How to Use Cyber Risk Data to Make Your Cybersecurity Business Case

Cyber risk data, CISO presenting about cybersecurity and cyber risk to board of directors and c-suite

The ability to mitigate cyber risks and potential cyberattacks needs to be a key corporate objective for any company in any industry. Having the right cyber risk data is essential to this effort. With this insight, you can better measure your security posture and take appropriate actions to improve that posture.

But what data should you trust and rely on? Let’s take a look at the most important cyber risk data points your business should be collecting and analyzing, and how you can use that cybersecurity data to make your business case.

Tying Cyber Risk Data to Business Performance

The best data is automated and observed from an external point of view. External analysis can provide an objective and comprehensive view of your security program. Using this data, you’ll get a better sense of your overall security performance based on past exposures and actionable intelligence to improve security. Automation is key because it eliminates the human element that can slow down the cyber security assessment process and allow hidden risks to fly under the radar.

But there are real business benefits to be had as well. Indeed, there are two ways cyber risk data can have a direct impact on your organization’s bottom line:

1. Financially quantify cybersecurity risk

Cybersecurity can be a nebulous concept to the average CEO or CFO. Yes, they understand that data breaches are bad and can cost their organization millions of dollars and reputational costs but it can be hard for them to quantify the actual impact on their companies' balance sheets.

So, while you could attempt to dazzle them with the number of attempted breaches your firewall has turned back over the past year, they only want to know one thing:

What is at stake financially with our current risk posture?

Therefore, you should quantify cybersecurity risk with financial risk. How much money will a breach end up costing us? How much money will it take to repair the breach once it occurs? How much money will you need to ensure we don't have to suffer these financial consequences?

Bitsight’s Financial Quantification for Cyber Risk answers these and other questions. It uses Bitsight Security Ratings and cyber risk modeling to help you assess your company’s potential financial exposure in the event of a breach. You can furnish your C-suite and board members with actionable information that puts your cyber risk data into context they’ll understand–dollars and cents. You can also use this data to justify your cybersecurity budget and prioritize investments in technologies that will best help you protect your organization’s data and financial assets.

2. Effectively communicate risk to the C-suite

Once you've quantified cybersecurity in terms of potential financial risk, you can grab the C-suite's attention. The question is, once you've gained that attention, how do you continue to effectively communicate your organization’s cybersecurity performance and justify how you’re protecting your organization against threats like ransomware and supply chain attacks?

Again, business leaders won't want to hear about the technology that is keeping intruders at bay. They'll be more interested in how well-fortified their organization is in comparison to their competitors, or simply whether its security posture is "good," "bad," or "somewhere in the middle.”

Communicating this performance in a way that is free of technical jargon is essential if you’re to continue receiving support from higher up. The best way to do this is through a simple, easy-to-understand metric like a Bitsight Security Rating. Like a credit score, Bitsight's ratings grade your organization's security profile on a numerical scale, with the higher the number representing better protection.  

When combined with the appropriate context–such as past performance, industry benchmarks, and other measurements–security ratings provide insights into how you're doing today, as well as opportunities for improvement. They can help managers make informed decisions about how to apply resources and funds to better support your cybersecurity efforts so you can continually improve your organization’s risk profile.

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The Details are in the Cyber Risk Data

Cyber risk management must always be in alignment with business objectives. The best way to ensure this happens is to utilize a process that collects, monitors and analyzes cyber risk data–in an automated way. You can then use this data to compile actionable recommendations to present to your management team and board members and make a compelling case for additional resources to bolster your organization’s security posture.

Want to learn more? Check out our Practical Guide to Risk-based Cybersecurity Reporting.