Information security risk management is the systematic application of management policies, procedures, and practices to the task of establishing the context, identifying, analyzing, evaluating, treating, monitoring, and communicating information security risks. The use of standardized rating scales for the severity of threats and vulnerabilities, likelihood of occurrence, impact levels, and risk offers enormous value to organizations seeking consistent application of risk management practices, but the subjective nature of the definitions corresponding to numeric rating scores can produce a false sense of consistency. It is helpful in reducing the risk of improper data exposure. Risk treatment pertains to controlling the risk so that it remains within acceptable levels. Carl S. Young, in Information Security Science, 2016. Impact is related to the degree of success of the incident. Of even more interest to management is an analysis of the investment opportunity costs: that is, its comparison with other capital investment options.10 However, expressing risk in monetary terms is not always possible or desirable, because harm to some kinds of assets (human life) cannot (and should not) be assessed in monetary terms. All in all, not a bad first day for our information security officer! Mark Talabis, Jason Martin, in Information Security Risk Assessment Toolkit, 2013. In Information Security Risk Assessment Toolkit, 2013. The range of potential adverse impacts to organizations from information security risk include those affecting operations, organizational assets, individuals, other organizations, and the nation. Data risk is the potential for business loss due to: 1. In risk analysis terms, the former probability corresponds to the likelihood of the threat occurring and the latter corresponds to the likelihood of the vulnerability being successfully exploited. Depending on the size of the organization, the number of assets, and support from the organization, this phase may take a few weeks or several months. In this example, the full risk statement is: Unauthorized access by hackers through exploitation of weak access controls within the application could lead to the disclosure of sensitive data. Identify threats and their level. This is why asset valuation (particularly of intangible assets) is usually done through impact assessment. The consequences of the occurrence of a security incident are a function of the likely impact the incident will have on the organization as a result of the harm that the organization assets will sustain. Stephen D. Gantz, Daniel R. Philpott, in FISMA and the Risk Management Framework, 2013. In qualitative or semi-quantitative risk analysis approaches such as the method prescribed in Special Publication 800-30, likelihood determinations focus less on statistical probability and more often reflect relative characterizations of factors such as a threat source’s intent and capability and the visibility or attractiveness of the organization as a target [6]. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. An organizational climate where information security risk is considered within the context of mission and business process design, enterprise architecture definition, and system development life cycle processes. Data security refers to protective digital privacy measures that are applied to prevent unauthorized access to computers, databases and websites. Botnets. This chance is risk, typically characterized as a function of the severity or extent of the impact to an organization due to an adverse event and the likelihood of that event occurring [2]. The value high can be interpreted to mean that it is easy to exploit the vulnerability and there is little or no protection in place. How can you strengthen your data security? You’ve also probably noticed that she is doing it in a very structured way; ask for the threat, then the vulnerability, and finally the asset. A security risk is "any event that could result in the compromise of organizational assets i.e. This is one of the main things that I plan to start with, a formal risk assessment process for information security. Organizations express risk in different ways and with different scope depending on which level of the organization is involved—information system owners typically identify and rate risk from multiple threat sources applicable to their systems, while mission and business and organizational characterizations of risk may seek to rank or prioritize different risk ratings across the organization or aggregate multiple risk ratings to provide an enterprise risk perspective. Information security risk is the risk of an event or events occurring which result in a business' information being lost, stolen, copied or otherwise compromised (a "breach") with adverse legal, regulatory, financial, reputational and / or other consequences for the business. Risk Management Projects/Programs. Fortunately, the 2018 Netwrix IT Risks Report reveals that companies are ready to allocate more budget to cybersecurity:  Security investments have grown by 128% in the past 3 years and are expected to grow by another 146% in the next 5 years. Also the organization’s geographical location will affect the possibility of extreme weather conditions. Thus, impact valuation is not performed separately, but is embedded within the asset valuation process. In its revised draft of Special Publication 800-30, NIST categorizes threat sources into four primary categories—adversarial, accidental, structural, and environmental—and provides an extensive (though not comprehensive) list of over 70 threat events [16]. Organizations are becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats due to the increasing reliance on computers, networks, … Impact is considered to have either an immediate (operational) effect or a future (business) effect that includes financial and market consequences. She received