In recent years, cybercriminals have upped their game, typically staying a step ahead of the good guys. In 2021, we’ve seen some of the biggest data breaches yet and, with the rise of exploits such as ransomware, threat actors are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)in the hopes of securing larger payments from less-protected companies. If attacked, SMBs experience downtime, data losses/breaches, and an ability to generate revenue while they deal with the fallout—this can devastate a company. Investing in risk management strategies that utilize a risk management framework (RMF) can help mitigate these threats and facilitate business continuity.
Cyberthreats are a growing risk for all businesses, regardless of size. SMBs are increasingly targeted by threat actors because they assume these companies don’t employ strong cybersecurity frameworks to better protect themselves. Unfortunately, they are likely right. SMBs that invest in risk management strategies can better arm themselves against those looking to exploit them. In a nutshell, risk management is the process of identifying, monitoring, and managing both potential internal and external risks to help minimize or eliminate any negative impacts if a cybersecurity or other damaging event occurs.
The NIST Risk Management Framework is considered the gold standard when it comes to risk management frameworks. Adopted in 2010, over the years, NIST’s guidelines have been updated as needed. Senior management and security personnel often use NIST’s structured guidelines template to assess their risks and improve security measures.
After procedures and protocols are established, management can proactively monitor threats and risks, tweaking things along the way for even more improvement. A risk management framework is a living and breathing process that should be updated and adjusted as necessary. Companies should definitely revisit their planning at least once a year or if any major changes in the company’s structure or technology occur.
The RMF created by NIST is composed of a comprehensive and flexible seven-step process and can be a recipe for cyber risk management success.The steps are as follows:
Using an RMF is a process businesses of all sizes should consider. The full lifecycle approach the NIST framework provides can help companies better safeguard themselves. As an alternative, they can also turn to an experienced cybersecurity provider that possesses RMF experience. This can alleviate the costs associated with putting employees in charge of managing this process—many SMBs often find it’s more budget-friendly to let the experts take care of this important methodology.