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Football on 50 yard line of field.
Sheryl RyanFebruary 06, 20246 min read

Don't Fumble Your Cyber Game Plan: Score a Touchdown with Cyber Insurance Know-How!

In football, success begins with thorough practice, preparation, and a well-thought-out playbook. Similarly, in cybersecurity, a cyber risk assessment is your playbook for success, helping you effectively identify, strategize, and defend against potential threats.


Just as a football team needs to prepare and plan for every scenario on the field, a cybersecurity team needs to assess and mitigate every potential threat in the digital realm. A cyber risk assessment is not just a checklist but a strategic playbook that guides your organization to achieve its security goals.


At SBS, we start every project with a risk assessment. This is how we differentiate ourselves from the rest - by delivering customized and effective solutions for each client. Assessing risk is the game plan that sets our organization apart. SBS serves as the "special teams coordinator" in the cybersecurity playbook, providing strategic insights and support during the insurance review process.


Have a Game Plan

Scout the Opponent: Just as a football team studies its opponents to understand their strengths and weaknesses, a cyber risk assessment helps you "scout" and understand potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities. The knowledge gained from studying your opponent’s history allows you to develop a game plan (cybersecurity strategy) to defend against these threats effectively. By knowing your "opponent," you can better prepare and make informed decisions on tackling cyber risks. Similarly, cyber threat intelligence involves gathering and analyzing data about potential threats, including the tactics, techniques, and vulnerabilities that cyber adversaries might exploit. This "scouting" helps organizations anticipate and prepare for cyberattacks, just as football teams prepare for their next game.


Have a Cyber Offense: In football, the quarterback is the leader on the field, guiding the team's offense. With a cyber risk assessment, you become the quarterback of your cybersecurity team. You can strategically call the plays, allocate resources, and prioritize offensive efforts based on the identified risks and perceived threats. This proactive approach allows you to quarterback your offensive cybersecurity effectively, minimizing the chances of a cyber "turnover."  SBS can help quarterback the review of cyber insurance policies and help you develop a comprehensive cybersecurity game plan that aligns with your coverage needs and risk management goals.


Prevent the Blitz: Just as a quarterback wants to avoid a blitz, a business aims to prevent unexpected cyberattacks. A cyber risk assessment helps you identify potential "blitzes" (attacks) before they occur. By understanding where your vulnerabilities lie, you can implement preventive measures and build a strong offensive line to stop cyber threats in their tracks. This proactive offense keeps your digital "end zone" secure and minimizes the impact of potential cyber incidents. SBS assists our clients in ensuring cyber insurance policies provide adequate coverage to mitigate risks effectively. It’s critical to assess the policy for potential coverage gaps and ensure our clients are well-protected against cyber threats.



Just as a football team must prepare and plan for every possible scenario on the field, practicing incident response and ransomware simulation is like training and preparing your football team for the big game. It reduces the likelihood of costly turnovers, enhances your readiness, and earns you points with insurers, ultimately leading to lower cyber insurance costs.  It’s essential to conduct cybersecurity drills and simulations to prepare for potential cyber incidents. SBS assists clients with these drills to help the client's team understand how to respond effectively, minimize the impact of an incident, and maximize the benefits of their insurance coverage.


Prepare a Game-Ready Defense: Football teams practice their defense against various offensive strategies. Practicing incident response and ransomware simulation hones your cybersecurity defense to be "game ready." When you face a cyber incident, your team will be well-prepared to tackle the situation efficiently. Insurance providers often reward proactive defense measures with lower premiums, recognizing that a well-prepared team is less likely to incur substantial losses.


Reduce Turnovers: In football, turnovers can be costly mistakes. A successful ransomware attack can be a costly turnover in the cyber world. By simulating ransomware scenarios and practicing incident response, you can minimize the risk of turnovers (successful attacks). This reduces the likelihood of filing insurance claims and could lower your cyber insurance costs. Insurers appreciate policyholders who take steps to prevent costly incidents.


