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Meeting Backup Requirements for Cyber Insurance Coverage

Many companies wrongly assume that having backups in the cloud can prevent or reduce the impacts of a ransomware attack

Many companies wrongly assume that having backups in the cloud can prevent or reduce the impacts of a ransomware attack

The prevalence of ransomware has had a devastating impact on businesses over the past few years, with insurance underwriters seeing increasingly large ransomware payouts. As a result, some core cyber security hygiene fundamentals are being required by insurers to qualify for coverage. 

For example, secure cloud backup has become a hard and fast requirement. Most cyber insurance providers are demanding that companies supply proof of their backup implementation in order to obtain an affordable policy.  Furthermore, there are some additional capabilities that must now be implemented with cloud backups in order to pass the underwriting process. These include malware scanning, encryption, segmentation and multi-factor authentication.

Many companies wrongly assume that having backups in the cloud can prevent or reduce the impacts of a ransomware attack. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Ermetic into the security posture of AWS environments and their vulnerability to ransomware attacks found that in every single account tested, nearly all of an organization’s S3 buckets were vulnerable to ransomware. 

As a result, insurers do not consider all backup scenarios as acceptable. Underwriters often require that a company’s most sensitive applications be offline, immutable, and clearly catalogued through audit.  The use of data has become an essential force multiplier for businesses, but data exposure in turn creates tremendous risks. Whether it is a data lake, business intelligence data warehouse, customer information, or security telemetry, it is essential that organizations protect these crown jewels in a highly secure environment.  

[ Read: Improving Security Posture to Lower Insurance Premiums ]

Several techniques can be implemented to ensure the security and resiliency of backup architectures.  One is file change management, also known as File Integrity Management (FIM), which ensures that you are monitoring any changes to the backup environment. FIM can identify any modifications made to a cloud storage solution and generate alerts so administrators can investigate whether they are malicious or not.  

Another key technique is conducting a comprehensive audit of all cloud storage components and associated applications to ensure recovery processes will function as expected in the event of a breach. Organizations must know where all critical data is stored and abide by the privacy laws of the jurisdiction where that data resides.  

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Employing a strategy of change management and comprehensive visibility will provide organizations easier access to cyber security insurance coverage at more favorable rates. To ensure they maintain the highest level of financial protection in the event of a breach or ransomware attack, companies must continue to extend these measures as new data and applications come online, and their attack surface grows. 

Related: Cyber Insurance Market to Top $14 Billion by 2022: Report

Related: Plugging the Discrepancy Between Cyber Insurance Coverage and Actual Risk

Related: Cyber Insurance Firm At-Bay Raises $185 Million at $1.35 Billion Valuation


Related: The Case for Cyber Insurance

Written By

Gordon Lawson is CEO of Conceal, a company that uses Zero Trust isolation technology to defend against sophisticated cyber threats, malware and ransomware at the edge. Previously, he served as president at RangeForce Inc. Gordon has nearly two decades of experience in the security sector with a focus on SaaS optimization and global enterprise business development from global companies including Reversing Labs, Cofense (formerly PhishMe) and Pictometry. As a naval officer, Gordon conducted operational deployments to the Arabian Gulf and Horn of Africa, as well as assignments with the Defense Intelligence Agency, US Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and holds an MBA from George Washington University.

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