Cyber

Responsible and Cybe(e)r safe: International Beer Day and Cyber Insurance

Today (5 August) the world celebrates International Beer Day 2022. A great opportunity to catch up with friends, colleagues and clients in restaurants, pubs, beer gardens or at festivals. This is particularly true in Munich and Bavaria, a region traditionally famous for its beer industry and, of course, the Oktoberfest. In more recent years, Munich has also become a “brewing hub” for cyber insurance. But what do the two activities have in common? A lot more than you might first think!

05.08.2022

The tradition and craftmanship of beer brewing is hundreds of years old. Modern brewing processes, however, have moved heavily into the digital era. Today´s breweries are very often fully digitalized and their owners collaborate closely with digital and cybersecurity providers. Digitalization often commences within the supply chain. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables monitoring of processes, for example through implemented sensors ensuring that the major ingredient, hops, is harvested under optimum conditions. Likewise, many modern breweries implement artificial intelligence, IoT-tools, big data analytics, machine learning as well as virtual and augmented reality. The ultimate objectives are to optimize, monitor and automate beer brewing processes, enhance taste experience, improve product designs and logistics. Digital twins are being created for brewery products and the relevant manufacturing lines for the same reasons. Furthermore, so called smart beer membrane filter and IoT sensors gather real time data on the optimum timing to maintain or remove filters or on changes in temperature or vibrations. This enables predictive maintenance and reduces possible downtime in production.
Brewery © xavierarnau / Getty Images
Whenever operational technology, IoT, sensors or software are applied in the brewing process, cybersecurity aspects need to be considered. These cybersecurity considerations will typically affect asset management and related software or hardware inventories, access control, device security and segmentation of networks, to name just a few aspects. What happens if security controls are not implemented properly or fail? Parallels can be seen in cyber-attacks all around the world and in all industry sectors. Breweries are no exception to this; just as Australia was lifting COVID-19 restrictions in 2021 and pubs were about to re-open, one of the largest breweries in the country was hit by a ransomware attack and all beer processing systems had to be taken offline immediately. Beer manufacturing and supply were also disrupted in other countries like Spain and the USA when large breweries were forced to terminate operations due to cyber-attacks.

We believe that cyber security, resilience and preparedness are fundamental to modern economies and successful digitalization. This is why Munich Re is investing significantly and from the outset in sustainable cyber insurance offerings, related services and data, including investment in risk quantification to allow decision makers to better understand their risk profiles and adequately close possible gaps in cyber security accordingly. Should a cyber incident still occur, our business interruption coverage enables insureds to quickly get back on their feet.

As one of the global leaders in the cyber insurance industry, Munich Re seeks to drive and rise to the digital challenge – which, of course, is also faced by breweries. Because food and beverage supply in particular are critical for society and economy, we see risk-sharing with this sector as part of our responsibility.  

In this digital age, it is comforting to know that there are some things which technology can never replace, like enjoying a beer or non-alcoholic beverage in pleasant company. We want breweries and the food and beverage manufacturers to be able to focus on their business while we contribute to a production process free from cyber-attack induced interruptions. It is our common goal to continuously improve cyber resilience. Enjoy responsibly and cybe(e)r safe.

Contact our experts
Martin Kreuzer
Martin Kreuzer
Senior Risk Manager Cyber Risks
Axel von dem Knesebeck
Corporate Underwriting Cyber
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