Demand for great digital experiences has grown exponentially and with that digital transformation comes more opportunities for cyber risk. Many brand interactions are done through a mobile phone, payments are made online, customer service is handled on web chats, and voice or face-ID is used to verify credit card payments – each enhances customer intimacy while at the same time expanding the attack surface.
A lot of retailers were caught off guard with the growth of ecommerce in the early 2000’s. New technology was acquired, but few took the time to build proper business processes and take preventative steps for cyber protection. Technology debt consumes resources by duplicating efforts and costs. Many retailers accumulated technology debt in the name of speed or growth yet ended up with a random set of tools that may solve one problem but cause another. There is a growing urgency among companies to decrease financial exposure to cyber-attacks. As retailers continue to grow their business and leverage the best technologies to improve customer experience, they should also look to adopt the most advanced cyber risk management methodologies and solutions. Cyber risk quantification (CRQ) measures cyber risk in financial terms and can be used to align business stakeholders working on digital transformation and to help businesses prioritize where they need to focus their resources for added cyber protection. CRQ can also help CISOs financially quantify risk and prioritize which tech debt will have the biggest impact on reducing risk.
Technology debt can be categorized with the terms acquisition, maintenance, and support. When you reduce the costs of acquiring, maintaining and supporting technology, you are reducing tech debt. Technology debt affects the ability to effectively run your business and hinders your ability to transform digitally to generate new business. If we describe digital transformation from the front end, it is removing the friction to make the customers’ experience quicker and simpler. Digital transformation from the front end leads to more market share and revenue. If you are digitally transforming the back end, you are trying to help the sales channels increase their productivity or you are trying to reduce costs.
Technology debt hinders your ability to make the transformation. In some cases, you must transition a part of your business with no downtime. In this scenario, if the system is old and complex, that means you will understand less about it, and it will be more fragile. These older technologies will also be more expensive and harder to replace. Thus, it will be difficult to transform a process in an optimal manner. The more technical debt you accrue, the harder it becomes to spot potential risks.
Cyber Risk Quantification can help CISOs financially quantify risk for senior executives, identify program gaps, and prioritize areas for improvement. It can identify existing tech debt and help you to understand what parts of your business are the most threatened, what technology represents the highest amount of risk to your business in its current state versus how much risk it represents after the tech debt has been resolved. As an example, you may use an old operating system that is not supported because it is more convenient for you. With CRQ, you can quantify how much risk you take on using this old system. Once you have quantified the cost of the risk, you can identify what solutions you might apply to address that tech debt. Then you can evaluate different solutions and select the one that will lead to the least amount of risk. It is important to quantify cyber risk because you reduce uncertainty with technology investment decisions. You will have a better idea where to make your investments because you have some form of numerical data rather than a vague qualitative description of risk.
CRQ makes it easier to understand where costs are coming from and can help determine which risks must be prioritized as well as which controls are necessary to mitigate risk.
When you quantify cyber risk around the three standard functions of retail (customer service, business intelligence, and supply chain), you can help everyone see current and future risk, and prioritize solutions to reduce risk that work across departments, instead of operating within silos.
Most security teams are absorbed in the immediate priority of securing an individual business unit or channel and security teams have limited oversight into the overall cyber risk of the organization. Alfahive’s industry-led approach to cyber risk quantification helps businesses routinely evaluate the risk landscape and become more confident in allocating security spend to appropriate areas of the business.
Retailers have many stakeholders with different and evolving needs. While most stakeholders are experts in their field and industry, they often do not know how their functions impact other departments. Visualizing the cost of cyber risk across different departments helps CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and Chief Risk Officers measure the effectiveness of cybersecurity programs, assess the potential risk reduction for future cybersecurity investments, and form a solid risk transfer strategy, such as adding additional security controls or purchasing cybersecurity insurance. It can also help you reduce technology debt and make even better risk management decisions including:
Prioritize cybersecurity investments
CISOs can prioritize and justify cybersecurity investments based on business impacts and risk reduction.
Optimize cyber security programs
CRQ helps to measure the effectiveness of a cybersecurity program based on potential risk mitigation actions.
Benchmark cyber risk exposure
CRQ allows you to compare the financial risk of global offices or subsidiaries and business units for a more holistic view of cyber risk. Additionally, companies can benchmark and compare different business entities in a consistent, measurable, and accurate way.
Organizations that have a lot of built-up tech debt, can use CRQ to prioritize which tech debt needs to be dealt with first based on what will reduce your risk the most. Boards require a clear understanding of the business value of security investments and the real-world ramifications of a cybersecurity incident. Alfahive removes technical jargon and measures cyber risk from a financial and business perspective – a totally new concept that makes it easy to prioritize security investments, drive urgency around risk mitigation, and connect the security big picture to day-to-day business operations.