What Is Cyber Risk Optimization and Its Benefits?

February 4, 2024

What Is Cyber Risk Optimization and Its Benefits?

Cybersecurity is no longer optional – no matter the size of your business. While many organizations are under the impression that hackers only target billion-dollar companies with deep pockets, the reverse is actually true. In a hacker’s mind, a “big ” means “big walls.” Hackers would rather go after “small cities” that don’t have strong security strategies in place.

Research shows that nearly 43 percent of all cyberattacks are on small businesses – a number that’s growing over time. Despite this, 36 percent of small businesses – or roughly one in three – say they are “not at all concerned” about cyberattacks.

Something has to give and, unfortunately, it’s the small businesses that are most likely to get the raw end of the deal. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Thankfully, there are ways to identify, mitigate, and prevent cyber threats. It all starts with cyber risk optimization.

What is Cyber Risk Optimization?

When it comes to cyber threats, most businesses fall into one of two camps. The first camp – the 36 percent alluded to above – ignore cyber threats and pretend like they don’t exist. (Or genuinely believe they don’t exist).

The second camp typically sees it as a risk, but doesn’t know how to approach it. The only thing they know to do is play defense. In fact, you could say that almost every business with a cybersecurity strategy plays from a defensive posture. This involves techniques and processes that protect key infrastructure, such as data centers, networks, and sensitive assets.

But here’s the thing – with the proliferation of threats, it’s no longer possible to adopt a “more is better” approach and expect it to be effective.

This is one of the key challenges that modern IT departments face. Technology sprawl has led to a never-ending laundry list of security needs. And unless you have a massive budget and unlimited resources, you can’t possibly keep up. There are simply too many threats out there. Most companies would go broke trying to defend every aspect of their organization from these cyber threats.

The only reasonable approach is a targeted one where you’re able to wisely utilize and consolidate resources. Modern businesses on the leading edge of cybersecurity are now moving to a cyber risk optimization approach.

Cyber risk optimization involves considering cyber risk exposure and determining which countermeasures would be the most cost effective for your organization. This means that you might look at the potential financial impact of a vulnerability and decide if mitigation provides a good return on investment. It is a strategic and proactive approach aimed at enhancing an organization’s cybersecurity stance through continuous refining and fine-tuning. Unlike traditional “set it and forget it” practices, this approach is all about evolving and pivoting in real time to ensure the strategy is accounting for new cyber threats.

The Objectives of Cyber Risk Optimization

It’s easy to get confused about the different terms and strategies for approaching cybersecurity. But don’t let lexicon leave you paralyzed and confused. Cyber risk optimization – like most cybersecurity strategies – is designed to protect your organization in the most optimized way. Here are a few of the primary objectives:

  • Vulnerability reduction: Minimizing vulnerabilities across systems, networks, and applications to reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks.
  • Resilience improvement: Strengthening the organization’s ability to withstand and recover from cyber incidents swiftly and effectively.
  • Risk management enhancement: Optimizing risk management strategies to proactively identify, assess, and mitigate potential cyber risks.
  • Continuous improvement: Fostering a culture of ongoing improvement and adaptation to address emerging threats and enhance cybersecurity measures continually.

The primary objective of cyber risk optimization is not only to secure your organization’s most valuable assets against the most pressing threats, but also to prepare it to face future challenges in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.

4 Key Components of Cyber Risk Optimization

In order to achieve the objectives highlighted above, a cyber risk optimization approach must include a few key components, such as:

1. Understanding of Business-Critical Assets

To optimize cyber risk, it’s important to identify the most critical business assets. For example, depending on the organization, business-critical assets can include intellectual property, business continuity, reputation, and/or customer information.

2. Cyber Risk Quantification

To optimize cyber risk, your organization must determine its potential financial consequences. That’s when cyber risk quantification (CRQ) comes in. CRQ is the process of calculating an organization’s risk exposure and the potential budgetary impact of that risk in business-relevant terms. Ideally, this risk calculation should be determined through sophisticated mathematical models that consider both the financial and business ramifications of possible cyberattacks.

3. Potential Attack Scenarios

The next step is to plot probable attack routes to your business assets. For example, an attacker may access systems through a social engineering attack and weak authentication. Understanding how attackers may succeed helps your team focus on the most important gaps to address.

4. Potential Mitigation Costs

Finally, cyber risk optimization must also consider how much it might cost to mitigate risk. Ideally, mitigation should be an investment in security, but only if it’s clear that the cost of mitigation is lower than the potential loss as a result of a cyberattack. Thjs is why not every vulnerability necessitates mitigation—only the ones that present a clear risk to the organization.

Making a Commitment to Cyber Risk Optimization

Organizations that prioritize cyber risk optimization reap several long-term benefits. For starters, they’re better equipped to identify and respond to potential threats quickly, which minimizes the impact of cyber incidents. Secondly, by continuously fine-tuning cybersecurity measures, they establish a robust security posture that breeds trust among customers, partners, and stakeholders.

The reactive approach simply doesn’t work any longer. Hopefully, that much is clear. The only way to be successful over the long haul is to anticipate, adapt, and mitigate risks before they arise. That’s where cyber risk optimization really shines.

Adopt a Better Cybersecurity Strategy with Hyver

At CYE, our Hyver platform is designed to help organizations of all sizes understand, measure, and address the cyber threats they face in today’s dangerous digital environment. In turn, it allows companies to effectively communicate with stakeholders, improve cyber investment decisions, and prioritize the right strategies.

Interested in learning more about how the Hyver platform works? Book a demo today!