What is Cybersecurity Risk Management?

When someone talks about cybersecurity risk management, this refers to the ongoing process of researching, identifying, analysing, evaluating, and resolving any threats to your organisation, from a cybersecurity standpoint.

Cybersecurity risk management, whilst quite extensive, will help you and your business stay ahead of potential cyberattacks, and fill any holes that leave your business vulnerable. Whilst this task is often down to the CISO/CSO of an organisation, everyone within the business will have a part to play to ensure continuous, and secure business actions. 

Risk Cybersecurity Management (Why Does It Matter?)

Unfortunately, more and more businesses are succumbing to cyberattacks which could’ve been avoided. Cybersecurity management, and risk management within there are critical to ensuring your business is protected as much as possible.

Cybersecurity risk management will help you identify risks and address them before an attacker has a chance to. I recently visited an event run by the Tech and Innovation Committee (Singapore) where they addressed that 80% of Cyberattacks could’ve been prevented by following risk assessments and proper staff training. 

FCS Tech and Innovation: 80% of Cyber Attacks could have been Prevented
FCS Tech and Innovation: 80% of Cyber Attacks could have been Prevented

This stat blew my mind, but in hindsight – is probably very accurate. This in itself, should be a reason to invest in your own business’s risk assessments, especially when it comes to cybersecurity practices. 

Cybersecurity Risk Management (Important Tips)

Cybersecurity risk is a broad spectrum of compliance, regulatory, and risk acceptance terms and policies, however, there is a range of tips that might help you understand your risk better, and lead to a more secure business. These are;

Identify ALL your Cybersecurity Risks

Although it may seem like a large task, you need to identify ALL your cybersecurity risks, or at least all the ones you can check. By being detailed and thorough, you will identify risks that tools and other people might not – giving you more security across the board.

There are 3rd party tools that can help with this, but I’m currently reviewing these to ensure they’re good enough!

Do some Quality Assurance on your Findings

Whilst all your findings may be critical, getting several eyes on the results as well some QA on your mitigation plans will help identify secondary risks (risks from risks), as well as pick up on any mistakes, which are almost inevitable with large businesses.

Get Ahead by Planning Mitigation on Findings

Within your risk assessments, in general, you should put recommendations for mitigation from the get-go. Whilst this might not be the mitigation used, having this recommendation action will help other teams know what can be done to help lower the overall business risk. 

Involve Relevant Teams for Assistance

Collaboration is crucial for doing any kind of risk assessment, but even more so within cybersecurity. Leveraging and communicating with the right teams within the organisation, or indeed with 3rd parties will help you massively. 

This collaboration will not only help with findings but mitigation and acceptance too. Having those open-communication channels and regular meetings will help you 10-fold. 

You should Leverage a Framework

Many companies, including the biggest in the world use frameworks. A framework, in this case, is a way to map your risks with common risks in the industry, and there are some key frameworks that you’ll have heard of. These include NIST CSF, ISO, and the Department of Defender’s RMF. 

Risk Management In Cybersecurity (5 Best Practices)

When looking to address risk management in cybersecurity, there are some best practices that have been used within the industry for years. Whilst not all of these will apply to you, it’s best to take the best-foot-forward approach and implement these best practices. 

Target Internal Threats First

Did you know, that an estimated 95% of security breaches occur from human error? Whilst this stat seems extremely high, most of these will come from internal threats. Whilst not all are preventable, as a business, you can make changes to increase your odds of spotting, and mitigating an inevitable threat.

Items such as cybersecurity awareness training for staff, increasing security within policies, or using modern machine learning hardware are all things you can do internally to lower your internal risk scores. 

Effectively Prioritize Risks

Once you’ve completed your risk assessments, which admittedly can take some time, you need to effectively prioritise them. Whilst this might not be an immediate concern for you, this prioritization may be the difference between a successful, and an unsuccessful attack. 

Using a risk matrix, where risks can be mapped on their impact, urgency, and criticality to the business will effectively help you map, investigate, and address your risks from a most-impactful to least-impactful basis. 

Continuously Monitor, Address, and Resolve Risks

Whilst you can run a cybersecurity risk assessment as and when it’s usually beneficial to continuously monitor and address these as and when risks are spotted. This continuous improvement is in parallel to the fast-paced environment of cybersecurity and will help you stay ahead of an attacker. 

For me, I typically address a new risk assessment yearly, with incremental (i.e when something new comes into the business) every 1-3 months.

