisticated, and new trends have emerged, such as:

  • Optimize ransomware delivery by using “known good” cloud applications, such as enterprise productivity software as a service (SaaS) suites, and using encryption to hide their activities.
  • Combine ransomware with other techniques, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, to force public-facing services offline until organizations pay a ransom.
  • Target individual employees, particularly those working remotely using potentially vulnerable remote access services like Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
  • Use multichannel phishing approaches that combine social engineering, voice, text message, email, and web attacks in a single campaign.

With the evolution of cyber threats, insurance is becoming a vital part of protecting your company’s assets.

Controlling Your Insurance Costs

Insurers review specific standards to determine your cybersecurity risk. The better your company scores, the lower your insurance premium. Below are five typical areas the insurer examines and steps your company can take to improve your score.

Enhanced Employee Training

Although most organizations require regular phishing training- training alone is not adequate. In this area, “one size does not fit all.” Instead, it is best to use a mix of small-scale, targeted phishing tests based on employees’ roles, ages, and work-from-home practices. In addition, you must train users to use good judgment, particularly in the difficult task of detecting imposters who request work-related activity. 

Upgraded Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Employees continue to reuse passwords, thus allowing account takeovers. A Harris Poll found that 78% of Gen Z users have the same password across multiple accounts. Hackers use “credential stuffing” (testing existing credentials gathered from public breaches) to access your systems. If MFA is not deployed in your organization, deploy immediately. Don’t allow MFA to be skipped based on a single signal if you have MFA. To further reduce risk and improve your cybersecurity insurance rating, implement a two-factor MFA (2FA) to provide an extra level of security.

Following Backup Processes and Procedures

Ransomware often corrupts the production environment and backups. Appropriate controls are needed to ensure backups remain viable after a ransomware or malware attack. Employing strict processes and procedures can help you quickly restore data from a cyberattack or natural disaster. Backups should be performed regularly, stored offsite, and tested to ensure validity. Although a company typically focuses on the network, they should consider if there are critical items stored on an executive’s phone that should be part of a backup procedure. Showing you are following written processes and procedures and updating when the environment changes will put insurers at ease.

Moving to End Point Detection and Response (EDR)

Although your company may have End Point Protection (EPP) as threats continue to become more sophisticated, is it important to also deploy EDR. EPP targets threats as they hit the perimeter of your network, while EDR aims to target advanced threats that have gotten inside your environment and prevent them from spreading. Since it is nearly impossible for an EPP to catch all threats and prevent them from penetrating your system, an effective endpoint security plan should include both EDR and EPP. 

Reducing Cloud Risk

Although the cloud has been around for more than twenty years, cloud security remains challenging. The most significant risk is from a company’s misconfiguration of cloud services, in large part, due to their extreme complexity. AWS, for example, has over 170 services and more than 7,000 identity principles. Managing all this is a daunting task. Adequate cloud security requires the use of automated tools. Your security team should prioritize investigating and acquiring appropriate tools. A few elements in reducing your cloud risk include:

  • Ensure that you maintain accountability for all the areas you control in all areas of the cloud, but particularly identity, data, and configuration.
  • Invest in tools to validate the security of your entire cloud estate. Don’t neglect SaaS applications that are increasingly supporting critical business processes.
  • Build contingency plans in case a critical cloud service becomes unavailable.
  • Federate cloud identity for all services with your primary identity provider and use robust identity validation techniques (such as MFA) for all users.
  • Be wary of trying to offset cloud consolidation risks by using multi-cloud strategies rather than creating resilience in a single cloud. Such efforts introduce complex and hard-to-determine dependency chains that are more likely to decrease availability than increase it.

What do I do now?

If you need help reducing your insurance costs or increasing your insurance protection, we can assist by evaluating your current security controls and recommending and implementing improvements. Learn more ways Dewpoint can help you ensure your company is Cyber Insurance Ready