As an organization, it is important to understand the criticality and sensitivity of the data to which you have access
The prevalence of cyber risk has challenged businesses to adopt more frequent and stringent measures to safeguard confidential data. For many companies, this has meant developing a more centralized approach to risk management, adopting a proactive vs. reactive strategy that can pivot on a moment’s notice in response to new threats. However, even with the increasing need for cyber security standards and growing awareness around cyber risk, many businesses have struggled to implement an effective approach because much of their existing framework is focused on detection and response instead of prevention. But why? Because most organizations are still working from outdated checklists that were originally intended for a different set of risks (e.g., natural disasters or pandemic influenza).
Why Is A Proactive Approach Important?
As an organization, it is important to understand the criticality and sensitivity of the data to which you have access, as well as the services that you provide. This will allow you to identify and prioritize key assets. Additionally, it is important to understand the risk that you are exposed to as a result of your dependence on other organizations’ assets. Understanding the risk of your environment, as well as being aware of new technologies, products, and services, will enable your organization to make more informed decisions about the technology that you adopt. This will help to avoid unnecessary risk and enable you to make better decisions about how to improve the security of your environment.
Why Is A Reactive Assessment Still Important?
A cyber risk assessment is an important step in understanding the criticality and sensitivity of your data and services, as well as the risk exposure that your organization is exposed to. This will help to determine whether or not your organization’s current level of protection is adequate or if it needs to be increased. In order to assess the risk of your environment, it is critical to understand the technology that is being used in your organization. This includes the hardware, software, networks, and data that are being used, as well as the dependencies that your organization has on other organizations’ services. A cyber risk assessment can help you to identify the points of potential risk in your environment and determine whether or not your current level of protection is adequate. This can be done by leveraging the appropriate cyber risk assessment methodology, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework, which has been adopted by the Department of Homeland Security as the official cyber risk assessment methodology for the federal government.
Conducting a Risk Assessment
The first step in conducting a cyber risk assessment is to ensure that you have an understanding of the criticality of your data and the sensitivity level of your services. A key term to keep in mind when assessing your data is “data risk,” which refers to the likelihood that your data will be accessed, altered, or stolen, or that your service will be interrupted due to a cyber incident. This can be done by conducting a data inventory, which involves identifying all the data that is being collected, stored, or transmitted by the organization. This will help to determine what data needs to be better protected. The next step in conducting a cyber risk assessment is identifying the critical services that your organization depends on to function. This can be done by conducting a service inventory, which involves auditing all of the services that are being provided by the organization, as well as all of the third-party services that are being accessed. This allows you to determine which services need to be better protected.
Identifying Critical Data & Services
The next step in conducting a cyber risk assessment is to determine which data and services are critical. This is done by determining which data or services, if lost or stolen, would have a significant impact on your organization’s ability to operate. Critical data and services can be broken down into three categories: - Business-Critical Data - Business-critical data is data whose loss would result in significant monetary loss or reputational damage. Critical data can be broken down into three categories: - Confidential Data - Confidential data is data that, if lost or stolen, would result in significant reputational or financial loss. Confidential data can include protected health information or personally identifiable information, such as credit card information or social security numbers. - Vital Data - Vital data is data that, if lost or stolen, would result in serious negative consequences, such as loss of life, the environment, or public health. Vital data can include patient or medical records, or sensor data that is used to make critical decisions, such as weather data. - Vital Services - Vital services are services that, if interrupted or tampered with, would have serious negative consequences, such as loss of life, the environment, or public health. Vital services can include electricity, water, or healthcare services.
Assessing Vulnerability and Exposure
The next step in conducting a cyber risk assessment is to determine the vulnerability and exposure of each critical asset. This can be done by conducting a risk analysis, in which the likelihood of a cyber incident occurring is determined and compared to the impact that the cyber incident would have on the organization. This will help to determine which assets are at the highest risk. Vulnerability refers to the ease with which an asset can be accessed or altered. Exposure refers to the likelihood that an asset will be attacked. These two factors are critical for understanding the cyber risk that an organization is exposed to. In order to assess vulnerability and exposure, it is critical to understand the technology that is being used in your environment. This includes the hardware, software, networks, and data that are being used, as well as the dependencies that your organization has on other organizations’ services. This will help to identify the points of potential risk in your environment.
Assessing Likelihood of Occurrence
The next step in conducting a cyber risk assessment is to determine the likelihood that a particular risk will occur. This can be done by conducting a risk analysis of a specific cyber risk. This will help to determine the likelihood that the risk will occur. Risks can be broken down into three categories based on likelihood: - Low-Likelihood Risks - Low-likelihood risks are cyber risks that are unlikely to occur. These risks may still be critical to consider, but they are less likely to occur compared to other, more probable, risks. - Medium-Likelihood Risks - Medium-likelihood risks are cyber risks that are likely to occur. These risks are important to consider and are likely to occur given the current state of the environment and the assets that are being used. - High-Likelihood Risks - High-likelihood risks are cyber risks that are extremely likely to occur. These risks are critical to consider and are very likely to occur given the current state of the environment and the assets that are being used.
What Does A Proactive vs. Reactive Strategy Mean?
A proactive vs. reactive strategy means that an organization is taking the time to understand their environment and dependencies, as well as their limitations, in order to make informed decisions about the technology that they adopt. This enables them to identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they result in a cyber incident, as well as identify and respond to new threats before they cause disruption. A proactive vs. reactive strategy enables organizations to ensure that the right controls are in place to prevent cyber incidents from occurring in the first place, as well as to protect critical assets. This can be challenging, especially given the increasing rate of innovation in the technology sector and the new types of threats that are emerging. But by taking the time to understand your environment and dependencies, as well as your limitations, organizations are better equipped to make informed decisions about the technology that they adopt.
If you're new to cyber security protocol implementation, you may find the process overwhelming. You can start by assessing your current cyber security posture to ensure that the above steps are actionable. You can get a comprehensive cyber hygiene assessment tool/report based on Industry standard CIS Controls. Click here to begin. This will give you a detailed report to identify and address your current risks, establish your risk profile, and provide you with action steps.