TEXAS -- The amount of business being conducted online continues to experience exponential growth, but with that comes the increased threat of cyber attacks on the e-commerce industry.

  • Companies experiencing outages looking for resolutions
  • Insurance seeks to provide financial stability
  • Service officially launches March 2020

While cyber security has been around for decades, many companies are now looking to cyber insurance.

Out of a shed in the backyard of her Round Rock home, Christina Wing helps manage the operations of Big Wheelbarrow, a software platform that helps connect small-time produce suppliers with big-time food distributors.

“There’s a huge market drive for local produce and local food, but it’s very difficult to move that food through the traditional supply chain,” said Wing. “That’s where we come in.”

Food buyers can utilize Big Wheelbarrow’s online interface to view real-time inventory of participating farms and place orders. It all relies on their internet-based platform being up and running.

A glitch could have spelled out trouble for the Austin-area start-up. Wing said an update to their software caused an outage, but it happened at an opportune time, right before onboarding a new major client. If the company’s interface had caused disruption in their supplier-to-distributor pipeline, the business might not be as viable as it is today.

“If we fail, if we do not give them an excellent experience, we’re losing future business, expansion and growth,” said Wing.

“When a small business suffers a cyber attack, service provider failure, or some sort of failure that might have been human error driven--their survival is dependent on - do they have cash on hand to weather the storm?” said Huw Edwards, CEO and co-founder of CyberFortress.

Edwards and his small San Antonio-based team are trying to solve the problem of financial stability for small-to-medium sized companies, in the wake of a website outage. For the last several years, CyberFortress has studied hundreds of thousands of e-commerce domains and their downtime, calculating the risks for websites helping them to price out future policies.

In June, Edwards’ team launched a risk assessment tool on their website, allowing business owners to input their website information and receive a subsequent report outlining how vulnerable their domain is to an outage.

“The past few years, you’ve kind of seen an explosion of cyber insurance, predominantly tied to larger companies and then trying to apply that to smaller businesses,” said Edwards.

Edwards said the cyber insurance available today is bogged down by slow claim payouts and complex insurance plans--something CyberFortress plans to change by not only streamlining the sign up, but also claims process as well when the service officially launches in March 2020.

“We’ll actually be notifying the customer when their site goes down, and we’ll be proactively initiating the claims in the vast majority of cases, which we think is going to be a great customer experience,” said Edwards.

“Instead of ‘it’s on them’ to like, you know find their way to the website, and find their way to submit a claim, which happens in most insurance,” he added.