Stick to a Framework

Cybersecurity risk frameworks are not uncommon, and fortunately, by popular demand, they are often quite strong. Some common cybersecurity risk frameworks that you can use will not only benefit your business, and its approach to cybersecurity risk, but will also help you from a compliance standpoint.

Frameworks such as the NIST CSF (National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework) would help you to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from any potential, or imminent cyberattacks. 

Read More: What is Cybersecurity Compliance?

Create a supporting Incident Response Plan

Although not required, I’ve never built a cybersecurity risk management tracker without also building an incident response plan. An incident response plan is a plan of action that is taken when an incident is identified/experienced. 

These plans help identify key contacts, and responses and provide the steps to report and recover from a cybersecurity incident. 

How To Measure Anything In Cybersecurity Risk (& Other Useful Books)

How to Measure anything in cybersecurity risk

Something I was spoken to a few months ago, was, How to measure anything in Cybersecurity Risk and initially I gave a good 5-10 minute explanation on how you can measure things. After that, I was told that it was a book title – and not a question! 

Since then, I’ve bought the book, and have given it a read. Written by Douglas W. Hubbard, Daniel E. Greer Jr., Stuart McClure, and Richard Seiersen, this book covers everything around cybersecurity risk and cybersecurity risk management practices.

After reading this, I actually learnt quite a bit of information and exposed me to the shortcomings that are cyber risk management. If you haven’t already read of it – I would strongly recommend you do so! 

Buy the How to Measure anything in Cybersecurity Risk on Amazon

Cybersecurity & Third-Party Risk (ISC2)

Another book that I’ve read recently which I strongly recommend, not just for cybersecurity risk management, but also for third-party risk & threat hunting, is ‘Cybersecurity and Third-Party Risk’ by Gregory C. Ranser. Again, doesn’t cover the specifics perfectly but goes into a good level of detail across the broad spectrum of risk, both internally and third-party. 

Buy Cybersecurity & Third-Party Risk by Gregroy Rasner on Amazon
Cybersecurity & Third-Party Risk by Gregory Rasner
Cybersecurity Risk Managment book by Cynthia Braumfioeld and Brian Haugli

Cybersecurity Risk Management (NIST Framework)

The last one I will recommend from personal viewing is “Cybersecurity Risk Management” by Brian Haugli and Cynthia Brumfield. Although quite expensive (for a book), this 180-page book covers everything about cybersecurity risk management, and how you can master the fundamentals using the NIST framework – a common framework in cybersecurity risk acceptance. 

Although this book does come in at just under $100 (£80) – it does cover a great deal and is a book to keep on the shelf if you’re really invested in cybersecurity.

Buy Cybersecurity Risk Managment (Nist Framework) on Amazon

Cybersecurity Risk Management FAQ

What is risk management of cyber security?

Risk cybersecurity management is a process of identifying, analysing, and resolving cybersecurity threats that are identified by yourself, your team, or by 3rd party tools.

What are the five 5 elements of risk management?

Within cybersecurity, there are often 5 elements of risk management. These include;

  • Risk Identification
  • Findings Analysis
  • Addressing Findings/Results
  • Resolving/Mitigation
  • Continuous Monitoring

What are the 5 steps to cyber security risk assessment?

Similarly to the above, the 5 steps that you should use in your cyber security risk assessment are;

  • Scoping and Risk Identification
  • Risk Analysis and Investigations
  • Evaluation and Documentation
  • Mitigation and Resolution
  • Continuous Improvement and Monitoring

What are the four 4 cybersecurity risk treatment mitigation methods?

Typically speaking, there are 4 cybersecurity risk treatment mitigation methods, which also apply to normal risk assessments. These risk treatment methods are;

  • Risk Avoidance
  • Risk Reduction
  • Risk Transference and Accountability
  • Risk Acceptance and Mitigation

What are the three types of risk in cyber security?

In cybersecurity, there are three main risk type factors. These include network security, cloud security, and physical security

Closing Notes on Cybersecurity Risk Management

Overall, cybersecurity risk management is not something to overlook for any business, because of its nature and ability to mitigate cybersecurity threats, before they even happen. We would strongly recommend any business build its own risk management plan, to improve its overall risk score. 

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About the Author

Charlie K

Charlie has been working with technology since the age of 6, and has skilled up on all things technical. Cybersecurity is one aspect that has never failed to disappoint. After several years in the industry, Charlie is branching out to help others get into the industry.

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