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The economy continues to gain strength, with GDP on the rise and unemployment rate steadily falling. While all of this seems favorable for insurers, the proliferation of highly publicized breaches in varying sectors has made network security and privacy liability a concern for insurance firms. Cyber attacks against financial services institutions, including insurance companies, are becoming increasingly frequent and sophisticated. This is partly driven by attackers’ tendency to share critical corporate information and work together in orchestrating an attack. Similarly, the time has come for insurers to forgo their outdated practices and fast track the development of protective strategies by collaborating with other financial institutions that face similar risks.
 
With experts predicting cyber criminals to attack through wearable devices, employees’ home systems, cloud services, and automobiles this year, insurers need to boost their security knowledge and adopt novel methods to keep the attackers at bay. Big data will be a crucial asset to insurance firms in this regard—the quality and speed of cyberthreat analysis will see a jump as the use of real-time analytics spreads across structured and unstructured data sources.

Another aspect not to be taken lightly is the adverse consequence of enterprises partnering with third parties. Businesses are becoming more aware of the risks inherent to working with third parties. Insurers are now actively monitoring third parties and ensuring that protective measures are built into third-party products and services.

Like the already existing cyber attack channels weren’t enough, a potentially disturbing scenario that experts predict is not far off is—individuals receiving payments to share their personal data. This will essentially result in hackers manipulating markets in their favor through financial intelligence gathering. While realistically this not likely to happen for another few years, insurance firms better be prepared for all possible scenarios and consequences; for technological advancements aid both financial institutions and cyber criminals alike.
 
On that note, Insurance CIO Outlook presents to you its special edition on the current security ecosystem to assist businesses thwart the cyber attackers. As the industry enters a year of increasingly heightened cyber-vulnerability, let us know how valuable this edition proved to be in your enterprise endeavors.