Three Key Strategies for Building a Robust Risk Analysis Program

Key Strategies

CISOs must focus more on outsourced and off-prem resources, as well as overseas assets and suppliers, as supply chains and businesses become more intertwined.

The threat surface is rapidly expanding for businesses today. The user base, BYOD or remote computing, cloud, SaaS, on-premises infrastructure, and virtual environments are some of the more obvious concerns.

Risk analysis programs are also evolving, and this is probably because of external factors like board requests, client contract requirements, and security incidents that force security teams to reconsider and improve their strategy.

Unsurprisingly, CISOs nowadays encounter a number of challenges: How do they define the impact of a cyber-incident on business? What would it cost to safeguard the company’s critical assets? Which investments will make the company more secure?

One way to view a mature risk analysis program is as a pyramid. Framework compliance driven by the needs of the customer comes first, followed by infrastructure security driven by incidents, and finally, comprehensive coverage driven by analysis at the top.

Here are a few steps for strengthening risk analysis:

Determine the Assets Specific to the Enterprise

Identifying what needs to be protected as a priority is the first step. This would comprise items that are usually of greater business value. Communicating with the leaders of the various departments is the fastest route often. CISOs must understand what information is essential to the functioning of each department, what information they possess that would be valuable to the competition, and what information disclosures would damage customer relations.

They must also determine whether each department manages trade secrets and whether it holds copyrights, patents, or trademarks. Lastly, they must determine who is in charge of handling Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and whether the group, as well as the data it contains, is subject to regulatory requirements.

Three things must be considered by CISOs when performing these assessments: what must be secure and cannot be stolen, what must continue to be accessible to support the operation of a specific department or the company, and what data must be reliable to enable employees to perform their duties.

Identify Exposures, Evaluate Vulnerabilities and Relevant Threats

When it comes to assessing risk from vulnerabilities, threats, and exposures, CISOs must begin with the security triad model for IT security. The three pillars of integrity, confidentiality, and availability act as a framework and point of focus for security teams as they consider the many approaches to each issue.

Data privacy and security are intertwined with confidentiality; it requires not only securing data but also ensuring that only those who require access have it.

Integrity indicates the need to ensure that data is reliable and unaltered. While simple errors can affect data accuracy, the security team is more concerned about a deliberate compromise that is intended to harm the company.

Ensuring that information is accessible where and when needed is what availability entails. Security teams must work closely with IT on redundancy, backup, failover, and other availability-related issues. Nevertheless, it also includes securing remote access, releasing patches and updates on schedule, and guarding against sabotage attempts like ransomware and denial-of-service attacks.

In order to properly estimate the possible impact and likelihood of occurrence, CISOs are employing this security trifecta to identify threats, identify exposure, and analyze vulnerability when carrying out this part of the risk analysis.

Also Read: Analyzing CISA’s Cross-Industries Cybersecurity Performance Objectives

Monitor Controls and Safeguards 

The final steps—implementing and monitoring the appropriate and required controls—are more familiar territory for many IT security teams now that they have a better understanding of the enterprise risks.

There are three types of controls: detective, preventative, and corrective. The objective is to attempt to prevent an event from occurring, respond quickly to it once it does, and effectively rebuild the organization.

Where things really get interesting from a security perspective is in the implementation and monitoring of controls. And that’s the entire purpose of risk analysis so that security teams can focus on which areas to mitigate overall enterprise risk.

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