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Insure and Grow: Navigating Cyber Insurance for MSPs in 2024

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This article provides insights into cyber insurance trends, actionable tips for 2024, best practices, an insurance roadmap, and the unique benefits offered by SeedPod Cyber Partners.

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Cyber Insurance for MSPs in 2024

MSPs are witnessing significant shifts in cyber insurance – in some trends there are accelerations, and in other slowdowns. Here’s a concise overview of some key ongoing developments.

  1. Increasing Demand for Cyber Insurance from SMBs:

We’ve seen a surge in demand at the SMB level, including from MSPs and their SMB clients. Smaller businesses – frequently targeted by ransomware attacks and hackers aiming to “flip” them as they work upwards toward larger prey – are recognizing the necessity of cyber insurance. The paradigm shift is so significant that for many SMBs, obtaining cyber insurance has become mission-critical, potentially preventing business closure in the face of successful cyber attacks.

The problem? It’s no longer possible to easily make a phone call and purchase cyber insurance. Cybersecurity requirements have evolved.

  1. Evolving Cybersecurity Requirements:

To qualify for cyber insurance, SMBs are now compelled to invest in enhanced security capabilities. Previously optional measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) are becoming prerequisites. The message is clear – the ability to purchase insurance is tied directly to upgrading security in prescribed and documented ways; and failure to meet the evolving standards results in higher premiums or even ineligibility.

  1. Pricing Dynamics:

While the pricing surge in cyber insurance experienced a peak in recent years, 2023 saw a cooling off, particularly in the U.S. The price stabilization correlates with a decrease in ransomware success, and improved risk control. However, it’s an ongoing war, and with the advent of easily used AI, cybercriminals like law-abiding professionals can vastly increase their productivity in mounting attacks, potentially influencing pricing dynamics in the near future.

  1. Expanding Questionnaires:

A trend any MSP or MSP client has noticed is the ongoing expansion of cyber insurance questionnaires designed to screen, qualify, and help prepare potential clients for cyber insurance. These questionnaires are growing in both size and complexity, as they evolve to keep pace with how cyber attacks occur, and how they can be prevented and mitigated. The insurance industry’s evolving understanding has led to more application questions over time as well as external scanning. The hope is for insurers to shift towards tangible validations like internal systems scanning and penetration tests rather than relying solely on extensive questionnaires. But for now, the questionnaires reign, and likely will for the foreseeable future.

  1. Detailed Requirements:

While the fundamental cybersecurity requirements for obtaining insurance remain consistent, insurers now demand more specific details. To protect themselves and the insured, insurers need granular information on security measures. It’s an increasingly fine-grained approach that reflects insurers’ increasing emphasis on thorough risk assessment and mitigation.

  1. Reading the Fine Print:

Understanding the nuances of cyber insurance policies is becoming more crucial than ever. Insurers are not only adding questions and requiring more detailed documentation, but also introducing new exclusions. For instance, exclusions related to state-backed cyberattacks or neglected software vulnerabilities are becoming more and more prevalent. Organizations must scrutinize policy terms, exclusions, and clauses to ensure they’re buying comprehensive coverage aligned with their specific needs, and they abide by the terms on which the policies are purchased…

MSPs entering 2024 should stay vigilant and adaptive in the face of these changes. And they should also seek out expertise – most productively with the very insurance companies or agencies they’re buying from.

Cyber Insurance Tips for 2024: Safeguarding Your MSP

As MSPs, together with all SMBs, face heightened susceptibility to cyber threats due in large part to the advent of easily used AI, adopting a robust cyber insurance strategy becomes paramount. Here are essential tips to navigate the evolving landscape in 2024:

  1. Thorough Risk Assessment: Begin by conducting a comprehensive risk assessment. Understand the specific risks your MSP faces, including potential vulnerabilities in your systems, data protection measures, and employee training.
  1. Collaborate with Insurers: You don’t want to simply buy a policy from an insurer who does not specialize in cyber insurance. Why? It’s likely full of exclusions and escape clauses that can mean you’re not really protected. Instead, forge a strong partnership with an insurer who specializes in cyber insurance. Insurers with cybersecurity expertise can provide valuable insights, risk mitigation strategies, and ongoing support. They should collaborate with you for a thorough review of risks, vulnerabilities, and implementation of best practices.
  1. Data Protection Measures: Emphasize data protection in your cybersecurity strategy. Ensure that client data, internal systems, and sensitive information are secured through encryption, regular audits, and employee training programs.
  1. Incident Response Plan: Develop a robust incident response plan. Clearly outline the steps to be taken in the event of a cyber attack, including communication protocols, data recovery procedures, and coordination with law enforcement if necessary.

