All you need to know about leveraging a cybersecurity risk taxonomy 

leveraging cybersecurity risk taxonomy

What is cyber risk taxonomy?

A cybersecurity risk taxonomy is a tool that can identify risk vectors facing your organisation. Using the insights gained, it allows security teams to communicate cyber risk to the board of directors, implement the right protections and advocate for resources. 

Creating a cybersecurity risk taxonomy generates specific areas or groups which enable the technical management overview of enterprise systems protection. These key areas have been narrowed down into five main categories: 

  1. Internal network risks  
  1. Employee-generated risks 
  1. Social engineering attacks 
  1. Cloud-based attacks 
  1. Third-party threats 

Let’s take a closer look at each category and the measures your organisation can take to reduce risk by leveraging a cybersecurity risk taxonomy.  

Internal network risks 

Vulnerabilities or failures within an organisation’s digital environment can cause significant cybersecurity risk. Improper security settings, a failure to apply patches in a timely manner, misconfigured software, poorly integrated systems, and coding issues can all cause significant amounts of damage to your business.  

Basic cyber hygiene is a key first-step for protecting your business. But identifying internal network risks isn’t easy. Therefore, RiskXchange’s security risk ratings can help you manage cyber hygiene. We offer continuous cybersecurity monitoring, providing real-time visibility of users and their devices on all applications, software, and device types. Our cybersecurity monitoring gives organisations the ability to continuously look over their network to stay one step ahead of any cyber threats. 

Employee-generated cyber risks 

Human error, whether accidental or deliberate, is one of the main causes of cyberattacks. Employee-generated risks can be broken down into three main areas: 

  • A lack of understanding 

A lack of understanding of cybersecurity hygiene, such as simply reporting a phishing email have become a real problem for businesses.  

  • Inadvertent actions 

Actions such as downloading a compromised file or connecting to an insecure Wi-Fi network can lead to major security issues. 

  • Deliberate actions 

Sabotage, fraud, or data theft can also be extremely damaging.  

The importance of educating staff on the fundamental basics of cybersecurity hygiene should never be underestimated. Cyber threats can come in many guises and from all levels of an organisation. Cybersecurity training and policy is key to reducing internal threats. 

Social engineering attacks 

Social engineering attacks regularly affect businesses all around the world, whether they are large or small, which can cause irreversible damage. Educating staff on basic social engineering attacks like phishing, and sophisticated cyberattacks like ransomware, or on malware designed to steal intellectual property or personal data is key to helping staff stay vigilant and to notice the threats.  

Informing workers on preventative measures goes a long way to avoiding social engineering attacks. Here’s the top four: 

  1. Never click on links in emails or messages 
  1. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) 
  1. Use strong passwords and/or a password manager 
  1. Be extremely cautious of building online-only relationships 

Cloud-based attacks 

Over the past few years, the number of cloud-based attacks has increased rapidly. In 2020 alone, 20% of all cyberattacks were conducted on cloud computing platforms which made them the third most-targeted cyber environment. However, jumping ahead just one year later to 2021, the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) states that 73% of all cyberattacks targeted cloud-hosted assets. This makes cloud-based attacks a key category of any cybersecurity risk taxonomy. 

Cloud-based attacks can be mitigated by understanding cloud security basics and the most common vulnerabilities that occur within it. It’s important to perform cyber threat and vulnerability monitoring and remediation to keep on top of an ever-evolving landscape – new threats and vulnerabilities become apparent almost daily. By using leading practice controls, these threats can be stopped in their tracks. 

Third-party threats 

It’s important to manage cyber risks associated with third-party vendors by continuously monitoring threats, vulnerabilities, and incidents. Insight into risks associated with third or fourth parties and supply chain relationships is key. When a security rating is in place, it can significantly aid the effective management of cyber risk from external parties. 

RiskXchange’s security ratings give a calculated assessment of an organisation’s effectiveness on all aspects of security performance. Ratings draw upon a range of data to analyse and inform, ultimately enabling organisations to objectively review and act upon its processes and the security measures it has in place. The rating also helps to identify challenges and opportunities in order to make improvements. 

Get in touch with RiskXchange to find out more about leveraging a cybersecurity risk taxonomy.