Cyberattacks can affect any organization and this 5 step guide to cyber risk assessment can help with your cybersecurity.
However, businesses with superior risk management are less likely to suffer from data breaches.
To achieve resilience, all potential risks must be meticulously calculated, and control measures applied to mitigate them.
How does a cyber risk work?
In cybersecurity, risk refers to the probability of damage to sensitive data, critical assets, finances, or reputation. Cyberattacks and data breaches are usually responsible for these damages.
Some risks are more critical than others, some are less critical.
When only static information is displayed on a website, the level of risk is lower than when sensitive information is accessed via a web application.
Calculating cyber risk involves considering the identified security threat, its vulnerability, and its likelihood of exploitation.
The following can be quantified at a high level:
Cyber risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Information Value.
Security vulnerabilities are referred to as cyber risk, cyber threat, and security threat interchangeably.
The following are examples of cyber risks:
- Data leaks
- Data breaches
- Social engineering
- Insider threats
The best way to mitigate cyber risks.
Identifying the target ecosystem is the first step in mitigating cyber risks. A risk assessment of the internal network and the network of third-party vendors is carried out to achieve this.
Business objectives are crucial to the success of these risk assessments.
Short-term project objectives should also consider cyber risks.
To manage project risks effectively, cyber risk assessment should be an integral part of the risk management process.
Risks associated with exposed assets should be identified in a cybersecurity risk assessment.
Considering a defined risk appetite, either a qualitative or a quantitative risk analysis follows. All risk responses will be specified based on the results.
Rather than assigning a specific dollar value to risk, qualitative risk analysis categorizes the risks into categories. When security risks are classified according to their criticality, they can be addressed faster.
The first step is to specify acceptable levels of risk.
All security risks should not be addressed, as it would be an inefficient use of security resources.
There are four categories of risks that can be classified according to a risk appetite:
- By adjusting program requirements, you can reduce or eliminate risks.
- Recognize risks without taking action to address them.
- Minimize risk impact and probability by implementing control measures.
- Maintain a close eye on the severity of risks.
While the most tender process of cybersecurity – digital transformation – is underway, this will also ensure the most critical threats are addressed first.
In risk management, risk appetite determines the threshold.
Calculate residual risk and risk appetite.
There are different risk thresholds for different assets. Identifying all exposed assets is therefore crucial to assigning them unique thresholds.
Mapping your digital footprint will help you identify all relevant assets and their potential risks.
Discover how to create a digital footprint.
The second step is to choose a risk assessment.
There are two primary objectives of risk assessments:
- Identifying all risks in a target environment.
- Informing stakeholders and decision-makers about the security process.
It is possible to choose from a variety of risk assessment standards. To ensure resilience against industry-specific risks, some are mandatory for highly regulated sectors.
The following are some popular assessment standards:
- NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- CIS Controls (Center for Internet Security Controls)
- ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
- PCI-DSS (The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
- SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act)
- COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies)
- FISMA (Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014)
- FedRAMP (The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program)
- FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974)
- ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)
- COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule)
- NERC CIP Standards (NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards)
An assessment template can be used to create each of these assessments manually. Checklists like this one can be used for high-level vendor assessments.
Using a custom questionnaire builder, you can create your own assessment if your needs do not align with any of the above standards.
A security risk management tool such as Cyber security teams can be used to speed up the risk analysis process.
Cyber security teams
Are there any cyber security questionnaires your organization might need?
- ISO 27001 Questionnaire
- Short Form Questionnaire
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework Questionnaire
- PCI DSS Questionnaire:
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Questionnaire
- Modern Questionnaire:
- Pandemic Questionnaire
- Security and Privacy Program Questionnaire
- Web Application Security Questionnaire
- Infrastructure Security Questionnaire
- Physical and Data Centre Security Questionnaire:
- COBIT 5 Security Standard Questionnaire
- ISA 62443-2-1:2009 Security Standard Questionnaire
- ISA 62443-3-3:2013 Security Standard Questionnaire
- GDPR Security Standard Questionnaire
- CIS Controls 7.1 Security Standard Questionnaire
- NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 4 Security Standard Questionnaire
The third step is to prioritize risks.
The level of criticality should be assigned to all unacceptable risks. By creating a risk matrix, we can determine the likelihood of any risk being exploited by threat actors and its impact on sensitive resources.
A risk matrix should be used to analyze all potential hazards and risk scenarios identified through security questionnaires and risk assessments.
When responding to an incident, vulnerabilities with a critical risk level should be prioritized since exploitation will negatively impact your organization’s security and business operations.
As a result, we will be able to distinguish high-risk from low-risk potential remediation programs, which will allow us to improve the efficiency of our remediation efforts.
Vendor tiering is a process used to optimize vendor risk management by applying the same classification strategy to third-party risks.
The fourth step is to implement security controls.
Once hazards have been identified, security controls can be implemented for all types of risk.
Security scores, which assess security posture based on multiple attack vectors, should be used to measure the effectiveness of each risk management process.
It is possible that a drop in security score is indicative of new risks that should be fed through steps 3 and 4.
You should deploy Multi-Factor Authentication throughout your IT infrastructure as the most basic and most effective form of access control.
The role of cyber security teams in mitigating cyber risks
Using a comprehensive attack surface monitoring tool, cyber security teams can discover potential risks and cybersecurity threats both within and across your vendor network. Furthermore, this risk management solution manages the remediation process for all discovered risks, enabling organizations to address vulnerabilities before cyberattacks discover them.
To increase the efficacy of your cybersecurity program, your cyber security teams are equipped with multiple tools, including:
- Workflows for risk mitigation
- Discovering information assets
- Management of information security risks
- Report templates for risk assessments
- Workflows for vulnerability assessments
- Discovering potential threats
- Remediation task impact analysis.
- Rating methodology trusted by security experts.
An easy-to-follow guide to securing sensitive information for third-party risk management.
The fifth step is to hire the best managed security service provider (MSSP) that can provide proactive outsourced monitoring and management of your devices and systems.
5 Step Guide to Cyber Risk Assessment has many items to cover and we can help make it easy.
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