Cybersecurity risks relate to the loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information, data, or information (or control) systems.
These risks pose potential adverse impacts to organizational operations and assets. They can cause financial, legal, and reputational harm.
In Cybersecurity, a threat can be defined as any potential occurrence that may cause an undesirable or unwanted outcome for an organization or for a specific asset.
Cyber threats can come in many different forms. Some of the more common threats include:
A cybersecurity vulnerability is any weakness within an organization’s information systems that can be exploited. Vulnerabilities are extremely important to monitor because any gap can lead to a breach!
Vulnerabilities differ from threats in that vulnerabilities are usually there from the very beginning. Very rarely are vulnerabilities created as a result of actions taken by cyber criminals.
Cybersecurity risk types can include:
Controls exist to mitigate or reduce risk. There are different types of controls:
They include any type of policy, procedure, action or device designed to help accomplish that goal. Firewalls, surveillance systems, and antivirus software are common examples of controls.
Cyber risk management is an ongoing process of identifying, analyzing, and remediating your organization’s cybersecurity threats.
Some of the key components include:
Risks to an IT infrastructure are NOT always IT-based.
Human-made and natural disasters can have far reaching consequences for an organization’s IT assets. Systems, servers, and applications can be disrupted if the event is severe enough. Therefore, it’s important to factor these types of risks into any risk assessment.
These types of risk can include:
Two important risk assessment methodologies in Cybersecurity are:
In Cybersecurity, qualitative risk assessment is more scenario-based. Rather than assigning numbers and dollar figures, risks are ranked on a scale to evaluate their overall effect.
An example of qualitative risk assessment might be conducting a maturity assessment mapped to the NIST framework.
In Cybersecurity, quantitative risk assessment generates concrete probabilities of risk. Essentially, it assigns a quantity to a risk.
Typically, the end report has dollar figures for levels of risk, potential loss, cost of countermeasures, and value of safeguards.
The Annual Loss Expectancy (ALE) is the possible yearly cost of all instances of a specific threat against an asset.
It is calculated using the following formula:
ALE = Single Loss Expectancy (SLE) * Annualized Rate of Occurrence (ARO)
Single Loss Expectancy (SLE) refers to the expected monetary loss each time an asset is at risk. It’s commonly used during risk assessments and aims to put a monetary value on each threat.
It can be calculated as:
SLE = Asset Value (AV) * Exposure Factor (EF)
The Annualized Rate of Occurrence (ARO) is the expected frequency with which a specific threat or risk will occur. ARO calculation is also known as probability determination.
Calculating the ARO can be tricky! It can be derived from historical records, statistical analysis, or guesswork.
The Asset Value (AV) is the total value of the specific asset. If your asset is a server, and the server is worth $10,000, your AV is $10,000.
Many assets are tangible items such as computers and software. Others are intangible like databases, plans, and sensitive information.
The Exposure Factor (EF) is represented as a percentage of loss if a specific asset were harmed. It is also sometimes referred to as loss potential.
The EF is usually small for assets that are replaceable, such as hardware. It can be very large for irreplaceable assets, such as product designs.
In Cybersecurity, some important terms related to quantitative risk analysis include:
Some important Cybersecurity laws are:
Some important Cybersecurity frameworks are:
In Cybersecurity, some risk management strategies are:
The Acceptance risk management strategy covers when an individual or organization is willing to accept the level of risk associated with a given activity or business objective.
The Avoidance risk management strategy covers eliminating risks and hazards that can negatively affect an organization and its assets.
The Risk Transfer risk management strategy covers shifting of pure risk from one party to another.
The Mitigation risk management strategy covers how controls and other preventive measures can reduce the level of risk facing an organization.
Third-party risk is the potential threat presented to organizations’ employee and customer data, financial information, and operations by external vendors.
In Cybersecurity, some third-party security risks are:
Security incidents can cause risks beyond general security and IT.
Other risks to using third-party businesses can include:
Third-party risk can be assessed by: