IT departments often combine legacy systems and newer innovative technology. In-house servers may interface with applications and data on cloud-based platforms; employees may be working remotely and connecting to both the servers and the data. Access point vulnerabilities abound. Risk management enterprise solutions control the risks associated with all components of modern computing by strategizing and executing an Information Security Program Plan.
How to Manage Risk at the Enterprise Level
Developing an information security program plan is a time-consuming venture. But the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Risk Management Framework (RMF) provides a step-by-step guide for the creation and implementation of such a plan. The RMF steps include:
- Monitoring and Education
Expanding this framework for risk management into a comprehensive plan to strengthen, unify, and streamline an organization’s cyberdefense requires the cooperation of every business unit.
Working with a managed security services provider (MSSP) streamlines all steps in the process.
RMF Step #1: Prepare
Before creating the strategy itself, you’ll need to establish teams, resources, and infrastructure for the cataloguing, analysis, and mitigation of risks. The first priority is to form teams to focus on documenting all the hardware, networks, systems, applications, and compliance regulations within an enterprise. Dedicated risk managers should be assigned to oversee each component.
If your in-house staffing or cybersecurity expertise is an issue, you may choose to partner with an MSSP that provides managed security services or staffing, either on-premise or remote.
RMF Step #2:Categorize
Effective risk management concerns both threats and vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are defined as weaknesses that could be exploited, such as missing or outdated controls. Threats are the vectors that could exploit those weaknesses—threat actors and the attacks they would utilize.
All potential cyber threats and system vulnerabilities need to be categorized and ranked. Items that pose the greatest danger to enterprise data and systems’ availability, privacy, and integrity should receive the highest priority. The rankings should consider both the potential damage from a threat and the likelihood that its corresponding vulnerability would be exploited by an attacker.
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RMF Step #3:Select
Next, you’ll need to select, adapt, and document existing and planned management and operational control measures. Effective threat and vulnerability management comprises:
- Management controls – Processes that detect and repel system attacks (i.e., firewalls) or ensure seamless regulatory compliance for all new or modified software applications.
- Operational controls – Processes that restrict access to physical sites through barriers and access to applications or data storage through identity authentication measures
Once the appropriate controls have been selected, it’s time to install them.
RMF Step #4:Implement
Now, it’s time to implement the new and modified controls, starting with the highest-ranked priorities. This step may seem intimidating, but careful planning and selection in the prior steps should make it one of the more straightforward of any RMF phase. Document the order in which controls are added, and be sure to set up infrastructure for gauging effectiveness and making adjustments in the future. Updates and patch management are critical to long-term efficacy.
RMF Step #5:Assess
Once your cybersecurity infrastructure is installed, you’ll need to start assessing how effectively it detects and addresses risks. Start assessing the implemented changes on the highest ranked categorized items first. Remediate any detected control deficiencies. Develop incident reporting plans and data recovery procedures to ensure continuity even in the face of a system failure.
RMF Step #6:Authorize
Eventually, you’ll need to obtain a senior executive’s approval of all the security documentation and modifications, ideally in line with prior goals and any applicable regulatory standards. This is especially critical for larger organizations spanning several locations or industries—and varied compliance requirements. If your organization does not have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at present, you may outsource this role to a virtual CISO (vCISO).
RMF Step #7:Monitor and Educate
Finally, you’ll need to continuously monitor the system for compliance, breaches, availability, and failed attacks. Develop status reports for senior administration. And use any threat intelligence generated by your risk management program to inform ongoing IT and security awareness training for employees. The best exercises will mirror real-world scenarios closely.
Third-Party Risk Management Enterprise Solutions
It should be clear that developing and implementing an Information Security Program Plan requires significant expertise and staffing resources. However, when you need to identify and categorize existing flaws and vulnerabilities, it may be a good time to bring in the experts.
If you are experiencing a staffing shortage or have an IT department that lacks the expertise to complete all the RMF steps, you will benefit from cybersecurity staff augmentation. Consultants assist with a variety of tasks during all stages of enterprise risk management planning, such as:
- Auditors evaluate current compliance statuses
- Penetration testers simulate attacks on vulnerable access points
- Analysts interpret collected data and recommend improvements
- Technical writers document findings and draft security policies
A quality MSSP will also provide malware remediation, antivirus services, and device health monitoring to optimize the availability, integrity, and security of all data across your system.
Implement Effective Risk Management Today!
RSI Security has provided risk management and other MSSP services to organizations of all sizes and across all industries. We have helped businesses like yours identify, address, and mitigate risks to prevent attacks and ensure system uptime. And we streamline compliance implementation and maintenance into straightforward processes, minimizing control overlap.
Whether your risk management enterprise plan requires short-term consulting or long-term management resources, contact us today to discuss services that fit your needs and budget.