In today’s interconnected world, it’s easy for organizational leaders to see a security incident on the news and question if they could be next. Security is often top of mind but rarely a strategic priority, leaving many CISOs struggling to communicate how to reduce risk to the board.
And the latest risk management trends could present new challenges for security leaders.
How can you overcome them?
Here’s my secret: I’m a “risk optimist” – someone who assumes other parties have positive intent and accepts that despite those intentions, something terrible may happen. Shifting to this mindset can enable you to prioritize investments in the highest-risk areas, do more with limited resources and ultimately convert the organization’s risk into a business advantage.
It all starts with seeing risk differently.
How to Reframe Your Risk Management Challenges
With this year’s top risk management trends – the increasing cost of data breaches, the ever-present threat of hackers and the seemingly continuous layoffs across the tech industry – it can be challenging to be an optimist.
But, as you’ll see below, it can be your greatest advantage…
Challenge: Cybersecurity & Data Privacy
In a 2022 report, the Institute of Internal Auditors identified the top risk management trends that CISOs should look out for.
The first is cybersecurity and data privacy. This should come as no surprise to anyone. It’s hard to read a blog, whitepaper or business commentary these days and not see a notification of another breach. Just as commonplace are authors and organizations hyping new ways of reducing the cost of security initiatives.
When organizational leadership is focused on cutting costs and reducing budgets, it can be extremely attractive to opt for a cheaper solution rather than request additional funding for security and risk management investments. And if the organization can pass external audits and obtain security certifications, leadership may even deny requests as being unnecessary. Unfortunately, saving money upfront can often lead to more expenses in the future.
But there is a way that Risk Insiders can reduce the risk of a breach and save money without cutting corners…
Risk Reframe: Invest Now, Save Later
The average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, reports UpGuard. This number may seem unrealistic or abstract to some because it generalizes the breach cost into one metric without appropriate context. Approximately one-third of that cost is related to lost productivity from business interruption, with another third spent on response efforts (such as credit monitoring for impacted parties, fines and judgments or reparations).
Organizational leadership may not understand the benefit of implementing log and event monitors or faster server patching. But they will undoubtedly understand lost revenue and the hard costs of remediating cyber incidents.
To better communicate this, consider the organization’s revenue and cost of doing business. It is estimated that the average daily loss of productivity during a cyber attack equates to $225,000.
Can your organization afford to lose $225,000 a day?
Comparing the loss of productivity or lost revenue to the cost of improving security controls allows you to align the areas of highest risk with investments in security. And this enables you to say optimistically, “if we invest this amount, we can reduce the risk in this area and prevent the loss of this revenue.”
Leveraging the rising cost of breaches as a catalyst to obtain funding enables organizations to save in the long run while simultaneously reducing the risk in the most critical areas.
Challenge: Talent Management and Economic Volatility
Highlighting the value of cybersecurity and risk management investments goes beyond technology and processes. Just as crucial as fiduciary resources, human resources significantly impact an organization’s ability to manage risk.
That’s why the second trend CISOs need to be aware of is talent management and economic volatility: 2022 and early 2023 have seen a rapid increase in technology industry layoffs. With so many of our peers out of work, it can seem impossible to remain optimistic. However, like with the rising cost of breaches, staffing shortages can be leveraged to improve security.
Risk Reframe: Do More with Less
In 2022, it took organizations an average of 277 days to identify and contain a breach. For many, even after identifying the incident, they lacked the resources to respond appropriately. This is largely due to smaller or understaffed security teams.
However, organizations utilizing artificial intelligence and automated security controls reduced the cost of a breach by 70%. In a world of uncertainty, implementing automation future-proofs an organization’s security program and enables CISOs to increase security with fewer resources.
It should be noted, however, that automation can never fully replace humans in the risk management process. Any tool that claims to “automate your compliance” increases an organization’s risk by creating blind spots and a false sense of security.
Challenge: Employee-Targeted Cyber Attacks
With the number of cyber attacks and breaches consistently rising, the rapid increase in regulatory changes and the evolution and maturation of threat actors, CISOs are challenged with allocating resources in the proper areas to protect the organization. Hackers are constantly learning and altering their techniques – and they only have to get it right once.
Investments in security go beyond technology and automation. Many organizations rely heavily on technical security controls but fail to see the value in administrative initiatives like security awareness training.
Unfortunately, threat actors know that humans are easy targets and have shifted their attention there. The UpGuard study mentioned above identified the most common attack vectors in 2022 were business email compromise, phishing, malicious insiders and social engineering attacks.
Risk Reframe: Up Your Security Awareness Game
Lacking a security-minded workforce is an opportunity for organizations to up their security awareness game. Training employees to be aware of potential threats and how to report anything suspicious enables employees to be a line of defense instead of an exploitable vulnerability. The more focus and attention organizations put on security awareness training, the lower the likelihood of an incident occurring.
The True Value of Being a Risk Optimist
It’s not easy being an optimist in a world full of risk. The rising cost of data breaches, reduced technology staff and the change in attack vectors can leave CISOs in the dark.
However, shifting to an optimistic mindset enables CISOs to be more proactive and strategic:
- Decreasing budgets empower CISOs to prioritize investments to reduce the highest risks and accelerate business growth.
- Staffing shortages provide an opportunity to automate and gain efficiencies.
- The increase in human attack vectors is a chance to educate and uplevel an organization’s security awareness.
With each new challenge, the risk optimist converts risk into a business advantage. It all starts with seeing risk differently.
Your Ultimate Risk Reframe
What’s the key to effectively reframing risk? Seeing it in real time – not the dated snapshot annual audits and assessments give you.
And that’s exactly the comprehensive view of risk and compliance the RiskOptics ROAR Platform is designed to give you. Schedule your FREE demo to see it in action today!