Cybersecurity breaches often make headlines. The resulting negative publicity can cost a company more in terms of damaged identity and lost business than it would to take preventative measures to mitigate cyber threats. It’s no wonder that a recent survey by the World Economic Forum said that cyberattacks are the No. 1 concern among executives in developed economic countries.
A fundamental measure of any successful company rests with how successfully it identifies and mitigates potential threats to its business. That’s why an effective cybersecurity plan should figure prominently in a company’s overall GRC (Governance, Risk management, and Compliance) efforts. A lack of effective risk management and cybersecurity can erode customer confidence, reduce profit margins, and ultimately lead to business failure.
The ever-increasing importance of technology in the workplace requires many companies to reassess risk on an ongoing basis to prevent cyberattacks and ensure compliance with a growing number of government and industry regulations. Worldwide, businesses will spend an estimated $1 trillion over the next five years alone on cybersecurity and the broader area of information security risk.
It’s important to note the difference between the two. Cybersecurity is an evolving field that attempts to limit a company’s risk to the unauthorized use of electronic data. Information security risk expands the scope of corporate responsibility to include the unauthorized use of any business-related information.
Managing Business Processes and Business Risk – A Brief Overview
The methodology used to evaluate and control the processes in a company is Business Process Management (BPM). It’s part of an overall process that outlines, examines, monitors, and controls the daily workflow and processes used for a company to function correctly and successfully.
A valuable best practice in BPM is the use of visual workflows to make sure you have proper coverage for all key risks, including linkages of sensitive information between process owners and different systems.
Business process automation technology is transforming the way successful businesses run their operations. Organizations that implement a central platform to run all of their processes find that their business runs in a more efficient and practical matter and employees are freed up to focus on core business activities. It also reduces the potential of government fines for regulatory compliance violations.
An integral part of every effective BPM function is called Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). It’s a process that involves the identification, assessment, and development of ways to mitigate potential disasters. ERM is considered a risk-based approach to managing an enterprise that brings together concepts of internal control, data protection, and strategic planning. The LogicGate platform provides unprecedented insight into your ERM processes, empowering you with the data-driven knowledge to accurately monitor and remediate risks as your business grows.
Once all business processes and ways to mitigate business risk to those processes are identified, the end result is a viable Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that employees can use and rely on in times of crisis. An effective BCP can shield a company against unforeseen calamity and give employees added confidence that management has taken steps to protect its both its business and its customers.
Applying Risk Management to Cybersecurity
When it comes to cybersecurity, a company must take early steps to identify and take inventory of all information technology hardware and all software used to process, collect, and protect. Companies also should consider and identify potential security threats to the actual physical facilities necessary to operate the business. Not to be overlooked is determining which departments and employees must play a role in the risk management process and then training them to perform their responsibilities.
By definition, a successful cybersecurity program is a team effort. Optimum cooperation, communication, and compliance across all departments are prerequisites to help ensure the gathering and sharing of valuable information and the identification and management of potential risks to the business.
As a rule, employees should be trained on ways to identify phishing threats posed by unfamiliar or unusual emails that cybercriminals send in an attempt to unleash potentially harmful malware attacks. A cybersecurity best practice involves a vigilant approach to the ongoing evaluation and maintenance of internet security software to thwart criminals from gaining access to sensitive data.
Common and Emerging Cybersecurity Threats
Alarmingly, the list of threats to information security continues to grow with the advancing pace of technology as cybercriminals find new ways to harm businesses, state and local governments, and individuals. Threats can be posed internally by rogue employees and externally by attackers seeking to steal valuable information, such as credit card numbers.
More than 40 state legislatures are in the process of advancing policy proposals to meet the rapidly accelerating cybersecurity needs of government and private businesses. Some proposed legislation includes requiring businesses and government agencies to implement employee training to thwart cyberattacks.
Here are a few of the most common threats to cybersecurity and a few emerging trends businesses must contend with:
- Malware – Unlike the flu, a health threat that tends to peak at a certain time of the year, malware can strike at any time. Simply put, malware is IT software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. It’s similar to the flu in that it can be prevented by taking certain measures.
- Spyware – As its name would suggest, spyware is software that enables a user to obtain otherwise private information about another individual’s computer activities by surreptitiously transmitting data directly from their hard drive.
- Phishing – Phishing refers to the fraudulent practice of sending harmful emails disguised as communications from reputable companies. A countless number of phishing expeditions are launched daily in an attempt to trick employees into providing private information such as passwords and credit card numbers for unlawful gain.
- DDoS attacks – A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt by a cybercriminal to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service, or network. Most DDoS attacks are designed to overwhelm IT infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic in order to prevent a business from serving its customers.
- SQL injection attacks – SQL stands for stands for Structured Query Language which is used to communicate with a database. It’s the standard language for relational database management systems. An SQL attack occurs when a cybercriminal unlawfully attempts to seize complete control over your web application database by inserting arbitrary SQL code into a database query.
- Cryptojacking – The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has created a new nemesis to cybersecurity. Cryptojacking is an emerging form of malware designed to hide on devices such as desktops, laptops, and smart phones for the illicit purpose of mining for valuable online currencies.
As technology continues to evolve, the subject of cybersecurity is becoming more important in order to prevent costly widespread damage to organizations, employees, and consumers.
For more on IT Security Risk Management, check out LogicGate's eBook below on Building a Cyber-Savvy Culture: A Guide to Unlocking the Power of IT Security as a Business Enabler.