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A new report – A Guide to Cyber Risk: Managing the Impact of Increasing Interconnectivity – reveals that cyber crime costs the world $445 billion annually, with the top ten economies accounting for more than 50% of the costs. Since 2005 there have been 5,029 reported data breach incidents in the US alone, and at least 200 breaches in Europe involving 227 million records.

It is estimated that the average cost of a data breach is $3.8 million, which is up from $3.3 million a year earlier.

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Source: A Guide to Cyber Risk: Managing the Impact of Increasing Interconnectivity, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS)

Cyber risks are underestimated

Published by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), the report warns that “cyber risk is the risk most underestimated by businesses” and asserts that “everyone is a target”.

73% of respondents who took part in an Allianz Risk Barometer 2015 believe that underestimation of cyber risks is preventing companies from being better prepared for them. Other hindrances include budget constraints (59%), failure to analyze the problem (54%), IT infrastructure that is too sensitive for major changes (30%) and failure to identify the right personnel (10%).

The US shows higher levels of awareness of cyber risk due to having tougher legislation than other countries. The majority of US states require companies to notify individuals of a breach. Europe is heading in the same direction, with the European Union (EU) currently reviewing its data protection law and planning to introduce more stringent rules in terms of data breaches.

Data shows that cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. The number of detected cyber attacks was up by 48% in 2014 according to the Global State of Information Security Survey 2015.

In order to protect themselves from breaches, businesses should identify key assets at risk and make decisions as to what risks to accept, avoid, mitigate or transfer.

Future cyber risk trends

The AGCS report makes predictions that businesses will be increasingly exposed to risks from the supply chain and that we are yet to witness “a major cyber event of truly catastrophic proportions”.

Jens Krickhahn, practice leader, Cyber & Fidelity at AGCS Financial Lines Central & Eastern Europe, explains:

“Business exchanges with partners are increasingly electronic.

“Even if a company is confident in its own IT controls, it is still exposed to cyber risk through its business partners, contractors and supply chains.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as one of the biggest factors that will change the face of cyber threats leading to interconnected risks. It will exacerbate vulnerabilities, bringing increasing potential for physical loss and data breaches.

ISO 27001 and cyber risks

Management of information security risks is at the core of the ISO 27001, the international standard that sets out the specifications of an information security management system (ISMS).

ISO 27001 requires compliant organizations to carry out risk assessments based on agreed criteria. The outcome of the risk assessment should enable the business to balance expenditure on controls against the business harm likely to result from security failures.

Download IT Governance’s free green paper, Risk Assessment and ISO 27001, to learn more about managing cyber risks.