How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Risk Management

Cybersecurity Risk Management Tactical Overview

A strong cybersecurity program is all about risk management.  

The most important question your business can ask is, “How can I mitigate risk?” Cyber risks are business risks. Taking a risk-based approach to cybersecurity helps leaders balance cyber risks against corporate opportunities.  

To improve your company’s cybersecurity management, focus your efforts on risk management. Develop an ongoing process where you assess, remediate, and monitor the changing cybersecurity risks to your organization. 

In this post, we will review what cybersecurity risk management is and five key best practices to keep you on track.  

What is cybersecurity risk management?  

Simply put, cybersecurity risk management is the process of identifying cyber risks and developing strategies to mitigate them. No business is free of cybersecurity risks. Since organizations have become increasingly dependent on technology, the impact of a data breach can be severely harmful. Your company needs to grasp the value of a strong cybersecurity risk management strategy in order to adequately prevent, detect, and respond to threats. 

An Interconnected World Presents Greater Risks

In today’s digitally connected world, businesses are finding new ways to create value. If companies don’t effectively adopt new technologies, they quickly become obsolete.  

Remember Blockbuster? The empire collapsed because it failed to adapt to the changing digital landscape and update its business plan.  

Ignoring disruptive technology won’t make it go away. To keep your business profitable, you need to track trends, make use of modern technologies, and embrace the future. Cognitive computing, robotics, and automation and cloud technologies transform how businesses operate and innovate.  

However, evolving your business with new digital innovations while maintaining cybersecurity is no easy task. These digital technologies bring an abundance of business opportunities. But they also expose companies to new risks. The IoT broadens the attack sphere to a massive number of devices. It’s not just your desktop computers and phones that are connected. Planes, trains, automobiles, hospitals, retail outlets, and more all rely on network connectivity to collect and exchange data. 

Cyber attacks, intrusions, malware, and data breaches are all real threats to your company. Constant cybersecurity risks include business disruption, destroyed equipment, loss of sensitive information, and a damaged reputation. The new challenges companies face in today’s business landscape are truly mind-boggling. 

The Cybersecurity Risk Management Lifecycle 

Managing cybersecurity risk is a necessary function of all businesses today. Due to increasingly sophisticated and ever-evolving cyber-attacks, it’s more important than ever to regularly review the threat landscape and adjust control strategies accordingly.  

If your company already has a cybersecurity risk management process in place, are you sure it’s effective? Perhaps there’s room for improvement. But how exactly can you take the right approach to managing risk?  

To get on the right track, follow these five steps: 

1. Understand Your Cybersecurity Risks

The first step to improving your risk management procedures is determining what exactly you need to protect. Begin by locating, categorizing, and assessing your organization’s data and associated assets to lock down scope. Once the scope has been identified, assess threats against assets and existing controls to identify risks.  

While identifying your crown jewels is critical for all businesses, recent studies have found that only 45 percent of organizations have a risk assessment process in place. 

Threats to your IT systems include:  

  • Data corruption  
  • Malware  
  • Viruses  
  • Social engineering  
  • Human error 

An effective cybersecurity risk assessment evaluates risks based on the probability that they will occur and outlines the impact they could have on your business. Only by understanding prioritized risks can you develop cost-effective ways to manage them and improve your cybersecurity controls and culture. 

2. Develop a Risk Management Plan 

Once you have completed your risk assessment don’t just dwell on the possibility of what could go wrong. Now’s the time to take action and put together an effective risk management plan. 

Develop a clear strategy for how your company will prepare for, detect, and respond to threats. While you can’t predict every potential event or incident, a well-designed plan can mitigate a substantial amount of risk.  

Policy, process, and procedure development should make up a significant part of the plan. They should outline the importance of managing cybersecurity risk to your staff, customers, and partners. Define acceptable behaviors through a code of conduct and give your staff clear direction on how to navigate cybersecurity issues. 

Security policies and procedures should address issues such as:  

  • Safe email use  
  • Safe passwords  
  • Personal use of computer systems  
  • Anti-virus software  
  • Restrictions for installing applications  
  • Response to IT incidents 

3. Train Your Employees

Effective cybersecurity risk management cannot come down to one person. The most successful businesses take an all-hands-on-deck approach to cybersecurity risk management.  

Communicate your cybersecurity risk management plan to all employees, and make sure they understand its importance. Make policy, process, and procedure training part of the onboarding process, and ensure your current employees also have regular security awareness training sessions. Whether you opt for e-learning courses or in-person classes, make training available to all employees, regardless of location. 

No matter what their roles are in the company, all your employees should support your company’s cybersecurity risk management process. By instilling a sense of accountability in your staff, you’ll have more support to mitigate risks and protect your company. 

4. Test and Update Your Plan 

A single cybersecurity risk assessment is not enough to get an accurate representation of your company’s vulnerabilities. The threat landscape is constantly changing, as cyber-attacks have become more complex and costly for organizations.  

Conduct regular cybersecurity risk assessments throughout the year to determine where your company stands, analyze previous risks, and identify new ones.  

