The Definition of Cyber Security Risk Management
Cyber risk management is the process of identifying, analysing, and responding to potential threats and vulnerabilities related to cyber security.
It includes the development of strategies and procedures for mitigating risks, ensuring the security of data, networks, and systems, and responding to cyber incidents.
Cyber risk management involves various activities, such as assessing the potential impact of cyber threats, implementing appropriate security controls, monitoring and responding to cyber threats, and regularly testing and reviewing information security measures.
An Overview of Cyber Security Risk Management
Cyber risk management is critical to an organisation’s overall risk management strategy. It helps ensure the secure and reliable operation of systems and networks.
Cyber risk management involves assessing the potential for malicious actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities in systems and networks and identifying possible threats and vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.
It also involves developing, implementing, and maintaining policies, procedures, and controls to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack.
Cyber risk management also includes evaluating the impact of a potential attack and developing incident response plans (contingency plans) to identify and mitigate any possible damage quickly.
Cyber Security Frameworks
A cybersecurity framework is a set of guidelines, standards, and best practices designed to manage cybersecurity risk.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is a widely used voluntary framework comprising standards, guidelines, and best practices.
These frameworks typically cover areas such as identifying risks, protecting against threats, detecting incidents, responding to attacks, and recovering from them.
How to Identify Cyber Security Risks
Organisations must identify, quantify, and evaluate risks to protect their data, networks, and systems.
Risk assessment, security policy creation, network monitoring, security solution implementation, and employee education are all critical components of a comprehensive cybersecurity risk management strategy.
By taking the following measures, organisations can protect themselves from cyber threats and ensure the security of their data:
- Conduct a risk assessment: a risk assessment is a process used to identify, quantify, and evaluate the potential risks associated with any given system or environment. It includes analysing the security posture, identifying threats and vulnerabilities, and determining the likelihood or impact of an attack.
- Create a security policy: a security policy is a document that outlines the rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure the security of an organisation’s data, networks, and systems. It should include guidelines for user access, acceptable use of systems, network security measures, and response procedures in the event of a breach.
- Monitor the network: network monitoring is the process of monitoring the activity of a network for any suspicious or malicious activity. A sound monitoring system should be able to detect and alert administrators of any suspicious activity.
- Implement security solutions: the right solutions can help protect an organisation from cyber threats. Solutions like firewalls, anti-virus software, and intrusion detection systems can help mitigate cyber threats.
- Educate employees: educate employees about cybersecurity threats and best practices is essential in protecting an organisation from cyber threats. Employees should understand the risks associated with their activities and the importance of following security policies.
What Are the Categories of Cyber Security Risks
Organisations should be aware of various cyber risks, including social engineering, data breaches, malware, phishing, and denial of service attacks.
Organisations can protect their data, networks, and systems from cyber threats by identifying, quantifying, and evaluating the following types of risks:
- Social engineering: a cyber attack that involves manipulating people into revealing confidential information or allowing access to restricted systems. These attacks often leverage social engineering techniques such as phishing, fishing, and pretexting
- Data breaches: the unauthorised access of sensitive or confidential information. Malicious actors, human error, or system vulnerabilities can cause these attacks
- Malware: malicious software designed to gain access to a system, steal data, or cause damage. Common types of malware include viruses, worms, trojans, and ransomware
- Phishing: a type of social engineering attack that involves sending emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source to trick the recipient into revealing sensitive information or clicking malicious links
- Denial of service (DoS): attacks are attempts to make a system or service unavailable by flooding it with malicious traffic. These attacks can cause significant damage by disrupting services and preventing users from accessing the system or service
How to Analyse Cyber Security Risks
Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as the number and complexity of cyber threats continue to grow.
Organisations must understand cyber risks’ probability and impact to protect themselves from potential attacks.
This section will discuss how organisations can evaluate the probability and impact of cyber risks to develop an effective risk mitigation strategy.
How to Evaluate the Probability and Impact of Cyber Security Risks
- Identify potential cyber risks: the first step in evaluating the probability and impact of cyber risks is to identify potential risks. This can be done by conducting a risk assessment. A risk assessment identifies existing cyber threats, internal weaknesses, and external vulnerabilities. It also provides an understanding of the likelihood of a cyber attack and the potential impact of a successful attack on the organisation.
- Assess probability and impact: once potential cyber risks have been identified, assessing each risk’s probability and impact is essential. The frequency of occurrence and the likelihood of a successful attack determines probability. The effect is determined by the damage an attack could cause and the financial and reputational losses that could result.