a battlefield promotion to the role of information security officer at the financial organization she worked for (ACME Financials) after a data breach occurred. In the world of risk management, risk is commonly defined as threat times vulnerability times consequence. On the other hand, the likelihood of accidental threats can be estimated using statistics and experience. A botnet is a collection of Internet-connected devices, including PCs, mobile devices, … If a three-value scale is used, the value low can be interpreted to mean that the vulnerability is hard to exploit and the protection in place is good. The likelihood of a security incident occurring is a function of the likelihood that a threat appears and the likelihood that the threat can exploit the relevant system vulnerabilities successfully. Ryan specializes in evangelizing cybersecurity and promoting the importance of visibility into IT changes and data access. Risk is the primary input to organizational risk management, providing the basic unit of analysis for risk assessment and monitoring and the core information used to determine appropriate risk responses and any needed strategic or tactical adjustments to risk management strategy [21]. As seen in Figure 1.5, we can overlay our hacker and backup tape examples to see how the components work together to illustrate a real risk statement. It is essential to the credibility of your entire process that the final report accurately captures all the results and reflects all the time and effort that was put into the process. Finally, the value high can be interpreted to mean that the threat is expected to occur, there are incidents, statistics, or other information that indicate that the threat is likely to occur, or there might be strong reasons or motives for an attacker to carry out such action.16, Vulnerabilities can be related to the physical environment of the system, to the personnel, management, and administration procedures and security measures within the organization, to the business operations and service delivery or to the hardware, software, or communications equipment and facilities. Although done indirectly, Jane was able to convey that one person cannot identify all risks alone since different perspectives are needed and that this would ultimately be an organizational effort. Instead of sitting in new employee orientation the CIO of the hospital decided at the spur of the moment to ask her to speak to the IT managers, some members of the hospitals risk committee, audit department, and other select department heads of the hospitals about what she believes the organizations primary information security risks are! Definition: In the NICE Workforce Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Oversees, evaluates, and supports the documentation, validation, and accreditation processes necessary to assure that new IT systems meet the organization's information assurance and security requirements; ensures appropriate treatment of risk, compliance, and assurance from internal and external perspectives. The historical pattern of inconsistent risk management practices among and even within agencies led NIST to reframe much of its information security management guidance in the context of risk management as defined in Special Publication 800-39, a new document published in 2011 that offers an organizational perspective on managing risk associated with the operation and use of information systems [7]. Data encryption — Encoding critical information to make it unreadable and useless for malicious actors is an important computer security technique. As in the case of threats, the responsibility for identifying a suitable vulnerability valuation scale lies with the organization. That’s true, they can deface the website by changing the files.”, CIO: “Hmmm. Of course it does. Specific mathematical functions and concepts are useful in developing simple information security models. The organizational perspective also requires sufficient understanding on the part of senior management to recognize information security risks to the agency, establish organizational risk tolerance levels, and communicate information about risk and risk tolerance throughout the organization for use in decision making at all levels. Applying information security controls in the risk assessment Compiling risk reports based on the risk assessment. Risk can be reduced by applying security measures; it can be shared, by outsourcing or by insuring; it can be avoided; or it can be accepted, in the sense that the organization accepts the likely impact of a security incident. Besides the website is just html and I don’t think they’ll be able to use anything there.”, Jane: “But they can deface the website right?”, Applications Manager: “Right. Such incidents can threaten health, violate privacy, disrupt business, damage assets and facilitate other crimes such as fraud. Of even more interest to management is the analysis of the investment opportunity costs, that is, its comparison to other capital investment options.12 However, expressing risk in monetary terms is not always possible or desirable, since harm to some kinds of assets (human life) cannot (and should not) be assessed in monetary terms. The value medium can be interpreted to mean that it is possible that the threat will occur, there have been incidents in the past or statistics or other information that indicate that this or similar threats have occurred sometime before, or there is an indication that there might be some reasons for an attacker to carry out such an action. Information Security Risk Assessment Toolkit details a methodology that adopts the best parts of some established frameworks and teaches you how to use the information that is available (or not) to pull together an IT Security Risk Assessment that will allow you to identify High Risk areas. It is also influenced by factors attributed to other