Redefining Cyber Risk: A Holistic Perspective on Businesses’ Biggest Threat
LogicGate | September 29, 2022
Fewer trends have impacted the world of enterprise risk management like digital transformation. As organizations rapidly adopted new tools and tech to optimize operations and unlock competitive advantages, entrepreneurial cyber criminals were quietly developing their own methods to exploit this new technology for social and financial gain.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that organizations began to realize all the same tech and tools that helped them become more efficient also exposed them to a new business threat – cyber risk. Technology innovations quickly outpaced organizations’ abilities to secure them long before cyber threats made their first appearance on the risk register. And while all of this may seem like old news, cyber risk remains one of the greatest threats facing organizations today.
Is Cyber Risk the New Enterprise Risk?
At LogicGate, we define cyber risk as the probability of exposure or loss following a cybersecurity incident. A quick review of the past 30 years of tech change makes it easy to understand why the once narrowly-defined domain of cyber risk has eclipsed nearly every other enterprise risk domain in both scope and significance. You cannot address this by adding five Greens, four Yellows, and six Reds to generate a loss magnitude. Executives and board members will never buy into that math.
Every new tech innovation introduces new vulnerabilities and threats, meaning your enterprise’s risk surface and related exposure is – and will remain – fluid. From sensitive information in the cloud and networked devices to shared code libraries and HVAC systems, your organization’s critical assets are increasingly digital, online, and interconnected. Even organizations operating in the air-gapped realm of operational technology are now facing both direct and indirect IoT cyber threats as devices are increasingly exposed to the Internet in the spirit of reducing business costs.
Here are just a few examples of traditional business risks that carry major cyber risks implications today:
Natural disasters. Increasingly common natural disasters like wildfires and floods can take down data centers or compromise physical systems.
Equipment theft. Lost or stolen equipment storing sensitive information may be exploited by cyber criminals, leading to data breaches and reputational damages.
Nation state attacks. Organizations with intellectual property, large asset bases, or critical infrastructure are now faced with protecting themselves from entire armies of individuals seeking to infiltrate infrastructure with a broad range of attack vectors.
While no organization is immune to cyber risk, you can limit its likelihood to occur and impact on your business. The first step is getting a clear picture of your organization’s assets so you can proactively implement the best controls to mitigate related cyber risks.
Why You Should Map Business Assets to Cyber Risks & Controls
You can’t defend what you don’t know you have. Whether you’re a CISO at a tech startup or a SCADA engineer for a national manufacturing company, inventorying your business-critical assets and related risks and controls should be the foundation of your cyber risk management program. Here are five steps you can follow to get a connected and prioritized view of your organization’s cyber risk profile.
Take inventory of your assets. Consider the information, systems, relationships, and physical assets that might be targeted by bad actors, exposed by insiders, or compromised during a natural disaster. Don’t overlook assets that can be leveraged to access larger, more business-critical systems or data.
Build a risk register. Now that you’ve inventoried your assets, consider how they might be compromised. It’s important to consider both external and internal threats, from unintentional user error to third-party access to malicious attacks.
Assess your cyber risks. Working with your stakeholders, assess the likelihood and potential impact of each cyber risk in your register. Think about the financial, social, and reputational damages that may occur if assets are compromised by these risks. Frameworks like Open FAIR™ can help you quantify the financial impact of each risk, so you can prioritize mitigation and resource allocation with business context. Open FAIR allows you to bring all of this data together and build robust scenarios to test. Data-informed scenarios provide the best assumptions for debates and discussions amongst organizational stakeholders.
Mitigate risks with controls. Now that you’ve mapped assets to risks and quantified their potential business impacts, it’s time to implement controls to help mitigate cyber risk. You can get started quickly with an established framework like ISO 27001 or SOC 2, or implement controls customized to your unique environment and risk profile. To close the quantification loop, these various remediation scenarios can also be run through FAIR to simulate true financial impact so you can provide the board with return on countermeasures and controls.
Continuously monitor, respond, and improve. Cyber threats and vulnerabilities never stop evolving, so neither should your control monitoring and response initiatives. It’s important to continuously monitor your environment to ensure appropriate controls are in place and working as expected. We recommend prioritizing cyber threat response based on your cyber risk assessment findings. It’s from this connected view you can allocate resources to mitigate the most severe vulnerabilities with the largest anticipated business impacts. Again the FAIR model can be used to review assumptions and improve on your organization’s risk posture.
Connecting, Optimizing & Scaling Cyber Risk Management with Risk Cloud®
Getting a clear view of your organization’s assets, risks, and controls isn’t easy – especially if you’re wearing multiple hats, constantly fighting fires, and working with dozens of disconnected security tools. Risk Cloud makes it easy for busy cybersecurity professionals to quantify and prioritize cyber risk mitigation and response from a single integrated platform – no shipping your data to a disconnected engine to run FAIR or risk calculations required. Risk Cloud brings all assumptions in one place to give professionals like you the ability to leverage the right quantification method for the right cyber risk at the right time in your risk assessment process.
Risk Cloud’s Cyber Risk & Controls Compliance Solution helps you link cyber risk to business impact, so you can add context to any risk decision by reporting what matters most to your stakeholders. It includes everything you need to quantify and operationalize cyber risk management at scale – while connecting your team’s efforts and insights to your organization’s broader enterprise risk management program. Get a quick demo now to see how Risk Cloud can simplify your cyber risk processes.