Assess how effective your cybersecurity risk management plan really is by setting up mock cyber incidents. Can you detect when your company is being threatened? How well can your company withstand the assault? To what extent can your network be compromised?  

A penetration test will highlight control gaps and can help you determine how your company will fare in the event of a security crisis. Take note of the strengths and weaknesses of your strategy so you can see what’s working and identify areas of improvement. Update your risk management plan based on these assessments. Your strategy should be fluid in order to reflect your latest discoveries and decisions. 

5. Automate Your Security Defenses

Cybercriminals leverage automation to attack—don’t let your organization fall behind by using manual defense methods. Incorporate automation into your cybersecurity control strategy to detect abnormal behavior, prevent threats, and respond to attacks.  

Continuous monitoring is the best way to quickly detect malicious activity. By allowing you to spot cyber threats before they can wreak havoc on your company, automatic detection and remediation solutions will save you time and money. Optimize your business efficiency by automating your cyber defense systems. 

The benefits of improving your risk management  

Improving your cybersecurity risk management takes time and energy. But your efforts will not be in vain. Here are some of the benefits you’ll experience when you take the steps to improve your cybersecurity risk management strategy:  

Adopting a wait-and-see approach to cybersecurity will merely make you a sitting target. Your cybersecurity risk management program is your first line of defense in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities. Improve your cybersecurity risk management to boost business efficiencies, protect your company, and control costs. 

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Ken Perkins

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Deepak Khandekar

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Carlos Espinoza

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Sheldon Shaw

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Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Ian Miersch

Ian Miersch has energy to spare, and uses his eclectic background to make a positive mark on the cybersecurity industry. As Vice President of Finance & Human Resources, Ian Miersch is responsible for overseeing scalable business growth as Difenda expands throughout North America. But it is the way he does it that sets him apart. By leveraging his engineering background and critical thinking skills, he has been able to develop unique strategies that balance the company’s current business needs with its long-term growth plans. And the results of his unique background and drive mean that the company is growing in a fiscally responsible manner, all with the customer’s needs at the forefront.

With a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering, coupled with an MBA in Finance, both from McMaster University, Ian’s ability to analyze data and make informed decisions is augmented by his ability to understand all facets of the business. He has a holistic understanding of the craft, from operations to project delivery and management, to his niche in financial planning. Ian’s ten years of experience in the industry mean that he has seen it all, and knows how to create a dynamic team and manage the resources needed for success.

Outside of work, he uses his energy to help others through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, earning the Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

Ian also enjoys exploring and hiking with his three young children, exercising (so he can keep up with them), and reading professional development books. He is an avid but generally heartbroken fan of the Toronto sports teams, including the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and Raptors.

Derek Nugent

Derek Nugent, Vice President, Revenue lives by the motto “Be early, be better.” Derek leads our Revenue team and is responsible for the customer’s journey with Difenda. His high energy level and creativity have built high performing teams, whether at the Herjavec Group, CDW, or in his current leadership role at Difenda.

After earning a Bachelor Administration and Management degree from the Academy of Learning, Derek started in the information technology industry in 2004 and transitioned to the cybersecurity industry in 2014. With so much experience in a wide-variety of roles, he is poised to take the team at Difenda to the next level.

He excels at leading revenue strategies, new market entry, partnership engagement, and customer acquisition and retention. His work ethic and interest in rising to the top motivate his sales teams, who respond well to his passion and zeal. Under his tutelage, they are able to achieve attractive lead generation, YOY growth, and sizable deals. Derek works tirelessly to build a better team, and his constituents follow his road to success, which ultimately leads to a rewarding experience for the customer.

Even when volunteering, Derek is all in. He was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2005-2015, earning Group Recreation Volunteer of the Year Status.

And when he isn’t busy leading the team to the acme of sales, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, running, working out, watching thrillers, action and dramatic television shows

Manoj Arora

Manoj Arora, Difenda’s Founder and CEO has always been ahead of the curve in Technology and Cyber Security. After securing his engineering degree in Computer Science, he wrote his first mobile banking application when he was just 23 years old. This accomplishment certainly set him apart from the crowd and prepared him for a lifetime of innovation and success in his field. At just 25 years old, he was selected as the youngest Cyber Security Officer for one of the largest banks in Asia.

As a globetrotting young cyber security professional, Manoj was instrumental in designing cyber security infrastructure and controls for some of the largest institutions around the world. Depth of his expertise and passion to serve customers at the highest level of competence and integrity lead to Difenda. Founded in 2008, Difenda is a rapidly growing cybersecurity firm operating in North America and Asia.

As the CEO at Difenda, Manoj drives the strategic vision to protect our customers and enable our team members to deliver our services in line with core values- competence, integrity, and innovation. Currently one of Microsoft’s leading North American partners, Difenda reflects Manoj’ single-minded focus on our customers. Difenda is fully vested in success of its customers and takes pride in considering our success as a byproduct of our customers. Manoj has always been committed to building a great team and forging strong partnerships to serve our customers with standards that top our industry.

When he is not busy bringing cybersecurity to the world, Manoj enjoys playing golf and squash, and continues to travel the world.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Andrew Hodges

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Jeffry Jacob

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