Cybersecurity Risk Management: Process, Plan, Benefits

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Jan 05, 2024

Cybersecurity

When it comes to staying safe online, cyber security risk management is the key. But the idea of creating a thoughtful plan and process may sound intimidating—especially if you’re unsure where to begin. 

That’s why we’ve taken the time to research and outline what a cybersecurity risk management process is and why it is important. This way, you can take actionable steps to protect yourself in today’s digital world.

Let’s dive in…

What is Cybersecurity Risk Management? 

Cybersecurity risk management is an approach that helps organizations identify, analyze, evaluate, and address threats based on the level of severity they pose to the company. Companies usually implement this approach to ensure that the system in place is prepared to eliminate threats promptly.

It is the continuous process of identifying, analyzing, assessing, remediating, and mitigating potential cybersecurity threats facing your organization. It’s a collective effort that involves all functions in an organization, not just the security team.

Hence, cybersecurity risk management is not just a job of the security team; everyone in a team has a role to play.

As an example, all the different functions within a company, such as IT, security, sales, and cyber compliance, can have conflicting agendas.

  • IT is full of fresh ideas and new technologies but often sees security and compliance as troublesome restrictions. 
  • Security is aware of safety standards across the business but may not be current with regulations.
  • Sales seek ways to keep customers happy, which may interfere with getting through required security audits.

Now you get the idea!

What is a cybersecurity risk management process?

Cybersecurity risk management process is the strategic approach an organization adopts from a threat’s identification and inception to mitigation and business continuity. This process is generally outlined based on risk priority, risk profile, tolerance levels, and regulatory requirements. 

Usually, the process starts with a thorough cyber security risk assessment and ends with continuous monitoring to keep up with the continuously shifting environment.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided the 800-30 framework as a guide for federal information systems. While it’s not mandatory in the private sector, this third-party risk management framework offers practical advice for any organization assessing its risk level. 

For a more in-depth examination of security and privacy controls, organizations may explore Special Publication 800-53. Both frameworks provide invaluable information and insight into reducing risk exposure.

Key Components of Cybersecurity Risk Management: 

An effective cybersecurity risk management program should entail the following three components: 

  • Robust policies and tools: To ensure that organizations stay protected from internal and external threats, they must surround themselves with robust policies and tools to assess vendor risk and identify emergent risks such as new regulations with business impact. 
  • Training program: Ensuring that gaps in IT security are identified, addressed, and mitigated through training programs is critical to developing and maintaining a solid security posture
  • Vendor risk management: Documentation of vendor risk management and security should always be updated for regulatory examination or to appease prospective customers.

Sprinto helps you implement a comprehensive risk management program by covering all key components using smart automation. 

  • Offers the tools to build a fully connected and highly automated risk management program.
  • Trains your employees and collects evidence of completion in an audit-friendly way.
  • Automates new vendor discovery and manages associated risks throughout vendor lifecycle with full control and confidence

Effortless, Efficient Risk Evaluation

How to build a cybersecurity risk management plan

You can build a complete cybersecurity risk management plan by implementing these four steps mentioned below:

cyber security risk management plan

Pinpoint cybersecurity risks

With so many potential threats, the modern security team faces an uphill battle regarding risk identification. After all, Gartner defines IT risk as “the potential for an unplanned, negative business outcome involving the failure or misuse of IT.” 

Essentially, this deciphers if any existing threats target a given vulnerability but also measures the direness of the outcome should an attack be successful. 

The risks may be hidden or hard to determine on the surface—but identifying them is always the first step. 

Threats lurk in seemingly innocuous places—including hostile attacks, human errors, structural or configuration failures, and natural disasters. All of these can potentially bring about serious negative effects on an organization’s operations or assets. 

Vulnerabilities that allow these threats to slip through cracks often stem from inadequate security measures internally within the organization and from external sources like supply chains or vendor relationships. And this is all before discussing the consequences of successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities, which often far outweigh their level of impact and cause significant damage or financial loss. 

Understanding the relationship between threats-vulnerabilities-consequences is essential for organizations to protect themselves from these detrimental events.

Evaluate cybersecurity risks

Assessing cybersecurity risks is an essential task for any organization. It’s not just about keeping data safe; it’s also about encouraging communication and collaboration between team members while they take steps to manage the risk. 

