Information Security Risk management: Our Guide
Information security risk management is one of the best methods you can deploy across your company in today’s day and age to promote cybersecurity while at the same time implementing best methodologies and practices. In this post, we’ll be discussing the intricacies of information security risk management and how to best go about implementing said management techniques. Additionally, we’ll be diving into the individual areas and sub-areas of information security risk management and how Security Illusion will be able to assist every step of the way. Read on to learn more about how we operate within this complicated field and how we can best serve your company in the defense of your most valuable assets: your proprietary information.
What is Information Security Risk Management?
Information security risk management, also known as “ISRM”, is simply the process and steps taken to manage and mitigate risk factors associated with information technology. The steps involved are performed in the following order:
The important aspect to remember during this process is with information security risk management, you will never be able to eliminate one-hundred percent of all risks. Due to the ever-evolving nature of the cyber world, it would be unethical and over-promising to say we’ll be able to protect your website from each and every digital threat. With that being said, we comb through each and every area of your digital presence and deploy the best techniques and methodologies to protect each and every component of your organization from cyber attacks.
Stages of ISRM (Information Security Risk management)
There are three stages of ISRM and we’ll be examining all three thoroughly in the following materials:
Identifying your most valuable assets is crucial to seeing an information security risk assessment be productive and overall successful. The obvious components of your digital presence will be databases holding proprietary information as well as valuable user information. There are however a number of areas which business organizations often overlook which may be a potential gateway for hackers and those with malicious intent may exploit if ignored. We’ll analyze each and every area to best determine which assets are most vulnerable and which assets need the greatest layers of protection.
”A small leak in a ship can eventually lead to a large flood of water…”. This is an allegory we enjoy using to explain how a seemingly small vulnerability may eventually open up pandora’s box if ignored for extended periods of time. Identifying vulnerabilities in a proactive and efficient manner is what we do best and we’ll certainly resolve and repair any areas with “leaks” as soon as they’re discovered; allowing you to rest easy knowing you’re protected.
Threats are anywhere and everywhere within the cyber world. We first analyze your industry and determine the areas which may lead to the largest levels of threats. Let’s say for example your industry is being targeted by a particular "hacktivist" group believing they’re performing a good cause by taking your site down. If you’re involved in this particular industry, it’s vital to implement procedures and policies to ensure your organization will not be taken advantage of when it comes to these specific hacks the specific groups are utilizing. This is just one of the many examples we’ll analyze when we’re in the process of identifying active threats.
Identifying controls is an essential element to protecting your organization. Say for example you have a program or software application which seems to allow former users to continue to have readily available access to your organizations processes, systems, and software well after they’ve been terminated from the organization itself. Implementing a system or protocol to effectively and efficiently remove said group of users to ensure their access is no longer available is a prime example of how identifying and implementing controls can exponentially help your organization stay protected. Maintaining a regular “control policy” is an excellent way to ensure there are no loose ends causing your valuable information to become exposed to risk-factors.
Combining all of the above mentioned variables (assets, vulnerabilities, & controls) yields an assessment. With assessments, we’ll be able to define the true risks posed against your organization. True risk is often determined by the following formula in layman’s terms:
Risk = (threat x vulnerability (exploit likelihood x exploit impact) x asset value ) - security controls
While the above formula may appear to be simple, it’s quite the contrary. There are many, many aspects and variables involved, yet this formula does provide a brief overview of the general concept of assessments.
Treatment options are determined once a risk has been assessed and analyzed. The five options are described below:
Remediation occurs when we’re able to implement a control which either one-hundred percent resolves the issue at hand or nearly eliminates the underlying risks involved. An example of this would be say there’s a vulnerability within one of your servers we’ve discovered and we apply a patch for said vulnerability. Thus, the risk is now resolved and remediation has occurred.
Mitigation is when the chance of a risk manifesting into a full-blown issue is reduced, yet not entirely eliminated due to certain restrictions within your systems and/or organization. An example of this would be implementing a firewall in place of a true patch within a specified system; ultimately leading to a temporary fix, yet not fully resolving the problem at hand.
Transference consists of transferring the risk to another group (such as an insurance company) to complement the risk remediation and mitigation. This method should not be solely and exclusively relied upon, yet it’s more of an extra-padding with your overall risk reduction.
Risk acceptance is quite simply accepting vulnerabilities which are non-detrimental and will pose no risk if exploited. This could also include risks which are well over the cost-benefit analysis ratio and will ultimately serve little purpose in remedying. An example of this could be a vulnerability on a testing server which holds no important information. You’re most likely not going to want to allocate time, effort, and energy into something where it wouldn’t matter either way if it was damaged.
Risk avoidance consists of removing any and all risk exposure after identifying said risk. An example of this could be a scenario where you have antiquated servers running which will no longer be provided with patch updates. You immediately decide to migrate servers to updated, modern servers which will in turn allow you to keep up with the necessary updates. Afterwards, you develop a plan to decommission the older servers and continue protecting your valuable information. Risk avoidance basically comes down to being proactive instead of reactive.
”Communication is key”. This statement can be applied to any and all businesses, yet it’s especially true when it comes to information security risk management. Without communication across all parties involved, there will be little progress made. For this reason, and many more, it’s an extremely important aspect of any cyber security strategy, and certainly crucial for the success of information security risk management.
Rinse & Repeat
After all is said and done, you’ll want to rinse and repeat the above outlined processes and procedures. With the ever-evolving nature of the cyber world, it’s important to have near-constant monitoring of your cyber security strategy and information security risk management. Without a proactive, engaged, and regular approach; you may find your efforts prove to end up worthless if there’s not an evolving approach to the seemingly endless amount of cyber attacks.
Ownership of Processes
Having everyone involved in the information security risk project take ownership of their role is crucial for success. Without distinct roles and accountability, the efforts will most likely fall apart and prove to be unmanageable. Implementing strict procedures and policies to best guide everyone along the right path from our expert team of cybersecurity specialists here at Security Illusion will allow you and your organization to truly stay protected in such a risk-ladened environment.
Choosing Security Illusion for Your Information Security Risk Management
If you’ve enjoyed reading our take on information security risk management and would like to have a full-scale analysis performed across your organization, feel free to contact us using the button below. We’ll be sure to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible and we’re looking forward to working with you in the near future!Contact Us