What’s my cyber risk?

A quick, easy guide to calculating how your business stacks up

Did I lock the door? Did I close the garage? Did I back up my company data?

Yep—there’s a good reason you have the same nagging fears and discomfort around securing your digital world as you do your physical one. Untouched cybersecurity policies and unknown cyber risks have just as much potential impact as unlocked doors and open garages.

What is cyber risk?

NIST defines cyber risk as, “the risk of depending on cyber resources.” This includes the “risk of financial loss, operational disruption, or damage, from the failure of the digital technologies employed, from the unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of the manufacturing system.”

In plain English, cyber risk is the risk you accept around your technology use. When you leave your garage door up, you accept the risk that criminals could help themselves to your bikes and tools. Cyber risk refers to all the types of potential harm or loss your organization might face due to threats in the digital world, from the likelihood of cyberattacks to the possibility of your server catching on fire.

Why is cyber risk important?

Cyber risk is particularly crucial for small and mid-sized businesses due to their vulnerability to the potentially devastating consequences of cyberattacks, data breaches, and ransomware attacks. Smaller businesses often lack the extensive cybersecurity resources and dedicated personnel larger enterprises may have, making them attractive targets.

Moreover, small businesses are frequently interconnected with larger supply chains, and a breach in their security can have cascading effects in both directions. Prioritizing cybersecurity is essential for businesses to protect sensitive data, maintain customer trust, and ensure the continuity of their operations in an increasingly digital business landscape.

How can I measure my cyber risk?

Wondering how your organization measures up to the rest? Some pieces will depend on what you have in place already and what your industry standards are.

Broadly speaking, however, the fastest way to measure your cyber risk is to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment. This involves evaluating potential threats, discovering vulnerabilities, and predicting the impact of various cyber incidents.

Here are some aspects of evaluating cyber risk:

  • Identify Assets and Data: Categorize your digital assets, including customer data, financial records, and intellectual property. How much of it is sensitive?
  • Assess Threats and Vulnerabilities: Analyze potential cyber threats (such as malware or phishing) and vulnerabilities (such as outdated software) that could compromise business assets. What safeguards do you currently have in place?
  • Evaluate Impact: Determine the potential impact of a cyber incident on business operations, finances, and reputation. What would happen if you couldn’t access customer financial information for a month?

Does it already sound like a lot? Don’t stress: in fewer than 15 minutes, Stratti can assess the state of your cyber risk. We offer a free vulnerability assessment, outlining what you’re doing well and flagging any security gaps. You don’t have to know everything—or even anything—about cybersecurity. We’ve got your back!

Grab your free Vulnerability Assessment today!

How can I lower my cyber risk?

If you already know you’ve got room for improvement in your digital security, you’ve come to the right section. There are many steps you can take to dramatically lessen your cyber risk. The best case scenario is to design and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, including all of these and more:

  • Employee Training: Conduct regular cybersecurity training to educate employees about phishing and social engineering, password use, and cyber hygiene.
  • Access Control: Implement strict access controls to limit employee access to sensitive data, ensuring individuals only have the permissions necessary for their roles. Try to be strict about the POLP: the principle of least privilege.
  • Update and Patch Systems: Regularly update software, applications, and operating systems to address vulnerabilities. Force your employees to do this promptly too—security is a team sport!
  • Use Strong Authentication: Enforce the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security for accessing sensitive systems and data.
  • Backup Critical Data: Regularly backup important data and ensure backup systems are secure. If something happens and your data is stolen or deleted, backups can save the day!
  • Incident Response Plan: These days, it’s not “if,” it’s “when” something will go wrong. Embrace this thinking and develop and regularly update an incident response plan to efficiently address the impact of a cyber incident.

By asking yourself “what’s my cyber risk?” and proactively addressing these aspects, businesses can significantly improve their overall cybersecurity posture—therefore reducing the chances of financial impact, organizational failure, and business disruption.

And fortunately, you don’t have to do any of it alone, as a Managed Service Provider, Stratti can help you with all your cybersecurity needs. (Ovens, not so much). Contact Stratti to get started.