There are three primary reasons all risk professionals should actively manage cyber risk and apply cybersecurity risk management practices: to comply with regulations, its frequency, and its severity. Our practices include: Risk Monitoring; Data Asset Monitoring; Risk Planning; Employee Preparation; Protocol Enforcement; Technological Environment. To move above and beyond compliance, organisations can proactively mitigate against cyber risk and use this as a competitive advantage within their industry.
Risk environment monitoring
It’s no exaggeration that nay organisation can fall victim to cyber crime. Reports of cyber attacks come from government organisations, educational and healthcare institutions, banks, law firms, non profit, and many other organisations. Hackers, insider threats, ransomware, and other dangers are out there.
An organisation should continuously monitor potential risks and explore new trends as they arise to determine what will be most likely to impact the organisation. To create a thorough understanding of the risk environment it is necessary to quantify exposures and vulnerabilities. Cyber risk factors can include changes in hacker strategies, you may identify a new gap in the security system, or technology may be updated leaving current systems out-of-date.
Data asset monitoring
An organisation should identify the most valuable data assets stored in their system and monitor them regularly. These assets will include confidential information such as credit card information and/or trade secrets, which are more likely to be the target of cyber criminals, so should be guarded closely.
Response and continuity plans for cyber risk scenarios should be developed, usually by brainstorming potential situations and determining a course of action for each one. With cyber attacks, it is important to remember that one problem can impact the entire organisation, so ensure that the entire organisation is developed into the plan.
The plan must be developed, discussed and accepted by key stakeholders, ensuring that each employee will know their role and can act quickly if the situation arises. A prompt and organised response can prevent a problem from escalating when the situation arises.
The completed cyber risk plan must be communicated to all employees. The procedures must be formally implemented throughout the organisation and their importance stressed. Cybersecurity and risk mitigation must become an integral part of the organisation’s culture and values.
Management support buy-in
Senior management must buy-in to the risk management activities. In the current climate of active threats that cyber risk presents, this shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish. Senior management should embody the secure practices set out by the risk management policies and procedures, to send a clear message to employees that the appropriate behaviour is expected.
Cyber risk is not solely the responsibility of the risk department or IT. It is important that the risk management function is no longer siloed, and all departments should be encouraged to contribute to the risk function.
All employees should be trained and educated to act in the most appropriate ways regarding cyber risks, their policies and procedures. The risk management function should actively create awareness for issues and promote a safety culture. The cyber risk protocols should be well defined, to reduce the human factors of cyber risk, as many breaches come from an internal source, whether from an accidentally created vulnerability or intentional malicious action.
Social engineering is a common issue relating from employees, which uses strategies such as phishing to trick people into revealing confidential information. Working with employees on cybersecurity reduces the potential occurrence of these issues.
Strengthen external relationships
The organisation needs appropriate relationships with response teams in the event of a breach. Functions such as public relations, media, and lawyers may be crucial in responding to a cyber attack or data breach and its aftermath.
An additional risk arises from data sharing with external parties, although it is necessary and beneficial for almost all organisations. The risk function should ensure that the organisation is not over-reliant on external parties.
Due diligence should be performed on any third party before sharing any type of data. On their privacy, security, and technology standards to ensure that they can be trusted with confidential information, with certifications, contracts, and other information acquired.
Although cloud-based solutions are typically more secure than traditional storage systems, in relation to risk management, it is always best to be cautious.
Security protocol enforcement
Install end-to-end security on all devices. Across the organisation, create and enforce password policies with a required level of security and change frequency. If employees use their own devices to complete work from off-site, ensure that this data is also password-protected and encrypted.
Authentication and user roles can be used to ensure that no one enters the system without permission, if they do, any changes to data will be monitored. Server protections and certifications can be obtained to ensure that systems are not vulnerable to outside attacks.
Ensure that all data is regularly backed up and that all off-site back-ups are complete and up-to-date. This will ensure that if a cyber attack happens, valuable data won’t be lost.
When possible, consolidate systems and information into one source. If information is scattered across multiple locations, it will be much harder to protect and monitor. Simplifying the system can also create efficiencies for the IT function, allowing them more time to focus on actively reducing cyber risk
Technological environment change
Technology is constantly changing, and systems must evolve to keep up with it. the risk function should consider industry standards, competitors, and internal needs when deciding to implement new technology. While large pieces of equipment obviously cannot be replaced with every new iteration, they should still be updated and maintained to ensure they remain up to standard. An old, weak system is an excellent target for hackers.
Cyber risk is one of the most prevalent threats in any industry today, hence risk professionals are rightly extremely concerned about it. However, with careful thought and action, the risk can be reduced to a manageable level. Many hackers look for easy targets when planning their next attack, so if an organisation is reasonably protected, there is a reduced risk of being a victim.
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