As Boards and CEOs start taking a greater concern with the security posture of their enterprise, CISOs and information security teams are being faced with translating their cyber risks into business terms. Using cybersecurity risk assessment tools is useful but only half the battle - to effectively communicate the cyber risks of the organization, technical leaders need to employ cyber risk assessment tools that help automate the menial workflows of reporting. Here we’ll examine the critical capabilities that these risk dashboards must have to support organizations at varying maturity levels as they deploy cyber risk management tools and look to automate their cyber security risk assessment.
Foundations of Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Tools
As we’ve explored before, this new role that cybersecurity leaders find themselves in - reporting to the Board and CEO and serving as a business function - has triggered the need for a more integrated approach where these leaders are able to report up the chain of command consistently and without friction. Whether integrated GRC, an IT risk analysis tool, or a pure integrated risk management approach, enterprises, are prioritizing risk-based cyber security thinking over simple checkbox compliance. The result is an organization driven by consistent security risk assessments, risk mitigation, where compliance is a facet of the overall strategy but risk is the language leadership speaks in.
The critical capability that an affecting cyber security risk management tool will have is easy access to standard risk management frameworks. For an integrated approach, the more closely aligned that compliance and risk can be the better - for example, the CyberStrong platform uses both NIST SP 800-30 risk scoring methodology as well as elements of the FAIR model for risk analysis. Adding measurement to the risk management process helps both cyber security practitioners and information security leaders stay aligned from within a single cyber risk management tool.
Cyber Security Risk Assessment Dashboards
The next layer above the control assessment level is the aggregate within a given IT or cyber security risk assessment tool - in this case, the critical capability for any cyber risk management tool is a dashboard that provides real-time delivery of risk management information. Using real-time data in these IT risk analysis tools can help illuminate cybersecurity risks and lead to faster remediation from within these cyber risk management solutions themselves, or at least direction that helps support your team in leveraging other risk management features, such as updating your risk register or adding new risks.
While the representation reflected in these dashboards can vary based on the cyber security risk assessment framework that an organization decides to employ, the core capability is relaying information from throughout the organization up to leaders. At a baseline, regardless of the framework or risk measurement methodology used, these dashboards must deliver an inherent risk profile for the context of those controls across multiple KRIs (key risk indicators).
With automation being a high-level priority to save time for security teams, real-time dashboards empower IT risk analysis at scale, leading to faster decision making for IT and security leadership as well as less effort necessary to report up to non-technical leaders.
Automated Risk Reports
Finally, for top-level reporting, automation becomes the most crucial aspect of a cybersecurity risk assessment tool. Cybersecurity teams can waste countless hours generating reports to show progress to remediation and relay existing risks to business-side leaders. Where speed was the vital aspect for the dashboard level, the automatic creation of these reports can reduce unnecessary team hours and redirect those efforts to remediation.
The value of automated reporting is that platforms can create reports that never existed before in an organization - in the case of CyberStrong, the Executive Risk report is something new to most organizations but saves cybersecurity teams massive volumes of time. Business-side orientated reports help bridge the gap that many organizations face today between technical and business leaders. With a more integrated approach, organizations must find a way to bridge that gap.
Integration, Real-time Data Aggregation, and Automation
With data breaches capturing headlines seemingly weekly, the need for a high-level defensible view of cyber posture is more important than ever. The critical capabilities of a cyber security risk assessment tool: integration of compliance and risk assessments, real-time display of risk data, and automated reporting of risk trends and cybersecurity maturity are the capabilities that CISOs must look for to scale reporting, measurement, and more throughout their cyber security risk management initiatives.