Manuel Estévez GRC Manager

Cybersecurity: what if we start (almost) at the end?

The traditional approach to cybersecurity risk analysis has been a cornerstone in protecting large enterprises for decades. This approach focuses on identifying and assessing threats through the evaluation of critical business processes. By examining the infrastructure, systems and data involved in critical operations, organisations seek to understand and mitigate risks that could affect business continuity. This approach is based on the premise that by protecting the most vital processes and assets, resilience to potential threats is ensured.

Traditional risk analysis follows a structured process involving the identification, assessment and mitigation of risks. It focuses on the likelihood and impact of potential hazards, allocating resources to strengthen defences and reduce vulnerability. This approach has proven valuable in providing a detailed view of operational and technological risks, enabling companies to implement preventive and responsive measures.

Defining a cybersecurity strategy is crucial to protect assets and minimise risk

However, in today's digital landscape, where cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated and evolving, there is a need to complement this approach. Exclusive focus on critical processes may not be sufficient to address emerging risks. As a result, the focus is shifting to a more holistic approach that considers not only the ongoing operation, but also the potential economic and reputational consequences of cyber security incidents. This evolution in strategy reflects the growing awareness that business resilience is not just about keeping the machinery running, but about safeguarding financial integrity and stakeholder confidence in a dynamic and challenging digital environment.

Izertis has a methodology, consolidated and verified in multiple projects in large organisations, which, complementing the traditional approach of risk analysis, provides the necessary efficiency to address what we call "cybersecurity from impact".

Cybersecurity is a resource, not an end. Defining an effective cyber security strategy for large enterprises is crucial to protect their assets and minimise risks, and an effective way to approach this process is to start by analysing the potential economic consequences of the impact of a security incident. In this article, we explore why this approach is critical and how it can help large companies make informed decisions to protect themselves against criminal threats.

Focus on economic consequences

Analysing the economic consequences of the impact of a cyber security incident is a critical step in defining an effective strategy, the larger the organisation and the greater the volume of business, the more critical it becomes. By understanding and quantifying financial risks, organisations can make informed decisions about security investments and develop robust and efficient response plans. This approach not only protects assets and information, but also preserves the financial integrity and long-term reputation of the company in an increasingly digital and threatening world.

This approach based on analysing the economic consequences offers significant benefits.

  • Prioritisation of resources. By understanding the financial implications, the organisation can allocate resources more effectively, focusing on critical areas and reducing the likelihood of financial loss.
  • Response planning. The assessment of economic consequences assists in incident response planning. The organisation can develop specific action plans to minimise downtime in areas where an incident would be most costly.
  • Effective communication. Knowing the potential financial ramifications enables the organisation to communicate more effectively with internal and external stakeholders during and after an incident, which can mitigate reputational damage.
  • Continuous improvement. The analysis of economic consequences is not static. It allows companies to learn from past incidents and continuously adjust their cyber security strategies to adapt to emerging threats.

This approach based on analysing the economic consequences of the impact of a cyber security incident on the organisation offers several significant benefits compared to the traditional approach of risk analysis based on critical business processes.

  • Holistic perspective. The economic approach considers the overall impact on the organisation, including financial, reputational and operational aspects. This provides a more holistic view of possible consequences, rather than focusing only on specific processes.
  • Direct connection with strategic decisions. By quantifying the economic consequences, management is provided with concrete information that can directly influence strategic decisions. This helps to allocate resources more effectively and to justify investments in cyber security.
  • Adaptability to change. Threats are constantly evolving. By focusing on the economic consequences, companies can adapt their cyber security strategy more dynamically as threats and the business environment change.
  • Continuous improvement based on experience. Learning from past incidents. Economic evaluation allows for continuous learning from previous incidents. Companies can adjust their security strategies and policies on the basis of accumulated experience, constantly improving their defences.
  • Effective communication with stakeholders. The ability to communicate economic implications to internal and external stakeholders is crucial. This approach facilitates more effective communication about the importance of cyber security investments and proactive risk management.
  • Proactive approach to prevention. By understanding the potential economic losses, companies can take proactive measures to prevent incidents rather than simply reacting to them. This includes the implementation of effective security controls and policies.
  • Consideration of brand and reputational impact. Both reputation and brand are crucial intangible assets. By considering these non-tangible economic consequences, companies can better understand the importance of safeguarding their intangible assets against cyber security incidents.

Management plays a crucial role in resource allocation and decision-making

Without losing sight of the industrial environment

The application of the safety criterion from an impact perspective, also extended to industrial environments, proves to be a crucial imperative. The interconnection of systems and the adoption of advanced technologies in industry have increased the complexity and attack surface, making industrial environments attractive targets for threats.

In this context, understanding the economic and operational consequences of a potential incident becomes not only a preventive measure, but an essential component in safeguarding the security and continuity of industrial operations. Critical infrastructure, such as manufacturing plants and industrial control systems, can suffer significant damage with considerable financial repercussions in the event of a successful attack.

By assessing from impact, industrial companies are better positioned to anticipate risks, strengthen their defences and, at the same time, maintain the integrity of their operations and stakeholder confidence in an environment where the convergence between IT and OT is increasingly evident.

Security in industrial environments is no longer just a technical requirement, but a fundamental strategy to ensure resilience and sustainability in today's industrial world.

Protection of critical assets is an essential element for long-term success

Getting down to it

The importance of top management support for a security initiative that focuses on economic consequences cannot be underestimated. Management not only sets the strategic vision of the company, but also plays a crucial role in allocating resources and making key decisions. By supporting a security approach that begins by analysing the potential economic impact of incidents, management will demonstrate a clear commitment to comprehensive business protection.

In addition, the endorsement of senior management sends a clear message throughout the organisation about the strategic importance of security and the need to address threats from a holistic perspective that takes into account not only technology but also the potential economic ramifications. Ultimately, management support not only strengthens the company's resilience to threats, but also creates a security-conscious organisational culture where the protection of critical assets is seen as an essential element for long-term success.

  • Start the process by identifying and quantifying the potential economic consequences of security incidents. This would include loss of revenue, recovery costs, reputational impact and possible regulatory fines.
  • Create risk scenarios that represent concrete situations that could lead to the economic consequences previously analysed. These scenarios should be realistic and based on known and emerging threats.
  • Develop and implement specific mitigation strategies for each prioritised risk scenario, focusing on reducing economic and operational consequences.
  • Align mitigation strategies with business policies and objectives, ensuring that protection measures contribute to business resilience and long-term sustainability.
  • Conduct tests and simulations that assess the actual impact of the implemented protection measures in terms of reducing the economic consequences previously identified.
  • •    Conduct periodic reviews of the security model and the security programme as a whole, learning from past incidents and adapting the strategy according to the evolving threat landscape and the business itself.

By Izertis

As a provider committed to comprehensive security and safety for large enterprises, Izertis is uniquely positioned to lead the implementation of an impact-focused security programme.

Our approach is based on a deep understanding of business dynamics and the ability to translate that knowledge into specific measures to safeguard critical assets. By proposing this innovative model, we demonstrate our commitment to address not only technical threats, but also the financial and operational implications of potential security incidents.

By combining experience in the identification of critical assets and processes, risk analysis and the Implementation of Security Management Systems (ISMS) with a focus on consequences, we offer a holistic perspective that goes beyond the conventional approach, which may not be the most appropriate in large organisations.

Ultimately, our goal is not only to provide advanced technical solutions, but also to be a strategic partner committed to the resilience and long-term sustainability of each of our clients' business projects.