Cybersecurity Risk Management: What It Is, Framework and Best Practices

Cybersecurity Risk Management

What is Cybersecurity Risk Management?

Cybersecurity risk management can be a strategic approach for prioritizing threats. To ensure that the most serious threats are dealt with quickly, organizations implement cybersecurity risk management. This method helps to identify, analyze and evaluate threats based on the potential impact they could have.

Organizations cannot eliminate all system vulnerabilities and all cyberattacks completely. A risk management strategy recognizes this. Organizations can establish a cybersecurity initiative to address the most serious flaws, threats, and attacks.

The cybersecurity risk management process consists of four steps.

  • Identifying Risk – Evaluate the environment of an organization to determine current or potential risks that could impact business operations
  • Assess risk – Analyzing identified risks to determine how likely they might be to affect the organization and what their impact could be.
  • Control Risk – Identify methods, procedures, and technologies that will help your organization reduce the risk.
  • Review Controls – Assessing, on an ongoing basis how effective controls are at mitigating risk, and adding or altering controls as necessary.

What is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

An organization’s cybersecurity risk assessment helps them identify their key business objectives, and then determine the right IT assets to help them achieve those objectives.

This involves identifying cyberattacks that could negatively impact these IT assets. It is necessary for the organization to identify the likelihood of such attacks occurring and the potential impact of each attack.

The cybersecurity risk assessment should include a comprehensive analysis of the threat environment and the potential impact on the business objectives.

Security teams and other stakeholders should be able to use the results of this assessment to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of security measures that reduce these risks.

What are Cyber Threats?

The term cyber risk refers to any vector that could be used to compromise security, cause damage to an organization, or steal data.

The following are common threats that modern organizations face:

  • Adversarial threats –Third-party vendors, insider dangers, trusted insiders. Established hacker collectives. Privilege insiders. Ad hoc groups. Suppliers. Corporate espionage. Nation-states.Malicious software (malware), created by these entities, also falls under this category. These threats can be mitigated by large organizations set up a security operation center (SOC), which includes trained security personnel and specialized equipment.
  • Natural disasters – As much as malicious cyber attackers can do damage, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes can also cause significant destruction. Natural disasters can cause data loss, disruption of services, or the destruction of organizational physical and digital resources. You can reduce the risk of natural disasters by spreading your organization’s operations across multiple sites or using distributed clouds resources.
  • System failure – A system failure can cause data loss, as well as disruption to business continuity. Your most important systems must be running on top-quality equipment and have redundancy to ensure high availability. They should also be backed up regularly by your service providers.
  • Human error – Any user can accidentally download malware, or be tricked into downloading social engineering schemes such as phishing campaigns. A storage misconfiguration may expose sensitive data. These threats can be prevented and mitigated by establishing a training program for employees and enforcing strong security controls. Use password managers to monitor for misconfigurations and use them as a tool.

These are the top threat vectors that impact most organizations.

Unauthorized Access – may occur due to malicious attackers, malware or employee error.
Unauthorized users may misuse information–an intruder threat could misuse information by altering or deleting data without authorization.
Data leaks – threat actors and cloud misconfiguration could lead to personally identifiable information(PII) or other sensitive data.
Data loss – poorly designed replication and backup processes could lead to data deletion or loss.
Service disruption may result in revenue loss and reputational damage. It could be accidental or a result of a DoS attack.

Cyber Risk Management Frameworks

There are many cyber risk management frameworks that organizations can use to identify, mitigate and manage risks. These frameworks are used by senior management and security officers to improve the security of an organization.

Cyber risk management frameworks can be used to help companies effectively assess, monitor, and mitigate risks. They also provide security procedures and processes that address these risks. These are some of the most popular cybersecurity risk management frameworks.


The popular framework is the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. The NIST CSF framework is a comprehensive collection of best practices that standardizes risk management. It outlines a list of activities and results related to the core functions in cybersecurity risk management: protect, detect, identify and respond.

ISO 27001

In partnership with the International Electrotechnical Commission, the International Organization for Standardization has created ISO/IEC 27001. The ISO/IEC 270001 cybersecurity framework provides a set of standards that can be certified to help organizations manage information system risks. The ISO 31000 standard provides guidelines for enterprise risk management.


DoD’s Risk Management Framework (RMF), defines the guidelines DoD agencies follow when managing cybersecurity risks. RMF breaks down the cyber risk management strategy in six steps: categorize, select and implement, assess, authorize, monitor, and assess.

FAIR Framework

For enterprises to measure, analyze and understand information security and risk management, the Factor Analysis of Information Risk Framework (FAIR) is designed. This framework is designed to help enterprises make informed decisions about cybersecurity best practices.

Cybersecurity Risk Assessment: Best Practices

Build Cybersecurity into the Enterprise Risk Management Framework

Cybersecurity should be integrated into the Enterprise Risk Management Framework Incorporate your risk-based cybersecurity program in the enterprise risk management framework. This serves as the organizing principle to analyze and classify enterprise risks. This framework should be used not as a guideline but as an organizing principle. This approach helps businesses to better manage cyber risk by framing it as a business risk.

Identify Value-Creating Workflows

Identify the most valuable workflows and identify the risks associated with them. Important workflows can pose significant risks and it is crucial to assess their potential impact. Payment processes, for example, create value but pose a risk to the business because they are susceptible to fraud and data loss.

You should ensure that your cybersecurity team understands which processes are valuable to your company and how they are managed. This will allow you to implement the recommended controls. Collaboration with cybersecurity personnel and business personnel is better than a one-sided maturity-based approach.

Prioritize Cyber Risks

The cost of prevention and the value of the information you have to help with risk management and mitigation should be used to determine your risk level. High-level risks should be addressed immediately, while lower-level risks can wait or be accepted as tolerable risks. The cost to protect an asset is more than its value. If it is, the risk could impact your reputation.

Implement Ongoing Risk Assessments

Continuous, adaptive, and actionable risk assessment is necessary to keep pace with changing cybersecurity threats solutions. Review your risk management process regularly to find and fix any gaps. To secure digital environments and assets, cybersecurity teams use actionable insights from risk assessment.

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