Identifying your company’s cyber risk helps you prioritize initiatives and stave off attacks. Swift action is crucial for businesses of all sizes, as an attack or data breach affects your revenue and reputation. Indeed, costs from data breaches, ransomware and compromised credentials surged between 2020 and 2022, according to a report from IBM Security and Ponemon Institute.
However, specific actions like having an incident response (IR) team and deploying zero-trust architecture significantly reduced costs. Learn the definition of cyber risk and explore the potential impact on your company. Then take steps to pinpoint threats and manage your risk.
Cyber Risk Defined
Cyber risk refers to threats from losing control over systems or resources, affecting data integrity or confidentiality or impacting various applications or information availability. It also defines adverse consequences for businesses, such as financial loss or operational disruption.
Common cybersecurity risks include:
- Credential compromises
- Malware attacks
- Advanced persistent threats (APT)
- Basic web application attacks (BWAA)
- Distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS)
- Social engineering threats
- Man-in-the-middle attacks (MitM)
- Software supply chain attacks
An attack threatens business operations and profitability. It can decrease productivity and cause your company to lose access to mission-critical data and applications. Cyber threats can disclose customer information and prevent your business from collecting payments.
The reputational damage is substantial. No business leader wants headlines highlighting their brand’s inability to protect customer data.
Determine Your Company’s Cyber Risk
A robust security posture relies on a proactive approach to cybersecurity. It includes strategies for protecting networks, information and more. However, you can’t defend what you don’t understand or see. Therefore, increasing visibility is essential.
Take the first step by performing a risk assessment for cybersecurity. It involves:
- Identifying Assets: Categorize the risk landscape by outlining hardware and applications used by your business.
- Exploring Threats: Determine applicable internal and external cyber risks for each asset.
- Examining Impact: Understand how different threats affect systems, operations and data.
- Assigning Probabilities: Define the likelihood of occurrence based on vulnerability testing and industry benchmarks.
Also, consider using the risk management framework from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. This blueprint works for organizations of all sizes. It strengthens your security posture and helps you define your cyber risk management process.
Cyber Risk Management: Key Components
You have several tools at your disposal for decreasing risks. These include using a zero-trust model, which means no person, software or hardware is blindly trusted until it’s authenticated and authorized.
In addition, identity and access management (IAM) and privileged access management (PAM) tools enhance your security posture. Adopting core cyber risk management tools can reduce the probability of incidents and financial losses.
Data shows that the payoff for hardening your security is substantial:
- AI and Automation Tools: IBM and Ponemon found that companies using AI and automation tools saved $3.05 million after experiencing a data breach.
- Security Posture and Record Management: According to the RiskLens 2023 Cybersecurity Risk Report, “making substantial improvements to security posture and reducing the number of records at risk can reduce losses by 60% and event probability by 67%.”
- Extended Detection and Response (XDR) Technologies: IBM and Ponemon reported that implementing these tools “helped save an average of 29 days in breach response time.”
- Incident Response Planning: Institutions that developed an IR plan, designated an IR team and regularly tested it “saved on average $2.66 million,” according to IBM and Ponemon.
- Zero-Trust Architecture: IBM and Ponemon said that organizations taking the zero-trust approach reduced breach-related costs by $1 million.
Take Action To Reduce Threats
A cyber risk assessment followed by purposeful action prepares your company to defend itself against cybercrime and react quickly following an event. However, gaining complete visibility into the threats and impact is challenging.
Fortunately, The Migus Group can help. We work with you to develop right-fit solutions, from increasing your organizational knowledge of cyber risks to deploying and integrating services. Learn how to improve your security posture by contacting The Migus Group.
Jessica Elliott is a business technology writer specializing in cloud-hosted and cybersecurity services. Her work appears in U.S. News, Business.com and Investopedia.