Cybersecurity Risks Management is the process of mitigating the probability of exposure or loss resulting from a known or unknown cybercriminals attack or data breach on a business entity or even an organization setting. That said, a better, more encompassing definition is the potential loss or harm related to technical infrastructure, or technology use, and its reputation.
Most organizations are becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats due to the increasing reliance on computers, networks, programs, social media, and data globally. As a matter of fact, a majority of data breaches — a common cyber attack — have a massive negative business impact and often arise from insufficiently protected data or some ignorance of responsible players.
Global connectivity and increased use of cloud services with poor default security parameters mean the risk of cyber attacks from outside your organization is increasing. What could historically be addressed by IT Risk Management and access control now needs to be complemented by sophisticated Cybersecurity professionals, software, and cybersecurity risk management.
It’s no longer enough to rely on traditional information technology professionals and information security control strategies. For one thing, there is a clear need for threat intelligence tools and security programs to reduce your organization’s cyber risk and highlight potential attack surfaces. Decision-makers need to make risk assessments when prioritizing third-party vendors.
As well as have a risk mitigation strategy coupled with a clear and quality cyber incident response plan in place for when a breach does occur. But, there are a few more things to consider in order to have an optimal cybersecurity risk plan.
Understanding The Most Common Cybersecurity Risks And Threats
Realistically, Cybersecurity Risk Assessment is a strategy that helps businesses and organizations understand, control, and mitigate all forms of cyber risk. Risk assessments are nothing new — they are a critical component of risk management strategy and data protection efforts. And whether you like it or not, if you work in information security, you’ll need them.
More so, that’s if you are operating in the risk management business. A majority of organizations still rely more on information technology and information systems to do business. But, the fact remains that both the digital risk and threat landscape is expanding at an alarming rate. Whilst, exposing business ecosystems to new critical vulnerabilities and breaches.
Cybersecurity risk is the probability of exposure or loss resulting from a Cyberattack or data breach on your organization. A better, more encompassing definition is the potential loss or harm related to technical infrastructure, use of technology, or reputation of an organization. That aside, Cybersecurity is relevant to all systems that support an organization’s business.
In addition to its overall operations and objectives, as well as compliance with regulations and laws. Typically, any given organization will design and implement cybersecurity controls across the entity to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information assets. Cyberattacks are committed for a variety of reasons including financial fraud, and the like.
As well as information theft, activist causes, and the denial of service, which all can disrupt the critical infrastructure and vital services of a government or an organization. So far, there are various cybersecurity risks that are worth mentioning.
The topmost risks:
- Nation states
- Insiders and service providers
- Developers of substandard products and services
- Poor configuration of cloud services like S3 buckets
To understand your organization’s cyber risk profile, you need to determine what information would be valuable to outsiders or cause significant disruption if unavailable or corrupt. It’s increasingly important to identify what information may cause financial or reputational damage to your organization if it were to be acquired or made public.
Think about Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like names, social security numbers, and biometric records. You’ll need to consider a few features and elements as potential targets to cybercriminals as per your business.
Some of them are:
- Customer Data
- Employee Data
- Intellectual Property
- Third-Party Vendors
- Fourth-Party Vendors
- Product quality and safety
- Contract terms and pricing
- Strategic planning
- Financial data
It’s no longer enough to rely on traditional information technology professionals and security controls for information security. There is a clear need for threat intelligence tools and security programs to reduce your organization’s cyber risk and highlight potential attack surfaces.
Why Cybersecurity Risks Management Matters For Futuristic Businesses
A sufficient and strategic Cybersecurity Risks Management plan refers to the technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect an organization’s intellectual property, customer data, and other sensitive information from unauthorized access by cybercriminals. The frequency and severity of cybercrime are on the rise and there is a significant need to mitigate them.
More so, through an improved Cybersecurity Risks Management strategy as part of every organization’s enterprise risk profile. It is imperative for security practitioners to take a holistic view of the advancement of digital technologies to stay ahead of the curve. As per the Global Cybersecurity Outlook Report, there is a varied range of new technologies.
Cybertech is being adopted by organizations, significantly raising the complexity of securing the digital ecosystem and widening the attack surface for malicious actors to exploit. It’s, therefore, paramount to monitor how these technologies evolve, together with their social, economic, and political contexts to make informed business decisions on organizational resilience.
