Cybersecurity risk management is the buzzword of modern-day business – and rightfully so. In all fairness, protecting your company from digital threats should be at the top of your priority list. Realistically, however, dozens of other tasks, goals and day-to-day responsibilities steal focus from consistent risk management strategies. But that’s not on you, at least not entirely. Naturally, when running a business, the issues and goals seem much more important than a ‘hypothetical’ risk that may or may not impact your business. Except unfortunately, that’s not true anymore.
Businesses can no longer afford to spin the wheel of chance, keeping their fingers crossed that they’re under the radar concerning digital threats. We won’t bore you with all the stats, but the point is that it’s no longer a case of whether a business will fall victim to a cyberattack or data breach but rather when. Unless you do something about it, of course. But alas, as with most things in the compliance and cybersecurity landscape, things aren’t as easy as they seem (or ought to be). To uncomplicate it, let’s start with what effective cybersecurity risk management looks like today.
What is Cybersecurity Risk Management?
Gone are the days when cybersecurity risk management was reserved for the IT team. Now, everyone in the organization has a role to play to ensure a consistent and ongoing process of identifying, analyzing, evaluating and addressing all potential cybersecurity threats. Easier said than done, right? In all fairness, however, cybersecurity risk management has become more complex than ever. It may feel like a bitter pill, but even the most experienced compliance and risk management teams constantly play compliance catch-up and struggle to keep architectures and systems secure and compliant at an enterprise-wide level.
The missing link? In today’s risk landscape, it all comes down to an organization’s ability to implement a unified, coordinated, disciplined and consistent risk management solution. Here’s how:
Implementing Robust Cybersecurity Measures: Tips and Best Practices
True – deciding to adopt a risk management plan may seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to taking the practical steps towards implementing it, the process gets tricky. Here are our top tips and best practices to help you navigate the responsibility of implementing and following robust cybersecurity measures.
Identify Your Most Valuable Assets
You need to know what exactly you’re protecting, right? Organizations must create a complete asset inventory for an effective cybersecurity risk management program, including all business and mission-critical applications, services, data and devices that must be protected – your holy grail. Be sure to prioritize the most vulnerable or likely-to-be targeted assets.
Audit Your Data
Assets are one thing, but what kind of data do those assets come into contact with? To create an effective risk management plan, it’s essential to understand precisely what types of data your business collects. Depending on the type of data, specific regulatory requirements may apply. For example, if your business comes into contact with PHI, you may be subject to mandatory HIPAA compliance. You must conduct a thorough data audit to determine the types of data your business collects, where it’s stored and who has access to it. A data audit will identify all assets by data types, including all stored data, employee and customer records and employee access privileges.
Conduct a Risk Analysis
Not all assets (and their data) are created equal. Neither do they have the same level of risk associated with them. Cybercriminals may be aware of this, but are you? Conducting a risk analysis is best recommended before implementing a solid cybersecurity risk management solution. A risk analysis will identify which assets may be affected by a cyber attack and assign it a risk level. A thorough risk analysis will identify vulnerabilities and minimize any existing security threats within your systems, hardware, customer data and devices. This brings us to a common question; how do you conduct a risk analysis? A risk analysis is one step within a risk assessment process. During a risk analysis, each individual risk (found in the assessment) will be evaluated individually and assigned a score. Most compliance frameworks, like SOC 2 or ISO 27001, require companies to conduct periodic risk assessments.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities
There’s an expression that says, “Too many cooks spoil the dish.” When it comes to cybersecurity, the same applies. Although each organization member has a crucial role, these roles differ and must be accurately assigned. For example, many organizations take the time to appoint a cyber risk management committee, often led by the organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This ensures that a person is responsible for managing each step in the risk management strategy and dictates who is responsible for managing and monitoring which processes and tasks. Having clearly designated roles and responsibilities also give your personnel a clear understanding of who to turn to regarding guidance, questions, or emergencies.
Prioritize Security Awareness Training
Regardless of your cybersecurity risk management strategy, your employees will always remain your first line of defense, which makes practical security awareness training (SAT) non-negotiable. A strong security posture requires cooperation across all departments. To achieve this, companies should invest in education and training programs that teach staff members how to identify risks and respond in case of a breach and all compliance and regulatory requirements depending on the specific security compliance framework implemented into the organization. How do you know whether you’re choosing the right SAT? We’ve got you covered.
Now that you’ve got the basics covered regarding what to focus on, it’s time to create and implement an effective risk management strategy. Fortunately, you don’t have to take on the task by yourself.
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