With cyber-attacks making headlines every day, many attempt to protect their network from every threat out there. But unfocused cybersecurity may protect the wrong areas as your actual vulnerabilities remain open. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of creating a risk profile for your business.
RISK PROFILES IN THE CONTEXT OF CYBERSECURITY
With many well-known threats populating headlines, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. A major threat in the news may be a minor threat to your organization, and investing in the wrong cybersecurity measures for the wrong risks could mean wasting important resources.
Commonly used in the financial sector, a risk profile involves documenting a company’s known risks, current cybersecurity policies and practices to make informed decisions on needed measures. The profile includes the assets you need to protect and what measures your organization is willing to take for protection.
The goal of this profile is to identify critical information and infrastructure to make the priority in your cybersecurity strategy, so that minor risks do not take precedence. This profile will give you a better understanding of the steps to take to secure your assets and networks. A basic risk profile is the cornerstone of a risk-based cybersecurity approach.
There are a few things a risk profile should include:
- Current known risk
- The effects these risks would have on the organization
- Any current cybersecurity measures and their effectiveness against these risks
- Steps decision-makers are willing to take for prevention
WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED A RISK PROFILE?
You may be aware your company is at risk for cyberattacks, but what cyberattacks is your company most at risk for? What are your existing vulnerabilities? What cyberattacks are targeted towards your industry? A focused cybersecurity strategy covers more corners than using numerous, different methods.
On the other hand, what specific assets or data sets are most at-risk within your company? Knowing this information gives decision-makers more clarity on what measures and backups would be best to protect these assets.
The profile should also include how far your organization is willing to go for cybersecurity measures. This can include information such as cybersecurity budget.
HOW TO CREATE A RISK PROFILE
Perform a Risk Assessment
The first step to creating a risk profile is doing a risk assessment on your network. The purpose of this assessment is to identify the specific threats that face your organization. This can be done by an in-house cybersecurity team or through a third-party software or cybersecurity firm.
Asset and process management
Decision makers can consult their in-house cybersecurity team or a third-party vendor to scan their networks for assets and connected devices. Asset management will allow you identify and inventory critical assets and data, giving you more insight on best cybersecurity practices for your unique needs. This also applies to documenting and monitoring organization processes. Changes in process may leave vulnerabilities during implementation, so it’s important to know what needs monitoring.
Documentation of system updates and environmental changes
Next, IT teams and CISOs must document network and system updates. Intruders often find vulnerabilities to exploit during system updates, especially for more widely-known software and hardware versions. Environmental changes refers to changes in team members, organization structure, and major company changes. This is important because inactive employee credentials can be a cybersecurity vulnerability. A simple method of recording personnel changes is contacting your HR department for an active employee list and updating the risk profile accordingly.
Implement annual risk profile review
Once the risk profile has been created, it’s important not to throw it to the wayside. Organizations should aim to review the risk profile and make updates annually. Dependent on your needs, this review can be done semi annually or quarterly.
Creating a risk profile gives organizations a guideline for a risk-based cybersecurity approach. It’s a helpful tool to monitor and mitigate the major risks for your organization. The profile can be created in collaboration with CISOs and CIOs, decision-makers, and IT leadership.