Cyber Attack Defence: Key Strategies for Insurance Companies

By Marria Qibtia Sikandar
To reduce the threats for cyberattacks, insurance companies are expected to devise cohesive and thoughtful data protection strategies

Insurance companies maintain significant databases of confidential, personal information. This makes them key targets for potential cyber-attacks. Successful attacks on insurance companies can result in tangible damages not only in the form of fines, lawsuits and fraud monitoring costs but also in the deficit of customer trust. Since the value of trust is integral to the insurance business, a major breach is bound to harm the insurer’s brand image. 

In light of this, it is important for insurance companies to figure out ways to reduce the threat of cyber-attacks. We share with you a couple of key strategies that can potentially prove to be useful in this regard. 

Key Strategies to Safeguard from Cyberattacks 

The following key strategies may be useful to implement by insurance companies to shield themselves from cyber-attacks and their harmful ramifications.

Ensuring Data Backup

Data backup is one of the most essential as well as cost-effective means of ensuring that the information does not go permanently unavailable following an event of a cyberattack. The insurance company must use multiple backup methods to help ensure safety. These may include daily incremental back-ups, end of week backups, quarterly backups and yearly backups. The backed-up data must be accessed regularly to rule out any errors and ensure proper restoration of data. 

Updating Security Software

The insurance companies must make it a point to update their operating systems and security software regularly. It is important to never disregard update prompts. Firewalls must also be set up since these act as a filter for both incoming and outgoing traffic. Turning on the spam filter is also recommended since it helps in reducing the number of spam and phishing emails, which is, in fact, a common tactic used by cyber hackers to steal confidential information.

 Activating Data Encryption

Simplistically put, encryption is the conversion of data into secret codes before it is sent over the internet. It is integral for insurance companies to turn on network and data encryption when they share or store data. This can be easily activated through router settings as well as by installing a VPN (virtual private network) software on main computational devices in use. 

Using Passphrases

Passphrases are more secure and viable than passwords. A secure passphrase is at least 12 characters long and comprises a combination of lower and upper case letters, special characters and numbers. It must be unpredictable to make it as undecipherable as possible. The majority of people achieve this by using unrelated and unique words for passphrases.

Using Multi-factor authentication

Using multi-factor authentication is a standard practice to protect data. This verification system requires users to present two or more proofs of their identity if they want to access their accounts. The multi-factor authentication adds in a potent layer of security, hence potentially averting possible cyber-attack instances. 

Specify Security Policies 

Insurance companies must also brainstorm and develop cybersecurity policies to help guide employees on what is acceptable when using computers, sharing data, and accessing internet sites. This will give them a clear, informed idea of what they must not be doing, for it will be a grave breach of company policy and code of conduct.  

Provide Cybersecurity Training

Well trained and well-informed employees are an insurance company's first line of defence against cyber threats. It is important to educate employees on identifying, mitigating, and handling the risks that an increasingly interconnected and technologically advanced world brings with it. 

Employing Artificial Intelligence 

Employing artificial intelligence can help insurance companies significantly reduce the threat of malware and cyber-attacks.  This is because artificial intelligence analyses large amounts of data quickly and is suited to detect any significant deviations in data behaviour. This can help insurance companies monitor workflows and immediately respond to cyber-attacks. 

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