  1. Employee Training: Invest in continuous employee training programs. Human error and human deception remain a significant factor in cyber incidents, and well-trained employees can act as a frontline defense against potential threats.
  1. Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. Stay proactive in updating and patching systems to protect against evolving threats.

Best Practices for Cybersecurity in 2024: Strengthening Your Defenses

As MSPs gear up for the challenges of 2024, adopting best practices is crucial for strengthening cybersecurity defenses. Microsoft’s Digital Defense Report emphasizes the effectiveness of traditional basic security controls. Here are some key practices:

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA to add an extra layer of defense to digital accounts. MFA requires individuals to verify their identity through at least two methods, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
  2. Admin Credential Separation: Crucially separate administrative credentials from user credentials. Compromised admin credentials can grant unrestricted access to critical systems, making this practice a vital aspect of cybersecurity.
  3. Regular Patching: Regularly patch software to fix newly discovered vulnerabilities. Timely patching prevents cyber-attacks and unauthorized access, making systems more secure and resilient against evolving threats.
  4. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): Implement EDR solutions for monitoring and securing individual devices within a network. EDR continuously analyzes endpoint activities, detecting suspicious behavior and responding to potential security threats in real time.
  5. Backups: Ensure reliable and secure backups to prevent data loss from cyber-attacks or system failures. Keep backups separate from the systems they’re protecting to maintain data integrity.
  6. Limit Open Ports: Restrict open ports, especially Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Server Message Block (SMB) ports. Open ports create potential entry points for cyber attackers, and limiting exposure helps prevent attacks.
  7. Regular Software Updates: Stay current with regular software updates. Updates often include security patches and keeping all software up-to-date ensures systems work securely within larger software ecosystems.
  8. Implement SPF, DKIM, DMARC: Apply SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in the DNS to combat email spoofing and phishing attacks. These cybersecurity measures enhance email authentication and prevent unauthorized messages.
  9. Lock down your Client Credentials and RMM: The crown jewels of an MSPs assets are the RMM and the document system it uses to store client credentials and other information.  These assets should have strict role-based access control, ip restrictions, logging and alerting in place.  In addition, MSPs should manage the deployment of scripting (either through allow lists or other means) to ensure that only authorized scripts can be run in either their environment or pushed through RMM to run in clients’ environments.

Insurance Roadmap for 2024: A Strategic Approach

 Crafting or adjusting an insurance roadmap for your SMB in 2024 involves a strategic and forward-thinking approach. MSPs should consider the following steps:

  1. Review and Update Coverage: Regularly review and update your cyber insurance coverage to align with evolving risks and industry standards. Work closely with brokers who have specific expertise in working with MSPs to ensure that your coverage adequately addresses potential threats, and that your security measures meet the standards required by your specific policy.
  1. Review and update your MSA: Work with an attorney experienced with MSAs to ensure that your agreement provides adequate protection to you.  Also consider requiring clients to carry cyber insurance themselves and notify you in the event of non-payment or non-renewal.
  1. Engage in Ongoing Risk Management and Mitigation: Embrace ongoing risk management practices, including regular risk assessments, security audits, and employee training. Continuous improvement in risk management contributes to a proactive cybersecurity posture.
  1. Explore Cybersecurity Partnerships: Consider forming partnerships with a cybersecurity insurance firm that offers specialized services. Collaborating with experts can enhance your cybersecurity capabilities and strengthen your overall defense against cyber threats. It can also make sure that you don’t unknowingly fall short on your side of the policy and discover at the worst possible time – after a cyber attack – that you’ve fallen out of compliance and are therefore not covered by the policy.

SeedPod Cyber Partner Benefits: A Unique Advantage

SeedPod Cyber Partners offer MSPs a unique advantage in navigating the complexities of cybersecurity and insurance in 2024. With a focus on providing tailored solutions and comprehensive support, SeedPod Cyber Partners empower MSPs to:

  1. Access Expert Guidance: Benefit from expert guidance in understanding and implementing cybersecurity best practices, compliance measures, and risk mitigation strategies.
  1. Customized Training Programs: Receive customized training programs for MSP teams, ensuring that employees stay abreast of the latest cybersecurity trends and threats.
  1. Tailored Insurance Solutions: Access tailored insurance solutions that align with the specific needs and risks faced by MSPs, providing comprehensive coverage and support.
  1. Continuous Support: Enjoy continuous support from SeedPod Cyber Partners, ensuring that MSPs have the necessary resources and expertise to navigate the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

In conclusion, 2024 presents both challenges and opportunities for MSPs in the realm of cybersecurity and insurance. By staying informed, adopting best practices, crafting a strategic insurance roadmap, and leveraging the unique benefits offered by SeedPod Cyber Partners, MSPs can not only navigate the complexities but also grow and thrive in the face of evolving cyber threats.

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