Why a Cyber Risk Management Solution May Be Right for You


In a world where technology has become the dominating force for every organization, and the dependency on these technologies to operate is often business critical, cyber risk has become the number one operational risk globally.

Cyber risk has become a lot more complex to quantify, mitigate and manage, while in parallel, cybersecurity compliance frameworks like privacy laws and regulations are at an all-time high, and only growing.

These cybersecurity compliance frameworks are mandating guidelines to small and medium businesses and not just to the top tier of the market, creating additional pressure on organizations that typically are understaffed from a security and risk perspective.

What is cyber risk?

Cyber risk refers to a variety of risks that could arise from an organization’s information technology systems or operational technology systems being breached and compromised. The types of loss spread across financial, reputational, business disruption and legal.

How to calculate cyber risk?

Quantifying cyber risk levels consist of many moving pieces. The two primary ones are the damage impact of a breach and how likely that breach is to occur. Inside those factors you will find an array of sub-factors, such as what types of sensitive data or assets are exposed, what controls are in place and what proactive measures can be taken, both internally and externally, in order to identify the new threats as well as the unknowns.

Using frameworks like the NIST CSF or CIS Top 20 is a recommended best practice, as they help you think in a methodical way about all the different elements of cyber defense:

  • Methods and tools to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities
  • How the organization protects itself from those threats
  • Real time detection of attempted attacks or already compromised systems and data
  • Last but not least, assume you will be breached, YOU WILL. Now think about the day after. Think about what you wished you would have done before to minimize the spread of damage. Think about how you recover in minimal time with minimal damage. A single backup policy could be the difference between some noise to the end of your business

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Does my organization need a cyber risk management platform?

Cyber risk is no longer a fortune 500 problem. Organizations of all sizes are exposed to cyber risks, if you just use email to run your business, you are at risk. As such, everyone needs to implement a strategy around their cyber risk. For some this could be relatively simple, for others this may require a decision to implement a platform.

Too often, this is an afterthought and then it becomes a more painful exercise. But the truth is, any organization managing their cyber risk will need some kind of system to manage the data. There are way too many moving parts and frameworks that have simply become too complex.

Starting with a spreadsheet is a good practice, layout the fundamentals of the program, begin assessing, but in parallel create a plan to continuously mature the program, with an end goal to bring the program into a platform. As the organization grows, they will be met with more complex risk requirements, vendor risk, more and more compliance requirements and advanced reporting needs.

What can a cyber risk management platform do for my organization?

Risk management platforms, better known as GRC platforms, have typically served as a static risk repository – a place where you can organize and prioritize the organization’s operational risks. Once these risks are quantified, organized and prioritized, controls can be implemented to lower the inherent risk to the residual risk. The goal is to manage and mitigate exposure to cover the gaps.

Legacy risk management platforms were not built to address cyber risk, so when you combine cybersecurity and risk management, the results are quite poor. GRC platforms are extremely manual and require a lot of people to operationalize them, making them both expensive to buy and even more expensive to run. For the mid-market this poses an even greater challenge.

So, a new wave of solutions are on the horizon – modern risk management platforms that help risk managers from start to finish, through the power of automation.

These platforms can help you collect, quantify and mitigate your cyber risk exposure and even go as far as cyber risk remediation – the technology being a key factor. Here are a few underlying concepts you should keep in mind when thinking about investing in an enterprise cyber risk management platform:

  • Orchestration and automation of surveys and questionnaires – this is often one of the biggest pain points in risk management, as this is done through emails, phone calls and manual spreadsheets. When choosing a platform, take a look at the survey functionality and notice two elements: (1) How does it help participants get the right data back to you (2) How user-friendly is it for the manager to distribute the surveys and review the results
  • Automated data feeds from tools on the network
  • Real-time analysis of cyber risk exposure as well as your compliance status
  • Dashboard and reporting capabilities including cybersecurity dashboards for board of directors. Not long after you get this platform in place you will be asked to translate the cyber risk into business risk

To summarize, it is never too early to get started establishing your cybersecurity strategy. A cyber risk platform in today’s day and age can be implemented from day one, or brought in a bit later, but waiting too long is a mistake. There are SaaS platforms which allow you, at a fractional cost, to get started with very advanced capabilities. Start simple, focus on one framework at a time and make sure your organization progresses overtime.

While this does not happen often, we do encounter security leaders that are not concerned about quantifying and mitigating cyber risk. My recommendation is to change your approach. It is a lot cheaper to deal with it now than it is after a breach, and it also serves as a business enabler in today’s modern corporate environment.

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