4 Ways to Solve Security Challenges in Insurance

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in today’s competitive insurance market face a barrage of cybersecurity challenges and threats, from data breaches and ransomware attacks to a lack of strong authentication methods or general awareness about compliance and privacy. 

Without acknowledging or understanding these issues, you not only risk exposing your sensitive client information, but could also face disruption of your most critical insurance processes, such as claims handling and premium calculations, leading to financial loss, decreased client trust, and regulatory non-compliance, which is particularly important for the insurance sector to avoid.

This article details 4 ways to solve security challenges for insurance SMBs, to help you on your journey towards tackling modern-day cyber threats and challenges to your business.

#1 - Implement comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training

Implementing regular cybersecurity training programs for your employees is crucial in the insurance sector, as human error is a significant vulnerability in the cybersecurity landscape. 

According to the Global Risk Report 17th Edition, 95% of cybersecurity breaches in recent years are due to human error. Whether it’s lack of knowledge about the latest threats, poor general security practices such as re-used passwords and compromised emails, or lack of modern authentication safeguards such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO), the potential for human error is something every business needs to address immediately.

Effective training programs serve as the first line of defense against cyber threats and accidental human error by equipping your employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and respond to potential security breaches or poor security practices. 

Cybersecurity training should be thorough and recurring to address the evolving nature of cyber threats. It should cover fundamental topics such as recognizing phishing emails, understanding the importance of secure passwords, and identifying signs of malware or suspicious activity. 

Moreover, employees should be educated on the specific cybersecurity protocols relevant to their roles within the company, including how to handle sensitive client information securely, given the increasing role of regulatory compliance in enforcing data privacy standards today.

In addition to structured training programs, creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness throughout your organization is essential. This involves regular communications from leadership about the importance of cybersecurity and encouraging vigilant behavior. Your SMB can also implement policies that incentivize secure practices and penalize negligence to emphasize the critical role each employee plays in safeguarding the business.

Ultimately, by investing in comprehensive cybersecurity training, you not only reduce the risk of breaches, but also foster an organizational culture that prioritizes security, which is fundamental in protecting the business and maintaining client trust. If you are looking to find the right program, specialized IT partners, particularly managed service providers (MSPs) offer cybersecurity awareness training as part of their solutions packages and support services.

#2 - Adopt advanced cybersecurity technologies

There are a number of sophisticated cybersecurity technologies that SMBs in the insurance sector can readily leverage to safeguard sensitive client data and maintain operational integrity. 

Many of these helpful tools are included as part of broader technology platforms such as cloud computing, data analytics and modern workplace solutions, so if your SMB is already planning to or undergoing digital transformation initiatives, it’s a good idea to get familiar with these types of cybersecurity technologies and specific security software available in your chosen solutions.

Key technologies that should be prioritized include:

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA):

This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity using two or more credentials before accessing systems. This method significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access due to stolen or compromised passwords. A 2023 Microsoft study recently revealed more than 99% of accounts in their system that are compromised do not have MFA enabled, showcasing the importance of having this technology.

Data encryption:

A general safeguard, encryption protects data by converting it into a secure format that can only be read or processed after it has been decrypted, ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential, both in transit and at rest. This is particularly crucial in the insurance industry, where data breaches can have severe legal and reputational consequences.

Endpoint security:

This involves deploying sophisticated software solutions that can detect, prevent, and respond to threats on devices accessing the network. These solutions use real-time monitoring and artificial intelligence (AI) to protect against malware, ransomware, and other evolving cyber threats. MSPs often provide managed endpoint protection solutions as part of their overall support packages.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems:

These tools are crucial for real-time monitoring and analysis of security events across your organization’s IT infrastructure. SIEM consolidates log data from various sources, enabling detailed correlation and anomaly detection to preemptively identify potential security threats. This technology can also automate incident responses and supports compliance by providing a comprehensive overview of security operations – very crucial for protecting sensitive client data in the insurance industry. Typically, managed IT providers provide fully managed SIEM solutions as part of their service packages.

Single Sign-On (SSO):

This authentication standard enhances security and user convenience by allowing employees to access multiple systems and applications with a single set of credentials. This reduces password fatigue and lowers risk of password-related breaches. SSO streamlines access management and integrates seamlessly with multi-factor authentication, further securing your critical data against unauthorized access.

#3 - Conduct regular risk assessments and compliance checks

Regular risk assessments and compliance checks are essential for every business, not just SMBs in the insurance sector. These practices involve systematically reviewing and evaluating the risks associated with your organization’s data and IT infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber threats, unintentional human error or malicious insiders.

Risk assessments of your business posture should be conducted at regular intervals or when significant changes occur within the IT environment or business operations. This proactive approach helps to ensure potential security weaknesses are identified and addressed before they can be exploited. The process includes analyzing the impact and likelihood of risks, which informs the prioritization of mitigation efforts according to their potential impact on the business.

Compliance checks are equally critical, as they ensure that the organization adheres to relevant laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe or California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States. These checks help avoid legal penalties and reputational damage to your SMB that could arise from non-compliance. 

Moreover, regular compliance audits can also improve trust with your clients by demonstrating a commitment to protecting sensitive information of customers according to the highest standards.

Overall, integrating regular risk assessments and compliance checks into your overall cybersecurity strategy not only protects the business from potential threats, but also enhances its credibility and reliability in the eyes of clients and regulators.

#4 - Seek the assistance of a managed service provider (MSP)

Many SMBs in the insurance sector find their in-house IT resources inadequate to effectively manage and mitigate these risks, due to size or investment in resources elsewhere in the business. While this is understandable, a weaker cybersecurity posture can lead to heightened vulnerability to cyber attacks that can cripple your operations and damage your reputation. 

If your business does not have the right expertise or time to implement the above recommended steps, the best choice is ultimately to consider partnering with managed services providers who specialize in cybersecurity. These managed IT services can provide the robust defense mechanisms your business requires, tailored to the unique needs of the insurance industry. 

By embracing such partnerships, you not only safeguard your data, but also ensure the continuity and integrity of your insurance-related business processes. You also better prepare your business to take on the many different areas of security that need to be managed, including cloud security, application security and network security, as some examples.

SparkNav’s Managed Security services offer a complimentary cyber security assessment customized for SMBs in the insurance sector, including fully managed strategic monitoring, compliance and technology solutions based on your business requirements. Learn how we can help you with your security-related objectives or concerns by speaking to our team today.

Robert Griffin
Robert Griffin
As COO, Robert Griffin plays an instrumental role in aligning operational excellence with strategic goals by leveraging his decades of experience in enterprise leadership. With deep knowledge and expertise in security, governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), and AI, his insights are often shared through thought leadership channels, including LinkedIn and blogs. → Follow Robert on LinkedIn.