categories of risk, including strategic, budgetary, program management, investment, political, legal, reputation, supply chain, and compliance risk. 5.5.1 Overview. Risk is an interesting subject, linked to psychology, sociology and mathematics. Now that we have a high-level definition of risk as well as an understanding of the primary components of risk, it’s time to put this all into the context of information security risk. Risk managers need to consider a wide variety of threat sources and potentially relevant threat events, drawing upon organizational knowledge and characteristics of information systems and their operating environments as well as external sources of threat information. Whether your objective is to forecast budget items, identify areas of operational or program improvement, or meet regulatory requirements we believe this publication will provide you with the tools to execute an effective assessment and more importantly, adapt a process that will work for you. Having a cohesive final report will allow the assessor to communicate findings clearly to the stakeholders, allowing them to understand how the findings were identified and ultimately, allow them to “buy” into the process enough to support action plans and remediation activities. Dynamic data masking (DDM) — This technology supports real-time masking of data in order to limit sensitive data exposure to non-privileged users while not changing the original data. Information Security Management can be successfully implemented with an effective information security risk management process. FISMA and associated NIST guidance focus on, Computer and Information Security Handbook (Third Edition), Information Security Risk Assessment: Reporting, Information Security Risk Assessment: Data Collection. This approach has the advantage of making the risk directly comparable to the cost of acquiring and installing security measures. It’s good to know the basics since if push comes to shove you can fall back onto basics to guide a productive conversation about risk. Many of the tools that we’ve developed to make this process easier for us are available as a companion for this publication at http://booksite.syngress.com/9781597497350. For example when she was talking to the applications manager: Jane: “What security event are you worried about?”, Application Manager: “Hmmm. Vulnerabilities are reduced by installed security measures. It supports the general concepts specified in ISO/IEC 27001 and is designed to assist the satisfactory implementation of information security based on a risk management approach. Risk analysis is a necessary prerequisite for subsequently treating risk. The likelihood of human errors (one of the most common accidental threats) and equipment malfunction should also be estimated.15 As already noted, the responsibility for identifying a suitable threat valuation scale lies with the organization. the unauthorized use, loss, damage, disclosure or modification of organizational assets for the profit, personal interest or political interests of individuals, groups or other entities." To measure risk, we adopt the fundamental principles and scientific background of statistics and probability theory, particularly of the area known as Bayesian statistics, after the mathematician Thomas Bayes (1702–1761), who formalized the namesake theorem. Direct impact may result because of the financial replacement value of lost (part of) asset or the cost of acquisition, configuration and installation of the new asset or backup, or the cost of suspended operations due to the incident until the service provided by the asset(s) is restored. Effective information resources management requires understanding and awareness of types of risk from a variety of sources. For the example in Figure 1.6, the full risk statement is: Accidental loss or theft of unencrypted backup tapes could lead to the disclosure of sensitive data. Assets in an organization are usually quite diverse. Many organizations do this with the help of an information security management system (ISMS). Information security risk management may look somewhat different from organization to organization, even among organizations like federal government agencies that often follow the same risk management guidance. A threat is anything that might exploit a vulnerability to breach your … Quantitative risk analysis sometimes uses formal statistical methods, patterns of historical observations, or predictive models to measure the probability of occurrence for a given event and determine its likelihood. For each section, we will be providing sample content taken from the hypothetical scenarios that we discussed throughout the different chapters of this book. That would be really embarrassing to the hospital. are all considered confidential information. Information security represents one way to reduce risk, and in the broader context of risk management, information security management is concerned with reducing information system-related risk to a level acceptable to the organization. The definition of data security is broad. This chapter is presented differently from the other chapters up to this point. The responsibility for identifying a suitable asset valuation scale lies with the organization. Minimizing the risk of data breaches requires both human factors like employee training and technologies that help you secure your sensitive data, no matter where it resides. In an information security risk assessment, the compilation of all your results into the final information security risk assessment report is often as important as all the fieldwork that the assessor has performed. But I guess hackers might be able to get into our hospital website?”, Jane: “That’s is worth looking into. Sokratis K. Katsikas, in Computer and Information Security Handbook (Second Edition), 2013, Information security risk “is measured in terms of a combination of the