Cyber-attacks are making all the headlines at the moment as virtual security compromises of both Carphone Warehouse and Ashley Madison have turned a lot of consumer attention to a threat which won’t go away.
According to a survey of IT decision-makers working in the insurance sector by Crown Records Management/Censuswide, reports suggest that the world of insurance is doing its level best of staying one step ahead of hackers with recent stats pointing to just 17% of insurance providers confirming that they’ve been subject to rogue online data intervention. However, and conversely, over 50% admit that they’ve mislaid important policyholder data over the same period.
Gathering information compiled by the polling of upwards of 200 employees of UK companies, the study conducted by the global information management group exposed some major flaws as British companies seek to win the on-going battle with those intent on breaching otherwise secure client data for ill-gotten financial gains and, equally as worrying, so as to commit far-reaching ID theft. Underlining their potential vulnerability at the hands of hackers, the insurance industry has taken the unprecedented step of admitting that it too has put itself at risk, despite generally being acknowledged by online security experts as maintaining a front-running position in the race against cyber-crime per se.
UK Insurers Leading Way in On-Going Fight against Cyber-Crime, Although Human Error Improvements Need to Be Addressed According to Experts
Scrutinising the recently released Crown Records Management survey findings, www.actuarialpost.co.uk has published a collection of facts and figures which make for interesting reading to say the least. Amongst the key discoveries it appears some 55% of IT decision-makers employed within the UK insurance sector admit to having lost what’s widely considered to be data of a highly sensitive nature, although the industry fares better on this count than its contemporary departments working within the retail (68%), legal (69%) and facilities management (75%) sectors by comparison if that’s any consolation. A fraction over 17% of key personnel had reported instances of their employer’s data sustaining a hack, a figure which contrasted favourably to facilities management observing a substantial 40% breach in this same area.
Speaking in her professional capacity of Business Development Manager for Crown Records Management, and providing an overview of her company’s stat-gathering, Ann Sellar remarked; “These survey results show the insurance sector is ahead of its rivals and that is good news. But nevertheless the overall figures should still be a wake-up call because the importance of protecting customer data is higher than ever.” Sellar went on to add; “Not only because of potential fines for data breaches (which will soon increase when the EU General Data Protection Regulation is ratified) but also because of growing public awareness.”
Outlining how company reputations can take years to build yet minutes (and the one serious data breach to deconstruct), Sellars insists that this research emphasises the importance that insurers need to place on their personal date information securities and protocol and look to address areas which are vulnerable. If this timely advice isn’t adhered to then Sellars envisages that the number of reported breaches will multiply. Encouragingly – at least from certain perspectives – the study alludes to some 80% of the data breaches recorded being instigated by human error as opposed to violation of systems as a direct result of hacks, yet at the same time reminds insurance providers of their responsibilities as caretakers of policyholders’ sensitive information and urges businesses to roll-out existing employee training, sanction robust procedures at all times and collaborate with experts in their tech fields to ensure the highest levels of protection.