21 February 2023
Cyber security and risk management
Managing the evolving threat landscape
The cyber security threat landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. News headlines are constantly reporting the latest cyber attack, inevitably leading to financial and reputational damage to the businesses caught up in the data breach.
What is clear is that managing risk and cyber security is no longer optional. Organisations simply must take a strategic approach to identify and manage cyber threats across their entire business landscape. A critical aspect of this risk management process is education and awareness at an organisational level that cyber security is not an IT function, but rather everyone’s responsibility.
In this article we unpack how risk management and cyber security work together strategically to fortify organisational cyber security to effectively manage the evolving threat landscape.
Assessing risk in cyber security
Risk assessment in cyber security is simply the process of identifying, evaluating and securing organisational cyber security. The process is circular and ongoing, as demanded by any robust risk management program, to effectively manage both current and emerging threats to security.
Assessing cyber security risk focuses on identifying how particular threats are likely to impact an organisation’s strategic business objectives. This assists business leaders and key stakeholders to make informed decisions about cyber threats, and the security response required to reduce that risk.
Ultimately a risk assessment will identify cyber security threats and vulnerabilities across the organisation and outline the consequences and impact a cyber attack will have on the business, including loss of data, downtime, financial costs and reputational damage.
A strategic approach to prioritising and managing cyber threats
New threats are constantly emerging, and it’s never going to be possible to completely eliminate all cyber attacks and system vulnerabilities. But a robust risk management strategy provides a detailed roadmap for addressing known threats, cyber attacks and critical flaws in the system.
There are a range of frameworks for completing a cyber security risk assessment, but we like to use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. This framework contains more than 100 best practice security actions across five critical cyber security functions to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from a cyber attack.
Specifically, the framework covers:
- Identify – Develop an understanding of cyber security risk to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities at an organisational level.
- Protect – Develop and implement appropriate safeguards to ensure ongoing delivery of critical services.
- Detect – Implement the right processes to identify a cyber security attack.
- Respond – Develop an action plan for dealing with a detected cyber security incident.
- Recover – Maintain plans for organisational resilience and restore any processes and services damaged due to a cyber security incident.
While this may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, the NIST framework covers the critical steps of identifying and documenting key vulnerabilities, known and emerging threats, the business impact of an attack and the organisational response required to strengthen cyber security.
Striking a balance between enterprise risk management and cyber security
It’s critical that organisations strike a balance between risk management and cyber security. Information is key as these decisions ultimately come down to a solid understanding of the risk profile across the business. This includes understanding the individual risk to core business objectives and priorities, continuity of operations, reputation and of course, the bottom line.
- Identify where each cyber security risk sits within your fits within your organisations predetermined level of acceptable risk.
- Prioritise risks by importance.
- Decide how you will respond to each risk.
Balance is achieved by clearly identifying and articulating these risks and empowering decision-makers and key stakeholders to act according to the agreed strategy.
A cyber security risk assessment is an opportunity to understand your current and desired cyber security posture. It also provides a platform for emphasising the importance of cyber security at all levels of the business and allows leaders and teams to make informed decisions about security and risk.
Remember that cyber security risk management is a continual process, and the risks will continually change as the cyber threat landscape evolves, and your systems and activities evolve. Monitor cyber security risks and ensure they are still acceptable to your organisation and to your strategy, and make changes as required.
It takes a robust cyber defence to manage emerging threats within enterprise and industrial digital environments. Orro can help your organisation prepare a comprehensive cyber security strategy that will help you balance your risk management and cyber security response.
Find out more at www.orro.group/services/cyber.
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