likelihood of an event and its consequence.”8 Because we are interested in events related to information security, we define an information security event as “an identified occurrence of a system, service or network state indicating a possible breach of information security policy or failure of safeguards, or a previously unknown situation that may be security relevant.”9 Additionally, an information security incident is “indicated by a single or a series of unwanted information security events that have a significant probability of compromising business operations and threatening information security.”10 These definitions actually invert the investment assessment model, where an investment is considered worth making when its cost is less than the product of the expected profit times the likelihood of the profit occurring. The term applies to failures in the storage, use, transmission, management and security of data. Despite the acknowledged importance of enterprise risk management, NIST explicitly limits the intended use of Special Publication 800-39 to “the management of information security-related risk derived from or associated with the operation and use of information systems or the environments in which those systems operate” [5]. NIST envisions agency risk management programs characterized by [10]: Figure 13.2. Managing information security risk at an organizational level represents a potential change in governance practices for federal agencies and demands an executive-level commitment both to assign risk management responsibilities to senior leaders and to hold those leaders accountable for their risk management decisions and for implementing organizational risk management programs. Now the meeting was probably not what Jane’s CIO was expecting but hey, it’s her first day and she knows she is going to educate her new boss as much, or probably even more, than anyone else in the organization. Though ultimately risk is always based on perception, a formal process will allow us to look at all the risks in a more objective manner. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses or environmental factors that increase the probability or likelihood of the threat being successful. Risk can be reduced by applying security measures; it can be shared, by outsourcing or by insuring; it can be avoided; or it can be accepted, in the sense that the organization accepts the likely impact of a security incident. The nature and extent as well as the likelihood of a threat successfully exploiting the three former classes of vulnerabilities can be estimated based on information on past incidents, on new developments and trends, and on experience. This approach has the advantage of making the risk directly comparable to the cost of acquiring and installing security measures. In our case, risk R is defined as the product of likelihood L of a security incident occurring times impact I that will be incurred to the organization owing to the incident: that is, R = L × I.9. Figure 13.1. For instance, a government agency victimized by a cyber attack may suffer monetary losses from allocating resources necessary to respond to the incident and may also experience reduced mission delivery capability that results in a loss of public confidence. Source(s): NIST SP 800-47 under Risk o Security risk – the level of impact on agency operations (including mission functions, image, or reputation), agency assets, or individuals resulting from the operation of an information system given the potential impact of a threat and the likelihood of that threat occurring. The likelihood of these threats might also be related to the organization's proximity to sources of danger, such as major roads or rail routes, and factories dealing with dangerous material such as chemical materials or oil. Now that we have covered defining Risk and it’s components, we will now delve deeper into the background, purpose, and objectives of an information security risk assessment. A vulnerability is a “weakness in an information system, system security procedures, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited by a threat source.” Information system vulnerabilities often stem from missing or incorrectly configured security controls (as described in detail in Chapters 8 and 11Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11 in the context of the security control assessment process) and also can arise in organizational governance structures, business processes, enterprise architecture, information security architecture, facilities, equipment, system development life cycle processes, supply chain activities, and relationships with external service providers [17]. I think we’ll want to look more into that. Well, she was rattled a little but she was not completely unprepared. Usually, a three-value scale (low, medium, and high) or a five-value scale (negligible, low, medium, high, and very high) is used.14, Threats can be classified as deliberate or accidental. Harm, in turn, is a function of the value of the assets to the organization. A poorly written or structured report can bring into question the credibility of the assessor and ultimately invalidate much of the work that was performed. One way to express asset values is to use the business impacts that unwanted incidents, such as disclosure, modification, nonavailability, and/or destruction, would have on the asset and the related business interests that would be directly or indirectly damaged. As an author, Ryan focuses on IT security trends, surveys, and industry insights. With all of that in mind, instead of going up and enumerating risks from out of the air, Jane decided to start with a conciliatory note: “Each one of us here would most likely have their own ideas of what the “primary” risks are. All sizes should think carefully about how they secure their data is high quality the. 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