How Can Businesses Measure Cybersecurity Risk?

In today’s world where businesses are becoming increasingly digital, the risk of cyber threats has never been greater.

It’s no longer a question of if your business will be targeted by bad actors, but when. Companies of all sizes and in all industries are more at risk. With this rising potential of a breach, the consequences can be catastrophic. 

With one misguided click, businesses can suffer financial losses, reputational damage, and become non-compliant. For example, in 2022, Medibank had a ransomware incident that cost them $25 to $35 million. They needed to delay insurance premium increases until January 2023, which cost the company another $62 million. This is why it is crucial for businesses to measure their cybersecurity risk routinely and have a cyber incident response plan

But how can busy leaders measure this risk in a product and time-saving manner? In this article, we will discuss the importance of measuring cybersecurity risk and how businesses can start doing it.

Before we dive into the technical details, let’s define cybersecurity risk.

What is Cybersecurity Risk?

Cybersecurity risk is the potential harm to an organization that results from unauthorized access to, theft, damage, or destruction of digital assets. These assets can include data, systems, or networks. If you want to know the top cyber threats of this year, check out our other article.

Cybersecurity risk includes both the likelihood of an attack occurring and the potential impact it could have. Our IT experts often find that businesses are unknowingly not keeping up with the latest cybersecurity best practices, such as not implementing MFA company-wide. By fully understanding and mitigating cybersecurity risk, business and IT leaders can ensure their organization’s protection.

“Attackers are adapting and finding new ways to implement their techniques, increasing the complexity of how and where they host campaign operation infrastructure.”
Amy Hogan-Burney, General Manager, Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft. Via State of Cybercrime Report in 2022

How Can Businesses Measure Cybersecurity Risk?

To measure cybersecurity risk, businesses need to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment. This risk assessment involves identifying potential threats, gaps, and assets that would be impacted by a cyber attack.

There are a few common risk assessment methodologies experts use to measure risk. The most common ones include the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, ISO 27001, and CIS Controls. These approaches provide a framework for businesses to assess their risk and prioritize their IT investments.

Here is how each of these methodologies relates to measuring cybersecurity risk:

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a set of guidelines that helps organizations manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. It consists of five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Each function includes a set of categories and subcategories that help organizations to establish a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is a globally recognized standard for information security management. It provides a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information. The standard provides a framework for establishing, implementing, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS).

CIS Controls

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls is a set of best practices for cybersecurity. It was actually developed by a community of cybersecurity experts. The CIS Controls has three major categories for you to focus on: Basic, Foundational, and Organizational.

Unsure if your team has the bandwidth to take on this critical evaluation? Managed cybersecurity services could be the perfect fit for your needs.

Overall, these methodologies are widely used by organizations to assess and manage cybersecurity risks. By using one or more of these frameworks, organizations can identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks.

Whether you use a framework or not to measure cybersecurity risk, you also need to consider other factors, such as:

  1. Where un-protected data and assets live
  2. The likelihood and impact of a cyber attack
  3. The cost of implementing cybersecurity measures
  4. The compliance requirements for their industry 
  5. Potential legal and reputational consequences of a cybersecurity breach

Best Practices for Reducing Cybersecurity Risk

To reduce cybersecurity risk at a faster pace, businesses can follow the latest best practices. These include:

  1. Backup Critical Assets and Data: Businesses need to identify critical assets and data that are at risk from future cyber threats. Where do these assets live? Who has access to them? Is this data routinely backed up? If your business does not have a disaster recovery plan, create one.

  2. Conduct Routine Risk Assessments: Businesses should conduct a risk assessment to identify potential cybersecurity threats and gaps. The risk assessment should consider both internal and external threats, such as insider and third-party risks.

  3. Educate Employees on Cybersecurity Risks: Employees are often the weakest link in a business’s cybersecurity defenses. Plus, 13% of all malicious emails make their way past layered email security defenses! Businesses need to educate their employees on cybersecurity risks and best practices for proper cybersecurity hygiene. 

Don’t Wait to Measure Your Cybersecurity Risk

Measuring cybersecurity risk is crucial for your business to protect itself from evolving cyber threats. With these best practices and frameworks to help, you can identify potential threats before they cause harm.

With technology and hackers constantly changing, businesses cannot afford to ignore their rising cybersecurity risk. Measuring it accurately and often is essential for growth and continued success. Make an IT investment that can save you millions, instead of letting your team only react after a costly incident.

If your team needs assistance with risk evaluation, protection implementation, and cybersecurity training, partnering with an MSSP is a common solution. There’s a reason why businesses in South Carolina trust Fusion to handle their cybersecurity.

Learn more about our managed cybersecurity services today and how we can help you!

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