Cyber security governance is becoming an ever-increasing concern as cybercriminals raise their efforts to steal sensitive data from UK companies. In fact, a recent survey revealed that two thirds of small businesses across the UK suffered some form of cyber-attack in the past 12 months.
To combat these threats, all companies need to implement a cyber security governance program. Developing a strategy to protect their data and networks against threats means handling breaches, implementing firewalls, and conducting regular risk assessments to protect business assets and reputation.
What is cyber security governance?
Cyber security governance is an approach to managing cyber security that integrates organisational policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines with a company’s risk assessment. It is an ongoing process that focuses on how to manage risks and mitigate potential damage from cyber threats.
Governance is an approach that builds on the concept of risk management and cyber security program management. It ensures that a company’s cyber security program is aligned with its strategy, business objectives, and regulatory environment. In order to be effective, a cyber security program must align with the business’ goals and priorities.
All organisations, regardless of their size, industry, or sector, are at risk of being targeted by cyber threats. The only difference is in how successful they are at mitigating that risk. Companies with strong cyber security governance are able to respond more quickly and efficiently to cyber threats by implementing effective best practices. They also have operational processes that fall in line with the governance model, allowing quick responses to an incident as well as building security into operations.
Understanding security postures
One of the most important aspects of cyber security governance is to understand the business impact of risks. This is done through the use of a risk register. The risk register helps companies understand their current cyber security posture and provide a baseline for improvement. Understanding the impact of risks allows businesses to prioritise the most critical issues and focus their attention accordingly.
Another important piece of the risk registry is that it allows the business to actually accept certain types of risk which can’t be easily mitigated with technical or operational controls.
Prevention, mitigation, and response
Cyber security governance is about preventing an attack, mitigating the consequences of a successful attack, and recovering from an attack. Cyber security governance encompasses all of these concepts. There are three basic levels of cyber security: intrinsic, extrinsic, and situational.
Intrinsic cyber security is the foundation of businesses. It is based on sound policies, procedures, and controls that prevent attacks before they happen. It includes the basics such as authorised users, firewalls, and a good backup system.
Extrinsic cyber security refers to the tools used to detect and respond to attacks. This includes monitoring tools and detection methods as well as detection tools and methods.
Finally, situational cyber security is the way a business reacts to a potential attack. It includes protocols such as escalation procedures and the use of incident response teams.
The risk of data breaches
One of the greatest risks posed by cyberattacks is the potential damage caused by data breaches.
Data breaches can have a variety of impacts on a company and its customers. Some of the most serious include identity theft, financial fraud, and increased support and warranty issues. Data breaches can also lead to reduced customer loyalty and trust.
Swift, effective response is critical when faced with a data breach. This does not mean just the cyber security response, but the responses made by legal, marketing, and customer service teams. If a company responds too slowly or incorrectly, the results may include negative publicity, reduced customer loyalty, and potential lawsuits. The effects of a data breach can be severe and long-lasting if cyber security governance is insufficient.
Governance risk and compliance
By having a strong governance program in place, businesses can greatly reduce the risk of any compliance issues. This is because being uncompliant is a huge risk to the company, and needs to be mitigated like any other risk.
A strong governance program will help you to stay compliant with applicable regulations, such as protecting your data, ensuring the security of your IT systems, and preventing or responding to a cyber-attack.
Because a strong governance program helps to minimise the risk of potential compliance issues, businesses may be more willing to take the risk of going forward with new initiatives, such as investing in new products or services that could help to improve customer experience and increase revenue. At the very least, it gives a strong framework for the company to operate under when taking on new initiatives.
Creating a cyber security governance program
The goal of a cyber security governance program is to identify and manage the risks posed by any threat. It is important that the program be implemented at the board level, as this will help ensure that the entire business participates in implementing a risk-based strategy.
To develop a successful governance program, you need to start by conducting a thorough analysis of your business’ security posture. Once you have a good understanding of your current state, you can begin to develop a strategy for improving your cyber security.
Your cyber security governance program aims to:
- Identify critical assets and information
- Determine where risk come from
- Determine what risk actually exist
- Create a risk-based strategy
- Control the risks.
Protect your business with expert assistance
The need for a cyber security governance program is evident. Cyber-attacks are increasing in number and sophistication every year, and your sensitive information is at risk.
The cyber security specialists at NetworkIQ can audit your business and develop a cyber security governance program tailored to your company requirements, collaborating with you every step of the way. Talk to them today and get started.