minimizing security risks.
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In 2021, we saw a record-breaking number of data compromises. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Annual Data Breach Report, the number of data compromises was up more than 68% when compared to 2020. The new number of data breaches, 1,862, is 23% over the previous all-time high set in 2017.

These numbers illustrate a simple fact: Cybersecurity threats are increasing just as fast as technology is evolving. And for businesses, each new device, user and tech tool increases their chances of suffering through the aftermath of a cybersecurity incident.

Data breaches wreak havoc on businesses across the globe, especially when it comes to cash. According to a recent survey conducted by IBM, the average cost of a data breach was a whopping $4.24 million for organizations surveyed. And for some organizations, that number could severely compromise the success of the business.

Being proactive is the answer

It’s easy to focus on risk response when it comes to stopping security threats in their tracks. After all, every second an incident is left to continue adds up. While response is critical, making moves to prevent security incidents is too.

In a recent survey conducted by OnSolve and Forrester, 52% of respondents agreed that protective risk management is as important as effective risk response. This means doing what it takes to effectively manage risks before they become active threats.

Best practices for security risk management

To up your security risk management game, these industry best practices will help you understand and mitigate risks before they take hold.

Identify the risks unique to your organization

First, you must identify potential threats that may come against your organization by performing a security risk assessment. This involves evaluating your IT systems and critical networks to pinpoint areas of risk. After the assessment, your results may include everything from poor employee password hygiene to faulty firewalls.

Implement a risk management strategy

Just like any other business initiative, you need a plan. Your strategy should include the potential risks you’ve identified for your organization, how likely they are to occur and your response plan in the event of an active threat.

This strategy should be communicated to all potential parties involved and updated at least quarterly based on emerging risks that threaten your business.

Enhance your security measures

As you perform your risk assessment and start to develop your risk management game plan, you’ll discover areas where current security measures are less than desirable. You can take the necessary action now to eliminate potential threats stemming from these security holes. For example, perhaps you need to enable two-factor authentication for your employees or enact a new BYOD policy.

Not sure where to start? The experts at TechRepublic Premium have you covered. Here are three in-depth resources to guide you as you develop an ironclad security risk management program: a sample risk management policy, a risk assessment checklist and a cybersecurity response glossary.

Risk management policy

Developing a solid risk management strategy isn’t easy. After all, there are many moving parts, such as users, data and systems. However, a risk management policy can provide you with the guidelines for establishing and maintaining appropriate risk management practices.

This sample policy discusses everything from identifying insurable vs. non-insurable risks to establishing incident response and investigations. You’ll also discover guidelines involving implementing controls, monitoring for threats and conducting risk assessments. Plus, this policy can be customized to fit your organization’s unique needs.

Download the Risk Management Policy on TechRepublic Premium

Checklist: Security risk assessment

Conducting a security risk assessment is critical for understanding areas in which potential security threats lie. Begin your assessment by listing all of your critical IT and business elements, including your physical offices, computers, servers, and data. Then rank each of these elements based on their value to ongoing operations.

This simple security risk assessment guide outlines the next steps you’ll need to complete, and the accompanying checklist provides step-by-step guidance on completing foolproof risk assessments within your organization.

Download Checklist: Security Risk Assessment on TechRepublic Premium

Quick glossary: Cybersecurity attack response and mitigation

Sometimes, a lack of knowledge can be a serious security risk. It’s true. One employee who is unaware of potential security risks may click a single malicious email that results in the takeover of a network. The more your team understands about potential threats, cybersecurity and mitigation, the better prepared you will be.

This quick glossary includes a range of cybersecurity terms and their definitions. Familiarity with these terms will help you and your team protect your sensitive business data before and during a security incident.

Download Quick Glossary: Cybersecurity Attack Response and Mitigation on TechRepublic Premium