With the continuing rise of digital technology, cybersecurity methods are evolving rapidly to keep pace with a threat landscape that is constantly changing. As technology advances, so do the threats that compromise sensitive business and personal data. While traditional approaches to cybersecurity, which primarily focused on infrastructure and technology, were practical at one time, new security countermeasures are evolving daily. Companies must redefine risk management in cybersecurity to protect their and clients’ digital information. Let’s examine new ways of risk management and the collective effort necessary to navigate an evolving digital world safely.

The Human Side of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity risk management involves continuously identifying, evaluating, and addressing your company’s cybersecurity threats. This process is not limited to IT or upper management; everyone in the business has a critical role in fighting cyberattacks. A holistic approach to risk management is necessary to address threats consistently.

One weakness in the fight against cybersecurity is the factor of human error, which drives the majority of cyber incidents in companies. According to Stanford University and Tessian Research, nearly 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake. Employees experiencing stress, distraction, or burnout are more likely to make costly errors that lead to successful cyberattacks on their company.

Through in-house and video training and gamification, employees can see examples of cyberattacks and how they can happen. Using machine-intelligent security programs can also help people adopt safer security behaviors. Over time, behaviors improve, and risk levels decrease while IT uses that data to identify the most at-risk employees and personalize security training and policies.

The Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, and while companies race to create effective global threat intelligence, malicious actors and hackers are using new technology to adapt to threats they can use against companies. Here are the types of cyberattacks companies should watch out for this year:

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware remains a frequent and ongoing problem for businesses worldwide. Malware families are growing in complexity and size and teaming up with other threat actors through underground forums.

Ransomware groups are now contacting clients of their victims as a new way to apply pressure on a business. This way, they can ransom the company’s stolen data and any clients’ sensitive data. Experts believe that future ransomware attacks will focus on this approach to extort personal data and intimate details that they will use as part of their attack. The industries predicted to be prone to this ransomware are education, social media, healthcare, and SaaS.

QR Code Attacks

A new phishing trend involves the use of QR codes. These codes initially meant for efficiency and convenience, are now being used by cybercriminals to exploit the public’s trust in the codes.

Contactless payments, like QR codes, became popular during and after the pandemic. Now, cybercriminals embed malicious links into the code or redirect victims to fake websites. Anyone can make a QR code and link it to a malicious site, making it cost-effective and a successful means of phishing for attackers.

AI Language Learning Model Attacks

A growing concern amongst security experts is the creation of malicious language learning models (LLMs) through artificial intelligence (AI). AI LLMs are trained on incredible amounts of human data and can write content and translate languages. Cybercriminals can use these platforms to create fake news, spread disinformation, and conduct cyberattacks. Although AI and machine learning platforms, both top trending cybersecurity tools, can protect against cyberattacks, hackers can use this technology to steal critical company data.

Companies must use cybersecurity risk management to stay ahead of the cyberattack curve and protect their business, employees, and clients.

Essential Tools for Managing Cyber Risks

Because cybersecurity is rapidly evolving, businesses should know about future trends and themes and the potential impact on managing and preventing cyber risks. Companies can select many essential tools to manage cybersecurity risks. Here are four popular ways to limit your business’s data exposure:

1. Zero Trust Model

The Zero Trust cybersecurity model protects companies by assuming no inherent trust, including within a business network. This framework uses continuous authentication and strict identity verification for all users and devices. Companies can minimize the risk of cyber attacks and insider threats with the Zero Trust model.

2. Ransomware Mitigation

A business can prevent, detect, and respond efficiently to ransomware attacks using a ransomware mitigation program. This program includes the following features:

  • Strong backup and recovery solutions.
  • Network segmentation.
  • Employee training to recognize phishing attempts.
  • Advanced threat detection technologies.

Ransomware mitigation decreases the impact of ransomware attacks and reduces the chance a company pays for ransomware.

3. NIST Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CF) allows businesses to monitor, assess, and address threats constantly. NIST provides guidelines that assist companies in managing and reducing cyber threats. The program has five functions: identify, detect, protect, respond, and recover. NIST proactively helps organizations to properly manage cyber risks while improving their ability to detect attacks.

4. Third-party Risk Assessment

Hackers often target companies’ third-party partners to cause data breaches, so taking inventory and assessing your company’s existing security controls is critical to locating weaknesses in your IT infrastructure. Evaluate vendor performance and end relationships with any vendor who leaves your business open to cyberattacks.

Strategies for Leaders to Mitigate Cyber Threats

Companies cannot wholly prevent cyberattacks; however, business leaders can take critical steps to help their employees by taking a more human approach by investing in cybersecurity awareness and training programs. Administrators should ensure that every employee is:

  • Educated to make the right security decisions and quickly recognize and fix incidents before they become security issues.
  • Aware of security practices and policies that contain clear outlines as to the protocol and consequences if an employee violates the policy.
  • Trained to know the difference between real notifications, fake antivirus offers, phishing attempts, and social engineering tactics.

Administrators should also secure all databases and networks through firewalls and information encryption. Executive cyber security protection should also be a consideration for business leaders, allowing executives to learn security awareness education, understand the nature of data breaches, and recognize the importance of updating security programs regularly.  Automatic backing up of company data should occur at least once a week so the company has a copy of that information, even if it is stolen.

Stay Ahead of the Risk Management Curve

Redefining risk management in cybersecurity involves understanding how to leverage policies and tools to stay ahead of emerging threats. It’s up to top-level leaders to guide their organizations by fostering a cybersecurity-conscious culture. With employee training and advanced technologies, businesses can prepare for the future of risk management cybersecurity with a proactive approach to safeguarding their data.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Brenneman

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Brenneman, you can follow her on Twitter.

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