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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 cyber 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.

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 as these leaders must be able to report up consistently. Whether integrated GRC or a pure integrated risk management approach, enterprises, are prioritizing risk-based security thinking over simple checkbox compliance. The result is an organization driven by consistent security risk assessments with compliance being a facet of the overall strategy.

The critical capability that an effecting cyber 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.

Cyber Risk Assessment Dashboards

The next layer above the control assessment level is the aggregate within a given assessment - in this case, the critical capability for any cyber risk dashboard is real-time delivery of information. Using real-time data can help illuminate cybersecurity risks and lead to faster remediation.

While the representation reflected in these dashboards can vary based on the 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 used, these dashboards must deliver an inherent risk profile for the context of those controls. With automation being a high-level priority to save time for security teams, real-time dashboards empower faster decision making for leaders as well as reduce the effort necessary to report up to technical leaders.

Automated Risk Reports

Finally, for top-level reporting, automation becomes the most crucial aspect of a cyber 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, 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 risk management 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 in a cybersecurity risk assessment tool.

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