Score Points with Insurers: Just as a football team scores points by executing successful plays, demonstrating your commitment to cybersecurity through incident response and simulation scores points with insurers. Insurance providers often view businesses with proactive cybersecurity measures more favorably. Investing in these practices shows insurers that you are a responsible and low-risk policyholder, which can lead to discounts and lower premiums on your cyber insurance policy.


Build a Winning Defense

Defense Wins Championships: Just as a strong defense is crucial in football, cyber insurance is a key defense against cyber threats. Cyber insurance can help protect your team from significant financial losses, penalties, and legal challenges resulting from cyberattacks, offering a robust defensive line against digital adversaries.


Know Your Playbook: To succeed in football, teams must know their playbook inside out. Similarly, understanding your cyber insurance policy's terms, conditions, and coverage details is an essential element of your incident response playbook. Customize your playbook (policy) to match your business's unique risks and needs to ensure you're always prepared for the game.  


Don't Let the Blitz Catch You Off Guard: In football, a blitz is a sudden and aggressive attack that can disrupt your offense or force a penalty for intentional grounding. Cyberattacks can strike without warning and from multiple angles in the digital world. Cyber insurance is the middle linebacker in your defense strategy, helping you recover and bounce back from a breach or attack. It is more than just a policy; it is a playbook for incident response, risk management, and disaster recovery.


Prepare for the Blitz, the Sack, and the Penalties 

Avoid the Blindside Blitz: Just as a sudden blitz can blindside a quarterback, policyholders can be caught off guard by hidden clauses and exclusions in their cyber insurance policies. A common pitfall is not fully understanding your policy, including its limitations and exclusions. Reviewing your insurance policy thoroughly is essential to avoid getting blindsided by coverage gaps when you least expect it.


Prevent a False Start Penalty: A false start penalty sets the team back. Similarly, a pitfall in cyber insurance is failing to meet the security and compliance requirements outlined in your insurance policy. If you don't adhere to these requirements, you might face penalties and “blown” insurance coverage, leaving you on the sidelines without the resources you thought you had.


Don’t Rely on the Hail Mary: Just as a "Hail Mary" pass is a high-risk, low-probability play, expecting cyber insurance to cover all losses and risks without investing in robust cybersecurity practices is a pitfall. Relying solely on insurance without a winning cybersecurity culture can lead to higher premiums, potential coverage denials, and a higher likelihood of getting sacked by cyber threats.


Special Teams are Critical to Success

Football has special teams dedicated to handling kicks and punts. Similarly, cybersecurity often involves specialized teams or tools dedicated to monitoring and responding to threats. These teams can help with strategy, execute critical kicks and returns, provide expert guidance, provide critical game-day support, and act as the defense line against cyber adversaries. SBS is like the special teams coach in football, providing critical expertise and support that can make all the difference for a client's cybersecurity game plan. We’re ready to be a part of your cyber team.


Avoiding cyber insurance pitfalls involves a thorough insurance policy review, compliance with security requirements, and a proactive cybersecurity strategy to ensure a strong game-day plan against cyber risks. Insurance policy review can help clients optimize their insurance coverage and potentially reduce premiums, allowing them to allocate resources strategically to other areas of their cybersecurity defense.


As “special teams coordinators," we provide strategic insights and support during the insurance review process. Ensuring that our clients' insurance policies align with their cybersecurity goals, minimizing coverage gaps, and helping our clients recover swiftly from cyber incidents is kicking a field goal in the defense against cyber threats.


Sheryl Ryan

Sheryl has over 25 years of information technology and security experience in the banking, education, and oil and gas industries. She has working knowledge in governance, risk, and compliance; change management; IT management audit facilitation; and incident response and business continuity management. Before joining the SBS team in 2023, Sheryl spent over ten years as a bank Vice President and Information Security Officer.