Your organization manages data threats every day and new ones are constantly appearing. You might feel safe if you meet industry cybersecurity compliance standards but this doesn’t mean that all of the potential risks have been identified. This is why we’ve created your basic FAIR methodology risk assessment guide.
The Factor Analysis of Information Risk (FAIR) framework works to fill in the gaps industry compliance assessments do not cover. It helps businesses take a proactive approach to measure and manage data risks so cybersecurity breaches do not occur.
In this article, you’ll learn how to perform a FAIR methodology risk assessment and how it can help your company protect data.
How to Get Ready for the FAIR Assessment
There are a few steps you want to take to prepare for the assessment. Not only will it ensure that you’ve identified any probable risks, but it will also save time and money. If all risks aren’t identified, the assessment will need to be performed again. You also take the risk for a data breach occurring when a potential threat is missed.
First, you want to consider the scope and size of the cybersecurity framework that’s protecting the network. You also want to look at how complex the network is, and this often depends on the size of the organization.
Smaller businesses typically have small, simple networks with adequate cybersecurity practices, while larger corporations may have multiple systems that are connected. Sometimes, the systems can be connected across multiple platforms. All of this needs to be identified, including external and internal systems.
Your company’s framework must also include all third-party vendors with access to protected data. It’s easy to forget about your third-party suppliers, but if they experience a data breach, your business is the one that will be held liable.
Once you’ve identified the company’s framework, it’s time to schedule the FAIR methodology risk assessment. You will notice that the potential risks are often placed into different categories, and this is due to the fact penalties can differ according to the severity of the threat.
- Strategic risks often occur when a company makes poor decisions regarding cybersecurity. These types of risks can make it difficult for the business to reach its goals whether it’s expanding its customer base or increasing quarterly profits.
- Reputational risks are ones that are detrimental to how the public views the business after a data breach occurs.
- Operational risks refer to financial and other losses that occur due to a data breach that is caused internally, either by the company’s systems, cybersecurity practices, or employee negligence.
- Transactional risks are issues that occur due to a third-party product or service.
- Compliance risks often happen when the company is not current with industry laws that regulate compliance standards.
Not all of these risks will apply. For example, if you do not have third-party vendors transactional risks might not be an issue. As you’re identifying your company’s framework, you’ll get a clearer idea of which risks apply to the business.
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FAIR Basic Risk Assessment Guide
The FAIR risk assessment framework was created by a group of international organizations to aid businesses in identifying and managing cybersecurity threats. The assessment does not verify that you comply with industry regulations. It’s a proactive step your company can take to help reduce their risks for a data breach.
Even though you’re not required to perform a FAIR methodology risk assessment, it’s still recommended that you do so at least once every 24 months. There are five steps to follow to start and complete the assessment.
Classify All Systems
Your system consists of several components that need to be classified. It includes all functions, processes, and applications. You want to think about the following aspects when you are placing the components into categories.
- The kind of system and type of data used.
- Who is the third-party vendor?
- Which, if any, internal and external interfaces are used.
- Which employees have access to the system.
- How is data flow managed and where is it stored?
There might be other aspects to consider. Each business is unique and can have different systems in place.
Identify the Threats
To protect against potential threats, you first need to identify the risks. Some threats only pertain to specific businesses, like personal healthcare information or credit cardholder data, but there are some that apply to all organizations. These common threats are what the FAIR risk assessment was created to identify.
- Unauthorized system access due to accident or for malicious purposes.
- Data is altered or used without approval or authorization.
- Information is unintentionally leaked or exposed, often due to inadequate cybersecurity practices.
- Data is lost due to system failure or is not backed up.
- The system is slower or fails, interrupting productivity due to malware or a backdoor being created in the system by hackers.
Calculate the Possible Risk and Probable Impact
When you’re performing a FAIR risk methodology risk assessment you need to focus on how you categorized the system’s components. Think about probable scenarios that could occur if the risk became a real threat.
From there, you’ll calculate the impact the threat could have.
- High: If the damage can be repaired the costs will be expensive.
- Medium: There will be damage but it can be repaired.
- Low: There isn’t any damage or it is easily fixed.
When you know where the greatest risks are, you’ll know what can financially affect your company and its business goals.
Assess your Control Environment
During this step, you need to identify the controls and their relationship to probable threats. Some of the controls that you’ll include in the FAIR assessment include,
Your company’s risk management controls
- User provision and authentication controls
- Administration and management controls
- Datacenter internal and external controls
- Infrastructure information protection controls
- Operations controls
After you’ve identified the controls, you’ll give them a rating from high, medium, and low based on the likelihood of a data breach occurring.
Determine the Risk Rating
Once the four steps are completed, the final one is to determine your risk rating. There is an equation involved, but don’t worry it’s basic math.
You simply multiply the impact the threat will have on the business by the possibility of it happening. This will give you the risk rating that typically ranges from severe, to elevated, and low.
If you need additional clarification, NIST Special Publication 800-30 lists that approximate values for impact and probability. Your FAIR methodology risk assessment will include the same information when it’s finished, only tailored to fit your system.
Organizations must be proactive about their cybersecurity measures and this is the purpose behind the Fair methodology risk assessment.
There are a few steps to follow before and during the assessment that some companies might not have the time or personnel to devote to the audit.
At RSI Security we’re here to answer any question you have about protecting data. We can also perform the assessment for you. Regardless of your cybersecurity needs, we’re here to help. Contact RSI Security today for a free consultation.