Measuring cybersecurity risk

How to Measure Cybersecurity Risk

The key to measuring cybersecurity risk is to understand why you are doing it. It’s not the type of activity where you simply generate a “score” and the job is done. Instead, it’s only a meaningful task when performed as part of a wider cycle of security activities. Here’s how to measure cybersecurity risk the effective way.

Make A Start

While planning is important, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of cybersecurity risks and get stuck. On the one hand, you don’t want to blindly take measures and wind up missing essential tasks or acting redundantly. On the other, you don’t want to be paralyzed by indecision. Getting expert advice can help you act decisively but with control.

Carry Out Vulnerability Assessments And Penetration Testing

These are two critical measures for measuring cybersecurity risk. A vulnerability assessment is more of a checklist designed to find missing security measures. Penetration testing is a simulated attack on your system that reflects how a real attacker would identify and exploit weaknesses. In both cases, it makes more sense to use a cybersecurity consultant from outside your organization. They can run the assessments without any biases or assumptions. They’ll also know the latest emerging cybersecurity threats.

Review The Results

A good cybersecurity consultant will provide clear, comprehensive, and understandable reports with the results of their assessment. If you don’t understand something in the report, don’t be shy about asking for an explanation.

Triage The Weaknesses

Fixing cybersecurity risks can feel like an endless task, so you need to figure out the priorities. A good principle for measuring the importance of a risk is to combine two factors: how likely the problem is to be exploited and how much damage an exploitation would cause. As a simple example, you can rate each problem from one to five for risk of exploitation (from very unlikely to very likely) and out of five for potential damage (from minor to serious), then multiply the two figures together. While you will need to make the final decision yourself, a professional cybersecurity consultant can help assess the respective risk levels of different vulnerabilities.

Fix The Problems

As a general rule, you should fix the most critical vulnerabilities first. These are the ones with the worst combination of the likelihood of exploitation and severity of potential damage. In some cases, you may need to tweak the order so that you can carry out fixes in a less disruptive manner, for example carrying out several fixes at once that require a complete reboot of your system. Many cybersecurity consultants can also offer advice and practical assistance with carrying out fixes.

Continue The Cycle

Measuring cybersecurity risk is not a one-and-done task. Carry out regular reviews to pick up any lapses in your security, look for newly discovered security risks such as bugs, and react to emerging techniques from attackers.

If your business is looking to boost your cybersecurity, please contact CPI Solutions.


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