Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation
Cybersecurity risk mitigation involves the use of security policies, processes and enabling technologies to reduce the overall risk or impact of a cybersecurity threat. Regarding cybersecurity, risk mitigation can be separated into three elements: prevention, detection, and remediation. The mitigation approach will depend on the nature of the threats and vulnerabilities that were highlighted in the cybersecurity risk assessment. It is also essential to balance each of the three elements mentioned.
In some cases, it may be impossible or too costly to provide adequate preventative measures – in such cases you will have to accept the possibility that a cybersecurity event may happen and rather focus on preparing to mitigate the consequences. Analysis of the impact and likelihood scores calculated during the cybersecurity risk assessment will assist in determining which is the appropriate response. Where both likelihood and impact are low it may not make sense to invest heavily in prevention and detection but rather focus on remediation. Conversely, where likelihood and impact are high it would be prudent to take all steps possible to prevent the risk materializing.
Protection entails implementing appropriate safeguards to restrict or mitigate the effect of a possible cybersecurity attack.
- Detection involves the appropriate activities to timeously identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity attack.
- Remediation deals with the aftermath of an attack – ensuring the business is resilient and able to quickly restore operations that were impaired by an attack.
- Mitigation strategies can stop people who are trying to do unauthorized, nefarious things in your systems.
Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation Strategies
Create awareness and train staff
Making employees cyber aware is one of the most cost-effective strategies to mitigate against one of the biggest factors in cyberattacks – human error. By ensuring that employees can correctly recognize and respond to cyberthreats you can considerably and easily improve your security posture.
Create a patch management schedule
One of the most exploited vulnerabilities are the security flaws inherent in the various software technologies deployed in businesses. Software vendors will release patches not only to enhance functionality or fix software errors but also to plug security gaps in their systems. Hackers will study the patches and develop exploits to use before those patches are applied. By ensuring that these patches are promptly applied you can address the vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
Establish network access controls
These controls aim to manage access to a network using policies that determine where users and devices can go on a network and what they can do. Employees will only get access to systems and their data required for performing their work – all other systems and data will be hidden from them. In this way you can protect your employee’s account from being hijacked to compromise your data.
Implement privileged access management
Privileged user accounts are significant targets for attack as they have elevated permissions, access to confidential information and the ability to change settings. If compromised, organizational operations will often be severely hampered. Privileged access management solutions will secure powerful administrator accounts, preventing hackers from moving laterally through the network and making unauthorized changes to systems and access sensitive data.
Implement frequent user access reviews
The access that users have should be commensurate with their job function. On an ongoing basis managers should review the access that has been granted to all their reports to ensure that such is aligned to their job requirements. Where access is not needed it should be removed immediately. This ensures that managers have visibility of what their reports are accessing and engenders accountability for that access.
Implement multifactor authentication
Most data breaches are directly attributable to stolen or compromised credentials. Research has shown that a simple five alphanumeric password can be broken in mere seconds. Multi factor authentication will ensure that your systems can’t be accessed even if credentials are compromised.
Firewalls act as an additional barrier between your network, the devices connected to it, and the outside world. By controlling traffic through the firewall, you can block both incoming and outgoing messages where those messages are potentially malicious or compromising. This will enable you to stop most cyberattacks.
Implement anti-virus software and ransomware protection
Antivirus software is critical for your devices. It can help you in finding viruses in your environment and protect your data from being held hostage. Because ransomware is a type of malware, these two solutions go hand in hand. If the ransomware does get past your antivirus software, you need to be able recover from the attack.
Develop and test a pragmatic, proactive Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan
Creating and exercising a cybersecurity incident response plan ensures that all role players fully understand their responsibilities in the event of a cyberattack and enables restoration of data and system capability as quickly as possible. Regular simulation of an attack will also better prepare your employees to respond effectively and improve the resilience of your business. By having such a plan in place, you can minimize the damage wrought if your defenses are breached.
Review insurance policies
Cybersecurity insurance is designed to mitigate losses arising from a cyberattack. By ensuring that your policies cover such risks you can minimize business disruption during a cyberattack and its aftermath. Policies may cover the cost of some elements of dealing with an attack as well as recovering from it.
Simulate attacks and assess vulnerabilities
It is critical for your businesses to proactively identify and assess new threats. This includes threat hunting, penetration testing, data analysis (of logs and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) data), vulnerability scans and cyberattack simulations. These techniques can assist you in verifying that your systems and data are effectively protected and to test how resilient the business is in the event of an attack.