How To Measure Cybersecurity Risk?
The top companies now recognise the fact that cybersecurity topics and anything related to them, especially cyber risks, is an essential part of their agendas. The boards and executive leaders from all across the globe want to know how well the cyber risks are managed by the organisations. In the more advanced regions, sectors and given the leaders’ demands along with the cybersecurity investment, the programs also prove their value when it comes to the reduction of risks. Starting from the business executives to the regulators to the customers or public in general, everyone can learn cybersecurity online as it is an essential one.
Now, a cybersecurity risk assessment is all about management, understanding, controlling, and mitigation of cyber risks across the organisation you are associated with. This is an integral part of cybersecurity basics and a vital part of the risk management strategy and data protection efforts of any organisation. Risk assessments are not anything new, and if someone is associated with information security, then they are in the risk management business. As the organisations depend on information technology and information systems to do the business, the risks associated with them also increases, even the ones that were not present before.
What is cybersecurity, and what are the risks?
Cybersecurity risk is nothing but the likelihood of reputational or financial loss that can be measured from zero or null to be on the scale from low to medium to high. There are mainly three factors that contribute to the risk assessment, and they are the threat, the vulnerability of the system, and the reputational or financial damage that might be caused if it is breached or made unavailable.
Now, to assess the risk associated with cyberattacks compromising a particular system, some things should be kept in mind, and that is, there are very few things with zero risk to a business process or information system, and risk simply implies uncertainty. This simply means that if something is bound to happen, then that is not a risk but only a part of general business operations.
Cybercrimes or risks also refer to the potential for business losses of all kinds, such as financial, reputational, operational, productivity-related, or regularity-related, when it comes to the digital domain. So, companies hire experts who are well versed in security practices to give you an example: Stanford cybersecurity courses offered by Stanford University, CISO certifications are some of the best certifications one can opt to become cybersecurity experts.
Now, as for the physical domain, the cyber risks can also cause losses there, such as damaging the operational equipment. However, it should be realised that cyber risks are forms of business risks as well.
Decisions needed to take regarding the best way to reduce cyber risks are often contentious. Considering the overall context that the company operates in, cyber experts should be the ones deciding which efforts are worth prioritising. This is an important decision to make when it comes to any company because, in today’s world, attackers often benefit from organisational indecision on cyber risks.
What is a cybersecurity risk assessment?
The major purpose of cyber risk assessment is to give the details to the ones making the decisions for them to take proper risk responses. Along with this, the cyber risk assessments also provide an executive summary to the executives and directors associated with it for them to acknowledge the cybersecurity concept and make informed decisions about them.
The cybersecurity risk assessment process is concerned with a few concepts rather than topics, and dealing with them is the only way to go ahead. They are:
1. Finding the organisation’s most important information technology assets.
2. The kind of data breach that can be the reason for having an impact on the business, be it from malware or cyber-attacks or human errors.
3. Realising the possible threats and the sources of threat for the organisation.
4. Finding both the internal and external vulnerabilities and the impact that they might have on the organisation if they are exploited, along with the likelihood of exploitation.
5. The importance of cybersecurity comes when it is used to detect cyber threats, attacks and security incidents that can have an impact on the ability of the business to function.
6. And lastly, but one of the most important points is the level of risk that the organisation is capable of taking or is willing to take.
If these are the subjects one is familiar with or can deal with, then going ahead with the task of cyber risk assessment should not be a hard job.
What is the need for performing Cyber Security Risk Assessment?
Several reasons are contributing to the need for performing cybersecurity risk assessment, and some of them are listed below.
1. Reducing the costs that are on a long term basis:
Acknowledging the potential threats and vulnerabilities that have been previously discussed and then taking actions for removing them can help in preventing or reducing the security incidents that might, in turn, save the money of the organisation and reputational damage to the organisation for the long term.
2. An excellent way to provide a cyber risk assessment template for future assessments that others might have to deal with:
One thing that should be clear and that is cybersecurity risk assessments are not one of the processes, and therefore they need to be updated frequently. This means that doing a good job on the first turn might be helpful for the future as it will ensure repeatable processes even with the turnover of the staff.
3. Provides better organisational knowledge:
Now, knowing the vulnerabilities of the organisation can help in giving a clear picture of where the organisation stands, which in turn might help in improving those areas of the organisation that needs improvement.
4. For avoiding data breaches:
Data breaches, as is evident, can have a huge impact on the reputational and financial status of the organisation.
5. For avoiding regulatory issues:
This is mainly for the customer data that is stolen if anyone fails to comply with the organisation.
6. For avoiding application downtime:
The internal or customer-facing systems must always be available and should always function for the staff and customers for them to carry out their jobs.
7. Avoiding data loss:
There are many reasons, such as theft of trade secrets or code or any other key information assets, which can be the reason for losing the business to the competitors.
Besides all of the above-mentioned points, cyber risk assessment is an integral part of risk information management and any organisation’s wider risk management strategy. An organisation usually has personal in-house who can handle or perform a cyber risk assessment. This means having the IT staff who understand how the digital and network infrastructure works along with the executives who know how the information flows and any proprietary organisational knowledge that might be useful during the assessment. The transparency present in the organisation is the key to a thorough cyber risk assessment, and that should be kept in mind.
However, many small businesses can not afford to have the right people present in the house to do a thorough job, and for this reason, they might need to outsource the job of risk assessment to a third party. Some organisations also take the help of cybersecurity software for many tasks, including monitoring the cybersecurity score, preventing breaches, and so on.
In today’s world, given the fact that this is the era of technology, many leading companies have a cyber maturity assessment present in their archives somewhere. Some even execute these programs to achieve certain levels of maturity. However, most of the sophisticated companies are shifting from maturity based cybersecurity models to more risk-based models. This alteration is happening because this new approach allows the companies to apply the correct level of control to all the relevant areas where there is a potential risk. As for the senior leaders, boards and regulators, this simply means more efficient and economically more advanced enterprise risk management.
Now, all of these only pinpoint one thing, and that is, the cybersecurity demand is currently way higher than it ever was in the last few years. As can be seen, many companies are dependent on cybersecurity heavily. This has led to an increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals, and rightfully so. However, to hire professionals, the companies are looking for trained ones with efficient cybersecurity skills.
Now, what can be the best way to prepare oneself as cybersecurity professionals than by taking cybersecurity courses? Great Learning is an excellent institute, as reviewed by the ones who have been a part of the institute, for this purpose. The institute has managed to garner many eyeballs in recent years for its effective yet simple approach to make its students learn about cybersecurity or any other technical courses.
The main motive of the Great Learning online courses is to prepare the next generation of security professionals and strengthen the knowledge of the current practitioners at the same time. The students are made familiar with the basic concepts of cybersecurity while also giving them advanced knowledge of this field during these Great Learning free courses. All of these contribute to the students having a strong foundation in the subject along with the practical knowledge of the field or how exactly everything related to this field works.
So, for anyone who wants to make a career in the technological world or wants to specialise in cybersecurity or even be familiar with this subject specifically, then taking one or more courses in cybersecurity should be the first step towards it.