Generally, Cybersecurity Risks Management is set by leadership, often including an organization’s board of directors in the planning processes. Best-in-class organizations will also have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in place. Effectively, someone who is directly responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and key program.
Particularly, in order to ensure information assets and customer data are adequately protected. There are some of the most common cyber defense activities that a CISO will own and help in delivering.
Consider the following main duties:
- Restriction of access to the least required privilege
- Administering security procedures, training, and testing
- Maintaining secure device configurations, up-to-date software, and vulnerability patches
- Deployment of intrusion detection systems and penetration testing
- Configuration of secure networks that can manage and protect business networks
- Deployment of data protection and loss prevention programs and monitoring
- General encryption of data where necessary plus proper configuration of cloud services
- Implementation of vulnerability management with internal and third-party scans
- Recruitment and retention of cybersecurity professionals
When an organization does not have the scale to support a CISO or other cybersecurity professional, board members with experience in cybersecurity risk are extremely valuable. That said, it is important for all levels of an organization to understand its role in managing cyber risk. There are many other benefits of having a strategic Cybersecurity risks management plan.
1. Unified Collaboration
Vulnerabilities can come from any employee and it’s fundamental to your internal workforce. As well as your organization’s IT security to continually educate employees on how to avoid common security pitfalls that can lead to data breaches or other cyber incidents. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework has all the guides.
It provides best practices to manage cybersecurity risk in detail. Thus, it’s a great source of your free-time reference. Although general IT security controls are useful, they are insufficient for providing cyber attack protection from sophisticated attacks and poor configuration.
2. Seamless Technology
The proliferation of technology enables more unauthorized access to your organization’s information than ever before. Third parties are increasingly provided with information through the supply chain, customers, and other fourth-party providers. The risk is compounded by the fact that organizations are increasingly storing large volumes of personally identifiable information (PII) on external cloud providers that need to be configured correctly in order to sufficiently protect data.
3. Limitless Connections
Another factor to consider is the increasing number of devices that are always connected in data exchange. As your organization globalizes and the web of employees, customers, and third-party vendors increases, so do expectations of instant access to information. Younger generations expect instant real-time access to data from anywhere, exponentially increasing the attack surface for malware, vulnerabilities, and all other exploits.
4. Complex Policies
Unanticipated cyber threats can come from hostile foreign powers, competitors, organized hackers, insiders, poor configuration, and third-party vendors. Cybersecurity policies are becoming increasingly complex as mandates and regulatory standards around disclosure of cybersecurity incidents and data breaches continue to grow, leading organizations to adopt software to help manage their third-party vendors and continuously monitor for data breaches.
5. Cyclical Measures
The importance of identifying, addressing, and communicating a potential breach outweighs the preventive value of traditional, cyclical IT security controls. Data breaches have a massive, negative business impact and often arise from insufficiently protected data. External monitoring through third and fourth-party vendor risk assessments is part of any good risk management strategy. Without comprehensive IT security management, your organization faces financial, legal, and reputational risks.
The Most Recent Security Breach Example Case Scenario
Well, Mailchimp fell victim to a data breach sometime back — after Cybercriminals gained access to a tool used by internal customer support and account administration teams. Essentially, all this happened following a successful social engineering attack targeted by these Cybercriminals. However, this initial breach was just the preliminary stage of the entire cyber-attack.
While desperately scouring the client email lists stored in Mailchimp’s internal tools, the Cybercriminals finally found what they were looking for to initiate the attack. More so, they were able to locate an internal email subscribers list of customers of the hardware Cryptocurrency wallet — Trezor — that Mailchimp was operating with at that time.
As a result, the Cybercriminals then sent a very convincing phishing email to the entire customer list that Trezor was manning for Mailchimp. Whilst, claiming that a critical security incident occurred, requiring an urgent download. Specifically, the fake critical security alert required an urgent download of a patched version of the Trezor app to unsuspecting users.
Related Resource: The 70 Biggest Data Breaches Of All Time [Most Recently Updated]
When clicked, this link directed users to a malicious website almost indistinguishable from Trezor’s website. To access the fraudulent app, users needed to submit their recovery seed — a list of ordered words used to recover access to a Crypto wallet. Investigations are still underway, so the complete impact of this phishing attack isn’t yet known.
