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Apple, Cisco: Driving Down Your Cybersecurity Insurance Premiums, Costs?

Give Apple and Cisco credit for adding a new wrinkle to the cyber security discussions–it’s not just defense, prevention, monitoring and anticipation we’re talking about, now it’s also cybersecurity insurance premiums and policies.

Other than the insurance industry, who talks about cybersecurity insurance premiums? Exactly…it’s not an oft-heard conversation in IT circles. But that may be changing.

Consider what Apple and Cisco said this week at Cisco Live: The two companies believe that they can present technology to cyber security insurers to convince them that Apple/Cisco enterprise customers are a safer bet than others, and, as a result, drive premium prices down.

It’s a move that is certain to pique the curiosity of enterprises, rivals and MSSPs.

“The thinking we share here is that if your enterprise or company is using Cisco and Apple, the combination of these should make that [cyber security] insurance cost significantly less,” Apple CEO Tim Cook, who unexpectedly showed up at the event, told Reuters. “This is something we’re going to spend some energy on. You should reap that benefit.”

Giants Weigh In

Cook’s and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins’ reasoning likely isn’t confined to insurance premiums–it’s also a way to land new customers. Where there are lower cyber insurance premiums, there are happier customers. Happy customers, as we all know, begat more happy customers.

Neither company disclosed more than a few crumbs on the details of their new endeavor. In a blog post, David Ulevitch (pictured above), Cisco security VP, only offered that the two are “collaborating with insurance industry heavyweights to lead the way in developing the architecture that enables cyber insurance providers to offer more robust policies to our customers.”

Okay, fair enough–neither company is naming any interested insurers just yet, or even those with which they’re talking. But Apple and Cisco may be onto something here.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Center for Insurance Policy and Research, writing in an April brief, said the cyber security insurance market is on the strong uptick.

“Managing cyber risks through insurance is relatively new. Although the market for cyber liability insurance is off to a good start, it is expected to grow dramatically over time as businesses gradually become more aware that current policies do not adequately cover cyber risks,” the organizations wrote.

Cybersecurity Insurance: What’s Coming Next?

Meanwhile, Ulevitch also dropped a couple of clues about where Apple and Cisco are headed with their security technology development tailored for insurers.

“We will do this by enabling continuous security monitoring and a measurable reference architecture that includes technologies from Apple and Cisco,” he said.

The “security monitoring” part obviously will be of keen interest to MSSPs. The “measurable reference architecture” part, which will give insurers a way to check that the systems are properly set up, could also be another way in the enterprise door for MSSPs.

Cisco simultaneously announced the Cisco Security Connector, slated for a fall release. The technology is designed to provide enterprises more visibility, control and privacy for company-owned iOS devices, Ulevitch wrote.

Two years ago, Apple and Cisco struck a heretofore improbable “engineering and go-to-market” deal to promote iOS devices in business settings deploying the networking giant’s technology. That deal appears to have endured. A year ago, Cisco said it had created a “fast lane” for business critical apps to speed up iPhone connections on its switches and routers, which now has been extended to include the Mac, Cook reportedly said.

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