Using Risk Management to Keep Your Business Secure OnlineSeptember 26, 2019 No Comments
Featured article by Ken Lynch, Enterprise Software Expert
By the end of 2018, cyber-attacks had increased by 59%, making the internet a little bit riskier for businesses. Even worse, cybercriminals have been shifting to using subtle attacks against businesses. While those that have a strong cyber-security program can spot these attacks from miles away, unprepared businesses are in for a ride.
From bot attacks to AI-based threats, the security risks that your business faces are many, and they are increasing by the day. Since these risks keep on evolving- and hackers keep finding ways to outshine the current security tools- building an up to date security program is essential. As long as you can leverage risk management, this will be a walk in the park.
Here is how risk management can improve your risk posture:
Why Ignoring Risks Is Not an Option
Cyber risks will always be present, even if you ignore them. In the case of a successful cyber-attack, you risk exposing your most sensitive data. For instance, in case a hacker gets their hands on your intellectual property, they can easily sell it to the competition. Even worse, if they access to your data, they can ask for a ransom in exchange for you regaining access to it.
This is the problem that most hospitals faced during the wave of Wannacry ransomware attacks, where hospitals’ operations had to be stalled since they didn’t have the necessary patient data. On the side of the customers, you could easily lose the trust of your customers, considering that your business led to the compromise of their data.
Also, data theft will make your business look bad in the eye of investors, turning them away from your business. Lastly, you might have to pay for fines to the regulatory bodies in your industry, not to mention, settle ad hoc lawsuits.
How Risk Management Fits Into Your Online Security
Risk management offers you insights into your entire risk landscape. You can identify threats, ranks them, and solve them before they can even damage your business. Here are five ways to use it:
Anticipate and Detect Threats
Using tools that improve your threat detection strategies makes it easy for IT teams to prevent attacks from happening. With a risk management program, it can be pretty easy to identify the best threat detection solution. However, these detection tools can only take you so far.
Most of the tools are designed to identify threats that already exist, making them useless in identifying new threats. As long as you have a strong risk management program, you can easily identify upcoming business threats and choose tools to identify these threats. For instance, combining behavior-based and data-based tools can help you spot the threats that can plague your business today and in the future.
Prioritize Threats and Tools
Time and resources are typically limited for any business. If you spend them on pursuing the wrong threats, you increase the chances that the risks you ignore will plague your business. Even worse, it might be tougher to mitigate these risks since you already spend a huge chunk of your resources on the wrong things.
A great risk management plan makes it easy to weigh the different threats and pick the best risk treatment option. By using a risk matrix, you can rank threats with consideration of the likelihood that they will happen and the impact they can have. It also helps you quantify the cost-benefits of using specific tools, instead of always choosing the cheaper security tool. Remember, you should never prioritize the price tag of a tool over its effectiveness.
Building a strong, cyber-security posture requires a team. All hands should be on deck, from employees in the IT department to those in HR. As long as everyone knows the role they play security-wise, you can mitigate a threat pretty easy. For instance, employees in the finance department should know how to spot phishing emails from afar and should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access company networks.
With the help of a risk register, risk management can help you identify and delegate roles to the right individuals. Not only can these people monitor the security controls you implement, but they can also help update them when the need arises. Simply put, a divide and conquer approach is the best path to building a secure business.
Improve Employee Training
Your business’ online security posture is as strong as your weakest link. A hacker might only need to gain access to an employee’s account to access the rest of your data. For instance, a mistake as simples as employees using weak passwords leaves you vulnerable to an attack.
You should use risk management to identify areas that employees need to be trained on. This can include training on both recurring threats and upcoming ones in your industry. Risk management will also offer you insights on how to create a great security training program for onboarding new employees.
Enhance Organizational Wide Communication
Timing is everything in the face of a cyber-security threat. Delay with a few seconds, and you risk losing a lot. For instance, a single hour of downtime on Prime Day cost Amazon $100 million in lost sales. As a result, the individuals who play different roles in the organization need to understand that timely communication is essential.
Risk management can help you build a strong communication plan for both normal business activities and cyber-attacks. The channel of communication chosen is as vital as the message being delivered. For instance, it can be ineffective to send a CSO an email in the middle of the night to alert them of an ongoing cyber breach. Ideally, a call will be more effective. A great communication plan will outline the nitty-gritty details of how to communicate throughout the organization.
Create Contingency Plans
While you might plan on how to defend your business against security threats, there is still a chance that they will affect your business. With a contingency plan, it becomes pretty easy to recover from the threats. For instance, having a disaster recovery plan can limit the damage caused by a data breach.
It also outlines the roles that everyone should play when disaster strikes. If you need to communicate with investors and customers, the plan should touch on this. Your risk management plan should help you analyze the different scenarios and pick a great contingency plan.
It is borderline impossible to predict the future, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for tomorrow blindly. Risk management offers your business some confidence to face current and future threats. Align your risk management plans with your business objectives to fortify your business’ future.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.SECURITY