Cybersecurity issues are becoming more problematic for businesses of all sizes: According to PurpleSec (2021), cybercrime surged by 600% during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the costs of cybercrime are increasing at a startling rate. Implementing an effective risk management program is an essential component of defending against cyberattacks. In this article, learn how to develop a cybersecurity risk management framework and why doing so should be a top priority for chief information security officers (CISOs) and organizations as a whole.
What Is Cybersecurity Risk Management?
Cybersecurity risk management is the process of identifying, analyzing, and addressing an organization’s IT security risks to prevent future cyberattacks and account for ongoing cyberthreats. To prevent cybercrime, IT professionals must develop a robust cybersecurity framework that adheres strictly to relevant guidelines, standards, and best practices.
Why Does Cybersecurity Risk Management Matter?
Maintaining an effective cybersecurity risk management program is complex but essential. Examining risks and their potential impact enables organizations to create strategic goals and lessen the risk of cyberthreats. When a risk management framework is implemented correctly, it allows organizations to better understand the full range of risks they face. The greater an organization’s understanding of these risks, the better it will be able to implement proactive measures.
Creating a cybersecurity risk management plan increases awareness of cyberthreats across your entire organization. Having a preventive strategy in place can:
- Mitigate cyberattacks and the damage associated with cyber risks
- Reduce operational costs
- Protect business assets and revenue
- Improve organizational reputation
Developing a Cybersecurity Risk Management Framework
This risk management program checklist will improve your cybersecurity risk assessment and ability to prevent malicious attacks, including those involving malware, phishing, and ransomware.
1. Understand the Security Landscape
Security teams need to have a clear overview of their organization’s security landscape. Knowing everything from the location of servers and devices to the location of pathways leading to fire exits is essential. Without a clear perspective on your organization’s security architecture, tackling security issues will take longer.
2. Identify Gaps
Prioritize the most pressing security risks by using penetration testing methodologies to identify cybersecurity weaknesses. Risk assessment involves identifying security gaps and flaws before a breach happens. This assessment (and follow-up actions taken) will help reduce the severity of potential consequences.
3. Create a Team
Building a cybersecurity team to address emerging threats is challenging, mainly because ongoing cybersecurity risk mitigation requires a committed, highly experienced group of security professionals. It’s generally best to improve cybersecurity starting within your organization. To do so, build your internal staff’s skills through risk management training and programs to enhance productivity, rather than hiring skilled workers externally.
4. Assign Responsibilities
Maintaining cybersecurity is not something that IT teams should handle alone. To effectively prevent breaches, every employee in an organization must be aware of possible risks. Assign policies and tasks to different departments to create an optimized strategy that outlines which teams are responsible for which actions in the event of an intrusion. Clearly delineate duties and responsibilities to safeguard against cybersecurity weaknesses associated with the human factor, particularly employee negligence.
5. Prioritize Risk Management Training
Risk management training ensures that employees know how to use the necessary systems and tools to mitigate cybersecurity risks. Implementing a cybersecurity plan at the organizational level requires experienced staff. An employee who is not security aware is a liability.
6. Implement Cybersecurity Awareness Campaigns
After assessing risks, enforce information security policies to prevent disruptions such as security breaches and network outages. Present these policies in a document to ensure that all employees are aware of relevant cyberthreats. The goal is to increase employee awareness of ongoing risks to maintain an optimal security posture.
7. Implement a Risk Management Framework Based on Industry Standards
Enforcing a suitable cyber risk management framework is critical. Cybersecurity risk management frameworks should be based on industry standards and best practices. Remain mindful of the guidelines and penetration testing methodologies presented in common risk management frameworks, such as the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI Security Standards Council, 2018), ISO/IEC 27001 and 27002 (International Organization for Standardization, 2013a, 2013b), the CIS Critical Security Controls (Center for Internet Security, 2021), and the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2018).
8. Develop a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Program
Cybersecurity risk assessment programs help organizations evaluate their vulnerabilities. Risk assessment programs also define the parameters for organizational configurations, assets, responsibilities, and procedures.
9. Create an Incident Response and Business Continuity Plan
An incident response and business continuity plan covers what actions an organization needs to take to ensure that critical processes continue in the event of a disruption. This plan should be frequently tested, developed, and improved to ensure that your organization has recovery strategies in place.
Improve Cybersecurity Risk Management in Your Organization Today!
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Center for Internet Security. (2021). CIS controls (Version 8). https://learn.cisecurity.org/cis-controls
International Organization for Standardization. (2013a). Information technology—Security techniques—Information security management systems—Requirements (ISO Standard No. 27001:2013). https://www.iso.org/standard/54534.html
International Organization for Standardization. (2013b). Information technology—Security techniques—Code of practice for information security controls (ISO Standard No. 27002:2013). https://www.iso.org/standard/54533.html
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2018). Framework for improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity (Version 1.1). United States Department of Commerce. https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.CSWP.04162018
PCI Security Standards Council. (2018). Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standard: Requirements and security assessment procedures (Version 3.2.1). https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/PCI_DSS_v3-2-1.pdf
PurpleSec. (2021). 2021 cyber security statistics: The ultimate list of stats, data & trends. https://purplesec.us/resources/cyber-security-statistics/