Risks are a part of our lives that will never go away. Every business needs information security risk management (ISRM). Not having an effective ISRM spells disaster.
What Is Information Security Risk Management?
An information security risk management (ISRM) manages risk associated with the use of information technology. Every organization must uphold the following values in its assets:
- Confidentiality – ensuring that only authorized persons have access to data
- Integrity – Furthermore, organizations must ensure that all information is free from unauthorized modification or destruction
- Availability – ensuring that the information is timely available when requested by authorized persons
As we have mentioned earlier, risks are inevitable. That’s why businesses shouldn’t expect to eliminate all risks. Thus, they must identify and achieve the level of risk their organization can take.
Stages Of Information Security Risk Management
ISRM has different stages. Let’s analyze each one of them.
Identify what assets of your organization are the most important. Determine the assets that will have a severe impact on your operations once compromised. Your business must always remember the values we listed above. Confidentiality, integrity, and availability = CIA for short. Indeed, the confidentiality of sensitive info such as SSN and intellectual property is important.
Furthermore, integrity or accuracy of information is really important as confidentiality and availability. For example, a minor error in financial reporting data may result in large fines imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley. Let’s have another example. If your organization provides an online music streaming service but compromised the availability of music files, you could lose subscribers.
Moreover, you must identify the weaknesses of your systems and where are those located. Furthermore, you must also determine the physical risks your business may face. For instance, weather conditions.
After assessing and analyzing the risk, an organization may choose from the following treatment options:
Mitigation lessens the chances and/or impact of the risk. However, it does not involve fixing it entirely. For instance, an IT team may choose to implement a firewall rule instead of patching the vulnerability. This method only allows specific systems to communicate. That is to communicate with the vulnerable service on the server.
Remediation fully or nearly fully fixes the risk. Transference is the process of transferring the risk to another entity. For example, your organization may decide to purchase insurance to cover any losses caused by a breach. However, transference must not replace mitigation and remediation altogether. Transference is just a supplement to those methods.
Meanwhile, organizations may choose not to fix the risk. This method is called risk acceptance. This is a good method to use when the risk is clearly low. Furthermore, the costs of fixing the risk might be bigger (in some cases) than the cost of the attack itself. Hence, it is better to leave the risk alone instead of investing time and resources to fix it.
Risk avoidance removes all exposure to an identified risk. For example, some of your servers are running an old OS that will soon stop receiving updates from the OS creator. These servers store booth sensitive and non-sensitive data. Your IT team decided to move the sensitive data to newer servers to avoid risks.