Cisco Systems and Apple are teaming with insurer Allianz to offer cybersecurity insurance to customers that use technology from both vendors. The pairing gives solution providers significant opportunities despite the fact that partners won't be selling policies, Cisco execs said.
"The opportunity for partners is to elevate the conversation from products or technology to holistic risk management they can help their customers with," said Jawahar Sivasankaran, Cisco senior director, sales and business development, security strategic partnerships. "Partners get access to new buying centers, new execs that have a say in security investments, or cyber risk management. That includes risk managers, chief risk officers, etc. That's a big advantage our partners are going to see."
"Our partners have been looking for Cisco to drive these kinds of alliances," said Steve Benvenuto, head of Cisco's global partner security organization. "There's an opportunity for them to resell the components of Cisco ransomware defense solution, and the conversation about risk and risk management and how we're engaging with insurance industry has been a hot topic."
Kent MacDonald, senior vice president at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Canada, solution provider that works with both Cisco and Apple, said the insurance offering is significant because it comes as more and more Apple devices are used in corporate settings.
McDonald agreed that partners stand to make gains with customers as a result of the integration of Cisco and Apple products with enhanced insurance products even though partners aren't selling the insurance themselves.
MacDonald said insurance offerings become part of the "security toolkit" that "provides our customers a better night's sleep, knowing end users have best-in-class connectivity, experience, and security and have the backing of Cisco Incident Response and Allianz."
At recent Cisco events in Canada, MacDonald said, sessions that involved Apple drew large audiences because of "the growing security and cybersecurity risks of the explosive penetration of iOS devices in the corporate world. That's the top concern raised by end users."
"Customers bring up security all the time," said Bill Smeltzer, CTO at Focus Technology Solutions, a Burlington, Mass., solution provider that works with Cisco. "In terms of insurance, we're not having those conversations today, but I think it would add a lot of value if we could bring that as an option to our clients."
Cisco, Apple, Allianz and Aon have established a framework that allows customers that have Cisco security solutions and Apple products to have their cybersecurity risk evaluated and insured with an appropriate Allianz policy. Those customers will be able to set themselves up with Allianz rather than hunting down a policy after making a technology purchase.
Losses from cyber threats are outpacing investment in IT security, adoption of cybersecurity insurance is low, and it's difficult for businesses to understand and manage cybersecurity risks effectively, Cisco said in a statement.
Policies begin with what Cisco calls a cyber resilience evaluation by consulting firm Aon to assess customers' security posture and make recommendations for improvement. The system covers email security, next-generation endpoint protection and cloud-delivered umbrella protection with a particular focus on fighting malware and ransomware.
Allianz's cybersecurity insurance will be offered to customers using Cisco Ransomware Defense and qualified Apple products. The arrangement uses Aon's resilience evaluation to formulate cybersecurity insurance potentially "enhanced" by low deductibles, or no deductibles in some instances.
Customers will also have access to Cisco and Aon's incident response teams in the event of a malware attack, the company said.