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Modernizing Cyber Underwriting to Turn Risk into Resilience?

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Modernizing Cyber Underwriting to Turn Risk into Resilience?

In Vegas, there are no sure bets. The global cyber insurance industry, however, comes close when you’re talking about expansion and growth.

According to MarketsandMarkets research, the global cyber insurance market is set to grow from $11.9 billion in 2022 to $29.2 billion by 2027. Reasons include more sophisticated cyber-attacks, increasing potential of financial losses and more complex regulatory compliance. Some areas of business are more vulnerable than others. Industries topping the list with the most cyber insurance claims include manufacturing, financial services and healthcare, plus all highly regulated industries. Cyber-attacks are on the rise with ransomware increasing by 93% in 2021. 

As demand increases so too will new questions like: how do you price cyber risk? What do you cover? What do you not cover? 

On this point, we turn to Swiss Re, a reinsurance company based in Zurich, Switzerland. According to its research arm, the Swiss Re Institute, “reported cyberattack incidents have grown five-fold since 2016, with monetary estimates of global losses around $945 billion.” 

It makes sense.

Claims, Demand, Need for Cyber Insurance Rises on a Global Scale

While the need arises, reinsurance and insurance markets have limited capacity and systemic risk potential when it comes to cyber insurance. According to Swiss Re’s research, cyber insurance falls short of meeting the characteristics of insurability we are familiar with today.

This does not mean; however, insurers have no role in helping businesses protect against cyber risks. Demand is high as both our lives in the digital world and the threat landscape expands exponentially. In its research, Swiss Re experts found the cyber insurance market has reached $10 billion in 2021 (a 30% growth since 2017). Brokers are finding claims skyrocketing with premiums rising right alongside heightened demand. Swiss Re predicts the market to grow to $23 billion by 2025, further confirming the research mentioned earlier.

In his blog, “Cyber Resilience – A Vital Concept in Today’s World,” Swiss Re Chairman of the Board of Directors Sergio Ermotti points out the two-edged sword accompanying digital risks: there will never be 100% security so the mandate is to both protect and be prepared for a cyber event. I agree with his point that insurance is only one part of the solution.

Ensuring Cybersecurity is Evolving Quickly

As cyber insurance solutions grow alongside rising risk, Swiss Re is pioneering the building blocks of cyber insurance by re-examining underwriting procedures, enhancing underwriting requirements and pricing for cyber exposures in property and liability policies, clarifying vague terms and conditions, and better defining limits in cyber policies. Separating pricing for attritional losses from potential catastrophic events is an additional improvement the company feels will add transparency and capacity to the market. 

We all know what car coverage we have (even if the print is sometimes small!). The first automobile policy came out in 1897, giving auto insurance more than a century of maturity. Cyber insurance is in its infancy. How should coverage be defined? Possibilities include: 

  • Costs associated with a data breach, virus, cyber-attack

  • Network virus or other cyber-attacks, privacy events and network security breaches

  • Network business interruption

  • Media liabilities

  • Reimbursable expenses such as investigation

  • Business losses

  • Lawsuits and extortion

  • Costs associated with privacy and notification

I also believe we all have a great deal of say in how this plays out too. Things we can be doing include:

  • Reframing and being realistic about how we perceive risk now and in the future

  • Becoming educated on cyber hygiene

  • Taking an active role to standardize risk with a common language

  • Understanding disclosure requirements

  • Developing strategic cloud capabilities

Swiss Re helps us “see” the threat landscape with its digital trust pyramid, inspiring us to standardize digital trust and risk – from access to the internet all the way up to human interaction. 

As data within the insurance industry increases, the digital trust pyramid amplifies my core belief that real growth lies at the crossroad of humanity and technology.

Guard is Down for Many SMEs

Swiss Re’s commercial insurance arm Corporate Solutions (Corso) has a solution that addresses the unique risk factors for organizations between 10 and 250 employees called CyberSolutions 360o insurance coverage. In partnership with OZON’s integrated cyber protection services, it is both a cyber service and cyber insurance. 

This dual approach underscores Ermotti’s points that protection includes being prepared for cyberattacks. 

What’s Next

What brought us to this point will not bring us forward. Cybersecurity is a moving target; it is, in a sense, elusive. We learned an important lesson from the pandemic: make no assumptions because the unimaginative might be right around the corner. This is true for people in a connected world yet unfolding. 

As Swiss Re advances the societal benefits of digitalization, I will be on the edge of my seat to see how businesses regard cyber resiliency as a business priority. 

In a digital-first world, how do you think modernized cyber underwriting will turn risk into resilience?


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Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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