Five Critical Capabilities for Effective Cyber Risk Management

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4 min read

CyberSeries: The Power of Resilience

We’re excited to launch a new blog series, “CyberSeries: The Power of Resilience”. As CISOs, CIOs, and board members all grapple with the challenge of cyber risk, we will focus and connect on how to measure, manage, and mitigate risks in today’s complex and volatile environment.

In our first installment, we cover a key topic: critical capabilities required for preparing for the future to manage cyber risk effectively. Join us on the cyber resilience journey!

Power What’s Next: Five Critical Capabilities to Prepare for Effective Cyber Risk Management

It’s a whole new world for managing cyber risk – and the stakes are higher than ever. According to the Cost of Data Breach Report 2021 by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million in 2021, up from $3.86 million in 2019. Even more surprising, the average breach cost was $1.07 million higher where remote working was a factor.

As digitization has escalated, cyber adversaries have become increasingly sophisticated and organized to exploit vulnerabilities and carry out damaging attacks. What’s more, the challenges have gotten significantly worse over the past two years as the pandemic brought a tectonic shift in how businesses operate. The sudden shift to remote work beyond office firewalls and enterprise security mechanisms has expanded the attack surface of organizations and made them more vulnerable to breaches.

Industry 4.0 and Cybersecurity

To quickly adapt to the new normal, organizations rushed to adopt industry 4.0 technologies, such as cloud computing, artificial and automated bots. While these technologies help to automate various processes and make them more intuitive, cyber adversaries are also leveraging them to accomplish their own objectives such as AI-enabled phishing emails, botnet attacks, etc.

The digital-first approach will only amplify going forward and the traditional approach of managing cyber risks – identifying, assessing, monitoring, and responding to potential threats to IT infrastructure – is foundational, but no longer enough. Today, adopting a risk-based approach to cyber risk management is a business imperative. That means not just identifying and assessing cyber risks but also prioritizing cyber risks, ensuring continuous controls monitoring, and aligning cybersecurity strategy to the overarching enterprise risk management framework.

5 Critical Capabilities for the Future

So, what are the critical capabilities that organizations need to build cyber resilience and become future-ready? Here are some key considerations and recommendations.

  • Automation

As cyber attacks become increasingly sophisticated, organizations must continuously augment their cyber risk management programs by adopting advanced technologies and automating wherever possible. CISOs and security teams must ensure that the deployed software is not only effective but also simplifies cyber threat identification and mitigation. For instance, manually sifting through past issues to find similar/relevant ones is highly time-consuming and prone to errors. Implementing an AI-based system can not only accelerate the process but also make it more intuitive by enabling security executives to search for past issues based on intent.

  • Cyber Risk Quantification

In Gartner’s 2021 Board of Directors Survey, 88% of boards said that they see now cybersecurity as a business risk, not just a technology one. It’s at the top of board agendas – and directors are looking to CISOs and CIOs for updates and answers.

That means communicating cyber risk in business terms that make it easy to understand and prioritize risks. Cyber risk metrics, such as detected vulnerabilities and patch response times, intrusion attempts, security incident rates, severity levels, response time, etc., help in risk reporting, but they tend to focus on technical aspects.

Quantifying risk in monetary terms enables CISOs and security teams to better communicate cyber risks and the cybersecurity posture to leadership in business terms all can understand – dollars and cents. Assigning a dollar value to the risks also helps in making well-informed cybersecurity investment decisions.

How can your organization quantify cyber risks? Get the complete CISO’s Guide to Cyber Quantification

  • Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

Creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness must be a key part of the overall corporate culture and strategy. Particularly in this post-COVID era where various business functions and units are undergoing rapid digital transformation, organizations must clearly define security-related roles, responsibilities, and accountability as well as conduct training and workshops to enable cyber risk-aware behavior.

  • Managing Third and Fourth-Party Risk

Recent incidents have highlighted how third-party cyber risks have largely been a blind spot for organizations. With the growing reliance on third parties and the amplified digital interconnectedness, the exposure of organizations to third-party cyber risks has increased exponentially. A security incident at one organization can quickly travel and paralyze several other connected organizations. A cyber risk program is incomplete without a proactive approach to monitoring cyber risks across your extended enterprise – third, fourth, and subsequent parties.

  • Continuous Monitoring

Cyber risk management is a continuous, iterative business process. Organizations must continuously monitor related functions and processes – risk assessments, reporting mechanisms, remediation and mitigation measures, exception management, controls, etc. – to proactively identify gaps or loopholes that might exist and ensure the efficacy of the cyber defense mechanisms.


MetricStream Can Help

MetricStream enables organizations to adopt a focused and business-driven approach to managing IT and cyber risks with its IT & Cyber Risk Management software. The product simplifies conducting IT risk assessments, implementing controls, and streamlining mitigation actions.

In addition, AI-based intelligent issue management, advanced cyber risk quantification capabilities, along advanced analytics and reports help strengthen cyber resilience with actionable insights. To request a personalized demo, click here.

We look forward to continuing the conversation. How are you powering cyber resilience in your organization? Please comment below!

Pat McParland

Patricia McParland AVP – Marketing

Pat McParland is AVP of Product Marketing at MetricStream. She is responsible for creating product messaging, product go-to-market plans, and analyzing market trends for MetricStream's cyber compliance and third party risk product lines. Pat has more than 25 years of financial data and technology marketing experience at Fortune 1000 brands as well as startups and has led product and marketing teams at Dow Jones and Dun & Bradstreet. She has a BA from the College of William and Mary and lives in Summit, New Jersey.