The business world is constantly evolving and the evolution of IT is driving companies to adopt new technologies at an extremely fast pace. During the era of innovation, vulnerabilities and threats grow at an alarming rate, posing problems for any organization that fails to take the proper steps in deterring these concerns.
According to a new guide by InformationWeek Reports, business executives and decision-makers need to establish risk management policies that evaluate and assess the evolving IT landscape. This is no easy task as cloud computing, social media, BYOD (bring your own device) and other trends and technologies continue to disrupt the enterprise. The guide suggests organizations accumulate a high level of understanding associated with IT issues, maintain confidentiality over mission-critical solutions and ensure the availability of applications and data.
Risk management definitions and evaluations
InformationWeek Reports characterizes a threat as something that can cause harm to the organization, while a vulnerability is a weakness that can be exploited by a threat. These subjects are related and evenly contribute to the growing risk landscape.
"It should be made clear at this point that every organization has to live with threats; you cannot eliminate the threat of either lightning strikes or malicious cyber or even physical attacks," author Michael Cobb wrote. "The first task, then, is to identify all the threats to your assets in the scope of the risk assessment."
Decision-makers should classify concerns based on an asset's confidentiality, availability and integrity and how a threat poses challenge to one of these categories. Most companies are able to develop robust physical security policies because of the quantifiable information accumulated on break-ins, vandalism and other incidents. IT security, on the other hand, is much harder to measure, as decision-makers need to balance what is happening while taking into account what is not happening, InformationWeek Reports noted. For example, if an organization has a mobile website that has not been breached, that does not mean it is impenetrable, as there are still potential threats lingering in the shadows.
The guide recommends companies evaluate risks based on one of five categories – negligible, low, medium, high and extreme – based on how likely a risk can exploit sensitive information and solutions. Risk levels should then be compared to specific impact values, which rank threats in accordance to how damaging they can be to an organization and its IT systems.
Threats and data protection tools
Malicious insiders, in particular, pose a major data security risk to an organization. According to a recent TechAmerica study, the growing, unabated presence of internal threats is causing many organizations to question their cybersecurity capabilities.
"Most major data breaches have come from insider, yet most of our resources are directed at outsider threats," one CIO told TechAmerica.
InformationWeek Reports noted that encryption is an important data protection tool, as roughly 48 percent of businesses say it is the most effective way to deter internal and external threats. By taking a data-centric approach to security, organizations can safeguard mission-critical information, regardless of its location.
"Although you cannot eliminate threats, you can reduce the number of vulnerabilities that can be exploited and the likelihood of them being exploited as a way of managing your risk," Cobb stated in the guide. "This is achieved through the implementation of security controls."
As the IT landscape continues to evolve, it will be important for decision-makers and IT departments to do all they can to mitigate risk. By deploying data protection tools and training employees on the importance of these solutions, companies may be able to keep sensitive applications and information safe. Failing to educate workers or implement robust risk management policies can prove fatal for an organization.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro