Paul C Dwyer
CEO - Cyber Risk International | President - International Cyber Threat Task Force
Understanding the Benefits of a Cyber Assessment
So not a day goes by without some sort of cyber attack or data breach makes the headlines. Many organisation's attempt to gain satisfactory assurance from internal functions or vendors in relation to their “Cyber Risk Status”.
This often results in knee jerk technical security assessments such as "Pen Tests", which of course play an important part in an overall security program. However, these days "Cyber" goes way beyond “Technical Assessments” and a Cyber Risk assessment needs to look holistically at the business.
How the integrated parts of the business value chain are protected and how efficient is the cyber security program at identify and managing cyber risks.
This of course means going “Beyond IT” and looking at areas such as “Cyber Governance”, “Risk Management and Oversight”, “Vendor and Supply Chain Management” and other key functions.
In taking a holistic view, an organisation has a number of key questions so they can develop an appropriate strategy.
One of the “Keys to Success” for any cyber assessment is to understand the inherent cyber risk of the organisation. This drives everything and makes all findings and recommendations fact based rather than subjective.
I am often asked, what is the one thing an organisation can do to improve its cyber security?
Well there are many parts to the answer, it is not simply about investing in a particular solution or process.
The answer to the cyber challenge lies in leadership. A top down approach is the only way to effectively deal with the dynamic landscape of evolving threats in a holistic business landscape.
So how do you empower the leadership in your organisation to take action? How do you provide them with the information they need in order to make strategic decisions and empower the management team and workforce?
The answer is a holistic "Cyber Assessment".
Firstly, let me get some misconceptions about cyber assessments out of the way. The common misconceptions include: they are expensive, disruptive and often best performed by internal resources.
This is simply NOT true. An effectively planned methodology is minimally invasive and is cost effective. The reality is, in most cases the skills, experience, tools or ability to carry out an impartial assessment simply does not exist within an organisation.
Your organisation has scaled over time and your IT ecosystem including the processes and people that support it has changed considerably over that period.
Whilst these developments have increased your productivity, they may have opened your organisation to new complex cyber related risks. Of course at the same time, the “game” is getting harder as the cyber criminals and the threat landscape is evolving all the time.
So let me clarify what I mean by a holistic "cyber assessment" before I make the case for one.
Technical security assessments such as "Pen Tests", of course play an important part in an overall security program. However, these days "Cyber" goes way beyond “Technical Assessments” and a Cyber Risk Assessment needs to look holistically at the business.
How the integrated parts of the business value chain are protected and how efficient is the cyber security program at identifying and managing cyber risks.
Below I have compiled a comprehensive list of benefits an organisation derives from a Cyber Assessment.
So What Are The Key Benefits to a Cyber Assessment?
Cyber Assessments Can Help in the Following Ways:
- Identify Significant Vulnerabilities.
- Apply Resources to Critical Vulnerabilities.
- Findings are key “inputs” to Developing a Roadmap.
- Target Areas to Improve With Best Return on Investment.
- Identify Blind Spots.
- Align Cyber Security with Business Model.
- Comply with Regulatory and Legal Obligations.
- Supports other functions such as the Enterprise Risk Management Program (also Privacy, Compliance, IT, Legal and Internal Audit).
- Mitigate Risks and put Precautionary Measures in Place.
- Holistically Understand the Organisations Integrated Maturity and Ability to Deal with Cyber Risks and Identify Grey Areas of Responsibility.
- Make Informed Investment Decisions Based on Understanding Current Inherent Cyber Risk.
- Provide Peace of Mind for Clients, Vendors, Shareholders, and Other Stakeholders.
- Gain Evidence and Assurance for Third Parties (including Regulators) in Relation to Cyber Risk Status.
- Understand how Effective Your Cyber Security Program is.
- A Strong Status can be a Differentiator in Winning and Maintaining Business.
- Results can be Used to Formulate new Policies and Standards.
- Supports Cyber Governance and Oversight by Reporting Key Findings to the Board.
- Reduce Quantitative and Qualitative Risks.
- Develop Strategy and Budgets for Future Business Plans and Objectives.
- Identify Critical Third Party Dependencies or Single Points of Failure
- Findings can be Used to Enhance Cyber Awareness Culture
- Reduces Stress and Workload on One Function as Responsibility and Ownership of Risk can be Identified.
Cyber Risk Assessments Encompass Your Entire Organisation
Are you interested in knowing more about Cyber Risk Assessments and how our award winning cyber assessment tool "CyberPrism" can help you? Contact us for further information www.cyberprism.ie