In almost every conversation I have today with business or IT leaders, the topic of security and risk comes up. Want to move to the cloud? Sounds great, but what about security? Thinking of rolling out a new customer-facing application? That could change the business, but how do we protect the data? Considering an IoT strategy? Makes sense, but what kind of new risks does that create?
Make no mistake, cyber risk is real. And the more connected and digital businesses become, the higher the stakes and level of danger. Don’t misunderstand my words. In no way am I’m saying to not move forward with these advanced initiatives. Businesses must become digital organizations, and infrastructure modernization is a key part of that. But the fact is we rely heavily on technology, and this creates new entry points for the bad guys to exploit.
Managing cyber risk is not simple
Managing cyber risk isn’t an easy job either because things are constantly changing. Today’s IT environment certainly won’t be the same tomorrow. Also, you can’t find a security team that isn’t overwhelmed, overburdened and overworked — and the security chasm that exists today will only get wider as businesses continue to create data and connect devices at an unprecedented rate.
One way to protect against security risks is to purchase cyber insurance, but most companies do not have it for a variety of reasons. Some don’t know how much to purchase, others don’t think “it can happen to them,” and many won’t qualify because their security infrastructure creates too much risk for the underwriter.
Financially protecting the organization from cyber attacks is something all companies should be concerned with, but knowing how to do this or even where to start can seem like a daunting task.
Recently, a group of best-of-breed vendors got together to make cyber risk management a bit more turnkey. Apple, Cisco (Cisco is a client of ZK Research), Allianz and Aon have launched the first integrated solution to manage cyber risk associated with ransomware and other malware. The joint solution is complete and includes security technologies, devices, an evaluation and insurance coverage to ensure the businesses security posture is improved and the company is protected.
Holistic cyber risk management solution
The offering starts with a detailed security risk assessment from professional services firm Aon. The output will be an analysis of the company’s level of insurability, its security posture with recommendations on how to correct any gaps.
Customers that wish to improve their security posture receive a plan that includes an enterprise-wide deployment Cisco Ramsomware Defense, which includes advanced email security, endpoint protection and DNS security, and Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and Macs.
Insurance company Allianz then underwrites a cyber insurance policy. Companies that use Apple and Cisco will receive better terms and lower or possibly no deductibles. Allianz is willing to provide preferential terms to joint Cisco/Apple customers because it feels this combination offers a higher level of security protection than other options. Cisco has long been heralded as a major security vendor, but for Apple, this is a significant step forward for a company that was once thought to be a laggard with respect to security.
Organizations that choose this solution will also have access to Cisco and Aon’s incident response teams in the event of a malware attack. Cisco’s services are provided by its Talos threat intelligence team, which includes over 250 world-class threat researchers. Many security professionals I’ve interviewed weren’t even aware Cisco had acquired Talos, but that group has brought a wealth of best practices and global threat knowledge to Cisco.
The partnership between these companies is unique in that it’s a complete offering that includes endpoints, infrastructure, assessment and protection. I understand that it forces customers down a Cisco/Apple path, but these are the terms the underwriter Allianz feels comfortable with, which is no different than an auto insurer providing preferential terms for something like anti-theft devices.
The number of choices and options in the cybersecurity industry can be overwhelming. The combination of Apple, Cisco, Aon and Allianz provides a complete solution that helps organizations understand where they are today and what they need to do to be protected tomorrow.