9 Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Company's Risk Analysis

By Violet Lynch


In today’s increasingly digitized world, information can be stored and shared more easily than ever before. While that guarantees us access to more resources than we could’ve ever dreamed of, it also means that same information (your company’s most valuable trade secrets, or the confidential information of your clients) is at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

As an executive, it’s your job to balance the needs of your coworkers and clients with their demands for security and protection from the very real risk of insider threats. On top of that, you’ve got to do it on a tight schedule and with a limited budget. Sound impossible? It’s not. Use the following 9 tips to make the most of your insider threat risk analysis efforts, so you can spend your time and money where it really matters:

1. Commit to Collecting Data

If you want to find out where you’re falling short, you’ve got to be able to compare results. The first step is to define which data is essential to collect and what will help you to mitigate insider threats. Do you have a system for tracking who is accessing confidential information, and when? What about a process for employees to report suspicious activity? These isolated incidents can prove invaluable when used to identify patterns that occur over time.

2. Develop a System for Analysis that Works for You

Data is great, but not if you don’t know what to do with it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this means you need a big, expensive software package; in some cases, an excel spreadsheet will do. The important thing is to develop the most consistent and effective method that works for you and your staff. Use the budget savings to invest in other risk mitigation efforts.

3. Determine the Cost per Breach

We’ve already gone over just how expensive a data breach can be for your company. While it’s all well and good to know how much it’ll cost someone else, it is essential that you define the exact numbers that various types of breaches within your company will cost. This will help you to spend your time, effort, and money where it matters most.

4. Be Your Own Adjustor

Insurance adjustors are the ones that calculate the probability of different events, taking into account a vast array of different variables and possible events. Why? In order to better allocate spending and budget accordingly! Use the data you’ve been collecting to be your own adjustor and determine what to prioritize.

5. Embrace the Quantitative

While risk analysis efforts definitely require some critical, qualitative thinking, it is primarily a quantitative discipline. Make an effort to develop these skills in yourself and your staff, so that you can formulate key risk indicators more effectively and build better risk analysis dashboards.

6. Let Your Analysis Structure Your Portfolio

Use the results of your risk analysis (and those recently refreshed quantitative skills) to help position your portfolio advantageously. Identifying high- and low-risk areas can be immensely helpful in determining where to best spend your time--and your money.

7. Start Off Simple

Daunted by the prospect of conducting your first risk analysis for insider threat? Your first go around doesn’t have to be complex or perfect. Instead, start out with just three categories: people, systems, and processes. Make small improvements as you go, wherever they make sense. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

8. Keep Your Tech Knowledge Current

These days, the tech world moves a mile a minute. Be sure to stay as up to date as possible on major trends within the industry -- this includes larger developments and the release of new, niche data analysis tools. Not only will this help you better protect your company’s most valuable assets from newly-developed threats, but you just might find that the risk analysis tool you’ve been dreaming of has finally been released.

9. Determine What You Can Automate

It’s not always necessary to have a staff person on hand to conduct each and every task. Instead, identify which tasks can be automated and reallocate your manpower to address more pressing risks. Be sure that your tools can be reconfigured, however, as your needs may change or take a new form.

Risk analysis is an essential part of determining the areas where your company is most vulnerable to insider threat. Chances are, you already have all of the tools at your disposal--you just need to start using them to your advantage!

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