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Step 1: Review the Risk Management Framework

As the first step in preparing the risk assessment, review the risk management implementation framework and the risk management technologies that you might use in your assessment.

In the subsequent sections of this project, you will write a risk assessment summary report that can be used in addressing cybersecurity threats through risk management.

When this first step is complete, move to the next step, where you will create a list of vulnerable assets.

Step 2: Document Vulnerable Assets

In the opening step, you considered the risk management implementation framework and the risk management technologies you might use. Now, it’s time to list the organization’s vulnerable assets.

In order to conduct effective information risk management, the vulnerabilities of the system must be understood and documented prior to starting the assessment, regardless of which of the risk assessment approaches is used.

Begin by conducting a thorough review of the recently completed Vulnerability and Threat Assessment report. During the review, pay particular attention to which security risks to information systems that might be relevant and consider varying types of risk assessment and analysis.

Using the Vulnerable Assets Template, identify and create a list of assets considered vulnerable. This is a simple list, not prioritized, not valued, simply identified, but complete. Pay particular attention to application software in both the acquisition and implementation phases. This list of vulnerable assets will also be used during the next step.

Submit the completed list of vulnerable assets for feedback.

Step 3: Review the Vulnerable Assets List

In the previous step, a list of vulnerable assets was compiled from the Vulnerability and Threat Report in the previous project. Now, incorporate any feedback from the previous step and identify specific cybersecurity threats, including network access risk by devices to those assets.

Again, the Vulnerability and Threat Assessment final report is the starting point to fulfill this step in the Risk Assessment. Compiling a complete list of threats and vulnerabilities will act as a comprehensive review of your vulnerability assessment as well as potentially expand the list, now that you have greater input and a second look at your previous results.

Step 4: Document Internal and External Threats

You’ve reviewed the list of vulnerable assets, and in this step, you will document threats. Recall that a threat is any event, action, or factor that has the potential to cause damage to the enterprise. Threats can come from a variety of sources, including people (a hacker stealing employee passwords) and natural events (a power blackout causing data loss).

Use the Internal and External Threats Template to add all threats and vulnerabilities—internal and external to the enterprise—and tie them to the itemized assets that will be affected. Note that external threats will include a comprehensive review by device type at network access, both direct and indirect, a view of the social media landscape as a threat.

Submit the itemized list of threats for feedback.

Step 5: Research Relevant Environmental Factors

This step continues to build on the internal and external threats as itemized in the previous step by researching relevant external inputs.

Since cybersecurity is a complex and multifaceted endeavor, an effective analysis of threats includes consideration of the threat landscape inherent within the context in which the enterprise operates.

Researching how the external context and environment contribute to threats and vulnerabilities is critical because no company or industry is an island, particularly as it pertains to cybersecurity. The very nature of cybersecurity is hyperconnectivity—across companies within the same industry and across industries with similar information demands.

Be sure to seek external input into the particular situation, specific threats and vulnerabilities, best practices, regulatory factors, government policy issues, previous industry issues, etc. Conduct thorough research in the industry and related industries about previous actions and activities that could affect your company.

When the research is complete, you will use it in the next step to create a list of external threats and vulnerabilities.

Step 6: Describe External/Environmental Inputs to Threats and Vulnerabilities

Using your research from the previous step, create a list of external industry sources and best practices that might apply. Include one or two sentences for each input, commenting on why you think it would add value to your Risk Assessment.

Submit your list of external inputs of threats and vulnerabilities for feedback.

Step 7: Identify Business Impacts and Probabilities

Remember, cyber risk management and compliance is not just about the technology. It is also about the impact people, policies, and processes can have on the financial results of the company. After the previous step, in which you created a list of threats and vulnerabilities, now it’s important to consider the effects on business as part of risk assessment.

Each enterprise must identify and address its own unique threat issues because the most obvious threats are not always the most dangerous ones. Many common threats, such as fire, are already mitigated to a high degree through local building codes and modern infrastructure redundancies. These might not require any further action. However, obscure threats, such as disruptive actions taken by a malicious insider, may be completely unmitigated.

Any risk assessment should include a view of the business impact should an identified threat become a reality. Also consider the likelihood of occurrence for each threat so the list can be prioritized and appropriately managed.

For this step, use the external inputs of threats and vulnerabilities compiled in the previous step to consider the business (monetary) impact of any realized threats and the prioritization of these threats by potential impact to the enterprise. In the next step, you will create a list of the business impacts.

Step 8: List Business Impacts and Probabilities

You identified the potential financial impacts should identified threats become realities in the last step. Here, use your findings to complete the Business Impacts and Probabilities Matrix, listing each identified threat and the risk, the probability, and a potential mitigation to include all policies, processes, and technologies to be used in formulation of financially and logistically sound mitigation strategy.

After you’ve completed this step, you will document and prioritize risk responses. Submit your Business Impacts and Probabilities Matrix for feedback.

Step 9: Consider Risk Response Strategies

Now that you have developed a comprehensive list of potential risks with probabilities and potential business impact, it is time to consider possible risk response strategies for these risks. In the next step, you will document and prioritize risk responses.

Step 10: Document and Prioritize Risk Responses

In this step, you will prioritize your selected risk responses from the last step based on several factors:

The      economic impact to the organization should the assessed risk occur.

The      likelihood (probability) of an event that would activate the risk.

The      arrangement of assets ranked by priority based on the highest value of the      following formula: (economic impact) X (probability) = risk

Prioritized Risks and Response Matrix
In this step, you will add a final column to your existing threat/asset table that demonstrates a potential response to a
breach. In addition, add a column showing prioritization of these responses.
Asset
Threat
Risk
Probability
Mitigation
Potential
Prioritization
Strategies
Response
of Responses
Note: You can add more rows to the bottom of the table if needed.
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Business Impacts and Probabilities Matrix
Paste your findings on vulnerable assets and threats into this table, and add the risk, the probability, and potential
mitigation strategies.
Your mitigation strategies should include all policies, processes, and technologies that can be used.
Asset
Threat
Risk
Probability
Mitigation Strategies
Note: You can add more rows to the bottom of the table if needed.
2
Vulnerable Assets Template
In this step, list all the vulnerable assets for the enterprise.
Note that assets should simply be identified at this stage. Items do not need to be prioritized or assigned values. Pay
particular attention to application software in both the acquisition and implementation phases.
This initial list should be as comprehensive as possible, even if you don’t keep every item in your final working list of
resources to be protected.
Vulnerable Assets
2
Internal and External Threats Template
In this step, you will build on your vulnerable asset list from the first step to identify threats and vulnerabilities—internal
and external to the enterprise, for each asset.
Vulnerable Assets
Threats and Vulnerabilities
Note: You can add more rows to the bottom of the table if needed.
2

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