What is Cybersecurity Risk Management?

Cybersecurity risk management is the process of identifying an organization's digital assets, reviewing existing security measures, and implementing solutions to either continue what works or to mitigate security risks that may pose threats to a business. This type of ongoing vulnerability risk management (VRM) is crucial as the organization and the external threat landscape evolves. 

VRM is an ongoing part of all business operations. New exploits are discovered, followed by patches released to fix them. New potentially vulnerable devices that increase the attack surface are frequently added to the network. This is especially true with the significant growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors that are being placed in many physical locations.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Process

Cyberattacks are not random. If you know where to look, there are usually signs of a planned attack against an organization. Telltale markers of an imminent attack include mentions of the organization on the dark web, the registration of similar domain names to be used for phishing attacks, and confidential information - such as user account credentials - put up for sale.

Many organizations don’t maintain an ongoing vulnerability management (VM) program of their cybersecurity risk after they conduct a Cybersecurity Maturity Assessment and take initial steps to bolster security.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Strategy

A cybersecurity risk management strategy implements four quadrants that deliver comprehensive and continuous Digital Risk Protection (DRP). DRP platforms use multiple reconnaissance methods to find, track, and analyze threats in real time.

Using both indicators of compromise (IOCs) and indicators of attack (IOAs) intelligence, a DRP solution can analyze risks and warn of attacks. Let's take a look at the four quadrants:

Map - Discover and map all digital assets to quantify the attack surface. Use the map as a foundation to monitor cybercriminal activity.

Monitor - Search the public and dark web for threat references to your digital assets. Translate found threats to actionable intelligence.

Mitigate - Automated actions to block and remove identified threats to digital assets. Includes integration with other security initiatives in place.

Manage - Manage the process used in Map, Manage, and Mitigate quadrants. Enriching IOCs and prioritizing vulnerabilities in this step is also essential to successful digital risk protection.

What are the Benefits of Cybersecurity Risk Management?

Implementing cybersecurity risk management ensures cybersecurity is not relegated to an afterthought in the daily operations of an organization. Having a cybersecurity risk management strategy in place also ensures that procedures and policies are followed at set intervals, and that security is kept up to date.

Cybersecurity Risk Management provides ongoing monitoring, identification, and mitigation of the following threats: 

  • Phishing Detection
  • VIP and Executive Protection
  • Brand Protection
  • Fraud Protection
  • Sensitive Data Leakage Monitoring
  • Dark Web Activity
  • Automated Threat Mitigation
  • Leaked Credentials Monitoring
  • Malicious Mobile App Identification
  • Supply Chain Risks   

Why is Cybersecurity Risk Management Important? 

Cybersecurity risk management is important because it helps a business assess its current cybersecurity risk profile. This informs decisions the security organization will make moving forward in order to reduce the level of risk and address vulnerabilities. 

Cybersecurity risk management is also important because it helps to bring about situational awareness within a security organization. Simply put, analysts don't know what they don't know. Awareness is the ability to look at all the information available, recognize what's important, and act accordingly. 

It's essential to have a clear understanding of the risks in your organization and those that might arise in the future. You can assess awareness according to three distinct levels: 

  • Situational awareness: An organization understands the critical - people, data, and process - and operational elements for executing information-security strategy. 
  • Situational ignorance: Organizations assume everything is OK without considering the impact of people, data, and processes. They may be implementing security controls and awareness training, but there is no straightforward process or strategy that aligns to risk reduction and mitigation. In this scenario, budgets continue to creep ever upward. 
  • Situational arrogance: Organizations continue to spend big, while being routinely compromised and breached. In fact, they may actually take into account people, data, and process, but they fail to act because of other budgetary priorities. In this scenario, it may only be a matter of time before a business' reputation is severely damaged due to continuous inability to defend against attacks. 

Cybersecurity risk management is the overarching umbrella under which specific kinds of security risk mitigations fall. Implementing a strategy to assess, identify, mitigate, and remediate vulnerability and risk is critical to every security organization operating on any level in any sector.

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