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Cyber risk – a growing global concern

Organisations today face a sophisticated, well-funded and innovative cybercriminal landscape, where significant financial gain with little risk of being caught is the prize. For organisations already grappling with privacy and cybersecurity laws, regulations and standards, a well-executed cyberattack can bring them swiftly to their knees if steps are not taken early on to ensure a robust cyber risk profile is in place.

The tentacles of a cyberattack

The impact of such an attack can be far reaching. Aside from the obvious operational issues, there is scope for major brand erosion or damage if an attack could have been avoided or dealt with more efficiently. An organisation that can assure its clients and counterparties of its robust cyber risk profile is likely to win out over competitors that cannot offer the same assurances.

With an increasingly distributed workforce and well-funded, nimble adversaries, organisations today need to work harder than ever to ensure their own technology and risk management tools are up to the job.

Plugging the vulnerability gaps
Automated attacks aimed at acquiring user credentials and manual attacks that leverage vulnerabilities in common platforms to obtain access to networks are reasonably well understood, and are the necessary precursors to many ransomware attacks.

Ransomware that involves extorting organisations for the return of their data in exchange for large sums of cryptocurrencies is a trend that isn’t set to go anywhere any time soon, and it is important to understand that electronic data and communication form a crucial part of an organisation’s reputation as well as its operations. Any framework, policy or process should ensure that those resources are adequately protected, and that level of protection must be regularly checked to identify and correct any gaps. To put it another way, identifying gaps in an organisation’s own capabilities and resources will allow senior management to address those vulnerabilities before it is too late.

Helping organisations get on the front foot
Although the latest home-working directive has been lifted, it is clear that hybrid working is likely to be the new norm for most. This flexible-working revolution exposes organisations to greater threat of disruption, as it is easier for threat actors to exploit staff processes and networks when they work offsite, away from existing corporate firewalls previously set up for office-based working.

These new risks are being recognised and this is resulting in an increased appetite and need for cyber insurance that protects against malicious attacks. It is important to not only cover organisations against these risks, but to help them prepare better so that they are not caught on the back foot as cybercriminals seek to exploit new hybrid working practices and continue to industrialise their attack methods that allow them to target increasingly small organisations.

The unfortunate reality is that the cybercriminal landscape will continue to develop at pace, for the simple fact that the techniques being used today are so effective at generating excellent financial rewards. As organisations slowly mature, so the attackers invest in new tools and resources to stay one step ahead those defensive efforts.

Many organisations think they are resilient to cyber events but our experience is that they are not as prepared as they think they are, and these risks apply to organisations of all sizes. Taking the right steps early on can stop a small attack from becoming something so serious that it impacts the very survival of the organisation.

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