8 Steps to Unlocking Cybersecurity Maturity – Achieving Systemic Risk & Security Management – By David Glenn
Risk & security management have become an essential part of business and organizational health and success. The process of managing risk and compliance can seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. By properly implementing an Information Security & Risk Management plan and following a systematic approach, organizations can quickly and easily achieve a clear vision of their compliance and risk management objectives. This also significantly reduces the time and effort required to identify and respond to unexpected events. Here are eight steps to building a comprehensive, scalable and actionable plan and unlocking cybersecurity maturity within your organization:
Step One: Identify Objectives/Define Compliance:
Determine and/or define your risk profile, compliance requirements, regulatory mandates and/or framework objectives.
The first step in the process of unlocking cybersecurity maturity is to determine what data or intellectual property (IP) your organization cares most about. Uncover which compliance requirements, regulatory mandates, and framework objectives apply to your organization. Be aware of what your clients are requesting in their third-party risk assessments. The most effective cybersecurity and risk professionals take the time to understand their company’s business objectives and keep those in mind as guiding principles as business and technology decisions are made. This will help you understand the scope of your compliance efforts and determine the specific regulations, laws, and standards that you need to follow. Managing that blend of technology and business is a way to differentiate not only your business, but you as a security and risk practitioner.
Step Two: Establish a baseline:
Once you have determined your compliance requirements, the next step is to establish a baseline of your current risk posture. This baseline will help you understand the starting point from which you need to make improvements and track progress against. Knowing what you have and where you are is the first step of any journey, and doubly important when determining how to best protect and enable your business.
Step Three: Measure the risk:
Once you have established your baseline, the next step is to measure the risk. This involves first identifying what is of value to the organization. Then you can begin evaluating the likelihood and quantifying business impact of potential risks to determine the level of risk associated with each threat. This information will help you prioritize your remediation efforts and develop a risk management strategy that aligns with your compliance requirements and best protects what is important to your business.
Step Four: Prioritize Remediation:
Once you have measured the risk, the next step is to prioritize your remediation efforts. This involves identifying the highest-priority risks and developing a plan to mitigate or eliminate those risks. This plan should consider the likelihood and impact of each risk, the importance to the business, as well as the resources and effort required to mitigate or eliminate each risk.
Step Five: Remediate Risk & Track Improvements
As you work to remediate risks, it is important to follow the plan. Track your progress and measure the results of your efforts. Make it integrated as part of your core process. This will help you understand the effectiveness of your risk management strategy and enable you to make any necessary adjustments to improve your risk posture over time. With this strategy, you can also demonstrate the return on your security budget spend with real risk calculations.
Step Six: Report to stakeholders (both ad-hoc and scheduled/recurring)
The process of managing systemic risk and security is not complete until you have reported your progress and results to your stakeholders. Make sure that you understand who your stakeholders are and their reporting requirements. This could range from your leadership to your board, your customers, stockholders, auditors and potentially regulators. This should include both ad-hoc and scheduled/recurring reports, which will, as a result, help you communicate the status of your compliance efforts and the effectiveness of your risk management strategy.
Step Seven: Continuous metrics, continuous improvement
The process of managing systemic risk and security is never truly complete. Instead, it is an ongoing process that requires habitual measurement and adjustment, continuous improvement, and ongoing assessments of your risk posture. Measuring performance of risk and security controls helps demonstrate that you are getting the desired level of protection. This will help you stay ahead of new threats and ensure that you are always in compliance with the latest regulatory mandates and compliance requirements. Most importantly, this will help you stay the course. Make it a habit to see that the risk management plan is being followed, and that any changes or issues are quickly addressed.
Step Eight: Compliance Certification
The final step to unlocking cybersecurity maturity is to prepare effectively for any third-party testing or attestation process that is in place if the compliance objectives you are working towards have that requirement. Many also require ongoing maintenance of that certification (such as with CMMC), and annual re-baseline and gap comparison. Demonstrating that your organization follows all relevant regulatory mandates and compliance requirements helps provide assurance to your stakeholders, customers, prospects and auditors/regulators, and help you demonstrate your commitment to managing risk and ensuring best effort security protection. Managing risk and compliance does not have to be overwhelming.
What’s next? You repeat the process. Security is iterative, and consistent, planned, and measured improvement can make all the difference when an emergency, breach or event occurs. Using this in a systemic and programmatic manner allows you to:
- Identify, Measure, Prioritize & Remediate risk findings.
- Develop and publish a Risk & Security Management Plan, a requirement of many mandates and frameworks.
- Implement risk & security controls.
- Monitor & review those controls as well as measure their performance.
- Analyze and adjust as needed.
- Establish a world-class reporting and review process to keep your team and leadership informed.
- Have a plan to execute against for ongoing cyber hygiene as well as response to unplanned events or incidents.
The Value of a Systematic Approach
Managing risk and security is a critical aspect of modern business and organizations. When they follow a systematic approach, organizations can quickly and easily achieve their compliance and risk management objectives. This, in turn, provides better protection, better response times and, in many cases, competitive advantage with customers and prospects. Having a real view into your risk posture, knowing the potential impact to your business, and being educated and prepared with some extra preparation on the front end can both make all the difference in how you respond to a security event or changing mandate, and additionally provide you with an advantage over competitors who have not made the same preparation. As a result, the process of managing risk and compliance does not have to be overwhelming. It is simply a matter of building and following the steps of your information security plan.
The Industry’s Best Integrated Risk Management Platform Solution
For those looking for a solution that works without costly development time or resource commitment, Cyturus offers the CRT (Compliance and Risk Tracker) platform, which has helped many organizations just like yours achieve their compliance and risk management objectives quickly, easily, and in a fashion optimized for business. If you’re interested in learning more, request a demo or more information, get in touch with Cyturus today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We and our community of committed partners look forward to serving you. With our solution bundles we can help you quickly and simply implement a dynamic and effective information security plan and roadmap that fits your business and regulatory compliance goals and objectives. With Cyturus, the process of managing risk and compliance does not have to be overwhelming. Reach out to us today to begin your journey to unlocking cybersecurity maturity.