When you assess the risk within your organization, you can identify the assets and prioritize their importance, plus identify any threats or vulnerabilities that could impact your system. 

From there, develop controls to mitigate those risks and determine the likelihood of a threat event occurring. The resulting risk determination will help provide crucial insight into your organization’s well-protectedness. 

Taking risk assessment seriously can protect valuable data and resources while strengthening team cooperation — a win-win for any company.

You can evaluate the risks in your environment using the following steps: 

  • Identify assets: Identifying your assets such as endpoints, IoT devices, networks, servers, hard drives, and more. This includes both cloud hosted and on-premise assets. 
  • Prioritize the assets: Create an inventory to keep track of everything and prioritize based on its importance. Assign a value to know the impact of its loss.
  • Identify threats: Now that you have identified the assets, identify the threats based on the asset type. For example, physical devices can be stolen while data deployed on clouds can be compromised by cyber attacks.
  • Identify vulnerabilities: Identifying the security loopholes and vulnerabilities is the first step to minimizing the negative impact on your organization’s assets and making informed decisions to reduce the attack surface. 
  • Identify recurrence: After implementing the controls, monitor the effectiveness of their performance to ensure it meets the compliance requirements and functions so that an incident does not occur again. 
  • Conduct an impact assessment: Once you have identified the risks in your environment, list the options for mitigating the risks or reducing their impact. These include controls like firewalls, encryption, anti-malware solutions, multi-factor authentication, and more
Build true risk resilience

Sprinto empowers you to analyze risks and evaluate their impact based on the level of risks. It seamlessly integrates with your cloud stack to identify misconfigurations and vulnerabilities. Build a comprehensive risk register and an accurate risk profile to manage security risks in alignment with your acceptable level and risk tolerance. Get a demo now.

Mitigation measures

Once you’ve identified and assessed risks to your organization, the next step is to develop a strategy for mitigating those risks. This calls for an understanding of available options, which often entails a combination of technological solutions like encryption, firewalls, threat-hunting software, and automation—along with best practices designed to meet organizational needs. 

A team with a comprehensive plan will always be the most successful at proactively managing risk. History has demonstrated that the organizations that are successful in this effort can really consider their mitigation response and manage any remaining risk effectively.

Some of the best practices include:

  • Businesses take a multipronged approach to risk mitigation, and sound practices can significantly reduce anxiety about security threats. 
  • Cybersecurity training programs, along with up-to-date software
  • Privileged access management solutions, multi-factor authentication, and dynamic data backup are all essential components of an effective strategy 

Monitoring

With changes happening around us at the speed of light, monitoring the IT environment is paramount to ensure your organization complies with risk-assessment guidelines and internal controls. 

A good monitoring system is like an attentive sentry guarding your organization. Regularly scanning for regulatory changes, keeping tabs on vendors, and understanding how your teams use technology will help you stay one step ahead of any potentially troublesome gaps. 

Keeping an eye on these three elements of your IT environment will allow you to identify risks before they manifest, like a hero warning castle inhabitants of an imminent attack.

Automate continuous monitoring

Sprinto simplifies the deployment, testing, and monitoring of customized security frameworks and unique controls designed specifically for your business needs. With Sprinto, you can conduct comprehensive risk analysis, implement tailored security controls, and automate workflows to ensure comprehensive compliance coverage. Get a demo now.

Examples of Risk Management in Cybersecurity 

Here are some cybersecurity risk management example:

Risk Management in Cybersecurity

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is one of the most crucial steps in a comprehensive risk management plan for cybersecurity. This process involves identifying, analyzing, and evaluating risks potentially threatening the organization’s assets and networks. 

Employee training

Cybersecurity education and awareness training are vital components of a risk management plan. Providing employees with the knowledge they need to identify potential threats can help protect the organization from becoming a victim of cyber-attackers. 

Essential employee training topics include password security, email best practices, data protection measures, and understanding phishing tactics.

Network security audits

Regular audits of an organization’s network can effectively detect vulnerabilities or unauthorized access attempts before they become a significant threat. An audit will review all components of an information system – from hardware to software. 

And they look for any possible weaknesses that attackers could exploit. After identifying any issues, organizations can take steps to remedy them before damage is done.

