An Overview Of Analyze Risks and Set Controls In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
Developing a risk evaluation plan involves identifying all of an organization’s assets, vulnerabilities, and threats, as well as analyzing how much damage an attack might do and what controls are necessary to reduce that risk.
Prioritize assets and vulnerabilities as soon as you identify them. Different departments and roles will have differing viewpoints regarding what should be prioritized; seek input from them all before compiling an inventory.
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Table Of Contents
Establishing cybersecurity priorities can be the key to successfully protecting your organization’s assets, providing guidance as you select solutions and risks specific to your company and its needs.
As the first step in setting cybersecurity priorities, it’s essential that you identify and rank data according to its value, risk, and likelihood of being compromised. For instance, unauthorized access to customer credit card data could incur fines and penalties that make protecting it an urgent matter than, say, emails with invoice attachments from company CEOs or delivery records for fuel chain deliveries.
Consider whether any of the data you are protecting will have any significant ramifications for customers and employees; the greater its effect, the higher its priority should be given.
Prioritizing cybersecurity efforts requires determining how much money could be lost from cyber attacks. You can do this by creating a scale of threats, such as data breaches or ransomware attacks, and then calculating their associated financial loss.
Once you have created this scale, it can help your organization prioritize which cybersecurity projects should take priority. Be sure to consider factors like budget and likelihood of success when making this determination.
Next, create a matrix that rates each project against these criteria to help identify which should receive top priority and which may need to wait until later.
Once your list of security priorities is in place, it is vitally important that they are regularly reviewed to ensure they address the most urgent risks. Doing this will allow your cybersecurity program to adapt as new threats emerge or business priorities shift over time.
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Identification of assets is one of the cornerstones of cybersecurity, enabling you to detect vulnerabilities and establish controls to stop them, saving both money and downtime.
No matter the size or scope of your business, identifying its assets is key to protecting its data and systems. Assets include hardware, software, and information (like customer contact data or partner documents that could be compromised via cyber attack) that might be vulnerable to attack.
Use an inventory tool to collect and maintain this data, as well as conduct regular security assessments – which is required of all organizations operating critical assets.
Your assets should be identified by their type, function, and location. A great way to do this is to create a spreadsheet listing all physical and electronic assets you own before labeling each in turn.
Take time to consider questions like: If this asset were compromised, what consequences could this have for your business and operations? Will this lead to decreased productivity or financial losses?
Engaging those responsible for assets in this process is also beneficial, making it much simpler to identify who owns what assets and how to classify them.
Once your assets have been identified, it’s time to compile the list of critical cyber assets. This step in NERC-CIP compliance will enable you to identify which devices, software, and data need protection in order to guarantee the reliability of your bulk power system.
As you create your list, it is essential that you consider how each asset supports the operation of the bulk power system and plays a part in providing essential information that facilitates real-time operational decisions. Group cyber assets into functional categories that share similar purposes, such as those that facilitate power distribution or monitoring critical assets.
Asset discovery and management solutions collect device-level and network-level data in order to assess risk, such as IP addresses, vendors, port names, aliases and configuration details, VLANs, and native communication protocols, as well as visibility into device states so you know when patches need to be applied and when they should.
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Vulnerabilities are vulnerabilities that allow attackers to gain entry to network or system infrastructure and cause damage, whether unwittingly by legitimate users or intentionally by criminals. If left unaddressed, vulnerabilities can lead to data breaches, malware infections, and the loss of essential business functions.
Vulnerability identification involves inspecting networks and applications for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by threat actors. This process typically uses vulnerability scanners that scan networks for misconfigurations, incorrect file system structures, and other security intelligence databases so as to produce accurate results.
Once vulnerabilities have been identified, they must be prioritized and remedied according to risk level. Remediation typically involves fixing or patching vulnerabilities; this process often offers better value because it reduces risks while saving both time and money.
Remediating vulnerabilities is possible either internally to an organization or with the assistance of third-party cybersecurity services. They will collaborate with security staff and development teams to find the most efficient route of remediation; this may involve adding new security procedures, measures, or tools, updating operational or configuration changes, or making other modifications as part of remediation efforts.
Cybersecurity experts suggest that organizations periodically assess their software inventory in order to detect any security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. By keeping an eye on this, an organization can quickly address any issues as soon as they arise and prevent hackers from gaining access to sensitive data.
Implementing strong passwords and other protections that require unique credentials for accessing computers and networks is another effective method of deterring attacks, ensuring that only those who require accessing it may gain entry. This way, only authorized individuals have access to vital data.
Conducting regular vulnerability scanning and software updates to protect networks against security threats is also vitally important. Vendors release security advisories and updates at regular intervals to make sure all systems on your network have access to the most up-to-date patches, ensure all vulnerability scannings take place regularly, and update as soon as they become available.
Addressing all vulnerabilities exploitable by malicious actors can significantly decrease the chance of network compromise and hamper malware activities after an attack has taken place. Employing a comprehensive strategy that addresses all vulnerabilities is the only effective way to defend against cyberattacks.
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Cyber security is one of the primary concerns of corporations worldwide, presenting threats such as data breaches, malware attacks, phishing attacks, and cyber espionage that pose risks such as operational disruptions, economic losses, and reputational harm. To mitigate such threats, CISOs need to understand their cyber risk profile and implement preventative and remediation measures accordingly.
Risk management frameworks can assist your organization in prioritizing cybersecurity efforts and implementing controls necessary for protecting assets while saving both time and money. But keep in mind that threat actors are constantly changing tactics and developing strategies against businesses; you must remain vigilant and revisit risk management strategies as often as possible.
Once your priorities have been established, the next step should be identifying how many risks exist for each asset and the likelihood that a breach will take place. To do this effectively, calculate its financial value as well as its effect on business operations.
Prioritize by identifying which systems and applications are essential to the company and which could be susceptible to hackers – this will enable your CISO to determine which areas should receive his/her attention first.
As part of your assessment of which assets to protect, take into account your organizational culture, size, and scope of infrastructure, as well as other relevant considerations. Personal data like social security numbers or credit card details is more sensitive than invoices or shipping records from an industrial fuel supply chain.
Once your priorities have been identified, the next step should be identifying which control gaps are of greatest concern and prioritizing them for repair. This approach is the best way to lower the likelihood of breaches while mitigating potential damages to your business.
Marsh McLennan offers an extensive proprietary claim and incident dataset to assist clients in prioritizing their cybersecurity investments, providing invaluable insights into the impact of security controls. This data can also assist in evaluating specific controls’ effectiveness as well as creating strategic roadmaps and obtaining cyber insurance coverage.
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