Private and public sector organizations are increasingly adopting cybersecurity frameworks such as NIST CSF, ISO 27001 and SOC 2 to mitigate breach risks and enhance trust with customers, investors, insurers, and other stakeholders.
Not long ago, the majority of a company’s data was physically stored within the confines of the organization. Today, data and systems are everywhere: on-premises, the cloud, personal devices, internet applications and in the custody and control of other third parties.
With more data generated than ever before — combined with an evolving threat landscape — the risks and associated costs of being victimized by a data breach are skyrocketing.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have become prime targets for external threat actors. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 61% of breaches impacted SMBs last year, up from the 53% in the previous year. This risk trajectory shows no signs of abating, especially given the move toward remote working, digital transformation initiatives, and emerging geopolitical risks.
The stakes are high for those that fail to implement the appropriate safeguards against cybersecurity threats. The financial implications of a data breach can be catastrophic, especially for small to medium-sized organizations that lack sufficient cyber insurance coverage.
Opportunity costs for vendors selling into large enterprises or government entities may also be significant. By 2025, Gartner estimates that 60% of enterprises will use cybersecurity risk as a primary determinant to conducting third-party transactions and business engagements.
And if these risks weren’t enough, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has signalled that they will take legal action against organizations that don’t take reasonable steps to protect personal and sensitive information.
The importance of information security frameworks:
Private and public sector organizations are increasingly turning to cybersecurity frameworks to mitigate risks and build trust with their customers, partners, and investors. These frameworks consist of a series of documented processes that define policies and procedures supporting the implementation of information security controls. Those that achieve and maintain framework compliance are better positioned to mitigate cybersecurity threats and build trust with their stakeholders.
There are a wide range of frameworks to choose from, including NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), NIST 800-53, SOC 2, ISO 27001, and PCI, to name a few. Some frameworks, such as NIST CSF, are voluntary, whereas others offer certifications backed by third-party audits, such as SOC 2 or ISO 27001.
Applying a framework that meets the specific needs of each organization is essential. For example, NIST 800-53 is more prescribed and extensive, while NIST CSF offers greater flexibility and is ideal for smaller companies and public entities.
Emerging data protection regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Quebec’s recently enacted Bill 64, also include data protection stipulations. The more sensitive the information, the stronger the safeguards must be. Those that fail to comply may be subject to fines in the millions of dollars.
The role of the CISO in overseeing cybersecurity controls:
Larger firms and public entities often turn to their Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to manage and implement cybersecurity programs and controls. Given CISOs can demand salaries ranging from $150K to $250k per year, this role is usually absent in small to medium-sized organizations. Others rely upon their internal information technology (IT) teams or outsourced Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to fill the gap.
The challenge is that many IT executives are focused on managing IT strategy and day-to-day operations and generally lack the expertise and time to oversee cybersecurity assessments and controls. And while MSPs usually do an excellent job handling IT operations and support, they typically don’t specialize in conducting extensive risk and controls assessments. Many organizations assume that their MSP owns cybersecurity risk, which is often not the case.
The benefits of outsourcing cybersecurity assessments and controls monitoring:
When selecting and implementing the appropriate cybersecurity framework, organizations should consider engaging a specialized service provider to help lead the effort.
There are numerous benefits with this approach, including:
- Accelerating the review process by leveraging experienced information security risk management professionals.
- Significantly reducing costs by hiring fractional versus full-time expertise.
- Benefiting from a third-party perspective to uncover security gaps and risk mitigation strategies that internal resources may not have discovered.
The emerging necessity of cybersecurity frameworks:
Let’s face it, properly assessing and implementing cybersecurity controls is complex, and it’s not getting any easier. This is particularly true for small and medium-sized organizations which lack the resources to hire dedicated experts.
Ultimately, it can take months – sometimes years – to properly conduct a cybersecurity assessment and apply the recommended controls. Those who have not yet begun their journey would be well advised to get started immediately.
Vayle can help. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our Cybersecurity Advisors today.