No lock has ever been invented that was completely secure; if an intruder is determined to get in, he or she can usually find a way.
So it is for houses and buildings – and the same principle is just as true for cybersecurity. Hence cybersecurity risk management is crucial to prevent and mitigate cyber threats.
To combat those threats, businesses need to develop digital risk management. We can define that as the processes used to assess, monitor, and treat the risks that arise from the digital business processes that are so common today. More specifically, within digital risk management are the active measures that businesses can take to protect their assets: digital risk protection.
What is Digital Risk Protection?
Digital risk protection (DRP) refers to cybersecurity measures that aim to prevent data breaches, malware, identity theft, and other forms of cyber crime. DRP is the active piece of the cybersecurity puzzle, and is an imperative for every organization.
DRP generally addresses external threats and internal dangers. Digital risk protection solutions are critical for today’s security teams and risk management processes- especially when the average cost of a data breach now tops $4.2 million, according to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.
Many firms opt to add a DRP solution to their existing cybersecurity stack rather than replace existing solutions entirely, because digital risk protection is a relatively new cybersecurity category.
Why is Digital Risk Protection Important?
No enterprise can thrive without being online in some form. Each new online connection, however, increases an organization’s attack surface, making it more likely that the company will be hacked. Some steps that are wise from a business development perspective, but also increase inherent cybersecurity risk:
- Moving retail to the cloud to enable seamless omnichannel shopping;
- Hiring and managing personnel using a human resources application;
- Enabling application developers to collaborate online;
- Collecting payments using a third-party processor;
- Automating factories using the Internet of things (IoT);
- Marketing and advertising on social media sites.
Digital connections are essential. Without them, your organization won’t be able to keep its critical business functions running smoothly. At the same time, it’s imperative to have measures in place to comply with a growing roster of cybersecurity standards, privacy laws, and regulations to protect your customers and your brand.
Common Types of Digital Risk
To make digital risk protection easier, you must consider a few common digital threats that organizations should aim to avoid.
Every type of digital risk affects cybersecurity. Because these risks occur throughout the digital landscape, disruptions in one kind of risk could have repercussions in others.
A data leak exposes sensitive information that could become a data breach. When organizations or their vendors accidentally leak their data, they are at a higher risk of a data breach. As a result, a data leakage security solution must track data leaking inside and outside the vendor network.
This refers to all risks introduced by service providers and third parties working with your enterprise. This could include data breaches, intellectual property theft, and financial data theft.
Any hazards associated with cloud architectural changes, the use of new platforms such as IoT devices, or new IT systems can lead to digital risk.
Digital risks can be associated with non-compliance with regulatory requirements. These risks are often introduced with the adoption of new technologies or the addition of vendors operating in highly regulated industries.
Compatibility difficulties are risks that develop when automated procedures are adjusted. Process automation risks may occur due to initiatives to improve customer service or thanks to new business models.
Any threat to the security of sensitive data is considered a data security risk – for example, personally identifiable information or financial data left exposed to public view online.
How to Create a Digital Risk Protection Program
Digital risk protection is a cyber risk management strategy consisting of two main components: Identifying risks and threats, and then mitigating them.
Identification includes the following steps:
- Inventory all digital assets, including computers, network and data center equipment, servers, software, and mobile devices.
- Map the organization’s complete digital footprint, linking digital assets to IP addresses, applications, social media sites, third-party vendors, temporary development and quality assurance environments, email accounts, and any other digital channels that hackers could exploit.
- Restrict employees from downloading non-approved applications (also known as “shadow IT”) to organizational devices.
- List the potential risks, including third-party and internal and external threats to all these assets and internet-facing services.
- Monitor and collect real-time threat intelligence on the following:
- Attack indicators. Signs that your organization was a victim of a cybersecurity attack, data found online or in the dark web, login attempts, fake social media accounts, scams posing as coming from your organization (which can be a precursor to customer phishing), and other anomalies including social engineering.
- Data loss or leaks. Found in unauthorized database postings or the dark web, online postings of sensitive data or documents, and data breach attempts or incidents.
- Vulnerabilities. Which areas in your systems and networks expose you to attack or malware? Examples are expired security socket layer (SSL) certificates, open ports, and inadequately secured login pages. Employees with access to sensitive information can also pose risks, especially if disgruntled or poorly trained.
Mitigation involves putting controls or mechanisms in place to reduce your risk of cyber attack and to hinder the success of an attack should it occur. This is the digital equivalent of hiding your valuables out of sight to avoid attracting thieves. You would also take measures to install locks, cameras, and other safeguards as extra precautions to deter their efforts.
In cybersecurity, a variety of controls protect your systems and networks. Identity access management (IAM) establishes who can access sensitive data. Security policies protect data by requiring the developer environment to be separate from the production environment. Anti-malware and anti-virus software are valuable tools to safeguard systems from cyber threats.
How do you know which mitigation measures to implement? Frameworks for risk management and cybersecurity can be great resources; they provide lists of suggested controls and other mitigation techniques helpful for your DRP program. These frameworks include:
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF);
- Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls;
- Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Controls Matrix (CSA-CCM);
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS);
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
- ISO 27701, a framework to protect personally identifiable information, developed by the International Organization for Standardization.
Automate Your Digital Risk Protection Program with ZenRisk
The work of identifying, monitoring, and mitigating cyber risk is complex and time-consuming. Since criminals work around the clock, there’s no time for your security team to rest. A comprehensive digital risk protection solution is imperative, along with automated security tools, to streamline processes.
Reciprocity ZenRisk helps you identify, monitor, manage, and mitigate risks to your organization. Templates guide you through the risk assessment process to help you understand your risk landscape and prioritize mitigation activities.
Workflow management features offer easy tracking, automated reminders, and audit trails. The ZenConnect feature enables integration with popular tools such as Jira, ServiceNow, and Slack, assuring seamless adoption within your enterprise.
Insightful reporting and dashboards provide visibility to gaps and high-risk areas. By better understanding your risk landscape, you can take action to protect your business from cyberattacks, avoid costly data breaches, and monitor the security posture of your supply chain.
Worry-free digital risk, cybersecurity, and compliance management that frees you to focus on your business and bottom line: That’s the Zen way. Schedule a demo today!