Combating Cybersecurity Threats through Risk Assessment and Compliance

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Technologies are evolving, getting complex by the day; so are cyber security risks. Businesses operating in an interconnected, digital world are wholly dependent on technology to drive profitability, and thus need to be aware of imminent threats in the technology landscape. Most of today’s attacks are multi-channel and multi-layered, making a thorough assessment of a business’s vulnerabilities imperative. Risk assessment not only helps identify gaps and take corrective measures in time, but also ensures that businesses invest their money and time in the right areas, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

Cyber attacks often have lasting effects on a business, impacting more than just revenues. Thus, cyber security decisions should be driven by an in-depth and shared understanding of a company’s threats, assets and vulnerabilities to ensure that security investments are prioritized. Security relates to the entire IT infrastructure of an organization. Thus, choosing the right security solutions calls for a complete understanding of the system, lest the biggest risks are still left unmitigated. A workable, affordable and scalable strategy that can reduce both short and long term risks involves:

  • Assigning accountability to ensure effective decision making, execution and incident response
  • Assessing the value of information assets and identifying potential attackers for quantifying the impact of threats
  • Analyzing industry specific security risks
  • Identifying areas where security risk management can be integrated with both technology acquisition and software development
  • Creating a security strategy to ensure proactive responses to evolving threats
  • Managing residual risks that exist in all systems

Organizations deal with increasingly sophisticated and mutating threats to their assets and information, which exploit technical vulnerabilities, loopholes in procedures, and behavioral characteristics of employees. Therefore, compliance issues should not just concern the IT department alone but the entire board, and take problems related to data protection, data governance, information security, operational risks and best practices into consideration.

However, organizations also face an ever increasing list of regulatory, statutory, legal and contractual compliance obligations. Thus, while defining a risk management strategy, adhering to government’s cyber security guidelines is a must.

Although daunting, businesses must establish an integrated and coordinated compliance framework that draws on all the required regulatory standards. These standards help organizations devise a security strategy based on best practices, providing structured guidelines for a risk-based approach to secure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of corporate information. In addition, they also help create the right control environment within which specific internal controls can operate effectively and the protocol for handling security incidents when they occur.

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