A Simple Playbook to Reducing Cyber Risk for Enterprises

How at-risk is your enterprise to data breaches and cyberattacks? The risk isn’t minimal for any enterprise, which means it’s an issue that you and your management team need to address. Fortunately, there’s an easy-to-follow playbook you can employ for reducing cyber risk in your organization.

Understanding Cyber Risk Today

Cyber risks to enterprises continue to grow in both occurrence and severity. Not a month goes by without some major cyber incident being reported in the press. All types of threats are on the rise, from data breaches to ransomware attacks. According to the CyberEdge 2021 Cyberthreat Defense Report, the number of successful cyberattacks increased 5.5% in 2020, and 76% of IT security leaders fear that their companies will fall victim to cyberattack in the coming year.

Management’s Role in Reducing Cyber Risk

Your organization’s management, at all levels, has an important role in reducing cyber risk. Management must impress on workers the very real threat to the organization posed by cyber threats and lead the adoption of a security-conscious culture.

According to CSO’s Security Priorities 2021 study, almost half (48%) of CISOs surveyed said their top priority was to be “appropriately prepared” to respond to a cybersecurity incident. CISOs also said that they intended to improve the protection of confidential data (43%), improve security awareness in their organizations via employee training (42%), and upgrade IT and data security in their companies (41%).

In particular, management can and should initiate and encourage the following activities:

  • Focus on cyber risk management on a top-down basis
  • Provide an adequate budget and staffing for cyber risk reduction
  • Initiate a cyber risk assessment and the development of a cyber risk management plan
  • Stress the importance of cyber risk management via employee training
  • Analyze the act on the results of the organization’s cyber risk management plan

Developing a Risk Management Framework

To reduce your enterprise’s cyber risk, you need to develop a detailed risk management framework. That framework should include four essential components:

  • Conduct a cyber risk assessment
  • Develop a cyber risk management plan
  • Develop an event response plan
  • Automate event detection

We’ll look at each component in more detail.

1. Conduct a Cyber Risk Assessment

Before you can determine your cyber defenses you need to determine what needs to be defended—and against what threats. That is the goal of a cyber risk assessment, which should include:

  • Data audit to assess what data you have stored, where it is stored, and who has access to it
  • Security audit to assess the current state of your organization’s cybersecurity
  • Threat assessment to identify existing and evolving threats to your data and systems
  • Risk prioritization to determine both the most likely cyber risks and the most severe risks if they were to occur

2. Develop a Cyber Risk Management Plan

Once you’ve assessed your current cyber risk, it’s time to develop a plan on how best to reduce that risk. A cyber risk management plan is a detailed outline of your risk management activities over the next 12 months and should include the following elements:

  • Data security essentials, including anti-malware and firewall utilities
  • Data and communications encryption
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Password security
  • Device protection
  • Software and hardware security updates
  • Remote security
  • IT security staffing and budgets
  • Employee training

3. Develop an Event Response Plan

Protecting against unwanted cyber events is one thing. Responding to an actual event is another.

You need to develop a detailed event response plan that outlines what steps to take if your organization is the victim of a data breach or cyberattack. This plan should spell out in detail what activities need to happen to respond to, stop, and recover from an incident, as well as who should be responsible for each activity.

A detailed event response plan should include the following:

  • Step-by-step instructions for how to respond to different types of events
  • How to recover any lost or breached data
  • How to get critical systems back up and running
  • Who to notify in the event of an attack—authorities, shareholders, customers, the media, etc.

The goal of an event response plan is to return to normal operations as quickly as possible while minimize any damage inflicted.

4. Automate Event Detection

Finally, it’s important to employ automatic event detection. The faster you identify an unwanted cyber event of any type, the faster you can shut it down, minimize the damage, and return to normal operations. (IBM reports that it takes 212 days, on average, to detect a data breach.) Since it’s virtually impossible to manually monitor all of your firm’s systems and data 24/7, automating event detection is a much more effective approach.

Automated event detection tools should monitor the following:

  • Incoming and outgoing Internet traffic
  • Data and communications
  • Unusual system activity
  • System login attempts
  • User privileges
  • File permissions
  • Status of all security tools

Any automated event detection tool you use should automatically alert key staff when monitored activity rises above a preset level. The tools should also prioritize alerts as to their potential seriousness to prevent alert fatigue.

Let Wickr Help You Reduce Your Cyber Risk

One key component of any cyber risk reduction plan is enhancing the security of all communications and collaborations. Wickr’s secure communications and collaboration platform is the ideal solution, employing strong end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to ensure that text, voice, and video communications are fully secure. It’s just one way your enterprise can work to reduce your cyber risk.

Contact Wickr today to learn more about using secure communications to reduce cyber risk.