6 Strategies for Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation

By Kasey Hewitt

Posted on Jul 12, 2021

This past year saw nearly a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). There has been a clear rise in threat volume and sophistication as many cybercriminals shift to techniques that can effectively evade detection and easily go after high-value targets. IoT devices are becoming a focus for threat actors, and threats related to credential harvesting and ransomware are also growing in number. Additionally, some cybercriminals are moving their infrastructure to the cloud in hopes of blending in among legitimate services.

All of these trends point to a clear need for an effective cybersecurity risk mitigation strategy, otherwise, your organization risks falling behind the evolving attacks coming from today’s threat landscape. Let’s take a look at 6 key strategies for bolstering security and limiting the impact of successful attacks, including conducting a risk assessment using security ratings, continuous monitoring, and more:

What is cybersecurity risk mitigation?

Cybersecurity risk mitigation involves the use of security policies and processes to reduce the overall risk or impact of a cybersecurity threat. In regard to cybersecurity, risk mitigation can be separated into three elements: prevention, detection, and remediation. As cybercriminals’ techniques rise in sophistication, your organization’s cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies will have to adapt to maintain the upper hand.

6 cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies

Proactive cybersecurity risk mitigation is quickly becoming the only option for organizations as the likelihood of experiencing a cyber attack is all but guaranteed. Here are 6 top strategies for mitigating cybersecurity incidents across your IT ecosystem:

1. Conduct a risk assessment to determine vulnerabilities

The first step in a cybersecurity risk mitigation strategy should be to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment, which can help uncover potential gaps in your organization’s security controls. A risk assessment can offer insight into the assets that need to be protected and the security controls currently in place, and conducting one can help your organization’s IT security team identify areas of vulnerability that could be potentially exploited, and subsequently prioritize which steps should be taken first. Cybersecurity ratings are a great way to gain a real-time look at your organization’s cybersecurity posture, including that of your third- and fourth-party vendors.

2. Establish network access controls

Once you have assessed your assets and identified high-priority problem areas, the next step is to establish network access controls to help mitigate the risk of insider threats. Many organizations are turning to security systems such as zero trust, which assesses trust and user access privileges on an as-needed basis depending on each user’s specific job function. This helps minimize both the likelihood and impact of threats or attacks that occur due to employee negligence or a simple lack of awareness of cybersecurity best practices. Additionally, as the number of connected devices on a network increases, endpoint security will also become a growing concern.

3. Implement firewalls and antivirus software

Another important cybersecurity risk mitigation strategy involves the installation of security solutions such as firewalls and antivirus software. These technological defenses offer an additional barrier to your computer or network. Firewalls act as a buffer between the outside world and your network and gives your organization greater control over incoming and outgoing traffic. Similarly, antivirus software searches your device and/or network to identify any potentially malicious threats.

4. Create a patch management schedule

Many software providers release patches consistently, and today’s cybercriminals are aware of that. As such, they can quickly determine how to exploit a patch almost as soon as it is released. Organizations should be aware of the typical patch release schedule among their service or software providers to create an effective patch management schedule that can help your organization’s IT security team stay ahead of attackers.

5. Continuously monitor network traffic

Proactive action is one of the most effective strategies for mitigating cybersecurity risk. With roughly 2,200 attacks occurring every day, the only way to truly stay ahead of cybercriminals is to continuously monitor network traffic, as well as your organization’s cybersecurity posture. To truly enable real-time threat detection and cybersecurity risk mitigation, consider tools that allow you to gain a comprehensive view of your entire IT ecosystem at any point in time. This will allow your IT security team to more actively identify new threats and determine the optimal path to remediation.

6. Build an incident response plan

Ensuring that everyone, including both the IT security team and non-technical employees, knows what they’re responsible for in the event of a data breach or attack can make it easier to have resources in place and ready to go. This is known as an incident response plan, and it is one of the most critical components to mitigating cyber risk in your organization’s evolving network environments. Threats can come from anywhere and they are continuously growing in sophistication, meaning it’s becoming increasingly impossible to be 100% prepared for data breaches. An incident response plan helps your organization do as much as possible to remain proactively prepared so your team can move quickly and efficiently to remediate any issues.

How SecurityScorecard helps you mitigate cybersecurity risk

Cybersecurity risk mitigation is a task that should never truly end, as new threat actors are entering the landscape at a rapid pace. To keep today’s dynamic environments protected, organizations will need to employ proactive cybersecurity monitoring to ensure that threats are being identified and remediated as quickly as possible.

SecurityScorecard’s security ratings offer an outside-in view of the security posture of your organization’s IT infrastructure, giving your team visibility into your network and system vulnerabilities at any given point in time. The platform’s easy-to-read dashboard makes it easier than ever to confidently take control of third-party risk, enable continuous compliance, and make informed decisions about how to improve security in the future. By implementing the right security controls today, your organization can stay protected against the emerging threats of tomorrow.

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