So what is a security risk, exactly?
People are always talking about the dangers of cyber risks and how cyber crime is going up in recent years. Statistics show that cyber crime has indeed increased substantially since more companies have become reliant on technology and more workers have gone remote. One way to combat the constant stream of cyber attacks and prevent your organization from taking a hit is to have strong risk and vulnerability management.
Without good cyber security measures put into place, any company can have glaring risk vulnerabilities that make their business weaker against cyber crimes. So what is a security risk, exactly? It can be anything from forgetting to update software to their latest patches to not using secure passwords. Even something that seems as small as an employee clicking a link in an email without verifying that it is safe can prove to be high risk. Malicious cyber criminals are always on the lookout for profitable attacks and they often prey on companies that have blatant cyber vulnerabilities.
Social engineering and ransomware are two of the popular types of cyber attacks that companies dread. Social engineering can be difficult to discern, and ransomware can quite easily infect and disrupt your network and operations. Cyber attacks resulting in data breaches cost an average of more than USD$4 million. The average varies from industry to industry, with the healthcare industry having to pay the highest costs for data breaches.
Even if your company is not attacked for millions of dollars in expenses, costs can still easily rise up into the tens to hundreds of thousands. Small businesses do not have that kind of disposable income at hand, which means that a data breach may even take them down completely. Cyber security upfront costs may be expensive, but it is critical that modern businesses invest in a suitable cyber security infrastructure, so they have some sort of protection.
Because risk vulnerability can greatly impact an organization’s cyber security, it is often essential to upkeep a capable cyber security risk management and frequent security risk assessment periods. That way, your organization’s IT team can stay up to date with the latest cyber security best practices and strengthen your security posture as needed. If potential threats are identified ahead of time, they become far easier to deal with or avoid.
Cyber risk resiliency can be improved through ongoing management of risks. It means continuously monitoring your networking systems, software, and devices. Analyze and evaluate them to identify flaws and improve your security posture. It may even include implementing adaptive security measures in response to threats that have breached your systems before.
There are several different types of risk in cyber security. But what is risk in cyber security in general, and what is the difference between threat vs risk?
Cyber security risk levels determine an organization’s vulnerability rating to having their data breached, networking systems compromised, or falling to various cyber crimes. A cyber risk is something that has the potential for resulting in the loss or destruction of digital assets or data. Meanwhile, a threat is a cyber event itself, such as a malware attack or social engineering. The better an organization can manage its cyber security risks and controls, the more protected it can be from cyber threats and the lower its cyber security risk.
Cyber security risks can be managed through routine digital security examinations, cyber security awareness employee training, detailed action plans, and cyber security risk management tools.
A good cyber risk management plan also enables your organization to prioritize issues and budget for cyber security more effectively. It can tell you whether you may need cyber insurance or new cyber security software. Understanding risks and consequences can grant your organization leaders new cyber security perspectives and insight.
The methods and types of vulnerability threats and risks in cyber security are ever-changing. Attack methods are evolving to become more sophisticated and easier to carry out against companies. It is more important than ever to be prepared for vulnerabilities and threats and be aware of the different kinds.
To help you in understanding the difference between threat and risk, here is an overview of the difference between risk, threat, and vulnerability with example cases.
A cyber threat is an incident or something that has the potential to disrupt your data, or business operations, or result in general harm. Threats include intentional threats, unintentional threats, and natural threats.
An intentional threat can be phishing, malware, or other attempts by bad actors to compromise your organization’s network security.
An unintentional threat typically constitutes human errors. It is the digital equivalent of forgetting to lock your door, leading to a thief easily entering your house. This can happen if your sensitive assets are improperly monitored, an antivirus program wasn’t updated, or a firewall wasn’t enabled.
Natural threats are not as often thought about when it comes to cyber security, but they do happen. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can seriously damage your infrastructure and assets, having the potential to not just negatively impact but completely wipe out your systems and data. That is why storing backups of your systems is usually recommended so not everything will be lost in case of severe threats.
Meanwhile, we have cyber vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities may be failures in software, a weak IT department, and a lack of adequate threat assessments to find out where your security flaws are. With routine penetration testing or other kinds of threat-assessing methods and tools, your company can be better prepared in the face of realistic threats.
On the other side, we have cyber risks. A risk is essentially the combination of both threats and vulnerabilities. If a threat takes advantage of your vulnerabilities, that means a risk to your organization.
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Disaster risk and managing it is a part of a good cyber security plan. You may want to identify what can be a hazard in disaster management, which can be facilitated by looking at vulnerability examples in disaster.
Understanding risk in disaster management is crucial for businesses to have a comprehensive cyber security plan. Risk is essentially the intersection between cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Companies need to assess what assets (such as digitally stored sensitive customer information) may be at risk, what human errors need to be managed, and more.
Because of the amount and diversity of threats in the modern cyber world, many businesses face the challenge of protecting themselves adequately. A big question is how can a business even begin to manage its cyber disaster risks?
A basic starting point might be to look at a framework for cyber security, which can provide you with guidance on what to do. Sometimes, when an organization wants to improve its cyber security, it begins by hiring IT professionals. They can help assess your informational assets, evaluate risk, and create action plans for what to do in the event of a cyber attack.
When disaster strikes, your cyber security plan should include an assigned crisis manager, what authorities need to be contacted, and what you may need to tell your customers or shareholders. Disaster recovery is also an important part of a cyber security plan — how will you deal with the fallout? Are there laws requiring you to notify everyone who has been impacted by the incident?
In addition, how can you maintain a good, or at least salvageable, reputation after a visible cyber crisis? Transparency is important, but customers also tend to value knowing that the company is taking serious measures to improve cyber security. A company that is known for weak security measures even after a wide-scale cyber attack will likely not do as well because of customer trust disintegrating.
In today’s technological golden era, the number of cyber security risks for businesses is so high that it is impossible to count. Malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, social engineering, denial of service attacks, and even spyware are all examples of cyber security threats that may be used against your company.
Even if you understand the risk vs vulnerability risk equation, what does that mean for your business? How can you be actually ready for threats that come your way, seeking to attack your vulnerabilities? How can you alleviate your risks? Just hiring an IT department may not be enough to ensure that your company is ready in case of cyber attacks.
Let us take a look at recent disaster risk examples. A majority of malware has been delivered via email, making threat detection software for email more important. In addition, a large majority of breaches involve some human element, suggesting that you may want to raise cyber security awareness within your organization to reduce the chances of human errors.
Healthcare companies have sustained extremely expensive ransomware attacks, going for millions or even billions of dollars. Companies thriving on digital software can also fall by the vulnerabilities etched within their digital infrastructures.