Cybersecurity is an ever-growing concern for companies and organizations. With the rise in cyberattacks and data breaches, it’s important to develop a formal cybersecurity plan that will help your organization defend against threats and attacks.
To formulate a strong cybersecurity plan, you must first understand your exposure to potential risks and threats. Factors such as knowing your company’s cyber exposure, identifying potential vulnerabilities, analyzing potential threats—and much more—are all part of this process.
Know your cyber exposure
The first step is to understand your cyber exposure. You need to know what systems and data are most important to your business, how they work, their purpose and how they are used.
You also need to understand what data is stored on those systems as well as the types of information being stored there. Finally, it’s crucial for organizations to understand the value of their data so that they can prioritize which assets should be protected first.
Read: How to overcome cybersecurity challenges with CSAM
Defining the business impact of a cyber incident
To develop a cybersecurity plan you must understand what happens when a cyber incident occurs. You may have heard about recent data breaches, but it’s important to know how these events affect your company and its customers.
The business impact can be felt in a variety of ways, including financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions. It is essential to identify and quantify the impact of a cyber incident to effectively manage the risks associated with cybersecurity.
This involves assessing the potential costs of a breach, such as legal fees, regulatory fines, and lost revenue, as well as the indirect costs, such as damage to brand reputation and customer trust. By defining the business impact of a cyber incident, organizations can take proactive measures to mitigate the risks and protect their operations from future attacks.
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Analyzing and assessing a potential cybersecurity threat
Risk analysis is a process of identifying, quantifying and prioritizing risks. Risks can be categorized into three types:
A likely event that has a relatively high probability of occurring.
An event with no definite probability but which can be assessed as having one or more possible outcomes.
An unlikely event which may have very serious consequences if it does occur; such events are often referred to as “black swan” events (after Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book The Black Swan).
There are several methods for conducting risk assessments including:
1. Qualitative Risk Analysis
This type of analysis focuses on identifying qualitative factors such as likelihoods and impacts rather than quantifying them into monetary values (likelihoods). It tends to be less structured than other approaches but is useful when dealing with complex issues where the exact nature of some variables isn’t yet known or understood well enough for quantitative methods.
2. Quantitative Risk Assessment
This method involves using numerical data to assess the likelihood and impact of each risk. It uses statistical analysis and mathematical models to calculate the probability of a risk occurring and its potential impact.
3. Delphi Risk Assessment
This method involves gathering input from a panel of experts who provide their judgments on the likelihood and impact of each risk. The results are then combined to provide an overall risk assessment.
4. Fault Tree Analysis
This method involves identifying the potential causes of a risk and analyzing the different scenarios that could lead to the risk occurring. It is often used in safety-critical industries such as aviation.
5. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
This method involves identifying the critical control points in a process that could lead to a risk and implementing controls to mitigate those risks. It is commonly used in the food industry to ensure the safety of food products.
The choice of method depends on the nature of the organization, the industry, and the specific risks involved. Organizations should choose the most appropriate method for their needs and regularly review and update their risk assessments to ensure they remain effective in managing risks.
Identifying and prioritizing opportunities for improvement in the organization’s cybersecurity posture
The next step in the process is to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement in your organization’s cybersecurity posture. If you’re not sure where to start, it’s helpful to use a risk matrix as a guide.
This tool allows you to identify risks by type (e.g., technical or human) and assess their impact on business operations, whether they’re immediate or long-term threats that could affect your ability to operate normally.
Once you’ve identified all relevant risks, prioritize them based on their potential impact on your organization’s operations. For example:
A high-impact risk may cause significant damage if left unaddressed, it could even put lives at risk if users aren’t protected from cyber attacks like phishing scams or ransomware attacks that encrypt files until money is paid for decryption keys.
A medium-impact risk could also cause serious harm but would require more time before being fully realized. Therefore, there may be an opportunity for intervention before things get out of hand.
Low-impact risks are still important but less urgent than those above them because they don’t have immediate adverse effects on business operations.
Read: ITAM vs CSAM – Which is a better option for your business?
Establishing clear goals and objectives for your cybersecurity plan
When developing a cybersecurity plan, it’s important that you define the problem before starting on a solution. The first step in doing this is establishing clear goals and objectives for your organization.
This will help ensure that everyone involved in creating the plan understands what success looks like from their perspective, so they can work toward achieving those goals instead of just blindly following orders or implementing processes without knowing why they’re important or how they tie into a larger strategy and vision.
Determining an appropriate risk mitigation strategy for each threat identified
While an effective cybersecurity plan will include risk mitigation strategies for each threat identified, it’s important to consider how those strategies should be implemented. A good rule of thumb is that your risk mitigation strategy should be based on the following four factors:
- Threat: What type of attack is it? What is its impact on your business? How likely is it to happen?
- Impact: How much damage will this threat cause if it’s successful in breaching your defenses? What would happen if this threat was successful in breaching your defenses?
- Probability: How likely is it that this threat will occur in real life (or at least in a simulation)? This can vary depending on many factors–for example, whether there are any known vulnerabilities in software used by companies like yours or whether there have been past incidents involving similar attacks against similar organizations (e.g., ransomware). For some threats, such as phishing emails with attachments containing malware attachments disguised as PDFs.
Cybersecurity planning factors are a way to help you better understand how to deal with threats. They can help you to better understand the risks you face and how best to protect against them.
Stay ahead of threats with Virima
Cybersecurity planning is an important step in the process of dealing with cyber threats. It’s vital that you understand what your organization’s cyber exposure is and how it can be mitigated by implementing a specific strategy. You also need to consider what goals and objectives should be set for your plan before developing one in detail.
Staying ahead of threats in the fast-paced IT landscape requires organizations to have a comprehensive understanding of their IT assets and their security posture. Virima ITAM solution provides businesses with a powerful set of tools to stay ahead of threats, including real-time monitoring and reporting of security vulnerabilities. The solution enables businesses to quickly identify and patch vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of a data breach or cyber attack.
Virima also helps organizations stay compliant with industry regulations and vendor licensing agreements. By maintaining a comprehensive inventory of IT assets and their usage, businesses can ensure that they are not overpaying for licenses or violating licensing agreements. This not only helps businesses to stay compliant but also reduces their overall IT costs.
Virima’s financial governance and risk management capabilities provide businesses with a comprehensive view of their risk exposure, enabling them to make informed decisions about their IT investments.
The solution generates detailed reports on financial and operational risks, helping businesses to identify and mitigate potential risks before they become major issues. In summary, the Virima ITAM solution is an essential tool for organizations looking to stay ahead of threats and protect their IT infrastructure from cyber attacks and other risks.
Know more about Virima IT Asset Management platform from our experts.