- Establish a risk mitigation strategy: once the probability and impact of cyber risks have been evaluated, a risk mitigation strategy should be established. This strategy should include steps to reduce the likelihood and mitigate the effects of potential attacks. This could consist of implementing security measures, deploying security awareness training, establishing a breach response plan, and monitoring for threats.
- Monitor and reevaluate: it is vital to monitor and review cyber risks regularly. This helps to ensure that the risk mitigation strategy remains effective and that any new risks are addressed promptly.
How to Assess the Overall Risk Level
The overall risk level of cyber risks can be assessed using qualitative and quantitative methods.
Qualitatively, organisations can assess their cyber risks by evaluating their current security controls, analysing the potential threats and vulnerabilities, and conducting a risk assessment.
Quantitatively, organisations can use metrics such as the annualised loss expectancy, the single loss expectancy, the value at risk, and the threat exposure index to assess the overall risk level of cyber risks.
Additionally, organisations may use specialised tools such as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to measure the maturity of their security programs. The CMMC is an assessment framework and assessor certification program designed to increase trust in compliance measures to various standards.
How to Control and Mitigate Cyber Risks
Developing a Cyber Risk Management Plan
Developing a cyber risk management plan requires understanding the company’s current security state, goals, and threats.
The plan should be tailored to the organisation’s unique needs and updated regularly as the security landscape changes, and include the following:
- Perform a risk assessment: the first step in developing a cyber risk management plan is to assess the organisation’s current security posture. This should include a comprehensive review of the organisation’s systems and applications and any external threats. The risk assessment should identify any potential weak points in the organisation’s security and any areas vulnerable to attack.
- Develop a risk management strategy: once the risk assessment is complete, the organisation can develop a strategy. This should include a plan for mitigating any identified risks and outlining any preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of future attacks.
- Establish cybersecurity policies and procedures: establishing clear policies and procedures is essential in any cyber risk management plan. These should cover topics such as acceptable use of company systems, data security, user authentication and access control, and incident response.
- Implement security measures: after developing a risk management plan and policies and procedures, it is time to implement them. This may involve deploying firewalls and anti-virus software, encrypting sensitive data, and monitoring user activity.
- Train employees: cyber security is essential to any risk management plan. Training should cover password security, safe browsing practices, and recognising suspicious emails.
- Monitor and test systems: regularly monitoring and testing the organisation’s systems and procedures is essential to identify and address any security vulnerabilities.
- Update the plan regularly: the cyber risk management plan should be updated periodically as the security landscape changes. This may involve changing policies and procedures, deploying new security measures, or updating employee training.
Implementing Cyber Security Controls
Implementing cybersecurity controls can be achieved through a variety of methods. The most common methods include the following:
- Implementing network security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software, can help protect systems from malicious activity
- Implementing access controls: access controls allow users to access only the resources they need to perform their job functions. Access controls can be based on user roles, passwords, or other authentication methods
- Establishing user awareness and training: training users on cyber security best practices can help them recognise and respond to potential threats
- Establishing data classification policies: establishing policies to classify data based on sensitivity can help ensure that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive information
- Implementing encryption and data protection: encryption and data protection can help protect data from unauthorised access
- Monitoring systems and networks: regularly monitoring systems and networks can help identify potential threats and help organisations respond quickly to them
- Implementing identity and access management: identity and access management solutions can help organisations manage who has access to their systems and resources
- Implementing vulnerability management solutions: vulnerability management solutions can help identify and patch vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them
Monitoring Cyber Security Performance
Monitoring cybersecurity performance is a vital part of ensuring system security. Tracking the performance of security measures can help organisations quickly identify and address potential threats, allowing them to protect their valuable data and systems.
It involves regularly assessing the security posture of a system, identifying weaknesses, and taking steps to address them.
This can include monitoring network traffic, analysing system logs, and running security scans to detect and address vulnerabilities.
Additionally, organisations should regularly evaluate their security policies and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and effective.
Cyber Risk Management framework is the process of identifying, analysing, and responding to potential threats and vulnerabilities related to cyber security.
It includes assessing the potential impact of cyber threats, developing strategies and procedures to control and mitigate risks, implementing security controls, monitoring and responding to cyber threats, and regularly testing and reviewing security measures.
Additionally, organisations should be aware of different categories of cyber risks and use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the overall risk level.
Finally, a comprehensive cyber risk management plan should be established, including steps to reduce the probability and mitigate the impact of potential attacks and regularly monitoring and testing systems.