It doesn’t matter which industry you work in or how large your business is: every company with a desire to stay competitive and relevant needs a cybersecurity risk management plan.
New information technology comes online at a breakneck speed, making our business transactions and processes easier, smoother and faster. We feel safe when we contract with that new vendor, or allow a gig worker into our content platform, but a high level of interconnectivity goes hand in hand with a high level of risk of cyber attacks and data breaches.
Cyber criminals pounce on each new platform and the threat landscape changes all the time. A solid cybersecurity risk assessment program is as flexible and responsive as the changing risk landscape, so you are always ready no matter which cybersecurity incident pops up – let’s take a look at how you develop a successful cybersecurity risk management plan.
A cyber risk or a cyber threat – isn’t it all the same?
Not quite. A cyber threat is a direct attack (or an attempted attack) on your computer systems or on a vendor’s computer system. The threat landscape changes every day and an important part of your risk management strategy is to stay on top of new threats and the potential impact say a phishing attack could have on your business.
Compared to that, cybersecurity risk is the worst case impact a successful cyber attack, like a data breach or a phishing attack, would have on your business combined with the likelihood that such an attack would actually happen.
What is a cyber security risk management plan?
Before you can develop a risk management plan you need to assess the level of risk with which you are comfortable. In the cybersecurity realm, we begin with assessing how your information systems are connected to third party vendors and which contractors have necessary access to your critical infrastructure. We look at the security controls you have in place to protect your sensitive data and proprietary information.
Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch developing methodology that will help you find the weak spots in your IT systems. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a great source for white papers and publications that can help you first develop a cyber risk assessment and then create a risk management plan.
Here are five common steps that are part of a cybersecurity risk assessment:
- Identify the risk areas (hazards): weak firewalls, outdated access controls, lack of staff education surrounding malware, phishing, hacking and other common cybersecurity threats. Make sure you identify your most valuable data assets, such as proprietary information and software.
- Identify the harm that could be done: how would each of the identified potential risk areas affect your business processes, and what is the cost of remediation – including potential reporting requirements that may have to be fulfilled for your business to stay in industry compliance.
- Assess which risk – should it become reality – would be the most costly: careful risk analysis lets you rank the identified risks. Don’t forget the cost of remediation and the cost of having to shut or slow down part of your business processes while you recover.
- Create a record of which information security risk areas you find, and create security teams who can take the lead on security policies in each area.
- Review the cybersecurity risk assessment and identify how it fits in with your regular risk management framework. Make sure you have buy-in from all the stakeholders in your company, and build a risk aware workforce. Having a staff that is trained to report any cybersecurity risk is an invaluable part of any risk assessment process.
How do you create a cybersecurity risk management program?
Once you have done your cybersecurity risk assessment, it’s time for implementing some of your findings and turning them into a cybersecurity risk management program.
Assemble a security team and make sure the team communicates clearly with all the cybersecurity risk management program stakeholders – a strong program will help you create a security aware workforce that is comfortable coming forward with questions about the cybersecurity risk management process and program.
The security team will be responsible for taking all the research you have done and turning it into an easily understandable risk profile of your company, before communicating it to all the internal stakeholders.
The security team will also take the lead on educating staff on network security, and updating everyone on the latest cybersecurity risks such as new ransomware, social engineering schemes that are circulating and any other data security threats that may fit your risk profile.
The team is also responsible for establishing and updating a risk mitigation plan that determines how you will respond to a security incident or potential threats.
Cybersecurity Risk Management is Made Easy with ZenGRC
At Reciprocity, a team of cybersecurity professionals is always looking out for you and your assets, making sure you get the best and most up-to-date cybersecurity risk management tools.
ZenGRC works in tandem with governance, risk management and ever-changing compliance demands to keep your business safe and secure, freeing up time for you to do what you do best: run your business.
The ZenGRC compliance, risk, and cybersecurity management software is an intuitive, easy-to-understand platform that easily identifies areas of high risk before that risk has manifested as a real threat, or an actual data breach.
Worry-free cybersecurity risk management is the Zen way. For more information on how ZenGRC can help your organization, contact us for a demo.