Cowbell Cypher Creates Insurance Opportunity for MSSPs

Cowbell Cypher, which makes use of AI to assess the cybersecurity liabilities of IT organizations before deciding whether to offer cybersecurity insurance, has expanded its partner program to reward managed security service providers (MSSPs) for helping land new clients via the Cowbell Connect partner program.

MSSPs also gain access to Cowbell Factors, the risk quantification and industry peer benchmarking tool that Cowbell Cypher created to assess the cybersecurity practices of an organization. That capability is critical at a time when ransomware attacks against large and small business alike have become pervasive, says Rajeev Gupta, chief product officer for Cowbell Cypher.

Further reading: Aftermath of Kaseya Ransomware Attack Promises to Be Lengthy – And Costly

Cowbell Cyper currently has a network of 6,000 insurance agents and brokers through which organizations with up to $1 billion in revenues can sign up for cybersecurity insurance coverage. Each policy is based on AM Best “A” rated paper with up to $15 million in coverage.

The Cowbells Factors underwriting platform aggregates data from multiple sources using machine learning algorithms and other forms of advanced analytics and is designed to compress the insurance process from submission to issue to less than five minutes, said Gupta. The assessment capability created by Cowbell Factor is roughly the equivalent of a safe-driver program that keeps premiums lower for organizations that make a consistent effort to protect themselves, noted Gupta. “We provide affordable cyber insurance,” he said.

Cybersecurity Insurers Strain Under Demand

Demand for cybersecurity insurance has naturally increased at a time when more organizations have become more acutely aware of the risk to the business a cybersecurity attack now poses. Claiming those benefits, however, can be a challenge. Most cybersecurity policies require organizations to consistently enforce security policies across an IT environment that is always up to date. Any deviation from those practices can result in a claim being denied. Premiums, meanwhile, continue to rise as the number of claims increase.

MSSPs themselves, meanwhile, are finding it harder to insure their own operations. Cybersecurity insurance providers are leery of the risk posed by managed service providers that have become the focus of sustained cybersecurity attacks that are ultimately aimed at their downstream customers.

Many of those customers initially prefer to invest in cybersecurity insurance before they begin to shore up their defenses. The challenge they now face is many of them are discovering they can’t get that insurance at a reasonable rate unless they can demonstrate they have implemented sound IT practices. Many organizations now rely on MSPs to manage IT in part to achieve that goal. The issue is that the more clients an MSPs has, the greater the risk they represent from a cybersecurity insurance perspective.

Security Before Insurance

In some ways, the AI platform provided by Cowbell Cypher is a good barometer for measuring whether an MSP should even take on a client. Organizations that are not able to pass a cybersecurity insurance assessment are a lot more likely to be costlier for the MSP to support. The simple truth is there are many customers today that are more trouble than they are worth mainly because they refuse to implement a consistent set of IT practices. In that sense, they are not only their own worst enemy but also of the MSP that takes on the thankless task of trying to secure that IT environment.

Michael Vizard
Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight, Channel Insider and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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