Compliance laws alone no longer protect organizations effectively against fraud and cybercriminal attacks. Integrating compliance into a risk-based framework helps.

Compliance standards are a critical step towards protecting organizations through key controls around firewalls, passwords, encryption, malware, access and security best practices.

However, as threat actors continually look for ways to infiltrate company networks, especially with the prevalence of hybrid and remote working, compliance alone is insufficient.

Furthermore, compliance standards are often limited to a specific scope such as financial fraud, so they do not necessarily protect key assets, systems, and functions that are critical to the business. Also, while compliance standards address the goals of the compliance initiative they were built for, they are not designed to be the foundation of an organization’s cybersecurity program.

Therefore, it is imperative for organizations to expand their focus towards strengthening the security of IT infrastructures beyond just meeting compliance standards.

Adopting a risk-based framework

A risk-based framework centers on understanding and responding to factors that can lead to confidentiality, integrity, and availability failures.

This begins with controls that secure an organization from present or perceived risk scenarios to build or improve upon cybersecurity programs. Based on identified risks, an organization can easily tailor the design and implementation of specifications.

When a risk-based framework is applied, organizations will be able to create a more secure overall environment beyond just compliance. Moreover, it will also help them stay current and relevant to effectively deal with challenges posed by a rapidly evolving security landscape. As such, it will be much easier to freely modify controls based on risk factors that are important to the business.

Moreover, regulations are often not updated quickly enough in response to trends. Therefore, stacking compliance programs with a more thorough, risk-based framework is a much more optimal route to follow.

Implementing a risk-based framework approach allows organizations to:

  • Protect their most critical assessments thoroughly
  • Customize controls according to their specific security and organizational needs
  • Take a more proactive stance on security
  • Encourage a resilient culture
  • Improve their regulatory compliance posture organically

A risk-based approach to organizational protection delivers all these benefits and more, based on its fundamental and pragmatic design. It is important to identify and understand what the most critical assets are first, and then respond to real-world risk scenarios that could impact those critical assets. This approach will help an organization get on the right path towards proactive security that minimizes its threat exposure.

By encouraging employees to work with risk team members to understand how actual security threats work, organizations can cultivate a culture that is more resilient to changes in the external environment. This in itself will help improve control posture organically, while supporting the downstream regulatory compliance maturity of the organization at the same time.

When it comes to security management, cybersecurity is grounded in enterprise risk management. Therefore, organizations must prioritize cybersecurity activities based on risk management frameworks to achieve synergy between regulatory guidelines and security controls. All internal processes must be reviewed to ensure that everyone within the IT infrastructure is well equipped to handle security-related incidents.

This way, organizations can adequately address all elements related to their IT security while helping ease some of the burden off their in-house teams.