With the flood of information coming from all levels of an organization’s cybersecurity landscape, the amount of data that CISOs and other decision-makers must wade through is unwieldy, at best. How can you decide which factors will drive your roadmap? What should be your highest security spending priority? How much will a ransomware attack cost your business? These questions and others are answered with quantification. Cyber risk quantification (CRQ) is necessary for business leaders to understand their organization’s cyber risk in financial terms, providing rapid and transparent results. Why, then, do many CISOs balk at the mere mention of “quantification?” Unfortunately, the term has earned a bad reputation in recent years, with some security leaders suggesting that CRQ does not deliver the results that many vendors claim.
Here, we’ll demystify and normalize this five-syllable SAT word by breaking down the top five myths preventing many cybersecurity professionals from leveraging such a powerful and necessary tool.
Myth Number 1: I need to know the FAIR Model to begin my CRQ journey
Hackers move faster than any cyber program can react, and time is not on your side. While having some experience working with models or approaches like FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk) can be helpful, it is nowhere near a requirement for building a strong CRQ program. In fact, for many organizations, the FAIR model has been the reason why CRQ initiatives have failed. Over the years, Axio has gleaned insights from leading security and risk leaders about the limitations they have experienced with vendors whose CRQ tools rely exclusively on FAIR. For these security leaders, excessive implementation times, high project costs, and an over-emphasis on probability have led to “FAIR Fatigue.”
Because Axio uses a scenario-based, impact-driven system, measurements are based on your organization’s risk posture and attack surface. This means our approach relies less on the (difficult to measure) probabilities of certain events occurring and more on the realities of scenarios unique to your business. We understand that simplicity is key in a CRQ tool, and we make the process accessible to all levels of cyber risk experience. We make CRQ achievable by guiding users through each step of the process and ensuring your project scope stays under control. As Axio Co-Founder and President Dave White says, “to be useful, it’s imperative for cyber risk quantification to comprise efficient and scalable methods and to produce timely, actionable, and trustworthy results.”
Myth Number 2: It takes months or years to get results with CRQ
One of the biggest misconceptions of CRQ is that ROI takes months or even years to materialize. To be sure, some legacy CRQ solutions do take a long time to produce trustworthy insights. With Axio360, this is not the case. Our approach is different – it’s faster, more realistic, and gets decision-makers on board in a fraction of the time, allowing you to make quick decisions. A scenario-based, impact-driven approach to analyzing the “what ifs” in your security landscape can yield insight into your risk posture within days. In fact, we’ve seen this time and again across our customer base – they have seen results firsthand:
“We needed efficiency to do our job correctly and for Riverstone to grow and be protected from new and unforeseen cyber risks. The Axio360 platform was a quick and efficient way for us to help our companies improve in specific cybersecurity areas. It’s important to protect capital for our investors and make sure our companies perform— the results were evident quickly.”
Eliot Cotton, Principal and Assistant General Counsel of Riverstone
Myth Number 3: CRQ won’t give me the outputs to make my Board of Directors happy
Clear communication between the CISO and their C-Suite or Board of Directors is critical when building a cybersecurity program. An essential part of any CISOs role is to demonstrate in clear, fiduciary terms how security initiatives add business value. With Axio360’s reports, you can quickly conduct loss expectancy models for any number of scenarios that may affect your business. And, because cyber threats are constantly evolving, the tool is designed for continuous assessment and re-assessment, meaning your results are never static or stale. Our executive reports differ from the legacy CRQ method, shifting from a “defend and protect” approach to a dynamic “mitigate and manage” mindset.
Myth Number 4: My CRQ project needs an army of consultants to achieve meaningful results
The best way to get started is to get started, but too many vendors employ a business model designed to drag out deployment times. These legacy solutions often require specialized skills or professional services consultants in the hopes of ensnaring their customers with a sunk cost fallacy. They want you to take forever to get results because you’ll spend more money through the process. Axio’s business model takes the opposite view. Just as you don’t need a specialized skillset or years of cybersecurity experience to leverage CRQ, companies of all sizes, across all industries and sectors get the results they need to prioritize cyber spending. Even a <10-person security staff can effectively leverage Axio360 to make the “right” risk-based business decisions.
Myth Number 5: CRQ is just a theoretical exercise and doesn’t help me defend my organization from cyber attacks
Every cybersecurity or risk leader should start building their program with a CRQ solution that allows them to baseline their current cybersecurity posture against existing standards. Knowing where your cyber gaps exist and how those gaps impact your risk thresholds will allow you to make faster and smarter decisions about which programs to prioritize.
In addition, cyber insurance is now becoming mandatory across the sectors, and insurers will spare no effort to increase premiums if they determine that your cyber maturity is lacking. Many mid-market and SMB businesses don’t even stand a chance against the revenue interruption or loss that will result in a cyber-attack. But how can you prioritize your initiatives, programs, hiring, investments, tools, or projects if you don’t understand where the greatest risks to your business lie? Likewise, Board members need to understand what events can cause the most damage in financial terms, as Boards are ultimately accountable to shareholders and investors for the operational and financial well-being of the organization. If you witness an event like the SolarWinds or Colonial Pipeline attack and ask, “what if this happens to my organization?” you’re already way behind, and it’s time to get caught up.
Modern approaches to CRQ have determined how to simplify the process of building scenarios to get actionable data without the need for advanced statistical modeling, bloated budgets, or long implementation periods. Because, as a security practitioner, you don’t have time for any of that. In today’s dramatically changing risk landscape, you need answers now. Proactive cyber risk management is mandatory to protect your business. Sign up today to see a demo of Axio360 and how we can help you rapidly understand and react to the risk scenarios relevant to your business, aligning cybersecurity spending with your organization’s risk threshold.