Cyber threats are everywhere, regardless of your organization’s size or industry. Businesses today must adopt a systematic, disciplined cybersecurity plan to secure vital infrastructure and information systems — that is, a cybersecurity framework.

Cybersecurity risk management encompasses identifying, analyzing, assessing, and addressing cybersecurity threats to your organization. In this sense, the first part of any cyber risk management program is a cybersecurity risk assessment. An assessment gives you insight into the threats that could compromise your organization’s cybersecurity and their severity.

The goal of implementing a cybersecurity risk management process is to reduce your company’s exposure to cyber-attacks, by identifying the areas of most significant vulnerability for data breaches and other attacks. After you classify the threats, you can develop risk mitigation strategies.

Conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment process and implementing a risk management framework within your organization has several benefits, such as reducing costs associated with security incidents, avoiding data breaches, compliance issues, attack vectors, among others.

What Risks Are Associated With Cybersecurity?

With the widespread use of technology and its reliance on connectivity, all sorts of security risks have emerged. They range in severity from a minor annoyance to something devastating, and you can be sure that malicious attacks will continue to evolve.

Many cybersecurity risks are identifiable, and can be classified into various categories.

  • Malware. These threats arise from a piece of malicious code infecting the network, with the ability to extract or modify data. Spyware, worms, and viruses are examples of malware.
  • Ransomware. This specific type of malware infects a user’s computer or network. It then limits access to features or locks up the whole system until a “ransom” is paid to the cybercriminals.
  • Phishing attacks. Phishing attacks are widespread, sending a large number of bogus emails to unsuspecting individuals. The fraudulent emails often appear to be from a trusted source, and direct recipients to a malicious file that allows attackers access to the device to control it or extract sensitive information.
  • Denial of service attacks. A denial of service (DoS) attack floods a computer or network, preventing it from responding to queries. A distributed DoS (DDoS) attack accomplishes the same goal, but at a larger scale and through several computers (or a botnet).
  • Social engineering. Social engineering, like phishing, is an umbrella term for attempting to trick consumers into divulging critical information. It can happen on any platform, and hackers will often go to considerable lengths to achieve their objectives, including stealing information from social media.

Critical Practices for Successful Cybersecurity Risk Management

Every organization has unique cybersecurity needs and IT architecture, so it’s wise to evaluate cybersecurity solutions tailored to these specific requirements. Even so, several best practices can help guide the creation of these programs and processes.

Build a Risk Management Culture

Establishing a cybersecurity and risk management culture in your company assures proper employee engagement, accountability, and training. In addition, a cybersecurity-focused culture throughout the organization, from part-time staff to the board of directors, reinforces the idea of data security as a priority.

Security Awareness Training

To implement your cybersecurity plan, you need fully trained personnel at all levels who are capable of identifying risks and taking actions to mitigate them. Regular training is necessary for any organization, particularly those that rely heavily on contractors, temporary staff, or vendors.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidelines and templates (in its NIST SP 800-50 document) on what a security training program should include.

Distribute Responsibility

The burden of cybersecurity and enterprise risk management cannot fall solely on your IT security team. Successful security programs require involvement from the entire organization.

Prioritize Cybersecurity Risks

Ultimately, you cannot protect against all possible threats. You need the information to prioritize risks and responses, such as trends over time, potential impacts, and probability of occurrence.

Implement a Cybersecurity Framework

It is crucial to implement an appropriate cybersecurity framework for your organization. A sound cyber risk management framework is entwined with the organization’s risk management strategy and risk management programs.

With this in mind, some of the most widely used cybersecurity frameworks are:

  • ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards. ISO 27001 is one of the most well-known and widely utilized information security standards.
  • CIS (Center for Internet Security) Critical Security Controls. The CIS developed a set of cybersecurity measures that provide detailed and actionable best practices for preventing the most common cyberattacks. The CIS controls prioritize and concentrate on a small number of behaviors that minimize cybersecurity risk dramatically.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. The NIST CSF is a framework based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices for U.S. private sector organizations to manage better and reduce cybersecurity risk.

Create a Repeatable Risk Assessment Process

To understand, monitor, control, and minimize cyber risk across your organization, cybersecurity risk assessments should be conducted on a regular basis. Any organization’s risk management strategy and data security measures must include a repeatable procedure.

Implement an Incident Response Plan

A written incident response plan describes your organization’s response to data breaches, data leaks, cyberattacks, and security incidents. Even minor cybersecurity incidents such as malware infection can turn into significant problems that can lead to disruption of business operations when left unchecked.

Response plan implementation is essential because it describes how to minimize the duration and impact of security incidents, identifies key stakeholders, improves recovery time, and reduces negative publicity.

Improve Your Cyber Risk Management with ZenGRC

ZenGRC is a governance, risk, and compliance platform that can help you implement, manage and monitor your risk management framework and remediation tasks.

At Reciprocity, a team of cybersecurity professionals is always looking out for you and your assets to ensure you have the most up-to-date risk management tools.

ZenGRC’s risk software solutions offer an intuitive and easy-to-understand platform. Automated workflows, insightful reporting, and document storage enable your risk and compliance team to be more effective and focused. ZenGRC streamlines the management of all your cybersecurity risk management frameworks, including PCI, ISO, HIPAA, and more.

Contact our team for a free consultation and start managing risk worry-free in the Zen way!