The growing use of digital assets within a business delivers all sorts of operational benefits to the organization in question. These technology solutions, however, also come with numerous associated risks and an increased overall threat landscape. You can address these risks by investing in digital risk mitigation and remediation activities as part of a digital risk protection initiative.
Digital risk protection (DRP) is simply a set of practices and methodologies focused on safeguarding an organization’s digital infrastructure against ever-increasing digital threats. Those practices include what we know as cybersecurity, but they are not limited to cybersecurity. Many other digital risks exist and need attention that have nothing to do with cyber attacks in the common meaning of the term.
Although security experts debate whether DRP only focuses on external threats or includes internal ones, it is clear that digital risk protection solutions are essential for today’s security teams and their risk management processes. Digital threats, such as data breaches, should not be underestimated when potential costs can exceed $4 million per event.
What Are Digital Risks?
Digital risks are all the threats to an organization that arise from implementing technological tools or from digital transformation in general. These risks include operational, reputational, and financial harms resulting from a digital tool deployed or in the midst of implementation.
These risks are increasing in complexity all the time. They can come from a variety of sources and sometimes are unidentifiable until they have already caused damage.
That is why digital risk protection services rely heavily on threat intelligence to identify the various types of digital risk, and to protect their stakeholders from this diverse range of threats.
The most common digital risks are:
The digital environment is typically associated with cybersecurity risks. For example, vulnerabilities in software, malware or ransomware, and phishing attacks are all risks directly related to digital transformation.
Fueled by the pandemic, 2020 was a record year for cyberattacks worldwide. Many businesses were forced into digital transformation activities to accommodate their now-remote workforce and to drive revenue opportunities. Unfortunately, the combination of uncertain times and increased online activity also boosted vulnerability.
The frequency and costs of cyberattacks are still rising in 2021. They can have devastating consequences for organizations and individuals, as seen with the Colonial Pipelines ransomware attack that disrupted gas distribution for more than 100 million people.
Data breaches or leakages are digital risks related to cyber threats that can significantly harm the company’s operational, compliance, and reputational landscape.
The theft and publication of sensitive data, either from the organization itself or from its users, can be triggered by different factors. It requires constant monitoring to assure an adequate level of protection for your clients’ personal information and your intellectual property.
Digital risks do not have to be directed at the company to cause damage. Digital transformation also provides an opportunity for threat actors to conduct scams targeting a company’s customers through impersonation, website or email spoofing, or other tools that can affect the corporate brand image and reputation.
The accelerated digital transformation age can also trigger compliance risks for organizations, either due to implementing new technologies that don’t meet regulatory requirements or the absence of technological solutions to comply with them.
Many organizations have implemented automation solutions within their processes to facilitate tasks and reduce operational expenses, but an abrupt digital transformation can wreak havoc on what had previously been carefully crafted business processes.
In addition, new software or incompatible patches can also generate unexpected downtime in your operations on the client-side, such as web pages.
Why Do Companies Need Digital Risk Protection?
Companies can benefit from an appropriate security posture in the face of digital risks. Moreover, digital risk protection can also be crucial to avoid fines for non-compliance, especially for protection of customers’ personal data.
That said, DRP solutions can also provide an extra layer of protection to business continuity and critical areas of the company’s operational chain, especially those dependent on technological tools.
Those internal benefits can also result in a reputational benefit, especially in a society that is increasingly aware of the cyber risks present in everyday life. Organizations with visible efforts to protect their users might not always receive public applause — but an organization with a careless data breach will undoubtedly suffer public scorn.
Common Use Cases for Digital Risk Protection
In an effective risk management program, DRP must consider several use cases focusing on prioritizing, monitoring, and mitigating common threats in real time. Some of these use cases are:
Phishing Attacks or Account Takeovers
The human factor is the weakest element within an ecosystem and a significant challenge in digital risk management. That is why DRP solutions focus on collecting suspicious patterns and typical phishing schemes to alert and prevent attacks of this type.
These tools monitor cyberspace for compromised credentials or accounts with keywords within known cybercriminal networks or domains to quickly mitigate these vulnerabilities.
There are myriad digital risks, and they will only increase with time. Prioritizing threats according to their severity and possibility of happening is crucial for digital risk protection programs.
Cyber Threat Prevention
Assessing vulnerabilities (for software in use, as well as for malware on devices or mobile app stores) is a routine activity that substantially reduces the organization’s digital risks. These assessments, supported with tools like penetration testing, are essential to protect organizations from new and evolving potential threats.
Dark Web Surveillance
Many cyberattacks arise from sites that are difficult to access, such as the dark web (erroneously known as the “deep web”). DRP tools can help monitor suspicious activities directed against the organization and prepare adequately against these threats.
As mentioned before, email or web spoofing can severely damage a corporate reputation, so DRP focuses on the takedown of these illicit activities and the protection of your brand and users.
Data Leak Prevention
Considering the importance of intellectual property and the personal information of customers and employees, data leakage can be a tremendous liability to organizations. DRM tools evaluate the overall information security system and monitor the web for leaked data.
How Can Digital Risk Be Avoided?
These common uses of DRP solutions are practical first steps to prevent and mitigate digital risks. Still, they must be undertaken as an active effort by security professionals to fully achieve these objectives.
The human factor is the most significant risk vector, and must not be underestimated if you want to effectively protect the enterprise. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools can intercept malicious emails before they reach employees, but you still need to educate your workforce with cyber security awareness programs to mitigate threats such as phishing attacks and data leaks.
Controlling third-party risks is in digital risk management, as they are an integral part of the organization’s digital ecosystem. So perform risk assessments of vendors to understand how your company’s risk landscape may change if you start doing business with them.
Especially with cloud solution companies, risk assessments must consider the company’s regulatory environment and the effect these third parties can exert on your state of compliance or non-compliance.
Mitigate Risks with ZenGRC
Managing risks and adhering to industry regulations can be challenging, but adopting a solid governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution will significantly simplify your risk management activities.
ZenGRC analyzes your critical infrastructure for gaps in existing controls that might expose your business or project to risks, and then presents them on user-friendly, color-coded dashboards that show you where your vulnerabilities are and how to remedy them at a glance.
This one-of-a-kind software-as-a-service helps to assure that your project meets appropriate regulatory and industry frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO, GDPR, and CCPA. Furthermore, you can perform in-a-click self-audits whenever you like. The tool gathers and saves your audit-trail documentation in its “single source of truth” database for easy retrieval during audit time.
Contact us for a free demo and get started on the road to worry-free enterprise risk management.