When enterprise leaders discovered no single procedure could fully resolve IT security issues for their organizations, their next best alternative was to minimize risk acceptably. As security was considered unmanageable to measure in financial terms, some C-suite executives considered security risk in highly subjective terms.
Other executives relied on third-party vendors providing risk ratings, vulnerability scans and internet surface scans to assess their security. These activities provide valuable qualitative measures of security risk; however, they can be enhanced in their effectiveness. Specifically, they don’t address the different and often competing priorities for those leaders making decisions involving security risk for their businesses.
When handling security issues for an enterprise, the following questions occur first to people in these positions:
How do I build a business case about this risk?
What’s the overall ROI for the enterprise?
Are we addressing vulnerabilities and threats?
How can we avoid becoming the next headline?
Executive board members’ concerns focus on how a security event can disrupt their company from manufacturing, marketing and selling goods and thus generate bad publicity. These members seek to minimize the risk of such an instance from happening, but they often lack the information needed to determine an appropriate course of future action within their budgets.
CEOs and board executives need the critical ability to connect security risk management with their overall business strategy. By quantifying security risk into dollar amounts, executive board members get a better understanding of what potential financial impacts their organizations face without taking corrective actions.
To be most effective in spending intelligently to reduce risks, consideration of security risk needs to be considered up front when making any changes. Security risk quantification fulfills this need for all parties, including CIOs, CFOs, CISOs and board executives, by communicating priorities and increasing collaboration with the C-suite.
With security risk quantification, CIOs can understand the likelihood and potential frequency of an event occurring based on threats, the value of assets that are jeopardized and the cost of the impact. CFOs can compare the value and impact of various mitigation strategies by providing a comparison of costs and expected risk reduction and using those metrics to show ROI for security projects.
CISOs can convey strategy and technical requirements to the C-suite in language everyone understands. Security risk quantification makes security strategy consumable to upper management including board executives for buy-in. Board executives also learn in estimated dollar amounts the financial loss awaiting their business if they fail to implement recommended security controls.
“Security risk quantification helps unite board executives, CIOs, CFOs and CISOs on security.”
IBM® Security Risk Quantification Services creates risk assessments to help clients identify, prioritize and quantify security risk as they weigh decisions such as deploying new technologies, making investments in their business and changing processes. By using the actual data an organization has and leveraging IBM’s threat intelligence data, Security Risk Quantification provides insights about the financial impacts of security risk. Clients receive an extra level of clarity and understanding on how to reduce overall risk by quantifying security risk into financial terms. By quantifying security risk into financial terms, clients receive an extra level of clarity and understanding on how to reduce overall risk.
By properly implementing Security Risk Quantification, executive board members can achieve the following tasks:
- Understand the true monetary impact of potential threats
- Prioritize security risks in a contextually relevant manner and convey the return on security investment to the business
- Improve operational decision support
- Enable strategic decision support with risk aggregation
- Make better, more complicated decisions in less time under conditions of uncertainty