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Security Risk Management: Why You Need It

If you work in security or IT, it’s not an exaggeration to say that your entire job revolves around risk management. It might sound like common sense, but one of the biggest mistakes many people make when it comes to security risk management is simply ignoring the risks—either because they think they can’t afford to mitigate them or because they believe it won’t happen to them. Ignoring security risks has proven over and over again to be an ineffective approach to managing your security program; here are 10 security risks you can’t afford to ignore.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

Have you ever thought about how much of your personal information is floating around on servers and databases across the world? It’s a lot. But have you ever given much thought to how difficult it would be for someone else to get their hands on it? It’s a lot harder than most people think. In recent years, many businesses have begun to take security more seriously, recognizing that new threats are created every day and existing ones must be monitored constantly. Thanks in part to greater awareness from media coverage, breaches like these can serve as a wake-up call for business owners who aren’t already aware of cyber risks. While no company is safe from security threats entirely, taking precautions now will help ensure you’re prepared if (or when) your system is attacked.

What is a security management system?

A security risk management system must be implemented by any company that handles sensitive data regularly. This might include banks, law firms, government offices, credit card companies, and retail businesses, to name just a few. Without such a system in place, it becomes easy for an employee to access confidential or sensitive data without permission and make copies of it, take it home with them or otherwise mishandle it. There are many different types of security risk management systems available; some are better than others depending on the sensitivity of the data being handled and the size of the company handling it.

Benefits of Having a Good Strategy in Place

The first step in protecting your company is to understand exactly what it is you’re trying to protect and how you’re going to do it. Having a good strategy in place gives everyone clear instructions on their role in protecting your data, whether they’re doing work as part of an IT team or are acting as individual contributors outside of IT. Security risk management also has strong benefits for anyone who deals with sensitive information—this includes employees, third-party vendors, and even board members who need access to financial information and other sensitive data. In all these cases, a security risk management plan can help employees quickly assess the risks associated with any given task so they can minimize harm.

When Should You Start?

There are a few good reasons to start security risk management early. First, it takes time to come up with a detailed strategy that involves weighing risks against an array of potential countermeasures (more on that later). Second, any business needs to have a solid plan in place before it faces a crisis. Third, even if your business is experiencing small security incidents, they could be harbingers of larger ones down the road.  Studies show that about 80 percent of companies that suffer data breaches ultimately go out of business within two years. By taking time now to get things in order and implement basic protections, you’ll be better prepared for whatever lies ahead. If you don’t take action now, you might pay later.

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