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The Growing Importance of Cyber Insurance in India

Technological progress and innovation are happening at a breakneck pace, and every business worth its salt needs to have an online presence. This has led to various questions being raised about the safety, security, and integrity of these online value systems. According to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), there were 313,000 cyber security compromises in 2019 alone. These include the breach and leak of 180 million Domino’s India customers, the leak of COVID-19 test results of over 1500 patients, and the hacking and leak of healthcare data of 6.8 million Indians.

These incidents, although worrisome and unnerving, are hardly singular in nature. There have been numerous hacks and attacks, even after 2019. Some of the prominent ones include the hacking of 20 million user records from online grocer Big Basket in 2020, the theft of KYC data from Upstox traders, and many more. According to The National Cyber Security Coordinator, India has been constantly hit with 375 cyber-attacks daily in 2020. This amounts to approximately 136875 cyber attacks in 2020 alone. These cases should make it abundantly clear that every online business must make it of paramount importance to strengthen and bolster their cyber security measures.

Growth of Indian technologies

Indian technologies have grown at a furious pace after the digitization measures undertaken by the Indian Government. The reason for this growth should not solely be credited to the government but also to the ingenuity and industry of Indians. Let us now have a look at some of the major successes of Indian Tech over the past few years. Let us look at some of the notable facts:

Increase in tech investments: According to the NASSCOM Flagship Report, investments in research and development are poised to increase by 10-20% from 2021 to 2022.

Massive growth in startups: As of 2022, there were 25,000+ Indian start-ups and 78+ unicorns. Industry revenue has also crossed the important $200 Billion mark ($30 billion will be added in 2022 alone).
Employment driver: In 2022, the Indian tech sector added more than 4.5 lakh employees (this was a jump from 1,497,501 employees in 2021).  Further, the total employment in the tech sector is said to be over 50 lakh personnel.

Bleeding-edge innovation: Between 2015-2021, Indian tech companies filed over 1.3 lakh patents, ranking high in the global innovation index.

Top Indian tech companies: Tech leaders in India are global trailblazers. Some of the notable names in Indian technology include:

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
  • Infosys
  • Wipro
  • HCL Technologies
  • L&T Technologies
  • L&T Mindtree
  • Tech Mahindra

Further cases of data breaches and compromises in India

Let us now look at some of the most prominent cases of breaches of user data in the past few years:

IRCTC: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) suffered a data leak of 6 crore Indians in 2014, where their names, booking details, and emails were put up for sale on the dark web.

Idea Mobile: In 2016, telecom major Idea Mobile reported that a data breach that compromised the data of 80 lakh customers had taken place.

Yes Bank: In 2020, Yes Bank released a statement that data related to 30 lakh customers had been breached from its servers.

Zomato: In 2017, food app Zomato released a statement stating that data relating to 1.7 crore Indian users had been breached and later leaked by hackers.

The above breaches are just a drop in the ocean. There have been a plethora of data breaches over the years.

Importance of cyber insurance in India

Let us now look at some of the most important features of cyber insurance.

Risk evaluation and assessment: Generally, before an insurance company extends cyber insurance coverage to a company, they make an assessment and check the fitness of the company’s I.T. infrastructure as a preventive measure. This check-up will highlight any potential vulnerabilities in the company’s I.T system. Once highlighted, these vulnerabilities are generally patched, resulting in a more robust system.

Incident response: This is an important post-hack activity where the insurance company trains the company to follow a set protocol in the event of a data breach. This can limit the extent of the damage caused.

Coverage of legal expenses: An important function of cyber insurance is the extended coverage of legal expenses. The company can leverage these funds to hire lawyers, private investigators, etc to investigate the matter and ensure justice is served.

Financial coverage: There is a quantum of loss associated with any data breach. The insurance company attempts to cushion the insured against this loss.

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