With the rampant change in technology, there is a change in the way organizations work and communicate today. Coupled with the difficulty in handling such changes, the proliferation of the internet, Internet of things, cloud computing, mobile technology, etc. are adding to the organization’s scope and vulnerability to cybersecurity risks.

A widely known and used definition of risk is threat times vulnerability times consequence.

 

Risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Consequence.

 

This is the general risk formula applied across the spectrum. When applied to cybersecurity, this formula sheds light on and provides into the risk mitigation plan. Cybersecurity risk is defined as a risk causing losses in finances and damage to the reputation of the organization due to a failure in the inter-connected IT system. In simpler terms, organizations are creating assets on shared networks, providing third-party access to digital assets and their networks too are becoming increasingly unstructured, decentralized and dispersed, exposing them to greater risks and threats. As cybersecurity is becoming more relevant and indispensable, the need for experts in the field has consequently increased. This, in turn, has increased the seekers for cybersecurity courses online.

 

Risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Consequence.

Threats: As discussed earlier, with the advent of technology and the interconnectedness of systems, the number of threats and threat actors is continuing to increase. The nature of these threats too is rapidly changing. The threat actors range from lone-wolf attackers to crime syndicates, nation-states, hacktivists to insiders. Their motivations for the attacks can range from financial gains, corporate espionage, data theft, vandalism, extortion, market manipulation, political statements, military advantages, etc.

 

Vulnerability: The threat actors look for gaps in cybersecurity systems, processes, technology, infrastructure and capabilities and exploit vulnerabilities of the organization to launch cyber-attacks and breaches. For instance, insiders will know the obvious gaps in the systems like weak or universal passwords, weak or outdated tech infrastructure, lax attitude towards cybersecurity, etc. The number of devices is increasing and networks turning more decentralized and dispersed are adding to the vulnerability factor. This apart, the newer technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, etc., while helping organizations, are also helping threat actors with breaches and cyber-attacks and making organizations vulnerable.

 

Consequence: The damage or harm caused by a breach or a cyber-attack is the consequence. The consequence is not limited to physical damage and in many cases, there will be no physical damage but there could be a financial loss, loss of sensitive information, vandalism, data theft, etc. The cyber-attack not only impacts the organization in question but could impact its consumers/ clients, vendors and other stakeholders, exposing their information or identity theft, financial loss, etc. A major indirect cost of a cyber-attack is the loss of brand image, reputation and goodwill.

 

It is extremely important for organizations to understand that cybersecurity is not just an IT issue and that it is a business risk. Organizations must put in place a dynamic plan and continuously engage in cybersecurity management, not stopping with the installation of high-tech infrastructure alone. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, you must enrol yourself in a cyber security course online.

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