Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Broader Benefits of Cyber Insurance

The Benefits of Cyber-Insurance

Cyber-insurance increases cyber-security by encouraging the adoption of best practices. Insurers will require a level of security as a precondition of coverage, and companies adopting better security practices often receive lower insurance rates. This helps companies to internalize both the benefits of good security and the costs of poor security, which in turn leads to greater investment and improvements in cyber-security.
The security requirements used by cyber-insurers are also helpful. With widespread take-up of insurance, these requirements become de facto standards, while still being quick to update as necessary. Since insurers will be required to pay out cyber-losses, they have a strong interest in greater security, and their
requirements are continually increasing.
As well as directly improving security, cyber-insurance is enormously beneficial in the event of a large-scale security incident. Insurance provides a smooth funding mechanism for recovery from major losses, helping to businesses to return to normal and reducing the need for government assistance.
Finally, insurance allows cyber-security risks to be distributed fairly, with higher premiums for companies whose expected loss from such risks is greater. This avoids potentially dangerous concentration of risk while also preventing free-riding.

Advantages over Governmental Regulation

Cyber-insurance has a number of advantages over governmental regulation as a means for improving cyber-security. First and foremost, government standard-setting is simply not suitable for a rapidly evolving area such as cyber-security. Standards produced by organized bodies are based on compromise, and government involvement in the process stifles innovation further. Closely related to this is the threat of regulatory capture attendant with any system of governmental regulation.
Positive reinforcement is generally the more effective behavior modification technique, as individuals naturally prefer reward to punishment. Fear of legal sanctions can force companies to maintain a set of minimum standards, as cyber-insurance does, but unlike cyber-insurance it does not provide any incentive to do better. Governmental regulation results in an emphasis on meeting basic minimum standards, whereas insurance results in companies striving to adopt – and improve upon – best practices. Finally, because the risk is global, United States regulations alone cannot effectively manage it. However, worldwide regulation is impractical because international organizations move even more slowly than national governments. Widespread use of cyber-insurance will produce better security than a system of governmental regulation and standard-setting.
(Courtesy: White House)


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