In the phishing email, the Cybercriminals claimed that 106,852 accounts were compromised. This number may represent the total number of email accounts targeted in the phishing campaigns, but that hasn’t yet been confirmed. What is confirmed, at this point, is that approximately 100 Mailchimp client accounts were compromised in the initial phase of the cyberattack.
With that in mind, you can follow Trezor’s blog if you would want to track the progress of investigation efforts. Clearly, this cyber incident highlights the frightening sophistication some phishing attackers are capable of. Not all phishing emails are written with terrible grammar and poor attention to detail. Some are so advanced, they can barely be identified by the admins.
Trends That Could Help Shape Your Cybersecurity Risks Management
To disrupt a country, halt major commercial flows, or make important financial gains, hackers usually look for vulnerabilities that have not yet been discovered. The constant tech evolution is a catalyst for them to find new flaws to exploit. Therefore, in a fast-evolving digital ecosystem, we call upon all government decision-makers, industry, academia, and civil society.
For one thing, they all need to anticipate and address tomorrow’s cybersecurity challenges to stay ahead of the curve. For instance, consider things like the pull and push between regulatory experiments and the future of privacy. By 2030, we will know whether early cybersecurity efforts at privacy legislation (such as Europe’s GDPR) are delivering on their policy objectives.
But, it remains uncertain whether we will have improved methods for managing personal data. Or we’ll be living in a world in which we have given up on contemporary notions of individual privacy. In the workshops held in Europe, we also heard concerns about a blurring of frontiers between governments and private corporations — sovereignty and shifting power.
Related Resource: Is Cybersecurity Hard? Tools & Skills You Need to Succeed
As an example, a few participants speculated about a future in which the largest tech companies hold seats on the UN Security Council). From US-based participants, we heard more concerns about a trend toward digital sovereignty, the security issues companies face in addressing increasingly divergent regulatory requirements around the world.
As well as the lack of a practical human rights framework for determining compliance trade-offs. Most agreed that the public sector will play an important role as both buyer and investor in technology and in developing guardrails in how cybersecurity plays out. That said, below are a few other more trends that could shape the future of cybersecurity today and tomorrow.
1. The double-edged sword of AI and ML technologies
Organizations are becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats due to the increasing reliance on computers, networks, programs, social media, and data globally. Data breaches, a common cyber attack, have massive negative business impacts and often arise from insufficiently protected data. There is both optimism and uneasiness about the rapid pace of scientific plans.
As well as the commercial adoption of AI and ML technologies. On the upside, we will see vast innovation in sectors such as medicine and transportation, as well as improvements in cybersecurity. On the downside, AI will also lead to innovation in cybercrime, and ML models could train themselves to achieve illicit or devious ends.
Equally important, there is a lack of clarity on how governments, companies, or communities will ensure that AI and other technology-based systems are built, deployed, and monitored safely and ethically, and no clear forum to get such guidance. And now, as a result, good progress is likely to be unevenly distributed across communities and geographies.
2. Progress in cybersecurity with a need for more access
Global connectivity and increased use of cloud services with poor default security parameters mean the risk of cyber attacks from outside your organization is increasing. What could historically be addressed by IT risk management and access control now needs to be complemented by sophisticated cybersecurity professionals, software, and cybersecurity risk management.
Public and private investments in security technologies, as well as broader efforts to tackle cybercrime, defend critical infrastructure, and raise public awareness about cybersecurity, are likely to reap tangible payoffs by 2030. Cybersecurity will be less about “defending fortresses” than moving toward acceptance of ongoing cyber risk.
Perse, with a focus on bolstering resilience and capacity for recovery. As markers of this trend, passwords could be nearly obsolete by 2030, cybersecurity will be widely taught in primary schools, and cryptocurrencies will be more effectively regulated. Still, investments in more secure systems and basic cyber hygiene will raise many above the “cyber poverty line.”
3. Internet fragmentation downsides and limited upsides
The trend toward “digital sovereignty” and internet fragmentation will continue, as efforts toward internet interoperability and cross-border data transfers will compete with efforts by governments to establish localized or regional controls over online spaces. This may be an opportunity for local communities to have more agency in defining digital security.
But, we could also see a “wild west” of disinformation, surveillance, and more powerful cyberattacks emanating from rogue states that have isolated themselves from the global internet. The trend toward deglobalization could also lead to more pronounced “regional pockets of truth.” Coupled with differences in information defined by geographic or other boundaries.
