Risk Management

Lauren Engelbrecht
Editor United States Cybersecurity Magazine


In 2017, research has averaged the cost of a data breach to be over 7 million dollars. On average it takes an approximated 46 days to resolve a cyber-attack. Regardless of the numbers, it’s very apparent that cybersecurity risk is increasing as attacks are becoming progressively more tenacious and sophisticated. The types of cyber-attacks continue to evolve as well, ranging from phishing scams to developed viruses that exploit zero-day vulnerabilities.

Effective Frameworks
It is crucial to establish a baseline to identify components that are necessary to incorporate into a cybersecurity risk management approach. A foundation of any cybersecurity risk management program is an operational and effective framework. Frameworks are a standard designed to aid in managing the integrity, the availability and confidentiality of critical infrastructure and data.

There are numerous risk management frameworks and cybersecurity guidance sources available. Though organizations and structures with different frameworks vary, they all aim to address the same basic functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover.

Whichever framework an organization may choose, it is essential for the framework to be adapted and tuned to fit their needs, size and the data being protected. In protecting your organization from cyber-threats, it is vital to choose and implement a framework, and to set in motion a cybersecurity risk management program.

Assessing Risk and Threat
Risk and threat assessment provides recommendations that maximize protection of integrity, availability and confidentiality, all the while proving functionality and accessibility. It is pertinent that a risk assessment be a joint process. Without involvement from varying organizational levels, assessment may lead to an expensive and ineffectual security measure.

The risk assessment process demonstrates the reason why having the right framework set in place is essential. Guarding known threats is common amongst cybersecurity teams but they must also guard against unknown threats. Cybersecurity teams need to look beyond the value of data and consider the value the data offers and presents to any outside sources.

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Incident Response (IR) Planning
An incident response (IR) is an organized approach to address and manage aftermath of a security breach or cyber-attack (aka incident). The focus is to manage the situations and to limit damage and reduce cost, as well as managing recovery time. Effective IR Planning should start with data breach detection, focusing on the frameworks monitoring and logging. Once detected, you must respond. How do you put a stop to criminal activities going on within the network? How will you recover from an incident?

Without an IR Plan, an organization may not detect any breaches and may not have proper protocol set in motion to contain the breaches.

Dedicated Cybersecurity Team
It is particularly important to have a proficient, well-trained and skilled team of cybersecurity professionals. Often (and understandably) a cybersecurity teams daily responsibilities and focuses are on system management, ensuring the system is active and working properly. The threats that are more difficult to detect also need attention and focus, i.e. data and security breaches, vulnerabilities, etc. The size and level of a cybersecurity team will vary from organization to organization, whichever proves to be more suited. To implement cybersecurity risk management, it is fundamental to have an experienced cybersecurity team.


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