Cyber threats are continually changing, and that means that you need a way to stay ahead of the criminals. Having a plan in place for assessing current risks, spotting new threats, and mitigating them is essential for businesses that rely on their IT systems to be in good working order at all times. This article explains how to create such a policy and provides a cyber security risk management plan template to help you hone yours.
Research group Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that the cost of cybercrime will grow by 15% annually, reaching $10.5 trillion each year by 2025. Attacks can destroy the bottom line of a business, as well as ruin its reputation and potentially cause compliance issues relating to areas such as data protection.
To avoid these negative outcomes, a risk management plan is a key weapon in the battle against cybercrime.
How to create a successful cybersecurity risk management plan
1. Set your security goals
Your security goals will vary depending on the type of business and the threats that are most pertinent to you. In general, the main drivers of your plan should be to:
- Protect the confidentiality of the data that you store
- Preserve the integrity of that data
- Maintain availability of the data to authorized users.
When plotting your security goals, consider how they align with your business goals. You should also consider your company’s risk appetite, as that will help you with prioritizing those goals that are most important.
This allows you to understand which areas of cybersecurity your plan should concentrate on.
2. Assess current risks
By analyzing how your systems work and how your users interact with your network, you can build a picture of the current risks to your organization.
For example, if you have a high proportion of employees working remotely, this creates a risk that they will connect to your systems from unsecured networks, which is a major vulnerability.
If users are downloading their own software solutions, often referred to as shadow IT, instead of using IT department-authorized options, this can lead to a number of potential security problems.
3. Develop risk mitigation strategies
By understanding the risks that your company faces, you can begin to create strategies and procedures to mitigate them and reduce the threat to your systems and data.
This could include using Vaultry to monitor the devices connected to your network. It spots unauthorized and potentially dangerous programs and alerts you. This means you can remove them before they allow criminals to access your network.
Requiring remote workers to use VPNs that disguise their IP addresses when using unsecured networks for work purposes is another mitigation strategy that you can put in place.
4. Create an incident response plan
You can never fully eliminate the threat of an attack happening somewhere in your network, so you should create a plan that you put in place as soon as there is a breach of security.
Having a clear incident response procedure means that you follow the correct steps to minimize the impact of the attack on your company. Without a plan laid out, you risk a scattergun approach to defending your systems, led by panic instead of calm and considered logic.
Don’t leave this step to chance. It is preferable to have the procedure planned before it is needed.
5. Establish policies and procedures
Having cybersecurity policies and procedures in place serves a couple of purposes.
- It is possible that your users simply do not understand the risks at hand, so it highlights the severity of the situation.
- Your employees may understand the importance of cybersecurity but not have the technical knowledge to remain secure. Your policy spells out to them exactly what they need to do to stay safe.
- It creates accountability. When a user has a policy to refer to and strays from that policy, they can be dealt with accordingly and cannot claim ignorance.
6. Review and update the plan regularly
One of the most important steps in creating your cybersecurity risk management plan is to review your progress and update it accordingly.
The nature of threats changes over time, as do working conditions. For example, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it might have been less likely that your staff would be working from home in large numbers. Your pre-coronavirus plan would have had less emphasis on safe remote working than it would now.
Track your security progress, including the numbers and severity of threats. Adjust your plan to take into account the current and future risks that will affect your business.
Cybersecurity risk management plan template
This is a cybersecurity risk management plan template that you can use as the basis for your own company’s plan. It shows you the different sections that your plan needs to provide a comprehensive approach to mitigating threats to your organization.
What should your cybersecurity risk management plan contain?
|Key roles and responsibilities
|Running an effective cybersecurity plan is a team effort and relies on everyone carrying out their responsibilities. By noting exactly who owns which tasks, you create accountability.
|You should lay out both the current and the potential threats to the cybersecurity of your business. Consult with other stakeholders to build up a picture of the risk profile.
|Analyze risks to understand which are most pressing and which are less of an immediate threat to your business. Those that are most likely to happen and that will cause the biggest impact should be your priority.
|Risk response planning
|Put in place procedures to deal with the risks that are most pressing for your business. Lay out how you will respond to them if they materialize so that all stakeholders understand their roles.
|Risk monitoring and control
|State how you will monitor the risk landscape for your organization and stay informed of the threats that are most relevant to your business and sector.
|Report on the risks that have materialized for your business and review the success of your mitigation efforts in preventing them from causing a detrimental impact.
|Tools and practices
|List the resources that you need in place to effectively manage cyber threats in your organization. This includes tools such as Vaultry, firewalls, and other protective programs.
Benefits of a cyber security risk management plan
Better understanding of risks
For IT, the act of creating a cybersecurity risk management plan forces you to analyze risks more closely. That can help you gain a better insight into how they can affect your business and how you can prevent them. For users, it alerts them to the detrimental effects of practices that they might not have considered to be dangerous previously.
Safeguard business reputation
Better cybersecurity means fewer attacks – less chance of hackers gaining access to personal data, bringing down your systems, and causing downtime. If these events were to happen, they could affect how customers, investors, and other stakeholders view the business and the trust they have in it. Anything you can do to prevent them is good news for your reputation.
Meet compliance requirements
Around the world, there are increasing numbers of data protection regulations coming into force. Preventing data breaches means that you are less likely to face compliance issues in any of the jurisdictions in which you operate.
Prevent revenue loss
Downtime for your networks can lead to a slowdown in output and a loss of revenue. For serious breaches of your systems, the downtime can last for a number of days, which could be catastrophic for your business.
Prevent insider threats
By noting down procedures that users should follow and explicitly forbidding certain actions and behaviors, you can reduce the number of insider threats that can cause damage to your business. A mixture of promoting good practices and communicating sanctions for bad practices helps to reduce these problems.
How often should a cybersecurity risk management plan be reviewed and updated?
Cybersecurity risk management plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it remains effective and relevant in light of changing cyber threats. You should carry this out at least every year but more often if possible.
How do I ensure the implementation of the cybersecurity risk management plan?
To ensure the implementation of the cybersecurity risk management plan, you should allocate resources, develop and implement policies and procedures, and monitor the plan to ensure that it is being followed. Provide training and communicate sanctions for failure to carry out allocated responsibilities.
What is the role of incident response planning in a cybersecurity risk management plan?
Incident response planning is a critical component of the plan, as it outlines the steps that should be taken in the event of a successful cyber attack. By pre-planning these steps, you ensure that you cover all of the necessary checks and balances.
How do I prioritize the risks to my organization’s digital assets?
To prioritize the risks to your organization’s digital assets, you should consider the potential impact of a successful attack and the likelihood of the event occurring.
Creating an effective cybersecurity risk management plan is essential for averting threats and minimizing the impact of those risks that do come to fruition. It lets everyone know their role in protecting the company from cyber threats and creates procedures that they can follow to help keep the company safe.
Vaultry is a platform that amplifies your risk management plan. It monitors all devices from a single dashboard and finds unauthorized programs that could provide vulnerabilities. This allows you to remove them and reduce the risk of them leading to cyberattacks. Get started with Vaultry for your business today.