Most businesses and individuals now rely on essential digital services every single day. It’s easy to become complacent about the various digital risks that we face daily.
The threats faced by organisations have evolved dramatically in the past decade. The focus of the media, and cybersecurity experts has shifted from protecting sensitive networks against known vulnerabilities to protecting against perceived risks and attacks that have not yet occurred. With the further increased demand for internet-based communication and commerce, the need for constant vigilance against potential cybersecurity threats and digital risks has never been greater.
Why is digital risk management important?
Small businesses and individuals are vulnerable, which is why it’s so important that they not only understand the threats, but also actively combat them. Risk management is an essential element of any organisation’s enterprise security program.
Digital risk management is no longer just an IT initiative but it’s now an organisation-wide activity, which requires setting out a strategy for dealing with risk and creating programmes to manage these risks.
Cybersecurity is a key part of digital risk management and provides protection within a business. It is focused on enabling the authorised use of IT systems, at the same time as preventing unauthorised access and protecting individuals from potential harm.
The main aim of cyber security is to help make the business more successful. This may involve strategies that enhance confidence with shareholders, customers and stakeholders, through to preventing damage to the business brand, actual losses and business disruptions.
Digital risk management should be applied to computing devices, such as desktops, servers, laptops, notebooks, smartphones and networks. This is even more important in the post-pandemic world, along with the popularity of remote working.
Examples of digital risks and cybersecurity threats
We recently wrote about modern Cybersecurity Threats to businesses, where we outlined a variety of different threats, including:
- Brute force attacks
- Social engineering
- SQL Injection
- Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
- Viruses and general malware
- Poor security practices or lack of awareness
- Out of date software
- Man in the middle attacks
- Zero-day exploits
- Data protection
- Online fraud and other scams
- Data loss
As you can see, some of these threats are targeting users (people), whereas other threats are targeting software and systems. This highlights the importance for a multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity, involving all areas of the business.
It’s also important to consider the potential impact of these threats, such as downtime, loss of revenue and reputational damage.
3 Ways to Manage digital risks
Effective management of digital risks in your organisation can lead towards digital resilience.
Risk assessments and audits
Awareness of these threats is the first step to developing a digital risk management strategy, but they need to be put into context to make them relevant to you and your team. Every business operates differently and has their own unique set of risks.
Information security teams may carry out internal audits or even undertake more rigorous external penetration testing (also known as ‘pen testing’). Digital risk assessments require specialist knowledge of cybersecurity threats, but pen testing is often carried out by an external agency or professional ethical hacker.
Internal risk assessments should cover:
- Governance and policies
- Data privacy and security
- Identity management
- Access control
- Systems and infrastructure
- Internal and external digital standards
Pen testers simulate a real-life cyber attack against an organisation with prior permission and without causing any harm. The aim of a pen test is to highlight any potential vulnerabilities with the view to making systems more secure.
Government departments, banks, financial institutions and businesses of all sizes use penetration testing to continuously improve the integrity of their systems.
Information Security Policies
Policies, process and procedure are central to your digital risk management strategy.
The enforcement of strong passwords is a standard security policy within organisations. Password attacks are used by hackers and other criminals to gain illegal access to people’s accounts. Regular users prefer convenience over security, so will opt for an easy-to-remember and therefore easy-to-guess password instead of something random.
Multi-factor authentication goes that step further, as passwords alone are often not enough to protect sensitive data.
With millions of remote workers accessing company data from an array of different devices, this does increase the risk of loss or theft. Processes should allow for remote backups and deletion of data using Mobile Device Management (MDM).
Other policies and processes used in digital risk management are:
- Data encryption
- Social Media and sharing digital content
- Email spam filters
- Web browsing and blocking harmful websites
- Restricted user access – allowing users to only access folders or databases relating to their own work
- Monitoring usage and network activity
- Data retention policy
Ongoing Training and Education for Staff
Every member of the team plays a key role in protecting against digital threats, and knowledge is power when it comes to staying safe in the digital world.
Regular training can encourage staff to be more vigilant with cybersecurity in their personal and professional lives. Your team will be armed with the necessary knowledge and skills to protect information assets and systems.
Our range of cyber security courses provide you and your staff with the necessary skills to protect networks and assets, and we have viable routes of progression for all levels of cyber security professionals and other members of your team.
We have partnered with the leading organisations to deliver their accredited cyber security qualifications, with many qualifications recognised and accredited by external national organisations including GCHQ, National Security Agency and the Department of Defence.
Courses such as this will enable learners to gain understanding of various computer and network security threats such as identity theft, credit card fraud, online banking phishing scams, viruses, email hoaxes, loss of confidential information, hacking attacks and social engineering. It’s a self-study course that can be completed from anywhere and at your own pace, which makes it ideal for remote workers who cannot attend training sessions in-person.
We offer dedicated courses specifically for those who are responsible for risk management and information security. This course is specifically designed to guide you through defining and implementing a Risk Management approach within your organisation. You’ll also have an opportunity learn about the most common approaches and best practices used by organisations around the world.
Cybersecurity Threats and Digital Risk Management: Next Steps
The world of technology is constantly evolving, and with that evolution comes new threats and ways for criminals to exploit those devices that are supposed to make our lives easier. Cyber security involves risk management and threat mitigation.
Businesses should consider reviewing their risk management strategy and training plan at the earliest possible opportunity. The risks associated with cyber-attacks go far beyond financial loss, the reputational damage and burden of regulatory fines means that 60% of businesses go out of business after a cyber-attack. Our range of cyber security courses provide you and your staff with the necessary skills to protect networks and assets, and we have viable routes of progression for all levels of cyber security professionals and other members of your team.