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In our increasingly digital and mobile world, cyber attacks are becoming more advanced and frequent. Effective cybersecurity risk management has never been more essential, particularly as businesses process more data than ever before. However, many businesses are unaware of gaps and emerging vulnerabilities in their security posture.

This was the focus of a recent Huon IT webinar with cybersecurity experts, Damian Huon, founder and CEO of Huon IT, a Kyocera group company, and Dinesh Aggarwal, founder and CISO of CyberPulse. We’ve included the highlights from their discussion on cybersecurity risk management in the modern business landscape below.

The main types of cyberthreats at a glance

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats facing workplaces today and there are a range of attacks that can affect modern organisations. The most common ones identified are:

Malware - This is ‘malicious software’ and can include viruses and ransomware used by attackers to corrupt or block access to your business data. This is considered the most significant type of cyber attack threatening private sector organisations. 

Phishing - Attackers attempt to gain personal information like passwords or bank details in order to gain access to data systems. This is commonly attempted through fake security notice warnings.

Insider threats - Aside from malicious intent from disgruntled employees, negligence and unintentional errors can pose a significant threat to cybersecurity. This normally happens when cybersecurity due diligence isn’t enforced, education and training in data management is lacking, and visibility is minimal.

The cybersecurity challenges modern businesses are facing

New threats are constantly emerging in the fast-paced modern business environment, making data security an ongoing process. Unfortunately, many companies have gaps in their defences that leave them open to attack.

“Attackers only need to find one hole or one vulnerability to exploit, while as defenders we need to cover every gap,” said Dinesh

“That’s why it’s important to have a clear view of your current security posture and where you want to go.”

Unfortunately, many companies lack proper visibility, as well as the right resources and budget, to ensure their cybersecurity measures remain effective.

“Even with the right tools and processes in place, it’s not uncommon for threats to slip through the cracks, especially as work environments are in a constant state of evolution, which challenges security standards,” said Damian.

“Security systems also don’t always have consistent prioritisation, so understanding alerts across your platform can be challenging, and simple things can be overlooked.”

There is no easy single-technology solution to filling these gaps. Rather, businesses must take a holistic approach and prioritise proactivite cybersecurity risk management, rather than a reactive approach that waits for a problem to emerge before making changes.

Filling the gaps: Risk management in cybersecurity

1. Conduct a security assessment

The first step in cybersecurity risk management is conducting a security assessment to gather the information that will inform your plan. Although this assessment is critical, many companies haven’t done one, making it challenging to not only patch vulnerabilities, but also demonstrate the value of investing in security measures.

“A security assessment is much more comprehensive than a simple penetration test. It should give your business a very clear picture of what your risks and gaps are and where you can focus your energy to improve your overall security posture,” explained Damian

If you don't have visibility about your gaps, it's just shooting in the air without knowing what your target is. We need to put our money where we get the maximum value and that means starting with an assessment,” added Dinesh

2. Create a cybersecurity risk management plan

Next, it’s time to create a plan that outlines what industry standards and best practices you’ll implement to resolve the risks and gaps identified in your assessment. This will be the foundation of securing your organisation’s network and must be driven from the top down. It should be a comprehensive roadmap for senior management that demonstrates clear, actionable measures to remain properly armed against attacks. By having a cybersecurity roadmap based on a security assessment, leaders can more easily recognise the right areas to invest their risk management budget.

3. Start with the basics and build from there

Getting the basic building blocks of information security right by incorporating controls into your company, such as two-factor authentication, patch management processes and vulnerability management, is essential. This also includes ensuring your software is always up-to-date, which will help detect potential risks and threats earlier.

“By focusing on the basic building blocks, you can ensure the maturity of your systems across your organisation and then increasingly build on that maturity with additional controls,” said Dinesh.

4. Share knowledge, train staff

It’s important that leadership teams share knowledge with staff and ensure they’re equipped to deal with data management technology and play their part in maintaining a secure environment. There is great value in educating teams on cybersecurity processes. It better shapes the controls in place and enables staff  to identify and manage potential cyber threats proactively. With consistent training and upskilling programs, you can strengthen your workforce and overall security posture.

“It's not just about IT professionals - it's about the whole staff being united and trained regularly. And having some awareness of new threats coming in across the company is also critical and helps develop an inquisitive and transparent culture,” said Damian.

The modern cyber world has seen great transformation in recent years with tools and technology advancing at a rapid pace. As businesses adapt to accommodate new trends such as hybrid working, they must also review their networks and respond to new threats to ensure their data remains protected.

Every organisation is a potential target for cybercriminals. Business leaders must be alert to the current threats in order to protect their company from attack. Download our guide to learn everything you need to know about business cybersecurity and securing your business data.