4. The worsening technology crisis in trust online
The erosion of trust online is poised to deepen and continue to undermine offline relationships and institutions. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will make it increasingly difficult to distinguish between humans and machines online, potentially leading many people to shift their activities back offline and even revert to using analog devices.
In a world of increasingly sophisticated synthetic media and AI-based cyberattacks, cybersecurity will become less about protecting the confidentiality and more about protecting the integrity and provenance of information. Unfortunately, at the moment when societies need to come together to solve major problems like climate change.
In addition, distrust could lead to a retreat from regional and global cooperation. We need to work to avoid this outcome. Not forgetting, this is, whereby, most governments could exert more control through technology.
5. The virtual reality and metaverse uncertainty
Participants were split between those who believe that the metaverse (or metaverses) will not materialize, and will be considered a failed experiment by 2030, and those who believe we need to accelerate policy innovation to keep up with the new privacy and security issues that a fully realized metaverse will pose.
However, the most dystopian visions of the future that emerged from the workshops were based on a passive consumer (i.e., living in the metaverse to escape problems in the real world). The antidote to this dystopia, and a key aspect of what the future holds, relies on our ability to educate citizens to embrace critical thinking.
The Topmost Considerations For Cybersecurity Risks Management
In a nutshell, when it comes to cybersecurity fields, cybersecurity refers to the technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect an organization’s intellectual property, customer data, and other sensitive information from unauthorized access by cybercriminals. Whilst, bearing in mind, the frequency and severity of cybercrime are on the rise.
And, therefore, there is a significant need for improved cybersecurity risk management as part of every organization’s enterprise risk profile. Regardless of your organization’s risk appetite, you need to include cybersecurity planning as part of your enterprise risk management process and ordinary business operations. It’s one of the top risks to any business.
The primary purpose of a cyber risk assessment is to keep stakeholders informed and support proper responses to identified risks. They also provide an executive summary to help executives and directors make informed decisions about security. That said, there are a number of reasons you want to perform a cyber risk assessment and a few reasons you need to.
Consider the following:
- A way to avoid all unforeseen data breaches
- To better understand the business organizational strategy
- It helps in the reduction of long-term business running costs
- Cybersecurity risk assessment template for future assessments
- You’ll avoid regulatory issues and avoid application downtime
- It serves as an integral part of information risk management
Note that the basic information about what cybersecurity risks your organization is worried about must be communicated to all appropriate stakeholders. Especially, those involved in decision-making. Everyone needs to be aware of the potential business impact of cyber attacks and how they can help prevent them. There are various information-sharing tools.
Such as dashboards of relevant metrics — that can help keep stakeholders aware and involved. Be that as it may, you may consider investing in security rating tools that can provide a single, easy-to-understand metric that nontechnical stakeholders can understand. Use risk management, particularly, third-parties and vendor risk management tools for compliance.
And, as you’ll come to realize, Cybersecurity Risks Management is a long process and, at the same time, it’s also an ongoing one. Whilst, bearing in mind, that your organization can never be too secure without having a mitigation plan in place. Cyber attacks can come from stem from any level of your organization. So, it’s important to not just pass it off to IT and forget it.
Related Resource: What Is An Attack Surface? Definition + The Steps To Reduce It
This means, that in order to mitigate cyber risk, you need the help of every department and every employee. Otherwise, if you’ll fail to take the right precautions, your company and more importantly, the data of your potential customers and other users could be a risk. You need to be able to control third-party vendor risk and monitor your business at all times.
In this case, so as to help identify any unforeseen chances for potential data breaches and leaked credentials continuously. Ideally, organizations should have dedicated in-house teams processing risk assessments. This means having IT staff with an understanding of how your digital and network infrastructure works, and executives who understand how information flows.
Tips For Developing Your Cybersecurity Risks Management Plan
As a matter of fact, 97% of cyber threats target human error. This means, that the greatest threat to your company’s cyber security could be you. Also, 28% of cyberattacks could be prevented if employees followed cybersecurity guidelines. Each year brings new cybersecurity threats, data breaches, attack vectors, and previously unknown vulnerabilities.
Even with zero-day vulnerabilities like EternalBlue, the approach to dealing with cyber threats is the same. Whereby, it entails a sound risk management framework with a systematic approach to risk assessment and response. In most cases, a strategic Cybersecurity risks management plan takes the idea of real-world risk management and applies it to cyber risks.
