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Fear Not, Flathead County Residents: Your Government Data is Insured Against the Lulz

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 27 2011

Flathead County, Montana, has secured insurance against its databases being hacked.

In an age where Citibank and Sony Entertainment cannot protect their users' confidential data, it seems that no one, truly no one, can afford to ignore data security.

For proof, look no further than Flathead County, Mont., a 3.2-million acre expanse that is home to not quite 91,000 people. County commissioners there have decided to buy "cyber insurance" to protect against the costs that would be incurred after a data intrusion, reports the Daily Interlake of East Idaho, Mont.:

County Human Resources Officer Rae Ann Campbell and county Information Technology Director Vicky Saxby recommended the commissioners add the coverage to the county's insurance policy.

Saxby told commissioners the insurance would cover costs associated with any data breach. Data shows it costs $214 per person per breach to remedy the breach, she said. "I feel we need a cyber security policy," Saxby said.

Brad Salonen of Western States Insurance, the county's insurance provider, said the county's general liability insurance policy doesn't provide any coverage for cyber issues. The cyber policy the county purchased, to take effect July 1, provides coverage for extortion and litigation, Salonen said. It has a $1 million payout limit.

The Daily Interlake's Shelley Ridenour reports that the county commissioners in sparsely populated Flathead — development is limited to just six percent of the land within its borders, as the rest is national park, timberland, farmland, or other open space — have agreed to buy a policy with a $25,000 deductible for $12,707 a year.