10 Considerations for Cybersecurity Risk Management
The modern world is full of advantages and potential, but it is also worth remembering that it is also full of risk, no matter what type of organization or company you are running. It also doesn’t matter what industry you are in, threats that exist out there represent a universal danger, which is why to identify any risks that might threaten your business.
This is called risk management, and it is one of the most critical processes for every company — knowing how to respond if the worst happens, and these risks become real.
Of course, not every risk can be eliminated, no matter how cautious you are. But even so, the awareness of these risks is crucial by itself, as knowing the dangers that you might face is half the job. This is why it is vital to make some considerations regarding your company’s cybersecurity risk management in advance.
Now, if this is all new to you, and you don’t know where to begin — we have come up with the list of 10 considerations for risk management for you to keep in mind. Without further delay, let’s get right into those and see what you should do to strengthen your business and prevent as many threats as possible.
1. Raise awareness among your employees
There is an old but famous saying that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What this means is that you may be fully aware of the dangers that lurk online, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. In other words, you must warn your employees of these threats, and educate them on what may happen unless proper precautions are taken.
According to security researchers, the average cost of cyberattacks is over $1.1 million. This is quite a large sum to gamble with, and it will also represent the least of your concerns in case of a security breach. Don’t forget that any incident could damage your company’s reputation forever. Raise awareness of cybersecurity risks among your employees, and let them know what to look out for.
2. Share responsibility
If your business has its own security or IT department, you have already taken important steps to protect your firm from online threats. However, you must also note that the burden of keeping your company secure cannot fall on the cybersecurity team alone.
Any of your employees could make that one crucial mistake that could doom your business entirely. Phishing attacks and ransomware will see to that. In a way, this is a continuation of our first point, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. It is often the human error that hackers are counting on, rather than hardware or software vulnerabilities.
3. Prioritize risks
As mentioned before, it is impossible for you to protect your business from every single threat, especially if you are a smaller business, with limited resources. This is why you have to prioritize risks and decide what might be the greatest threat to you, and what steps to take to prevent those threats from damaging you.
For example, if you are worried about DDoS attacks and phishing attacks, but you are confident that your employees will not fall for phishing — it is better that you implement technologies that would help you mitigate DDoS attacks than to invest in anti-phishing software. You need to decide which threat is more significant, but also which threat is more probable to have an impact on your business and prepare for the worst one.
4. Learn to react quickly
As you may know, cyberattacks often take time, and that is one of your few advantages against them. Learning that you are under attack early on is an excellent advantage for you because there are steps that you can take to prevent them, or at least reduce their impact if you react early on.
The longer it takes for you and your employees to address the threat, the more damage it is likely to cause. Some studies claim that IT sectors need only an hour to become aware of an attack. Even so, an hour is plenty of time for hackers, and a lot can be done to damage your company during that time. This is why your company’s culture needs to revolve around swift reactions, as much as proper knowledge and protection.
5. Prepare a response plan
Another very important thing is to know what you are going to do once the attack actually happens. Provided that you have identified the risks, and one of the scenarios actually does happen — both you and your team need to know how to react, what needs doing, who is in charge of doing what, and alike.
Simply put, you need an incident response plan, and you need to make it known to all of your employees, but also available to them in order to ensure that they will follow proper steps, even if you are not there at the time of the attack. Having a roadmap that your team can follow when the attack starts is crucial, as the first response will likely be panic, no matter how much you prepared for the potential incident. Sources such as ready.gov provide more cybersecurity risk management tips.
6. Understand the threat environment
As mentioned, being aware of the threats is very important, as knowing what might be coming plays a huge role in preparing yourself. However, knowing where the danger is coming from is just as important, especially as capable hackers could attack from different angles, depending on what their goal is and how they plan to achieve it.
So, you need to find a way to counter risks coming from third parties (supply chain), be aware of the insider threats — whether intentional or victims of phishing — and alike. You need to make sure that your security software is trustworthy, that your hardware is capable of handling decent-sized hits, and that you and your employees know how to recognize threats targeting the human element.
7. Secure your devices
Online threats aim to exploit vulnerabilities in software and hardware, just as much as your own workers who might not be aware of the dangers targeting your company. What does this mean? Well, it means that you must always make sure that you always have your software updated. That means that you can’t skip updates, whether they are for the OS you use, or specific apps and programs, anti-virus and anti-malware solutions, and more.
Further, you should also always be aware of the strength of your passwords, such as the admin password for your business’ website. Weak or predictable passwords can result in your site being hijacked. Further, if you are using any IoT devices, you must make sure to protect them with strong enough passwords as well. Not changing the default password on such devices is one of the main reasons why they are hacked, which could lead to spying on you or misusing the device for moving deeper into your company’s systems.
8. Make sure that your employees understand you
Once again, we return to the human element. However, this time, the issue is not teaching your employees what to expect or how to handle it. Instead, we believe that you need to be aware of how you communicate with them. In other words, you need to be sure that they understand what you are saying.
This might seem obvious at first, but a lot of situations would have been handled better if the employees understood what it is that their employers needed, which is not always the case. Sometimes, the employee might think that they know, or they are afraid to admit that they don’t get the ‘technical talk.’
It will benefit everyone if you can translate tech-speak into the business talk, use analogies, and explain the problems in terms that anyone could understand. In this day and age, it might seem impossible that someone wouldn’t understand something that you may consider to be basic. However, it still happens, and the entire company may suffer because of it.
9. Keep track of hacking trends
People often have a wrong understanding of how hacking works. To those who are entirely unaware of different hacking methods and trends, all of them look exactly the same. Once you understand different kinds (and levels) of threats, it is not uncommon to think that each hacker does their own thing, targeting specific targets, and using specific methods.
There are instances where this is true, but a lot of the time, hackers would simply follow the current trend. If the pattern is ransomware, you need to expect that this is now the main threat to your business, simply because it is a trend. The same goes for any other approach that is popular at any given time. This is why you need to follow hacking news and use them to your advantage, and to change your security to fit the dangers.
10. Know what it is that you are protecting
Finally, last but not least, you need to understand what you are trying to protect. Your approach to security can largely depend on what it is that you are protecting, Some aspects of your business are more important to you than others, which is why they have an advantage when it comes to protection. Our Risk Intelligence services often find surprising vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities would have remained unprotected otherwise.
For example, trading platforms need to protect money. Research institutions need to safeguard information. Healthcare institutions need to protect user data, Every business has its own goals, and to achieve them, it uses different resources. This is what drives that business and what needs protection. There are a few questions that you must ask yourself, which is what data you wish to protect, what critical services and systems do you have, who is impacted if the systems are compromised, what are the consequences, and alike.
Knowing this will allow you to choose a proper approach to protecting crucial data, and as such, it is one of the first steps that you should take when organizing your security.
Running a business is hard, regardless of its type, industry, and other factors. The fact that the current online world is brimming with threats that could destroy your company due to the slightest mistake is not helping either. This is why we believe that information is the key to success, and that means that both you and your workers need to know what you are up against.
The logical next step is to be aware of where the threats are coming from, what those threats might be, and how to prepare for them. If you manage to stop the attacks, that’s great. If you do not, you need to know what to do to control the amount of damage you will experience. Finally, you need to know what it is that you are protecting, what matters most, and what is the best approach to protecting it. Following these instructions will not make you immune to threats, but you will reduce them significantly, and save your business in the process.