Automate continuous monitoring

Sprinto helps you deploy auditor-level security programs to demonstrate compliance with standards such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, and PCI. Seamlessly integrate your cloud infrastructure for automated workflows and swift gap detection. Define a dedicated audit window within monitoring periods to ensure focused compliance monitoring separate from other activities. Get a demo now.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing is another valuable tool for assessing an organization’s security posture against potential cyber threats by simulating attacks on systems and networks to discover any existing vulnerabilities or weaknesses that must be addressed before real-world attackers find them first.

Disaster recovery planning

To ensure continuity of operations after a cyber attack occurs, organizations should have robust plans in place for responding quickly and restoring operations as soon as possible following an incident. 

This includes having appropriate backup systems in place and detailed instructions on restoring systems quickly if needed to minimize downtime and other impacts on the business operations caused by a successful attack.

Also, refer to: Best ERM software

Benefits of Cybersecurity Risk Management 

Risk management offers numerous benefits, allowing you to satisfy your security objectives and performance goals quickly. Here are a few advantages of incorporating an effective cybersecurity risk management strategy:

cyber security risk management

Safeguard your business reputation

Imagine a major data breach. You can picture the headlines, the news stories that warn of cyber-attacks, and the devastating effects this can have on your company’s reputation. 

After all, who wants to entrust their confidential data or information to a business that couldn’t protect it in the first place? 

Organizations need to have a robust cyber risk management program in place to avoid becoming an example of what not to do in cyber security. With plans to detect and respond quickly to threats, teams can help maintain a good reputation and restore customer trust. 

Strengthen your IT team’s support

If you introduce proactive security-focused strategies such as having a cybersecurity plan and risk management plan, your IT team can have less of a weight on their shoulders. 

An adequate number of personnel and resources will be available for projects and IT services, avoiding those dreaded work-from-home scenarios due to unforeseen crises. 

From the IT staff’s overall morale perspective, involving the team in creating the risk management plan may be beneficial. 

Everyone wins when an understanding of tasks and potential risks can be established. With a secure foundation, your team can focus more on delivering greater results than attempting to battle through emergencies.

Reduces downtime

All too often, stories arise of businesses succumbing to debilitating attacks that cause an extended amount of downtime, causing hardship for company employees and driving up financial costs.

According to ITIC’s Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey, 44% of businesses reported that hourly downtime costs exceeded $1 million to over $5 million, excluding legal fees, fines, and penalties – an example of how damaging these downtimes can be. 

When operations are delayed, it can cause a cascade of issues, including bottlenecks in workflow, an erosion of productivity, and disruptions to both internal & external communication. 

What’s next?

The many cyber threats that your company might face every day and how you manage them effectively are important for your business continuity. Therefore, establishing a cybersecurity risk management plan will save your business and protect your reputation.

Sprinto helps manage your critical data and assets with an automated platform. You will get a comprehensive view of security posture risks, detect potential gaps, and prioritize proper remediation.

  • Determine the likelihood of a risk failure using industry best practices to clearly scope them out
  • Distill your residual risk load and add/remove risks as you grow 
  • Implement checks to mitigate risks and set up monitored checks
  • Define roles and assign responsibility for each risk from the dashboard

Get in touch with us now to provide an extra layer of security to the functions of your business.

FAQs

Why is cybersecurity risk management important? 

Companies have cyber security risk management to handle critical threats promptly. Through this method, you can detect, scrutinize, assess, and address threats based on the impact they may cause.

What are the three types of risk in cyber security?

Protecting your institution from the harmful effects of cyber threats should be a top priority. To do so, you must understand and prepare for malware, ransomware, and DDoS attacks.

What is an example of cybersecurity risk?

Cybersecurity risk encompasses an organization’s susceptibility to losses due to a malicious cyber incident, which could include but is not limited to ransomware, phishing attacks, malware infiltration, and third-party risks.

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Meeba, an ISC2-certified cybersecurity specialist, passionately decodes and delivers impactful content on compliance and complex digital security matters. Adept at transforming intricate concepts into accessible insights, she’s committed to enlightening readers. Off the clock, she can be found with her nose in the latest thriller novel or exploring new haunts in the city.

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