Most businesses feel confident that their data is protected from outside and internal threats, but their information could still be at risk. Knowing how to measure and manage information risk is an important part of your cybersecurity practices.
Your current cybersecurity protocols may be adequate, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Whether it’s threats from hackers or employees misusing data, you need to be proactive when it comes to protecting data.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about measuring and managing information threats using the Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework. You’ll also find FAIR risk examples that will help you understand the benefits of using the framework.
What is the FAIR Risk Assessment Framework
The Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework was created by The Open Group, a collection of international organizations that helps businesses measure and manage information risks. It also helps organizations understand what their cybersecurity risks are.
The FAIR framework is commonly used for analysis and to identify how likely a business is to experience a data breach or loss. Once the risks have been located, organizations can take steps to improve their cybersecurity protocols.
The risk assessment model is different from other cybersecurity frameworks. It does not use charts or numerical scoring to assess your risk, instead, FAIR focuses on the scientific data gathered during the analysis and lists the vulnerabilities in financial terms. Companies will have a clear idea of what a data breach could cost them in fines and penalties, along with the expense of implementing the necessary protocols.
Simply put, it’s a tool that organizations can use to find vulnerabilities in their data security practices that other frameworks might miss.
How to Measure and Manage Information Risk with FAIR
FAIR measures the probabilities of cyberattacks. It uses scenarios to gauge the chances that a security breach will happen, and when the risks are identified businesses can implement necessary practices to prevent data loss.
There are five components to the scalable model that enable organizations to measure their information risks and effectively manage them once identified.
- Identifies the relationship between various domains and the cybersecurity protocols in place.
- Helps to establish a framework for data collection protocols.
- Measures past and current risk factors, along with potential future ones.
- Calculates risk.
- Analyzes complicated risk scenarios.
The framework will help your business build a strong foundation for measuring and managing information risks. Here are some FAIR risk examples the assessment uses to collect information using scientific principles.
Probability vs. Possibility
A FAIR risk assessment identifies potential data risks. It then measures the probability of these risks turning into real cybersecurity threats. When companies have a prior warning about possible risks, they have time to implement stronger security practices to prevent possible threats from becoming potentially harmful issues.
When you look at the probability of the possible threat, you’ll have an understanding of how likely the risk is to materialize in any scenario. Whether it’s an employee mistakenly sending data to a non-authorized third-party or a hacker breaching a system.
Precision vs. Accuracy
You need to understand the difference between precision and accuracy when you’re measuring the probability of a cyberattack occurring. Precision gathers exact data as it pertains to the threat, while accuracy looks at a broader range to give you facts.
Both precision and accuracy measure threats, only accuracy gives you more flexibility. Since it looks at threats in a broader scope, you have more room to correct protocols as more information is gathered. When you’re using the FAIR model to assess cybersecurity threats it’s recommended that you use accuracy.
Risks of Not Performing a FAIR Risk Assessment
It can be tempting for organizations to skip performing a FAIR assessment. It is not required for industry compliance and can cost businesses time and money.
Even though it’s not required there are risks associated with not using the FAIR framework to measure and manage your data threats.
- Scope and study are limited. The framework helps to define the scope of the assessment to include potential risks that might not be identified. It also studies the various scenarios giving you a clearer idea of the probable risks and what is needed to protect data if the threats become real.
- Unclear relationship between risks. You’ll have an understanding of how certain factors can or are putting data at risk after performing a FAIR assessment. It also identifies broken models that can miss the relationships between the various risk factors.
- Inaccurate data measurements. Not all industry compliance frameworks provide complete data measurements. If the estimates are substandard, it will be impossible to have cybersecurity practices in place that can prevent data breaches from current and future threats.
- Incomplete risk identification. You need to identify risks across the various domains and understand the relationship between the threats. Cybersecurity threats are not limited to one system or network, risks can affect them all. Knowing the risks and their relationships is an important part of managing information threats.
- Poor communication. Companies that don’t use the FAIR assessment can have problems with communication between the different departments. One division may not be aware of a potential threat or understand current or newly implemented cybersecurity protocols. Communication is key to managing data risks.
There are several benefits to performing a FAIR assessment annually that includes helping to ensure your business is ready to meet any current and future data threats.
The FAIR risk assessment was created to fill in the gaps other cybersecurity frameworks leave out. It uses science to identify probable data risks across the organization and ranks the threats in financial terms. You won’t receive a compliance certificate for performing the assessment, but it will help ensure that the business meets industry standards.
When you’re ready to begin measuring and managing information risks, schedule a risk assessment or have questions about the FAIR framework, the experts at RSI Security are here to help. Contact RSI Security today for a free consultation.