On that note, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines risk as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives”. But, risk management is the ongoing process of identifying, assessing, and responding to risk. To manage risk, you must assess the likelihood and potential impact of an event and then determine the best approach to deal with the risk.
At all costs, a robust Cybersecurity risks management process is about managing the effects of uncertainty in a way that is cost-effective and makes efficient use of limited resources. Ideally, risk management helps identify risks early and implement appropriate mitigations to prevent incidents or attenuate their impact. This prompts well-informed decision-making.
Consider these 6 key elements:
- Alignment to your goals and objectives
- Identification of risks
- Assessment of risks
- Selection of risk response
- Ongoing monitoring of risks
- Communication and reporting on risks
In general, when an organization is exposed to a risk, a quick response can minimize the impact. Identifying high risks early head-on can greatly help your team to start the remediation process before they are exploited. This is particularly important for sensitive data exposures and leaked credentials. Your organization may, at times, have a limited budget and staff, right?
Well, to prioritize risks and responses, you’ll need sufficient data information. Such as trends over time, potential impact, the likelihood of impact, and when the risk may materialize (near term, medium term, long term). Put simply, you cannot protect against all possible threats. All stakeholders must be aware of risks, particularly those that are shared across departments.
Forthwith, to mitigate the risks, you must ultimately determine what kinds of security controls (prevent, deter, detect, correct, etc.) to apply. The thing is, not all risks can be eliminated nor do you have an unlimited budget or personnel to combat every risk. There are a few known practical cybersecurity strategies that you can implement to reduce your cybersecurity risk.
Some of the best strategic measures:
- Build a Risk Management Culture
- Ensure Proper Cyber And Cloud Hygiene
- Ensure You Comply With Relevant Regulations
- Distribute Critical Business Security Responsibility
- Automate Your Third Party Risk Assessment Workflows
- Try To Implement A Great Cybersecurity Framework
- Encourage Different View Points And Perspectives
- Develop A Repeatable Risk Assessment Process
- Pay Attention To Your Threat Environment
- Implement An Incident Response Strategy
- Invest In Security Awareness Training
In addition, security ratings are a great way to identify high-risk vendors and internal assets instantly. They’re a data-driven, objective, and dynamic measure of an organization’s security posture. The key idea is the higher the security rating, the better the organization’s security posture. Just as credit ratings and FICO scores aim to provide a quantitative measure of credit risk.
In the same way, security ratings aim to provide a quantitative measure of cyber risk. And just like credit ratings, they make it easy for even non-technical stakeholders to assess the security risk of a vendor or asset. Certain software and tools, like UpGuard, can help streamline the risk management processes and reduce time gaps, resources, and manpower.
Always remember, that your cyber risk management responsibility doesn’t end with your internal information technology assets. You need to ensure your third-party vendors and their vendors (fourth parties) are invested in risk mitigation. For newcomer organizations, this is known as vendor risk management or third-party risk management to be precise.
The rising trend in data breaches continues to angle upwards. As a result, there’s never been a more precarious time in history to launch and maintain a successful business. Organizational transparency is key to a thorough cyber risk assessment. Small businesses may not have the right in-house team to do a thorough job — they’ll need to outsource a third party.
What’s more, a majority of organizations are also turning to an array of cybersecurity software tools to help them monitor their cybersecurity score, prevent breaches, send security questionnaires, and reduce third-party risk. Notably, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), is already running a great program.
The initiative is themed the Cybersecurity Futures of Today and Tomorrow. It’s a foresight-focused scenario exercise to inform Cybersecurity risk management. It enables all practitioners to understand the impact and prepare for futuristic digital security.
Other More Related Resource References:
- Malwarebytes | A Free Cybersecurity Software Download
- Mimecast | No #1 Web, Data & Emails Cybersecurity Solution
- Bitdefender Antivirus | #1 Cybersecurity Application Software
- Website Security | Top #6 Steps To Secure Your Web Business
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Apps Verification Tool Guide
- Third-Party And Fourth-Party Risk Management Framework
That’s it! An elaborate guide towards a strategic Cybersecurity Risks Management plan and how it can help, especially, your web-based brand as well as your digital online business. Be that as it may, you are welcome to share your additional thoughts, opinions, suggestions, recommendations, and contribution questions to get FAQ Answers in our comments section.