Staying on top of your cybersecurity management isn’t optional — it’s necessary. In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, being prepared for potential risks and having security measures in place keeps your business safe from vulnerabilities. Cyber attacks can cripple a business, so having a cybersecurity risk management strategy is vital.
But what exactly is cybersecurity risk management? And how should you implement a risk management framework in your own business? This article will help you understand how to enforce information security and create a risk management program that protects you from data breaches and the potential impact of cybersecurity threats.
To begin, let’s figure out what cybersecurity risk management is. Simply put, cybersecurity risk management is a process of identifying, evaluating, analyzing, and creating solutions for potential cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity risk management is an ongoing process that you must consistently reinforce to protect your business.
When verifying your business's security, there are a few risk management checklist items you want to go over. You need to understand what types of threats you might come across in order to protect yourself from them. Here are a few of the most common types of cybersecurity risks:
Malware, or “malicious software,” is the umbrella category for a number of cybersecurity issues: ransomware, spyware, viruses, etc. It’s any intrusive software designed to disrupt, damage, or steal data from a network server. Often, hackers will try to trick employees into installing malware via email attachments or malicious links, so the hackers can then run the malware program and damage your systems and computers. Once they have access, they can do significant damage, like stealing passwords, data, or money.
Ransomware is a type of malware that has increased dramatically over the past few years. In a ransomware attack, the malware will encrypt crucial files in your system so you can’t access them. They will then demand a “ransom,” usually in the form of cryptocurrency, before they will unlock the files and give you access again.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) or Denial of Service (DoS) attack occurs when hackers use false requests and fake traffic to overwhelm your servers and crash your systems. This can hurt your business operations and damage your reputation.
A Man in the Middle (MitM) attack can happen if you or your employees are on public Wi-Fi networks, which hackers can compromise easily. Hackers can intercept the data exchanged on these networks and use it for their own purposes. For example, if you check a company bank account using the free Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop, a hacker could steal the login information.
Phishing is another type of common cybersecurity attack that targets employees in a business. The criminal will send an email or text that appears to come from someone of authority, such as a company higher-up or a government official. They will ask victims to reply with sensitive data information they can use to take over accounts or steal your data.
A Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) attack will occur when criminals steal the credentials of an employee with access to corporate accounts like banking information and secure data servers. They will usually wire transfer money to their own accounts with that information.
As you may have noticed from some of the risks listed above, hackers tend to use similar channels to implement their attacks. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy in most cases: There are over 1,000 cyberattacks on organizations worldwide every week. This is why it's so crucial to have the three main types of cybersecurity measures in place to improve (and maintain) good security posture:
Most cyberattacks occur over your company network. That means that having network security in place will protect you from most attacks. These security measures might include data loss prevention and next-generation firewalls to help protect your networks.
Another important type of security is cloud security. As more and more businesses turn to cloud-based solutions to help them with business operations, you need to make sure that your cloud is secure from attacks. That could include measures like cloud security policies and data breach protections from third-party security firms.
While many businesses are turning to cloud-based solutions, your organization still needs physical security in your buildings. Personal computers, on-premise servers, and files can all be accessed physically, so you need security measures in place not just online, but in the tangible world, too.
Cybersecurity risk management is a process that has clearly defined steps. To protect your assets effectively, you need to understand what that process is and how you can follow it in your business practices.
The first step is cybersecurity risk assessment. Consider what the implications of a cybersecurity attack could mean for your business and what existing vulnerabilities you have that could lead to a cyber attack. Consider asking yourself:
Once you’ve identified the risks, you can start to assess them and understand the real-time risks you face without the right cybersecurity risk management plan.
Start this process by naming all notable assets and how valuable or important they are to your business functions. Then determine the impact that a disruption or loss of those assets would mean.
Once you analyze your assets, you can prioritize them. Ask yourself:
From there, you can put together a plan to mitigate risks for your top priorities first, then move down the list until all of your assets have a mitigation plan in the case of a cyberattack.
Cybersecurity doesn't stop at the first analysis; you need ongoing monitoring to continually assess your assets and put together plans to protect them. This can prevent your business from growing stagnant and relying on outdated information and systems to protect your data and guard your networks. Consider implementing the following measures:
Cybersecurity has many different frameworks that you can implement to help identify and mitigate risks so you aren’t struggling to figure out risks and areas of vulnerability on your own. Here are the frameworks you need to know:
The Department of Defense Risk Management Framework (DoD RMF) has defined guidelines for DoD agencies to follow to manage cybersecurity risks, organized into six sections:
The Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework helps businesses measure, analyze, and understand the different information risks that they are vulnerable for. The process helps guide enterprises along the process of making the best decisions for their data and creating good cybersecurity practices.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a cybersecurity framework that sets a standard for systematically managing cybersecurity risks and protecting information systems. There is both an ISO 27001 standard and an ISO 31000 standard that you can use to help mitigate risks.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) is one of today's most popular frameworks. It contains a comprehensive set of best practices to help you standardize your risk management solutions. It also has a list of activities to help you with the core functions of risk management, which they define as:
Now let's look at some of the best practices you can follow to implement a successful cybersecurity risk management strategy.
Risk assessment is necessary to effectively and efficiently roll out new cybersecurity measures. A documented process can help you assess different risks and have a plan in place. Additionally, companies like HyperComply can use AI tools to accelerate security reviews and keep your business moving forward.
Selecting and adopting a risk management framework takes the hard work out of putting together your cybersecurity processes. Using one of the frameworks listed above, you can control your efforts and stay compliant with preset rules and regulations, making applying your process easier.
Your entire business needs to be aware of the risks of a cybersecurity attack and be vigilant for any threats against the company. By creating a risk management culture at work, you can distribute cybersecurity responsibility across your entire workforce and work towards the same goals so everyone can do their part:
Your cyber hygiene is just like personal hygiene: it requires daily practice and preventive measures to keep things nice and neat. You can head off many cybersecurity vulnerabilities with practices like:
When a security breach occurs, you can’t sit around waiting for ideas on what to do. You need to have quick measures in place to respond to security breaches and protect your company, data, and customers. Take the time to document these plans so your incident response team can take immediate action when the need arises.
Cybersecurity is important, but shouldn't consume your day-to-day operations. HyperComply can help you automate security reviews and make cybersecurity easier for your team, so your personnel can focus on their work and keep your organization running smoothly. Check out HyperComply to see how we simplify risk assessments for businesses like yours.
Here are a few top reasons why cybersecurity management should be a priority at your business.
When your company faces a cybersecurity attack, your data isn’t the only thing at risk. Your brand can suffer reputational damage that can be hard to recover from. Customers might not trust you with their data if you have had a breach, and you might lose stock and standing in the public eye if you pay a ransom to hackers.
Having cybersecurity measures in place helps protect you from other types of cybersecurity risks like fraud. The tactics you implement will need to stand up to internal security measures that can help you notice other suspicious activity in your business and give you options for addressing those concerns.
Phishing scams rely on the unpreparedness of your teams and your employees. Cybersecurity measures will help train and inform these employees, so they know not to click on suspicious emails and report any potential phishing emails or messages to the IT department or your security team.
Companies like HyperComply give businesses more control over their cybersecurity processes with automation for threat mitigation. This helps you control your vendors and go through assessments without taking away from important company time and slowing down your business processes.
Managing your cybersecurity risks is essential to protecting your business. At HyperComply, we understand how important it is to stay on top of cybersecurity risk management tasks. That’s why we offer automation and tools to help you accomplish your goals. Get started with HyperComply today to learn more.