Creating a Proactive Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan

Monday, May 20th, 2024


Cyber security risk management solutions from DefenseStorm.

Cybersecurity risk management is a critical component of risk for banks and credit unions and by taking a proactive approach to risk, you can identify, mitigate, and even prevent risk before it’s too late. Learn how DefenseStorm’s built for banking approach can help you tackle cybersecurity risk and keep your institution cyber risk ready.

A Proactive Approach to Cybersecurity Risk Management 

Let’s face it, there are more factors than we know what to do with when it comes to tackling cybersecurity risk management, and you’re likely fighting off the threat of the minute. As soon as you’ve defended against one threat, here comes another; a vicious cycle that only grows in complexity as cyber threats evolve.  The barrage of threats and cybersecurity events has likely overwhelmed your team with constant stress, but you’re following regulations, meeting examiner expectations, and have not exceeded your risk appetite – so you can call it a win.

Does that sound familiar?

Built for Banking Cybersecurity Risk Management

Banks and credit unions are unique. You are subject to greater scrutiny than many other organizations. When it comes to cyber security risk management for your institution, there’s just too much at stake. While the “check the box” approach may be working for now, taking a reactive approach to risk leaves your institution vulnerable to compromise. It provides only an opportunity to mitigate the risk after it has occurred, rather than taking preventative measures to identify risks and implement the right controls to mitigate the risk from occurring or mitigate the impact it has on the institution.

By taking a proactive approach to risk, your institution can assess risks and the controls you have in place to ensure the risk is being mitigated to an appropriate level, gaining a full and complete, real-time understanding of your risk profile. Even further, you can automate monitoring tasks to help ensure control effectiveness and thus, have confidence in your residual risk measurements. This approach leads to better cybersecurity risk management across the entire enterprise and gives you the confidence you are cyber risk ready. It also lends to easier audits and exams with your risk profile, evidence that supports control effectiveness, and threat surveillance all in one central place.

Continuous Risk Assessment

The first stage in any cybersecurity risk management program is the risk assessment, which identifies and measures the risks you are facing. Continuous risk assessments identify these risks as well as identifying and implementing internal controls aimed at reducing the impact on a continuous cadence – this isn’t a once a year or a one and done exercise. Institutions with a reactive approach perform assessments once a year and spend the remainder of the year on defense sometimes in the dark that controls aren’t working, or new risks have emerged

With a continuous approach, institutions are consistently assessing their risk and implementing controls before the risk reaches their doorstep. Through continuous risk assessment, your team is constantly learning and can benefit from better resource allocation and resource management by targeting the areas where controls are weak, or risk is increasing in real-time before the weakness is exploited.

Integrated Risk Registers

A cyber security risk assessment isn’t just a listing of risks. Those risks shouldn’t stand alone on an island in a spreadsheet on a shared drive somewhere. The risk register and risk assessment should be integrated with the systems you are using to monitor and detect threats, as well as monitor control effectiveness. By managing your risk register in the same system where the risks are managed, you benefit from real-time, proactive insights that can be immediately capitalized on.

Risk registers and the risk assessment integrated with your threat surveillance and governance systems can allow your institution to streamline and standardize processes, create clear ownership, and improve its efficiencies. Simply by maintaining integrated risk registers and generating risk assessments from the same platform where your cybersecurity risk is managed, you will have a more transparent risk management process that can increase visibility, improve governance, and perhaps even reduce expense by enabling more risk-aware decision making and strategic planning.

Linked Risks and Controls

Again, your risk assessment process should not be siloed. There are many guidelines, frameworks, and exam procedures against which you want to gauge your program. Your risk assessment includes a listing of the internal controls you have in place to mitigate risks. By linking risks and controls to these guidelines, frameworks, and exam procedures you can have an automated and complete picture of where you stand against the things auditors and examiners will use to measure your success in mitigating risk.

Can you imagine a world where each risk and control have its own profile and systematically serves as proof you are in adherence with NIST cybersecurity frameworks, or a directive included in exam procedures? It is possible with a proactive, continuous, and integrated approach to cybersecurity risk management.

These risks and controls can also be linked to audits and policy giving you the ability to demonstrate the full scope of your overall risk management plan.

Proactive Insights

Many institutions do not have access to the information they need to make solid risk related decisions, plan strategically, or properly allocate resources when it comes to cybersecurity risk management. Gaining access to proactive insights can allow for a new way of managing risk with the right data to inform better decision making.

Through proactive insights, your institution can prioritize a much stronger and more robust approach to cybersecurity risk management, relying on data, analytics, and using advanced technology to detect patterns and anticipate emerging risks which allow for more measured and strategic responses to threats and events. Proactive planning provides timely insights for decisioning and allocating resources, allows your team to creatively solve problems, and focuses on the root cause of risk, all working together to improve your risk posture and shielding against future risks.

DefenseStorm’s GRID Active Risk Assessment is built specifically for banking, accounting for the challenges, regulations, and technology requirements that financial institutions face. Our integrated platform ensures that institutions of all sizes and complexities are properly equipped for cybersecurity risk management and are prepared in the battle to stay cyber risk ready.

Jessica Caballero

Jessica Caballero

Senior Product Manager - Compliance

Jessica Caballero, Senior Product Manager Compliance and Risk, CERP, CRCM. Jessica was an examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). After leaving the agency, and also worked as both a banker and a consultant focused mainly on compliance and risk management. Since 2015, Jessica has applied her subject matter expertise to the creation of technology solutions that solve critical problems for financial institutions. At DefenseStorm, she leads product decisions specific to compliance and risk as a Senior Product Manager. Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in business economics from Texas State University and achieved the Certified Enterprise Risk Professional (CERP) and Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) designations from the American Banker Association (ABA).