Why Your Agribusiness Should Be Prepared Against Cybersecurity Threats

May 25, 2021

As more and more businesses integrate technology into their operations, a growing threat comes in the form of cybersecurity risks. The agriculture business industry is not immune and a cybersecurity claim could be catastrophic to your company.

Most insurance policies cover a physical interruption to your business operations, such as storm damage or equipment failure. A cybersecurity policy is the only type of policy that covers non-physical business interruption.

The most surprising facet of cybersecurity claims is just how severe each incident can be. From the length of business downtime to the financial hit that comes from ransomware or extortion, the cost is felt in more ways than one.

Business Downtime

Like most types of claims, cyber security claims have the potential of halting your entire operations. If your systems are breached, it may take days or weeks to repair the damage and get your processes back online.

These interruptions can be devastating to a business. The average downtime from a cyber risk claim is 23 days. This would be an inconvenience in the automobile manufacturing industry, for example. But for an industry that deals in rapidly perishable goods, like the agriculture industry, those three weeks of downtime could mean the loss of an entire crop of produce.

Other concerns that stem from cybersecurity threats include ransomware or even reputation management. These threats are often out of your control, but still possess the potential to cause significant damage to your business over time.

Tightening Market

Unfortunately, as the number of cyber incidents increase, so too are the number of businesses that are purchasing cybersecurity insurance. This is causing a tightening of the marketplace, making it more difficult for clients to obtain this coverage.

As the number of insured grows, underwriters are increasing their scrutiny of potential clients. Additionally, companies seeking to find coverage are experiencing a more and more rigorous underwriting process. This is requiring companies to improve their technology and equipment and incur a larger expense simply to obtain coverage.

How Can You Prepare Your Agribusiness?

While the agribusiness industry is unique in many ways, the methods of protecting your business are the same as with most other industries. There are several steps you can take to ensure your business is able to obtain coverage and to be better protected against cybersecurity threats.

  1. Multifactor Authentication across your networks: More and more computer systems are moving to a multifactor authentication process, where passwords simply aren’t enough to gain access. A second method of authentication is needed to confirm the identity of someone attempting to gain access to your network. This helps to ensure that only those with permission are allowed access.
  2. Backups: It’s more critical than ever for your business to keep frequent backups of your data. In the event of a non-physical interruption, you have a recent datapoint to return to in order to get back up and running quickly. Additionally, it’s ideal that these backups are located offsite in a secure location, as it’s far less likely that multiple locations can be compromised in the same attack.
  3. Incident Response Plans: Being prepared for a claim means more than simply having coverage. Being proactive and determining what steps you need to take to restore your lines of production is critical to underwriters. They need to know that you’ve got a plan in place before problems arise, rather than having to respond afterwards.
  4. Understanding Legacy Software: Many operations—not just within the agriculture sector—run on older software systems. Are these systems kept up to date? How often are they patched against security vulnerabilities? Older systems, while effective at running your operations, may be at risk if they are not protected.

Cyber security risks are a major threat to all businesses, including those in the agriculture sector. No company is truly immune and understanding your exposure is the first step in ensuring you’re prepared for a potential attack.

Reach out today if you’re ready to discuss your cybersecurity coverage options. We can help assess your level of risk and ensure you’re prepared to get your business back up and running.


Lacy Rex
Cyber Strategic Leader


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