Why Organizations Should Adopt the Cybersecurity Risk Optimization Approach


By implementing a risk optimization approach, the discussion of cyber threats will align with organizational goals to unlock more strategic funding for cybersecurity.

Historically, the concern of cyberattacks has put organizations and their IT departments on the defensive as they increase and become more complex. Organizations are investing more than ever to create a defensive security posture that attempts to safeguard every component of their infrastructure, including data centers, assets, networks, and more. Despite increasing investments in cybersecurity to safeguard their infrastructure, it will continue to be challenging to keep up with the rapid nature of threat actors and the risks that will surface in the years to come.

The ever-evolving cyberthreat landscape is advancing at exponential rates thanks to digital transformation. As organizations evaluate the best approach for securing their critical data, it’s important to realize the “more is better” concept is simply unsustainable due to the overwhelming number of systems to secure. The only way this approach would work is if you had an unlimited cybersecurity budget and resources to monitor everything everywhere.

Amid the current economic downturn, businesses in all sectors are making efforts to streamline their budgets, and CISOs must adopt a targeted strategy when establishing their cybersecurity budget. To make cybersecurity investments that are informed by business outcomes, companies should move to a “risk optimization” model.

Understanding risks, priorities, and business investments will help you create a cyber strategy that takes on the right level of risk. By implementing a “risk optimization” approach, the discussion of cyber threats will align with organizational goals to unlock more strategic funding for cybersecurity. The following three points underline why businesses should embrace this strategy:

1) The “more is better” approach to cybersecurity is no longer an affordable option for businesses

The current cyber threat landscape, alongside a lack of resources, has fueled the need to reevaluate and refine cybersecurity strategies. The average number of cyberattacks and data breaches significantly increased by 15.1% in 2021. In the wake of many expensive cyberattacks, organizations must figure out how to maximize the return on their cybersecurity spending. But how? While the financial cost of a breach is quantifiable, the reputational harm to a company is immeasurable.

Organizations that consolidate their cybersecurity platform can achieve more effective prevention outcomes. A platform approach to cybersecurity solutions can help them improve the effectiveness of their cybersecurity program, as well as ease analyst effort by eliminating time, resources, and energy on learning multiple systems and reducing inefficiency caused by the so-called “swivel chair” analysis where time is lost context-switching between systems. Furthermore, bringing insights together into a centralized platform can help surface cyber threats and risks the business wasn’t previously aware of.

The majority of businesses are also aware of and appreciate the value of having a security operations center (SOC) to closely monitor for threats around-the-clock, but they frequently lack the funding for a 24*7, fully staffed SOC. However, with the risk optimization model, they may be able to prioritize building a SOC with more limited resources.

See also: Manual Security Operations Slowing Down Data Initiatives

2) Cybersecurity priorities and investments must align with business goals

It’s good news the days of relying entirely on security and IT teams for cybersecurity decisions are ending. Cybersecurity is a business problem, and the C-suite is ultimately responsible for its company’s privacy, data protection, and regulatory issues, which is why it’s so important for business stakeholders to be involved. They ultimately own the business risks; consequently, the discourse about organizational cybersecurity policy must take place at the top table.

The CISO’s understanding of each leader’s top security issues, important business objectives, crucial business areas, and the networks and systems that support those areas should serve as the foundation for the cyber program. This information establishes a link between security efforts and business outcomes and guarantees that cybersecurity investments address the major threats to a company.

By prioritizing business goals rather than purely technical security measures, CISOs can better align with stakeholders. Security leaders who not only support the leadership teams but also fully understand the business objectives can spark dialogue that will ultimately aid in program adjustment, help establish how much investment in cybersecurity is required, and increase confidence among other business stakeholders. Security initiatives must be an enabler, either directly addressing the company’s needs or enabling the business to produce value more quickly while remaining secure.

3) Cybersecurity leaders need to address risk in business language

Security leaders have a better chance of gaining a place at the business table if they adopt a “risk optimization” strategy and provide relevant business insight when talking about cybersecurity. The risk optimization model gives them a platform to enlighten and educate their C-suite to alter the perception of cybersecurity as a business solution rather than a cost center. Shifting the way business leadership more broadly sees cybersecurity is crucial.

CISOs also have a considerably better chance of positioning themselves as a valuable voice at the business table when they work toward establishing solid, long-term relationships with all relevant business stakeholders. It would be unwise to underestimate the benefits of developing these relationships. Finding internal security advocates also helps CISOs better position themselves for managing and promoting internal transformation.

CEOs and other executives are focused on the overall success of the business rather than the technical minutiae. It’s important that CISOs are positioned to engage decision-makers and ensure that a meaningful agreement is established by offering concrete evidence of how a security investment benefits an organization — or how failing to invest can harm it. Evidence offered in congruence with addressing revenue as well as wider business risks makes it clear that cybersecurity is a business issue, not just a tech issue. When this level of understanding is demonstrated, a strong case can be made that cybersecurity leaders should report to the CEO to achieve the organizational influence that is necessary to carry out their obligations and responsibilities.

A final word

In conclusion, in a tightening economic environment, security leaders must focus on a “risk optimization” approach to continue addressing the expanding and changing cyber threat landscape. A cybersecurity process that is driven by business results will enable strategic cybersecurity investments, minimize wasted dollars on unnecessary tools, build meaningful relationships with organizational stakeholders, and give cybersecurity departments and their leaders a seat at the business table.

Andrew Hollister

About Andrew Hollister

Andrew Hollister is CSO at LogRhythm and VP at LogRhythm Labs. He has over 25 years of experience in software, infrastructure, and security roles in both the private and public sectors. He joined the LogRhythm team in 2012 with a keen interest in using machine-based analytics to solve cybersecurity problems. He maintains a close interest in this area, contributing content, expertise, and vision to the ongoing development of the company's roadmap and platform offerings. Andrew has extensive experience in the field, leading professional services and customer care, as well as sales engineering. He also directs the mission and strategic vision for the LogRhythm Labs threat research, compliance research, and strategic integrations teams. Andrew is based in the Oxford area in England.

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