Threats such as phishing, malware, and ransomware continue to increase in sophistication, posing significant business risks. These not only disrupt business operations and compromise sensitive data, but they also have tangible financial and reputational impacts. For example, Medibank’s shares fell by 18% following their cyber security breach last year.
As cyber criminals hone their techniques, your company must develop effective strategies to mitigate these risks. The potential consequences of these threats highlight the necessity of proactive measures to protect sensitive data, your company’s integrity and the bottom line. By prioritising cyber security and implementing risk-reduction strategies, your business can minimise the potential financial and reputational impacts of cyber threats.
Understanding the risk-based approach
A risk-based approach to cyber security begins with conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, which becomes the foundation for evaluating your company’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber security threats. This assessment encompasses crucial aspects such as governance, operations, visibility, response, and recovery. Additionally, a critical function of a risk assessment is to identify all data assets within the organisation.
By evaluating these aspects, your organisation gains a second set of eyes to identify vulnerabilities and measure your capability to address cyber threats effectively. This approach ensures that cyber security efforts are aligned with industry best practices and the company’s risk appetite, enabling informed decision-making and targeted resource allocation.
Why take a risk-based approach to cyber security?
Systematic, cost-effective protection: A risk-based approach gives your organisation a systematic and cost-effective way to address vulnerabilities. It assesses risks based on their likelihood of occurring and the potential impact on the business, so you can build a strategy for addressing these first. By quantifying risks, you can evaluate the potential consequences of different risks and make informed decisions regarding resource allocation.
Cyber security culture: Understanding cyber security risks is more than an IT issue; it is a business issue. A risk-based approach can help instil a cyber security culture that permeates throughout the entire business, elevating cyber risk awareness and making it a collective responsibility.
Reduced chances and impact of cyber attacks: By focusing on risks and vulnerabilities through a risk-based approach, your organisation can proactively reduce the likelihood and impact of experiencing a cyber attack. Instead of taking a reactive stance, a risk-based approach enables you to identify and mitigate potential risks before they occur. This proactive mindset empowers your organisation to stay one step ahead of cyber threats and significantly enhance the overall cyber security posture.
Long-term cost savings: Cyber security should be more than simply throwing layers of technology at the problem. A risk-based approach enables you to make informed decisions about which cyber security vulnerabilities the business would most benefit from investing in. This approach encourages your business to focus on targeted security measures that are cost-effective and efficient, providing a stronger defence against cyber threats while optimising resource allocation.
Steps to developing a risk reduction strategy
A risk-based approach identifies and prioritises risks, implements controls, and continuously improves cyber security posture. Here are the key steps we take when working with clients on their risk-reduction strategy:
Risk assessment: A comprehensive risk assessment is the first step. We identify potential threats, vulnerabilities, and their impact on the organisation.
Present findings: After completing the assessment, we present them to key stakeholders, like senior management, IT teams, and relevant departments. We engage the board and executives at this stage so they understand the risks and have the information needed to navigate the next step.
Prioritise risks and develop a roadmap: This step involves collectively deciding which risks require immediate attention and mitigation. By aligning the company’s risk appetite and business objectives, we collaborate with the leadership to prioritise risks. After this, we develop a roadmap to guide the implementation of risk mitigation measures.
Implement controls: With the roadmap, we can start implementing controls to address the identified risks. The process involves deploying technical solutions, enhancing security measures, or conducting employee training. It is crucial to ensure controls are properly designed, implemented, and monitored to reduce risks effectively.
Create policies and procedures: We review your company’s existing policies and establish new ones to support the risk reduction strategy. For example, we might develop an acceptable use policy specifying a set of practices that a user must agree to before gaining access to your network. Policies should align with industry best practices and regulatory requirements.
Report on improvements: After implementing controls, we review their effectiveness by monitoring performance, security incidents, and the impact on risk reduction. We deliver regular reporting to communicate progress to senior management and other stakeholders.
Regular reviews and continuous improvement: Risk reduction is an ongoing process. We regularly review the risk reduction strategy to address emerging threats, changing business requirements, and technology advancements. By continuously monitoring the effectiveness of controls and including lessons learned, we collaborate with you to make informed decisions and further enhance your cyber security posture.
Embracing a risk-based approach to cyber security is imperative for your organisation to reduce the impact of cyber threats. This approach provides a systematic and cost-effective way to prioritise risks, align cyber security investments with business objectives, and foster a culture of cyber risk awareness.
It is essential to recognise that the journey towards minimising cyber threats is ongoing. As the threat landscape evolves, so must your company’s approach to cyber security. Regular risk assessments, updates, and improvements to security measures are essential for staying ahead of emerging threats and maintaining defences.
Why choose RODIN to conduct your risk assessment?
We are committed to providing comprehensive risk assessment services to businesses across Australia. Our team will deeply examine your people, processes and technology to identify potential vulnerabilities and build a multi-layered cyber security strategy. Visit our Cyber Security page for more information.