By Craig Moores, Practice Director, Risk Advisory at SureCloud
The Importance of Resilient Cybersecurity Risk Management
Cybersecurity is a must for any organisation, regardless of size or industry. However, with the changing face of remote and hybrid work models and added financial pressures, cybersecurity risk management strategies need to be more resilient, optimised and efficient than ever.
In 2019, the cybersecurity market exceeded $124 billion. Despite the clear investment businesses make, cybercrime still costs organisations around $1 trillion. This demonstrates that there is still a massive gap between a business’ desire to protect itself from cybercrime and its ability to invest in practical cybersecurity measures successfully.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an enormous opportunity for cybercriminals, with an increased attack surface for attackers looking to target businesses. As a result, national and individual cybersecurity budgets have struggled to keep up.
With this in mind, it’s key for organisations to align their priorities and budget to ensure they have an outcome-driven approach to their cybersecurity needs.
So, where should businesses start?
Evaluate the current effectiveness of your cybersecurity controls
Evaluating and planning are critical to an effective cybersecurity strategy. While some organisations might rely on previous experience or follow existing protocols, the most effective way to assess your risk posture is by analysing your business’ unique situation at any given time.
Each organisation will face different cybersecurity risks, with some more exposed to certain types of attacks than others. For example, an organisation heavily reliant on e-commerce channels – wherein most business is in the form of digital sales – is more likely to be targeted by threat actors seeking to exfiltrate data or cause operational disruption.
On the other hand, organisations with an extensive digital footprint, e.g., within the financial and governmental industries, are often targeted via phishing campaigns to breach end-user-focused controls and harvest the vast volumes of data they hold.
By assessing your organisation’s risks and looking at the most relevant threats, your business can strategically plan its cybersecurity budget, ensuring that you focus on the areas that will deliver the most significant benefit.
Addressing the basics
When it comes to security considerations, there are some tactical areas where you shouldn’t compromise:
1. Cyber hygiene
It is essential to maintain a robust and consistent cyber assurance program that includes prioritisation for the maintenance of activities such as vulnerability management and patching, maintenance of critical support contracts and capacity management.
Attributing the budget to maintaining the lifecycle of production assets is extremely important. It should be considered a key priority to minimise the potential for introducing known attack vectors within the business-as-usual processes.
2. Legal/regulatory compliance activities
As with regular cyber risk management, it is important to maintain regulatory and compliance activities so that the organisation doesn’t fall into non-compliance.
Often, regulatory and/or legal compliance can be tied directly into contractual obligations, providing the potential for wider operational and business impacts if not maintained. Some of these activities include regular visibility from external partners.
3. Cybersecurity education for employees
People are often considered to be the weakest link in a cybersecurity architecture.
However, providing education and awareness on what employees should or shouldn’t be doing with company assets is a comparatively small investment. It remains one of the smartest business expenses, with the highest ROI.
Employees can be a powerful deterrent to data breaches. Social engineering tactics like email phishing are preventable by good awareness rather than expensive technical countermeasures. A phishing awareness course can cost as little as $1000 for a group of 25 employees.
4. Don’t treat your cybersecurity solution as a one-and-done project
Although difficult financial circumstances might make treating your cybersecurity program as a one-off project tempting, cybersecurity should be an ongoing and integral part of any business.
Your cybersecurity risk management budget needs to be regularly reviewed and developed to stay relevant and up to date. Organisations must adapt how and where the budget is proportioned based on how the business grows and how the relevant threat landscape evolves.
Check out Part 2, ‘How To Make Your Cybersecurity Budget Go Further’, where we discuss how to streamline your budget while increasing your security posture.