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Future-Proof Your Cyber Risk Management With 7 Top Trends in 2024

December 4, 2023

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The global marketplace faces an increasingly destructive cyber risk landscape each year, and 2024 is set to confirm this trend. The cost of data breaches alone is expected to reach $5 trillion, a growth of 11 percent from 2023. As technology advances, attackers continue to develop new, more sophisticated methods for infiltrating systems and exploiting vulnerabilities.

Amongst cyber experts, it is now widely acknowledged that the question of an attack is not ‘if’ but ‘when.’ Preparing for this imminent event with proactive cyber risk management measures has become more critical than ever for organizations to reduce overall loss, minimize downtime, and remain resilient.

While we may not yet possess the power to predict the future with absolute certainty, we do have the ability to make highly calibrated projections. As we approach 2024, it’s paramount that cybersecurity leaders and organizational executives alike work together, leveraging these projections, emerging industry patterns, and global threat-intelligent insights to develop data-driven risk mitigation programs. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 1: Increased Board Liability and Involvement

The US SEC’s latest rulings on cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident disclosures suggest that board members will be compelled to take a more active role in their organizations’ cyber risk management efforts. The increased transparency about the board’s role in cyber activities now holds them more accountable to investors.

Although, for now, the SEC removed its explicit proposal that cyber expertise must be present in the boardroom, the recent regulations nevertheless generate momentum toward this requirement. Instead of subjecting US corporations to this demand along with all of the other new regulations, the governing body will institute this particular obligation gradually. We should expect to see updates to their July ruling in the upcoming year. 

The EU more explicitly outlined corporate responsibility in their NIS2 Directive, warning that executives may be subject to suspension for failure to comply with the upgraded cybersecurity regulations. Most recently, Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Joe Longo warned boards of the penalties should they fail to make reasonable investments in cyber. 

This call for greater board liability will extend as governing bodies worldwide recognize the resounding impact a cyber event can have throughout the economy. With research demonstrating that greater cooperation between boards, C-suite executives, and security teams leads to minimized impact, organizations would do well to start incorporating well-structured cyber risk governance practices into the boardroom. 

Tip: Translate Cybersecurity into Broader Business Terms

One of the most prominent obstacles preventing cyber risk management from being incorporated into broader business objectives is the communication factor. Although they acknowledge its importance, board members typically don’t have cybersecurity expertise. This limitation prevents the technical concepts and achievements of CISOs and security leaders from being understood in tangible terms.  

However, by translating these technicalities into event likelihoods and potential financial implications, board members can comprehend the immense value of cyber risk management initiatives. Regulators, too, better understand these terms, and we should expect that they will be more explicit in requesting the potential monetary impact of cyber risks. 

With the common language, boards can make data-driven decisions and contribute meaningfully to cyber risk management strategy discussions. Likewise, the objective financial forecasts CRQ provides (and loss totals, in the case of an event) help regulators learn more about what constitutes a material risk or loss, fostering easier collaboration with stakeholders. To create a future in which cybersecurity is valued at the highest market levels, we first must all be communicating in the same terms.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Trend 2: Risk-Based Prioritization of Cyber Initiatives

With an overwhelming number of digital threats, organizations find themselves in a precarious balancing act between cybersecurity and other departmental resource allocations. Especially considering the bleak economic outlook, cyber teams need to accept the impossibility of safeguarding against every conceivable threat and instead focus on risk-based prioritization. 

It's imperative to focus on the cyber risks that present the highest likelihood of occurrence coupled with the potential for the most significant financial impact to navigate this economic reality. Prioritization ensures optimized cyber budgets and allows CISOs to fortify an organization's defenses against the most pressing and detrimental threats.

Tip: Assess Levels of Cyber Risk: Quantify Both Likelihood and Impact

Achieving a data-driven understanding of which risks an organization is most likely to experience and suffer significant damage from requires a cyber risk assessment framework that is data-agnostic and incorporates internal and external global cyber intelligence data. Cyber risk quantification (CRQ) emerges as the ideal solution for this endeavor. 

For enterprises, adopting CRQ provides a comprehensive tool for assessing their specific threat landscape, uncovering event likelihood and impact based on type and attack vector. This detailed analysis enables cyber leaders to create prioritized cyber risk management plans that not only enhance security but also demonstrate positive ROI through risk mitigation, transfer, or absorption.

From the vendor perspective, incorporating CRQ technology into product offerings can serve as a robust differentiator in the market, enabling them to justify security recommendations based on objective financial implications. Moreover, by adding this layer of insight, vendors empower customers to make more informed, data-driven decisions, enhancing their brand reputation and helping them become industry leaders. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 3: Consolidation of Tools Into All-In-One Platforms

When enterprise-level cybersecurity solutions were first released, organizations rushed to adopt as many tools as possible to address the many risk nuances they faced. Now, however, CISOs and security teams find themselves overwhelmed by their immense amount of dashboards, metrics, and the complexity of managing siloed tools, spending valuable time attempting to evaluate the separated data holistically.

