Data breaches, phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, regulatory requirements, and other malware threats are on everybody’s radar. Still, some organizations lack a comprehensive and aligned security strategy, and others have only a limited overview of their cybersecurity maturity.

In the modern threat landscape, that’s not enough. To combat cybersecurity threats and assure the safety of an organization’s confidential data, it’s crucial to implement a well-planned cybersecurity risk management program.

Cybersecurity risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing possible risks to an organization’s information systems. Then you go about minimizing the potential impacts.

Building an effective cybersecurity risk management strategy will help protect your organization and prepare you to tackle any potential cyber threats. Let’s take a closer look at the cybersecurity risk management framework to better understand how it operates.

How to create a cybersecurity risk management program

To manage cybersecurity risk effectively, start by pinpointing the actual threats to your information systems and data. Here are five steps to get you started on a cybersecurity risk assessment.

  1. Identify system and information security risks. List all data storage systems and any proprietary data you want (or need) to protect.
  2. Rank third-party contractors by level of access and data volume. The contractor with the most access and the highest volumes of data processed is the one that poses the highest potential risk for a third-party data breach.
  3. Identify potential threats to your information systems. Some threats are internal, such as inappropriately stored passwords or data theft by employees. Others are external, such as cybercriminals trying to infiltrate your system. You will need to catalog as many as possible, in both categories.
  4. Conduct a risk analysis and assessment on each identified risk. Estimate the cost of each potential cybersecurity threat to your organization. Then determine which threat is most likely to occur.
  5. Rank the list of threats. Start with which threats are the most likely to happen, and which ones would be the most devastating for your company. This is where you start implementing new controls such as data encryption, firewalls, and malware-detecting software to help reduce immediate risk.

NIST 800-53 for Cyber Risk Management

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a set of guidelines known as NIST 800-53 to help you with cybersecurity risk management.

800-53 is a framework for managing and responding to cybersecurity threats. It allows organizations to develop a customized risk management program that addresses their specific needs and objectives. The framework is available to, and can be used by, all: publicly traded companies, privately held businesses, nonprofits, and any other organization.

If you are a federal agency or a government contractor that works with federal agencies, you must be in compliance with NIST 800-53. The framework was developed to keep government agency information systems secure from cyberattacks, and is the gold standard to assure cybersecurity risk management and protection.

Even if your business is not a government contractor, however, using a cybersecurity risk framework such as NIST 800-53 can ease the development of your own cybersecurity program and assure that you don’t miss any vital steps as you update your IT security.

You can also use the simpler, less intensive NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) to begin your cybersecurity risk management journey. Using the CSF will also give you ongoing program updates and alerts that will help your security team stay ahead of cyber criminals.

Importance of Ongoing Cyber Risk Monitoring

Ongoing cyber risk monitoring is important because it allows organizations to detect potential threats and remediate vulnerabilities in real-time. Monitoring also allows organizations to take measures to reduce cyber risks and prevent attacks, rather than simply react after a breach has struck.

Hand-in-hand with monitoring is communication. Clear, efficient communication within a company is key to the success of cybersecurity risk management processes. All employees and stakeholders must understand the importance of the program activities and be aware of the roles they play to implement and adhere to those activities.

Consider the following when incorporating cybersecurity risk management into your business operations:

  • Explain how harmful cyber threats can be to your company.
  • Encourage departments to make changes to their business processes that shrink your company’s risk profile.
  • Hire a professional information security officer to take charge and guide your efforts in safeguarding important infrastructure.
  • Be aware of changes in your supply chain that may introduce new risks and warrant updated security controls.
  • Implement additional security measures such as two-factor authentication and stricter guidelines for creating passwords.
  • Constantly gather metrics throughout the lifecycle of your security program, so you can understand whether your program yields substantial benefits.

Manage Cyber Risk with the ROAR Platform

With the growing complexity of cybersecurity threats, it’s essential not only to address these threats, but also to implement a comprehensive enterprise risk management strategy.

Reciprocity’s ROAR Platform makes IT and cybersecurity more manageable. The platform provides full visibility, which enables you to gain insight into the risks, make necessary changes to protect your systems, and strengthen your overall security posture.

Schedule a demo now to see the platform in action.

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Management Programe with NIST