How can businesses deal with cyber risks?

By Saket Modi
Saket Modi, CEO at Safe Security, looks at how businesses can measure cyber risks and try to find the right solutions

Dealing with cyber risk is an unavoidable part of doing business in the modern digital age, and the prevailing wisdom in the cyber industry is that attacks are now a case of when not if.

But just because businesses will inevitably face attacks, doesn’t mean that they will inevitably suffer catastrophic security breaches. The right security proactive and quantitative security strategy, coupled with a robust and tested incident response plan, can help to mitigate the impact of attacks to ensure the business can weather the storm and keep moving forward     

However, implementing effective security is only possible when organisations truly understand the risks they face.

So how can enterprises ensure they are able to accurately quantify cyber risk, and invest in solutions that are right for their business?  

Bigger budgets don’t mean better security 

One of the greatest barriers to effectively managing and mitigating security risks is a lack of clear and real-time visibility into threat data. More than $150 billion was spent globally on IT security in 2021, and most organisations are now equipped with multiple overlapping sets of security tools. 

This means they are drowning in data, without knowing how to analyse them effectively. However, without a centralised approach for understanding this flood of information, most of it flows by unheeded. Gaining an accurate, big picture view of the company’s security posture is extremely difficult. As a result, firms often invest in new solutions and services without a clear idea of how they map back to their current needs. Enterprises can spend vast sums on shiny new solutions while barely moving the needle on their risk postures.

To really make a difference, organisations need to move towards a Cyber Risk Quantification approach. This model sees data from all sources across the organisation collated into a single platform and analysed as a unified whole. Next, the data is translated into a risk metric that indicates the organisation’s current level of cyber threat and the total financial loss it faces.

Speaking the language of risk 

Translating threat data into a quantifiable metric is extremely useful in helping security leaders understand how exposed their organisation is without struggling through the minutiae of data streams from dozens of unconnected sources.

But it’s even more effective when it comes to communicating this risk, particularly when it comes to non-technical executives and board members. Rather than getting lost in the weeds trying to relate technical details, security leaders can discuss cyber risk in a language everyone understands - money. 

The cyber risk metric can also be readily translated into a dollar value, allowing all stakeholders to immediately see just how severe the threat is in, and how much it will cost the organisation if nothing is done to mitigate it. This enables security heads to more easily secure buy-in from the board and access the budget needed for the right solutions and services.

Making every penny count 

A bigger budget is only useful if it’s spent in the right places, however. In addition to helping with the big picture view, a Cyber Risk Quantification approach also enables security leaders to take a more granular approach, drilling down to focus on particular problem areas. 

It might be apparent for example that the financial department has poor cyber security awareness and is particularly vulnerable to phishing attacks. Or perhaps cloud assets like AWS and Azure are exposed through misconfigured settings and need tighter access policies. This view can extend beyond the borders of the organisation, accounting for third party connections with access to the IT environment. 

Armed with this data security leaders can ensure that their hard-won budgets are spent exactly where they need to be, addressing the organisation’s specific security needs. When an attack does occur, they can be confident they’ve given the business a fighting chance. 

 

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