Defining Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Risks

With malicious actors expanding their footprints into uncharted territories, it has become increasingly significant for SMBs and SMEs to understand emerging vulnerabilities, threats, and risks as well as defining defensive countermeasures to help protect critical information assets while maintaining a positive cost-benefit posture. Onboarding a competent security solution provider, such as GoldSky Security, adds a unique expertise that provides a proactive and automated business cyber-risk assessment to ensure business continuity.

Businesses, small or large, have to be online to survive in today’s digital world. Bill Gates once said, “If you are not online, you better be out of business.” With more businesses becoming online, cyber adversaries have been busy exploring avenues to disrupt and exploit business operations, including that of SMBs (Small and Mid-sized Businesses) and SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) units around the world. Unfortunately, many SMBs and SMEs, relegate cybersecurity as an afterthought, thus removing it from primary business objectives.

With the rapid advancement of technology, businesses can not afford to exclude cybersecurity from its business goals and objectives because cybersecurity has become one of the major pillars of business continuity efforts. Therefore, it is critical for SMEs and SMBs to have a clear definition and understanding of fundamental concepts across cybersecurity domains, including vulnerability, threat, and risks, that small and mid-sized businesses face from malicious actors. Below is a pictorial representation of the global cybersecurity market forecast, 2017 to 2023, which helps to portray the growing importance of having a security partner within the ecosystem of an organization.

Understanding Vulnerabilities, Threats, And Risks

Vulnerabilities, threats, and risks are foundations to understanding a comprehensive cybersecurity posture. These three cybersecurity particulars are critical to dissecting probability and impact to business operations. For SMBs and SMEs operating with limited financial supply, it is cost-effective to collaborate with a competent managed security service provider to conduct assessments and evaluations of computing infrastructures to determine the appropriate controls that are best suited to meet defensive, preventive, and corrective security objectives. 

But first, let us break down each of the the above-mentioned cybersecurity particulars:

  • Vulnerability – vulnerability is any weakness in information systems that malicious actors can exploit to gain unauthorized access to a network system, e.g. an unpatched Operating System.
  • Threat – threat is a potential danger or malicious act or actor that can exploit a vulnerability, e.g. a computer virus, DDoS attack, etc.
  • Risk: this is the probability of potential harm or loss resulting from a threat exploiting a vulnerability, e.g. losses arising from a cyberattack.

The Dangers of Not Clearly Defining Cybersecurity Particulars

It is essential to have an unambiguous definition for cybersecurity particulars because it helps to hasten the identification and implementation processes, thus, addressing concerns that target business operations. Below are a few reasons why enterprises must appropriately define cybersecurity particulars:

  • Major terms associated with cybersecurity particulars, such as vulnerability, threat, and risk, etc., are also common words in the English language – these words could mean different things to different people, in situations, thereby resulting in ambiguity and/or confusion.
  • A lack of appropriate definition of the terms and awareness among the employees or entrepreneurs of SMEs and SMBs could cause them to take improper action when something goes wrong or not take any action at all.
  • The terms used in the cybersecurity industry could also be applied in different industries, with different meanings attached to them. For instance, ‘business risks’ is different from ‘cybersecurity risks’ – although both highlight dangers, but there are major differences ascribed to said dangers. Therefore, not having an exclusive definition for the terms could result in lukewarm attention from the stakeholders and inadequate action from end users.
  • All precautionary measures for a computing environment stems from understanding the cybersecurity statues of an enterprise. This happens only when it can be elucidated based on the weightage given to each concept of cybersecurity. If key definitions are inadequately determined, then day-to-day IT operations could be easily compromised.

The Effects of a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) In Defining Cybersecurity Particulars

An MSSP can play an effective role in defining cybersecurity particulars within a corporate computing environment. By understanding the inventory of an SMBs computing infrastructure and the value of its information assets, an MSSP is capable of collaborating with an SMB or SME to set a baseline definition for vulnerabilities, threats, and risks – this then becomes  a starting point in securing an enterprise’s information assets.

The following are key actions for MSSPs to consider when defining cybersecurity particulars:

  • Understanding the business environment: Cybersecurity providers understand the business environment in which the solution will be implemented, and it helps them to create the precise definitions that will work for the specific IT environment.
  • Making definitions distinct: When the cybersecurity providers suggest the definitions, they have to make sure that they are distinct and unambiguous while implementing in the specific business environment.
  • Imparting education and awareness: Defining the cybersecurity terms and implementing them alone cannot ensure the security of the valuable information assets of the enterprise. An organization’s employees are the first line of defence. Only the right education and awareness can help them understand and respond to a threat.

In Closing

Malicious actors target SMEs and SMBs on a constant basis, due to a relaxed cybersecurity culture. As such, negligence and/or lack of proper security training and awareness result in enterprises becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats and risks. Therefore, SMEs and SMB are advised to leverage the expertise of competent MSSPs, to define the evolving operational complexities required to maintain a resilient cybersecurity posture. As a proactive security partner, Goldsky offers integrative enterprise security solutions aimed at properly defining vulnerabilities, threats, and risks to critical infrastructures, and providing cost-effective countermeasures to prevent or mitigate against a cybersecurity incident.



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