Cyber vendors, too, have begun recognizing the challenges of this overabundance, consolidating the functions of these distinct, critical tools into comprehensive all-in-one platforms. This transformation reduces system complexities and maximizes operational efficiency. 

By centralizing an array of cybersecurity functions within a single integrated platform, businesses will have a more cohesive understanding of security threats and their interconnectivity. Moreover, this consolidation often results in cost savings, which is critical for companies as economic growth continues to decline

Tip: Embrace Comprehensive Solutions But Evaluate the Risk

While consolidating cybersecurity solutions has a slew of benefits, such as increased productivity, streamlined workflow, and data accuracy, organizations still need to be wary of the potential risks. For instance, depending on a single platform inherently creates a single point of failure. If the platform has an outage or experiences a breach, it could have widespread implications.

Running a cyber risk assessment is a critical component when incorporating any new solution into your organization's system. When considering which comprehensive third-party service provider tool to implement, teams should carefully evaluate the risks that inherently come along with adopting it to know if it's a safe, financially sound choice.

For vendors, leveraging CRQ adds a layer of insight when justifying this consolidation. The financial implications enable these software providers to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and overall risk reduction of an all-in-one solution. Not only does this approach support the customers' decision-making process, but it also strengthens the vendor's position in promoting these solutions as a more strategic option. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 4: Generative AI as a Dynamic, Multifaceted Player

The era of artificial intelligence has officially arrived, and malicious actors, as with every new technology, have demonstrated it can be wielded as a valuable weapon for cyber attacks. In 2024, bad actors will increasingly capitalize on generative AI capabilities to devise novel methods for penetrating systems, thereby circumnavigating otherwise robust cyber defenses. 

AI will be harnessed to create highly deceptive content such as hyper-realistic phishing emails, deep fake recordings, and other fraudulent yet official-seeming documents. Cyber attackers will also likely leverage AI to generate types of content previously unthought of, keeping organizations on their toes. 

Tip: Fight AI-Generated Fire With AI-Generated Fire

The good news is that just as generative AI techniques can be utilized maliciously, they can also be harnessed for defense. Cybersecurity teams should implement this innovative technology to neutralize evolving cyber threats, training AI models to recognize patterns and identify anomalies. AI can also be used to simulate cyber events, ultimately revealing system vulnerabilities and preparing employees. 

With its immense potential for both attack and defense, AI is set to have an unprecedented impact on the cybersecurity industry. Organizations must heavily research ways to incorporate generative AI into their cyber management programs to stay ahead of the bad actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 5: Heightened Adoption of a CTEM Approach With CRQ Models

In 2022, Gartner introduced their continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) program for cybersecurity. Their approach is structured to address the dynamic nature of cyber threats, advocating that a continuous evaluation of the accessibility, exposure, and exploitability of an organization’s digital assets is crucial for cyber resilience.

Gartner’s CTEM program outlines five straightforward steps to achieve such resiliency:

 

  1. Scope for existing cybersecurity exposure
  2. Develop a discovery process for hidden vulnerabilities
  3. Prioritize threats according to exploitation likelihood
  4. Validate and assess various attack scenarios
  5. Mobilize the employees at all organizational levels

With the risk landscape evolving at an unprecedented rate, more organizations will implement the CTEM framework into their overall governance practices. To facilitate this ongoing cyber risk management method, CISOs will also gravitate towards CRQ solutions that can give them a granular understanding of where their organizations’ most significant threats are present. 

Tip: Incorporate an On-Demand CRQ Solution as a CTEM Enabler

Financial CRQ models, like Kovrr's, incorporate a corporation's internal threat data and external information like global threat intelligence, insurance loss intelligence, and technological footprints to produce highly accurate, granular risk assessments. With these insights, CISOs can create highly targeted cyber risk mitigation strategies that address the organization's most pressing vulnerabilities.

However, to fully adopt CTEM, cybersecurity professionals must choose a CRQ tool that can run quantifications on-demand, accounting for the volatility of the cyber risk landscape. Other assessment models can be highly time-consuming and resource-intensive, rendering results obsolete by the time of conclusion. The realm of cybersecurity evolves quickly, and tools need to be able to make the necessary adjustments. 

