Cybersecurity Risk Management In The Real World

By   Ryan Swann
CEO & Founder , RiskSmart | Dec 05, 2022 09:37 am PST

New cyber risks, data breaches, attack trajectories, and undisclosed vulnerabilities emerge every year. In 2022 alone, 71% of organisations were hit by ransomware attacks, with more than 60% paying the ransom to retrieve the damaged data. One unsettling truth emerges from the present environment of cybersecurity risk management: controlling cyber risk throughout an organization is more challenging than ever. However, the cyber threat response strategy remains the same: a solid risk management framework with a systematic risk assessment and response strategy.

Cybersecurity risk management extends the concept of real-world risk management to cyber threats. A resilient cybersecurity risk management approach relies on mitigating the consequences of uncertainties in a cost-effective and resource-efficient way. Ideally, risk management aids in the early identification of risks and the implementation of suitable mitigations to prevent events or reduce their effect.

Breach of Trust

Cybersecurity breaches are steadily increasing, and it is anticipated that they will reach 15.4 million by 2023. While technological advances have made it easier for businesses to enhance their security systems, malicious attackers are also employing more sophisticated techniques. This implies that, in addition to enforcing tight cybersecurity regulations, organisations must also take proactive steps to mitigate cybersecurity risks.

Businesses  cannot afford to entrust data security to fate. The economic impact may be substantial, with lost revenue, operational interruption, and compromised consumer information. Aside from the financial loss, the reputational ramifications for brands and organisations following an incident may be severe – a clear instance of fundamentals influencing opinion. Data breaches impacted around 118 million people in the first half of 2022 alone. In fact, this year’s data breach numbers were much greater than the previous years. Taking pre-emptive actions is the greatest method to safeguard an organisation’s safety.

Building a Risk Management Culture

Awareness around cybersecurity is more important than ever, and employees must be educated on  how to prevent cyberattacks. According to the World Economic Forum, human error accounts for 95% of cybersecurity breaches. As a result, it is critical that organisations understand what precautions they can take to guarantee their data is secure and protected in the real world. Executives must instil a cybersecurity and risk management culture throughout their organisation.  Adequate staff engagement, responsibility, and training can be ensured by designing a governance structure and conveying intent and expectations.

Creating a cybersecurity-focused culture throughout an organisation, from part-time employees to senior executives, is critical to any risk management strategy. The IT security department cannot bear the entire responsibility of cybersecurity and corporate risk management. While cybersecurity specialists try their best to account for all threats, no risk programme can be properly executed unless everyone in the organisation participates.

Less is More

The fast evolution of the cyber threat landscape, along with limited resources, has exacerbated the necessity to rethink cybersecurity initiatives. Cybersecurity investment reached around $150 billion in 2021, up more than 12% from 2020. Nonetheless, despite increased cybersecurity efforts, cyber-attacks continue.

Historically, organisations and their IT teams have been on the defensive in the face of cyber threats. So much so that companies continue to endeavour to create security policies that attempt to safeguard every aspect of their infrastructure – data centres, resources, networks — everything. Because of the vast number of systems to secure and the evolving cyber threat landscape, the “more is better” approach, while rational at the outset of the cybersecurity struggle, is no longer viable.

CISOs acknowledge that they must manage their cybersecurity budget more strategically. As a result, they are smartly adopting a ‘risk optimisation’ strategy to drive cybersecurity spending based on business objectives. Understanding threats, goals, and business investments to develop a cyber strategy that takes on the appropriate level of risk is what cyber risk optimisation is all about. Aligning the cyber threat discourse with corporate objectives enables smart cybersecurity investment. According to Gartner, the number of boards that consider cybersecurity a business risk has increased from 58% to 88% in the last five years.

Today, managing risk throughout an organisation is more challenging than ever. Modern security landscapes evolve often, and enterprises are challenged by an expansion of third-party vendors, new technology, and a constantly increasing labyrinth of regulations. The pandemic and recession have pushed security and compliance teams to take on additional responsibilities while reducing resources. Within this landscape, it is fundamental for any enterprise to adopt a risk management framework.

Businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional cybersecurity measures. The need is a structural shift in their approach to cybersecurity, from one that is reactive, compartmentalised, and lacks shared corporate context, to one that is integrated, proactive, and speaks the language of the business. The actual costs of implementing a robust and resilient risk management strategy are quantifiable – the damage to a company’s reputation is immeasurable.

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