Companies must adopt risk control strategies when securing their IT environment to identify and neutralize potential cyberthreats before breach incidents occur. The top risk control strategies in information security revolve around identifying and patching potential vulnerabilities, hunting for threats, and rapid incident response should a cyber attack breach perimeter defenses.
Top Four Risk Control Strategies in Information Security
Thoroughly integrating successful risk control efforts into your information security strategic plan relies on preemptive measures. Your security team must seek out and address cybersecurity infrastructure weak points to prevent attacks. At the same time, they must locate threats and remain ready to respond should a vulnerability be exploited or accidentally triggered.
The top four proactive risk control strategies in information security are:
- Continuous risk scanning
- Detection and response
- Third party risk management
- Advanced risk analytics
In addition to these preemptive practices, your information security strategy should include ongoing compliance and patch management efforts along with predefining an incident response and recovery plan.
Risk Control Strategy #1: Continuous Risk Scanning
Your security team cannot watch every facet of your IT environment all the time; that’s what continuous monitoring software and services provide. A critical aspect of your organization’s threat and vulnerability management efforts is scanning for cybersecurity gaps that put potential attack targets at greater risk, particularly your most valuable assets.
Your cybersecurity architecture and asset inventory must be monitored continuously to address existing vulnerabilities and identify new ones over time. These efforts ensure that emerging cybercriminal techniques cannot exploit them.
RSI Security’s threat and vulnerability management services include inventorying all assets within your IT environment and conducting threat modeling, which assigns risk and designates the highest priority elements. Continuous testing and scanning notify your security team of risky vulnerabilities so that you can deploy patches and update configurations accordingly.
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Before you begin monitoring all of your network assets, you first need to identify them along with the likelihood of threat occurrence and resulting organizational impact. Conducting a risk assessment will determine and document such. Risk assessments may also be required as part of your compliance efforts (e.g., the HIPAA Security Rule).
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides risk assessment guidance for developing this foundation of your information security strategy framework in Special Publication 800-30.
Risk Control Strategy #2: Detection and Response
Responding to threats only after they reveal themselves is too late. Therefore, in addition to continuous scanning for vulnerabilities, your security team needs to hunt for any indication of advanced persistent threats (APT) that may evade detection.
Threat hunting combines forefront threat intelligence with iterative investigation processes to detect anomalies in network and user activity. Some organizations employ a threat hunter as a tier-three member of their security operations center (SOC) team. However, one of the most significant challenges threat hunters face is differentiating between real threats and false positives. Misidentification can waste valuable time and resources.
An alternative to a full-time threat hunter is partnering with a managed security services provider (MSSP) to enhance your security team’s knowledge and capabilities. Managed detection and response services seek out threat indicators, investigate them, initiate response plans, and conduct root cause analysis to prevent recurring incidents.
Risk Control Strategy #3: Third Party Risk Management
The risk your organization faces extends beyond your own IT environment. Especially with the proliferation of cloud service integrations, organizations must be mindful of the risks posed by partners connected to their network. Your partners’ ability to contend with the same threat challenges you face places your cybersecurity’s efficacy at stake. Additionally, your regulatory compliance may depend on a third party’s cybersecurity and data protection efforts.
Third party risk management requires vendor-focused risk assessments and visibility to determine how partners’ potential vulnerabilities become your own—and which efforts neutralize them.
Risk Control Strategy #4: Advanced Risk Analytics
The best preparation for managing threats is simulating real attacks that identify vulnerabilities to address and train your security team on appropriate response tactics. The advanced analytic data collected from test results provides an insightful roadmap of potential entry points, gaps, and misconfigurations for your security team to address.
Penetration testing achieves precisely that with pen-testers evaluating your cybersecurity infrastructure to determine potential attack vectors. Penetration tests can follow white, grey, or black box methods that provide testers with varying levels of environmental insight.
Your organization’s penetration testing should evaluate your entire IT environment, including:
- Network security
- Cloud computing
- Web applications
- Mobile devices
- Compliance requirements
Beyond Risk Control Strategies in Information Security
Balancing daily tasks with efforts to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and protective measures places a significant burden on your security team. However, organizations can enhance their risk and information security strategic plans by enlisting outside expertise to provide additional guidance and education.
Security program advisory, such as RSI Security’s service, will help your organization continually improve its cybersecurity—from architecture design to scanning and testing to employee awareness training.
Partnering with an MSSP can also help you update your established risk control strategies through periodic evaluations, patch monitoring, and assistance with incident management.
Your organization must maintain its regulatory compliance efforts whether or not you’re subject to regular reporting or random audits. Periodic gap assessments will determine what cybersecurity elements your organization needs to update to ensure or demonstrate compliance.
Further, regulatory compliance changes can place unexpected burdens on your security team. Conducting a bridge assessment (i.e., a gap assessment following regulation changes) is the fastest method for determining necessary adjustments. An expert MSSP will notify your organization of upcoming changes and work alongside your staff to help prepare your cybersecurity infrastructure and teams.
Much like with changing regulations, an MSSP can assist with your ongoing patch monitoring efforts. When vulnerabilities in widely used hardware, software, and firmware are identified, your security team must deploy the appropriate patches.
However, patch monitoring is a labor- and time-intensive process that reduces your security team’s bandwidth. Again, prompt notification and guidance from an MSSP keep your organization up-to-date on the latest vulnerabilities and their patches.
Security Awareness Training
Beyond your security team, your non-technical employees must periodically refresh their knowledge of cyberthreats. Limiting your organization’s security awareness training to brief mentions during onboarding materials insufficiently prepares your employees. Instead, consider training sessions a few times per year and additional services, such as randomly testing your workers with simulated phishing attempts, to improve their threat recognition.
Incident Management and Recovery Strategies
Incident management comprises the response and recovery portion of your information security strategy framework. Responding to and recovering from data breaches is the most stressful security team responsibility, as you must protect your organization’s data and reputation.
Partnering with an MSSP that has successfully remediated numerous breaches will guide your security team on effective measures that mitigate damages and restore service availability as quickly as possible. RSI Security can help your organization develop and execute its incident response plan, assisting with:
- Identifying the incident
- Logging and tracking the incident with a critical systems audit
- Investigating and analyzing the incident with a forensic approach to determine root causes
- Assigning and escalating the incident response to the appropriate SOC team member(s)
- Remediating incident damage and implementing preventative measures to resolve it
After executing your response and recovery strategy, you must also ensure your customers’ satisfaction with your efforts to maintain your relationships and brand confidence.
Professional Risk Control and Cybersecurity
Whether seeking occasional guidance or fully outsourcing your risk control strategy, partnering with an expert MSSP will set your organization up for cybersecurity success. RSI Security leverages over a decade of cybersecurity and compliance expertise throughout our advisory and managed services to help you control the risks your organization faces.
Contact RSI Security today to implement the best risk control strategies in information security.