As opposed to other types of CRQ solutions, financially oriented ones are also particularly applicable to the CTEM framework, as they will enable broader business collaboration. As step 5 in the program highlights, employee mobilization leads to high-end resiliency. By translating cyber risk into likelihoods and monetary impact, non-technical colleagues can join cybersecurity discussions and appreciate the value of cyber initiatives. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 6: Enterprises Will Dispute Redundant Terms and Explore Self-Insurance, Leveraging CRQ Models

Cyber insurance is a relatively new market, so unlike home or auto coverage calculations, underwriters lack a standardized approach to potential parametric solutions. Combined with the fact that cyber events have the potential to cause global catastrophes, insurance providers have become increasingly weary as the scale of attacks grows, projecting their trepidations into policy costs.

Although we should not expect the high cost of premiums to rise any further, the exorbitant costs, coupled with policy restrictions regarding third-party service provider events, will lead to more enterprises investigating self-insurance options with CRQ models. 

Financial CRQ models can accurately calculate an organization's unique risk exposure landscape and illuminate the potential financial damage caused by a cyber event. CISOs can compare these insights with their current policy, discovering how likely the company is to exceed the deductible. 

Tip: Use Granular Insights to Optimize Coverage

As budgets continue to decrease, it’s paramount that CISOs make the most financially sound decisions regarding self-insurance. To navigate this landscape, organizations can leverage a financial CRQ model that can break down policies according to specific business impact scenarios. This capability reveals granular details, helping organizations identify the areas in which self-insurance may be more cost-effective. 

For instance, a CISO may discover that there is a high likelihood of experiencing an event due to a third-party service provider failure but a relatively low chance of a ransomware or extortion event. Armed with these insights, organizations can negotiate more favorable terms aligned with their unique cyber risks, factoring in the expected financial damage calculated for each specific scenario. 

While research shows that companies that invest in cyber insurance policies tend to have shorter attack detection and response times, this result is more indicative of an in-depth risk assessment that factors in an organization’s specific cyber environment. Only after this knowledge is obtained can cybersecurity teams devise the most economical mitigation strategy, whether it involves transfer or potentially opting for self-insurance. 

Cyber Risk Management Trend 7: Continued Exploitation of Credentials as Initial Attack Vector

Across all industries, there is an astonishing amount of compromised credentials, which bad actors will leverage to exploit vulnerabilities and internet-exposed assets, which can be reached without any internal access.

Cybersecurity leaders need to pay closer attention to this risk in the upcoming year. Compromised credentials are an elementary, and therefore attractive, means of gaining entrance to a system. It's also a highly effective initial attack vector because it requires so little effort but has the potential to cause material damage

To harvest these credentials, cyber attackers will typically initiate data breaches of service providers, prepare massive phishing campaigns, or install malware that steals login information. Once the information is obtained, the attackers usually sell it to another malicious group, which then initiates an attack on a specific organization. 

Cybersecurity experts also need to keep compromised credentials in mind due to the human element. Weak passwords, often a product of lax password policies that don't require minimum complexities or regular updates, create a susceptible attack entrance point. Employees also typically reuse passwords across multiple accounts, further exacerbating their vulnerability.

Tip: Implement MFA Now and Manage Access Permissions

If your organization doesn't employ Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), tell your head of cybersecurity or CISO to institute this practice now! Even if credentials are harvested, MFA significantly reduces the likelihood of the attacker gaining entrance to the system. Likewise, if not already in place, there should be mandatory password resets every few months. 

Managing permissions for internet-exposed assets is equally vital. Restricting access based on specific IPs, locations, or administrative roles helps to control who can interact with the company's systems. Ultimately, this granular approach minimized the attack surface, making it more challenging for malicious actors to exploit the vulnerabilities. 

Customizing Cybersecurity in 2024: Tailored, Continuous Risk Assessments

While the cyber risk landscape is constantly evolving, the end of the year offers a valuable reflection point to project where it's headed. The estimated global financial damage caused by cyber-attacks, increasingly sophisticated entry methods, and greater boardroom involvement all accentuate the urgency for organizations to adopt proactive approaches to fortify their digital defenses. 

Amid these trends, the importance of in-depth risk CRQ assessments tailored to a company's specific cyber postures arises. Cybersecurity teams need granular insights to prioritize initiatives and formulate the most cost-effective data-driven mitigation strategies. Plans should be easily adaptable to incorporate the latest internal and external threat intelligence data. 

Ultimately, no one knows what the cyber future brings. The best we can do is prepare for what we know, harnessing the most calibrated insights available. 

Prepare for Your Future Cyber Risk Landscape With Kovrr

Kovrr's CRQ models produce a tailored model of an organization's cyber risk landscape. Our cyber risk management solution offers granulated data that illuminates specific attack vectors and event types and offers tailored recommendations for bolstering your cyber posture. 

Contact our risk experts and get a free demo today. 

Yakir Golan

CEO

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