Kirsten Bay is the CEO and Co-founder at Cysurance. She has created Cysurance with the concept to change how small businesses think about and mitigate against cyber threats. She brings more than 25 years of experience in risk intelligence, information, and policy expertise across a variety of sectors. Since its inception, Kirsten and her team took the Cysurance concept from deck to launch in 7 months and signed distribution partners who will begin co-marketing to over 200k customers.
In her career, Kirsten has been appointed to congressional committees developing cyber policies, initiatives, and recommendations for the intelligence community. She has developed recommendations in partnership with the Center for North American Studies (CNAS) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for the White House energy policy and collaborated on information studies for MITHarvard and several federal agencies. She has gone before a parliamentary subcommittee on recreating trust in the global economy, presented national security and critical infrastructure concepts at conferences such as Black Hat, Secured Americas, Enterprise Architecture Institute, SC World Congress, and the Eurim Information Management Committee. She has also spoken on applied economics and its relationship to both cyber and national security around the world.
Kirsten has worked in cybersecurity for over a decade, and has held a variety of roles that have allowed her to learn first hand the pain points of the customers. Working for very large companies for the first half of her career afforded her a level of infrastructure to achieve milestones in an organized environment with a lot of resources. According to her, while the large corporate culture can be stifling to many, there is a structure in place that allows one to know what is next. She left that world to start her consulting practice while developing a new professional network where she had to start from scratch in creating her opportunities. Some of the initial roadblocks were being an unknown in the industry while simultaneously creating her client pipeline and expertise. Fortunately, she had a very supportive group of colleagues who helped her through that time such that she became an important voice in cybersecurity. While she has a broad understanding of the cyber market, she continues to learn about innovations as well as staying in front of customers to understand how to help support them in solving a problem that feels infinitely complex.
Important Qualities an Entrepreneur Should Hold
Kirsten believes that patience and curiosity are the most vital attributes for an entrepreneur. Accordingly, curiosity is the fuel of the entrepreneur, as it is the desire to understand the complexities of the world and how to make them simpler. She has spent most of her life pushing herself beyond the comfort zone to see what she could achieve. Sometimes that resulted in a broken bone, but mostly it helped her accomplish most of her goals. This helped early in her career when she had roles with significant responsibility, and the desire to become an expert at her profession drove her to push harder despite sometimes feeling daunted by the challenge. Kirsten believes, “It is not the lack of fear that keeps me going, but the ability to harness that nervousness into the energy and vitality I need to keep pushing ahead.”
Company’s Contribution to the Society
Cysurance’s product was created to reduce the friction and complexity small and medium-size business experience when trying to adopt a cyber insurance and risk program. The company sought to create a single product that addresses the key pain points in for an SMB – What insurance do I need? What technology do I need? How do I hire and pay for a team to help me in the moment of a breach? The Cysurance program was designed to identify a breach, provide breach remediation, and supply a comprehensive insurance policy that covers the events that most impact SMBs. Cysurance was developed from the idea that there are not enough complete risk solutions that help customers contextualize and manage their cyber risks regardless of their size.
Determining Organization’s Goals
Kirsten’s mission is to get strong market penetration with SMBs to support them in being protected against the growing risk of cyber-attacks. Parts of this mission means helping to redefine how people think about and invest in cyber risk management by adding context to how certain products can help them not only be secure but support their financial recovery in the event of the attack. In the longer term, she aims to bring better data to both SMBs and their financial partners to understand how their risk profiles differ from larger organizations so that the company can better support their needs and vulnerabilities.
Shaping the Journey of Entrepreneurs
Kirsten’s advice- First, be very clear on what it means to be an entrepreneur. While it can be both personally and financially rewarding, it requires an incredible amount of sacrifice, hard work, resilience, and leadership in times of scarcity before prosperity becomes a reality. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience, find a networking group that focuses on the needs and the challenges that you will have as a leader of a fledgling company. The friendships and opportunities that you will acquire can make the difference between success and failure.
Kirsten’s View about Cyber Insurance
Kirsten asserts that Cyber Insurance alone is complex and difficult for the average consumer to understand, as it is often unclear what is covered, how much coverage is needed, and whether there is a true benefit in adopting a cyber insurance policy. Cysurance has developed a comprehensive cyber insurance program in partnership with Chubb to cover the cyber events that most impact small and medium-sized businesses and their revenue. Unlike other insurance partners, the company sets out to ease complexity by eliminating underwriting and lengthy application process.