3 common misconceptions about cybersecurity risk

6/15/2020
3 common misconceptions about cybersecurity risk

Are any of these cybersecurity misconceptions putting your organization at risk? See how to bridge the gap between perception and reality.

There’s a flood of information about cybersecurity risks, best practices, and products these days – which can make it tricky for leaders to identify the most effective ways to protect their organizations. This information overload, in turn, can lead to underestimating threats and making misguided business decisions.

To help avoid this situation, we’re debunking three common misconceptions about cybersecurity.

Our organization isn’t a target.

1. “Our organization isn’t a target.”

On one end of the spectrum is the belief that cyberattacks happen in silos, or only large corporations are targeted. There are a few different reasons for the disparity between perception and reality of cyberthreats. 

Cybersecurity is a very complex issue. Knowledge of the technical nature of cyberattacks and how organizations are victimized requires intensive training, skill, and focus. And even when those are present, cybersecurity attacks cannot be predicted with complete accuracy, as the tools and technologies of threat actors are continually advancing. 

Executives cannot fully appreciate the range and severity of risks to their organizations. It’s up to CISOs and other cybersecurity leaders to communicate the nature of these threats – and how to deal with them – to executives and boards. Through a deeper understanding, boards and CISOs can begin to recognize that cybersecurity has a place as both a business risk and a component of organizational strategy.

2. “We only need to assess the strength of our controls.”

Another cybersecurity misconception is that audits and risk assessments can provide full visibility to threats. While these are helpful – and in some cases, necessary – simply looking at controls will not prepare an organization.  

An evaluation of your “response-ability” should include threat assessments in the context of your cyberresilience. While threat actors can be indiscriminate, an organization’s uniqueness will make it more susceptible to certain threat scenarios. 

A formal evaluation of an organization’s top threat scenarios can lead to the development of a tailored enterprise solution that aligns the prevention, detection, and response efforts where they can have optimal benefit.

 
We only need to assess the strength of our controls
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We need to reduce the odds of a successful attack to zero

3. “We need to reduce the odds of a successful attack to zero.”

At the other end of the spectrum, cybersecurity teams are asked to go overboard trying to mitigate potential threats. Organizations invest heavily in many solutions because the primary focus is on prevention. 

This approach will likely leave an organization exposed. It is unlikely that any amount of investment will fully secure an organization. And if it invests too heavily in this area, it might start to approach a negative ROI, with outlays exceeding the amount of financial damage that could be reasonably expected from cyberattacks.

Organizations should target their identification, prevention, detection, and response investments where they can have the most positive impact. A well-balanced approach allows for layers of security to be in place, which helps minimize the impact of a breach.


If you’d like to learn more about countering these misconceptions, watch this recording of our recent webinar, Understanding Cybersecurity Financial Exposure and Risk Quantification.

If you need to reevaluate your organization’s cybersecurity program because of changes to your operating environment, risk appetite, or available resources, talk to us about the Crowe Cyber Aware solution

It’s designed to help cybersecurity professionals and organization executives understand financial exposure to cyber threats and prioritize mitigation in a way that aligns to business risk reduction.

 

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Troy LaHuis - social
Troy La Huis
Principal, Digital Security Services Leader