How To Develop a Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan

Cybercrime is on the rise in virtually every industry. Today’s businesses are facing an unprecedented threat landscape — one that’s rich with increasingly sophisticated threats and bad actors trying to breach your business on all available attack surfaces.

In the COVID-19 era, we’ve seen a 10% increase in the total cost of a breach, with the average breach now costing $4.24 million. In many cases, costs were $1.07M higher when remote work was a factor. 

So, what’s at stake when a breach occurs? Lost business represents nearly 38% of the total breach cost. Additionally, businesses paid around $180 per record of personally identifiable information (PII) stolen. Business continuity, reputational damage and weighty financial consequences are all at stake. 

What we do know is clear: cybersecurity threats are on the rise, which means today’s companies need a cybersecurity risk management plan in place to better understand business-specific risks and how to address them. Not surprisingly, this has also led to a renewed focus towards the importance of developing a robust governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) program that highlights how potential cybersecurity risks could impact the business as a whole.

While few will question the importance of risk management in cybersecurity, the challenge for many is figuring out what those important first steps look like, what options are available, and what’s required to achieve long-term success.

In this article, we’ll explore actionable steps you can take to strengthen your cybersecurity policies, practices, and technologies throughout your organization, as well as some industry frameworks and guidelines to help you create a robust cybersecurity risk management plan.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan

Developing a Cybersecurity Risk Management Process

Preparation is really your best weapon against a threat-laden market. Establishing your IT security risk management plans early on increases your chances of proactively identifying risks, preventing them before they happen, responding to them accordingly, and making smarter business decisions with risk management built-in.

Whatever you decide, it’s essential to establish your program early, document risks as you discover them, and implement the right solutions to actively manage them. After all, the goal of your cybersecurity risk management process is two-fold: It aims to strengthen the organization’s cybersecurity posture and integrate risk management into the broader decision making process, ensuring all stakeholders are aware of potential risks and their consequences.

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Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Pinpoint What Needs To Be Protected

Start by identifying the digital assets that are at risk of a cybersecurity attack. Depending on the nature of your business, you might identify:

  • Computers
  • Networks
  • Software systems
  • Sensitive internal data and PII

An audit of your data is part of the job. Determine where sensitive data is located, whether it’s in the cloud or on the premises. Find out how to protect it and put together a recovery plan in case any information is stolen.

Prioritize these assets according to their risk level and the amount of effort you’ll need to protect them from compromise.

Perform a Risk Assessment

Digital risks can be thought of as any potential for a damaging business outcome related to IT resources. Poorly configured tools, viruses, human error, and even complications from COVID can be considered digital risks. These threats involve the unauthorized use or access of company assets, resulting in a negative impact on internal operations.

Traditionally, companies performed manual risk assessments through legacy GRC solutions, spreadsheets, and other labor-intensive methods. Today, automated risk management platforms like Centraleyes simplify this entire process through a streamlined onboarding process, Smart Questionnaires, and Smart Mapping to multiple frameworks, making it easy for companies to develop a sustainable GRC program. 

When it comes to risk, it’s worth noting that vulnerabilities can occur anywhere, even externally when the business gives out its data to third-parties. Attacks from supply chains or through vendors with poorly-handled cybersecurity are common and can have just as dire of an effect on your business.

Look into the history of cyber risks and attacks and learn from past incidents. Doing so will help you identify sources of digital risk and give you ideas for incident response.

And finally, learn to calculate the damage control costs in the event of a successful breach. Costs can come in many forms:

  • Operational costs due to lost time and resources
  • Monetary costs from legal fines for non-compliance
  • Reputational cost from the loss in consumer and industry trust

This last point is of strong importance, as it’s the least predictable cost and can devastate an otherwise successful organization.

Develop Strategies For Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation

By implementing new cybersecurity risk management policies and technologies, businesses can take a proactive approach to cutting down on risks before they are taken advantage of. In terms of policies, for example::

  • Ensuring software is always up-to-date with latest security patches
  • Backing up data automatically
  • Conducting cybersecurity training for all staff
  • Establishing a dedicated cyber risk committee
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication
  • Using privileged access management (PAM)

For choosing technologies, one might look toward:

  • Encryption
  • Malware detection software
  • Network firewalls

Use these strategies to conduct cyber risk monitoring regularly, covering problems with internal IT resources, third-party vendors, and regulatory compliance with cybersecurity laws.

No matter what preparations you make, there will always be residual cybersecurity risks that seep through the cracks. Instead of just living with them, consider investing in cybersecurity insurance from a provider.

Relevant Standards and Frameworks

Many compliance frameworks mention cybersecurity directly and can be invaluable resources for management teams to guide their efforts. A few highlights worth mentioning are the following, though do keep in mind that this list is not nearly exhaustive.

NIST SP 800-53: Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations

This government publication details the security and privacy controls federal organizations should use to handle important and sensitive information. It provides a guide to the highest levels of security. It protects the company itself, its assets, and its impact on the market as a whole through mitigation of “hostile attacks, human errors, natural disasters, structural failures, foreign intelligence entities, and privacy risks.”

ISO/IEC 27001:2013: Information Security Management Systems

These guidelines help companies develop their own information security management systems tailored to the needs and circumstances of the firm itself. Risk assessment and response are significant components of the process. This standard is meant to be general, impacting all types of businesses regardless of type or size.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

It’s also worth going through this framework of recommended actions to reduce cyber risk. This framework covers industry standards and best practices, enabling organizations to build a comprehensive information security program. The current version as of this writing is 1.1, so stay up-to-date on these standards.

Empower Security and Risk Management with CentralEyes

The reality is that implementing a sustainable cyber risk management program is simply too much work for most companies. Existing legacy solutions are too strenuous, time-consuming, or expensive to implement. 

That’s why we created Centraleyes — a next-generation cyber risk & compliance management platform that empowers you to achieve your GRC goals through the power of automation, advanced data, and executive-level reporting. 

Are you looking to better understand how cyber risk impacts your organization? Discover how Centraleyes can save you hundreds of hours and transform your GRC outcomes through simplified onboarding, more visibility into your risk exposure, automated remediation planning, and most importantly, increased compliance.

Book a demo today and see what the next-generation of risk management looks like with Centraleyes.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

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