Cyber Risk Management for Government Agencies
Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important topic for government agencies as well as individuals and businesses. Today, even small businesses will likely find themselves handling a lot of customer data and performing transactions online. According to McKinsey, the damage from cyberattacks is expected to increase to $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for new targets to exploit, so it’s important for everyone to educate themselves in the basics of cybersecurity.
What Is Cybersecurity Risk Management?
Cybersecurity risk management refers to the practice of identifying, analyzing, evaluating and addressing cybersecurity threats. This is an ongoing process and includes continuous monitoring of any current threats and precautions that are in place.
What Are Cybersecurity Risks?
Cybersecurity risks include any form of loss or damage that could be caused by a cyberattack. This could include the loss of digital assets via a ransomware attack. It may also include outages of your virtual infrastructure and the associated loss of custom caused by a denial of service attack or the reputational damage caused by a data breach that causes the personal data of customers or employees to become publicly known.
Is Risk Management the Same as Cybersecurity?
Cyber risk management is just one element of cybersecurity. A broad IT risk management system may include backups, redundancy and business continuity plans intended to maintain operational resilience. Cybersecurity risk management is likely to cover measures to protect against a variety of attacks, such as:
- Denial of service
- Exploits and vulnerabilities
The cybersecurity risk management process is intended to maximize the effectiveness of cybersecurity measures by considering likely attack vectors and what adverse impact those attacks may have. Agencies (and businesses) that store or process data digitally are already bound by regulatory requirements to protect that data and should have security measures in place already.
What Is the Process of Cybersecurity Risk Management?
The process of risk management can be broken down into a few key steps:
- Identifying risks
- Assessing the potential impact of those risks, including the economic impact and any potential legal implications or damage to the company’s reputation in the event of a breach
- Determining how to mitigate any cyber threats that were identified, including taking additional security measures such as using web application firewalls or endpoint protection solutions or providing training to staff members
- Performing ongoing monitoring for security breaches or new threats
Cybersecurity risk management is not a one-off job. Rather, it’s something that should be ongoing. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit, and the software being used by your organization is likely to see patches and new versions on a regular basis. Treat security as an arms race and do not become complacent.
How Is Cybersecurity Risk Management Performed in Government Agencies?
Government agencies are particularly likely targets for a cyberattack, and as such, they invest heavily in assessing, setting and implementing their cybersecurity policies. The proposed U.S. Government budget for cybersecurity in 2023 was $10.46 billion. Part of this budget includes creating training for employees to ensure good cybersecurity protocols are being followed at all times.
Not everyone who deals with sensitive data can be expected to have extensive experience in cybersecurity. Government agencies must take additional precautions to ensure their systems are properly secured, proper audit trails are in place and access control measures are set up. These measures should be reviewed regularly by someone who has a strong background in cybersecurity. External audits may be helpful in this regard.
Cybersecurity risk management is essential for government agencies in ensuring the safety and integrity of sensitive information. By implementing widely accepted best practices, government agencies can reduce the likelihood of cyber attacks and mitigate the impact of any potential breaches. These best practices include conducting regular risk assessments, implementing appropriate security controls, training employees on cybersecurity awareness, and regularly reviewing and updating policies and procedures.
By staying informed and proactive, government agencies as well as private businesses and organizations can protect against evolving cybersecurity threats and ensure the trust of citizens and stakeholders. Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and regular risk assessments and vigilance are key to maintaining a strong, secure cyber posture.
FAQ Pages: Hybrid Cloud for Government Agencies: What You Need to Know | Cybersecurity Weaknesses and Government IT Systems