Organizations face a multitude of cybersecurity risks that can have far-reaching consequences. To effectively manage these risks, organizations rely on a variety of cybersecurity risk management tools. These tools provide the necessary capabilities to assess, monitor, and mitigate risks, enabling organizations to fortify their defenses and safeguard their critical assets.

We will explore some of the current essential cybersecurity risk management tools and their functionalities.

Vulnerability Scans

Vulnerability scanning identifies known vulnerabilities, lack of security controls, and common misconfigurations within systems on a network and applications on the web. Vulnerability scans play a crucial role in identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities within an organization's networks, systems, and applications.

These tools automate the process of scanning for known vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and outdated software versions. By regularly conducting vulnerability scans, organizations can proactively identify and address security gaps, reducing the likelihood of exploitation by threat actors.

Vulnerability scanning plays an important role in the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Security Controls (Read Blog: NIST CSF vs CIS Controls for Cybersecurity Risk Management).

“To manage the risks presented by application vulnerabilities, implement CIS Control 3: Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation."

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Implement automated vulnerability scanning. Make sure to cover your entire infrastructure and use authenticated scanning where possible.
  • Don’t simply scan; take action when the assessment results are presented from the scan and remediate any vulnerabilities discovered. Remember, these are not just reports; they are actionable intelligence for improving your security posture.
  • Ensure your vulnerability scan stays up to date: to provide the most accurate results, it too will need updating to make sure it has the latest vulnerabilities. Harnessing the expertise of a third-party company to conduct the scan provides a valuable external perspective that can effectively reveal your vulnerabilities.
  • Compare your results over time: Develop a security baseline of assessment results to show that identified vulnerabilities are being remediated over time. This will ensure your business risk is understood, reported, and accepted by the appropriate risk owner.”

An added benefit of doing these assessments and remediations over time is to show your Cyber Liability insurer the documentation of your efforts, should you need to file a claim.


Penetration Tests

Penetration testing simulates an attack to exploit weaknesses in order to prove the effectiveness of your network's security.

“A penetration simulates a hacker attempting to get into a business system through hands-on research and the exploitation of vulnerabilities. Actual analysts, often called ethical hackers, search for vulnerabilities and then try to prove that they can be exploited. Using methods like password cracking, buffer overflow, and SQL injection, they attempt to compromise and extract data from a network in a non-damaging way.” Security Metrics

By conducting penetration testing, organizations can see how their cybersecurity defenses will stand up in the face of a real-life cyberattack. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.

Here’s a real-life use case for penetration testing that might surprise you.

“As security requirements and legislation for auto manufacturers continue to increase, so does the demand for penetration testing, or "pen testing." Pen testing is becoming a requirement for all new Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that need to be cyber-secure.” Embedded Computing Design


Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Systems

SIEM systems aggregate and analyze security event data from various sources, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and antivirus solutions.

These tools enable organizations to detect and respond to security incidents in real time by correlating and analyzing events, identifying patterns, and generating alerts. SIEM systems provide valuable insights into potential threats, enhance incident response capabilities, and support compliance reporting.

“SIEM software enables organizations to detect incidents that may otherwise go undetected. The software analyzes the log entries to identify signs of malicious activity. In addition, since the system gathers events from different sources across the network, it can re-create the timeline of an attack, enabling an organization to determine the nature of the attack and its effect on the business.” Tech Data


Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) Platforms

SOAR platforms streamline and automate security operations by integrating various security tools, processes, and workflows. These tools enable organizations to manage and respond to security incidents more efficiently, reducing response times and minimizing the impact of potential breaches.

“Security orchestration, automation and response, or SOAR, is a stack of compatible software programs that enables an organization to collect data about security threats and respond to security events with little or no human assistance. The goal of using a SOAR platform is to improve the efficiency of physical and digital security operations.” Tech Target

SOAR platforms automate routine tasks, enable incident triaging, and facilitate incident response coordination, enhancing overall cybersecurity risk management.

“The term SOAR, coined by Gartner in 2015, initially stood for security operations, analytics, and reporting. It was updated to its current form in 2017, with Gartner defining SOAR's three main capabilities as the following:

Threat and vulnerability management technologies that support the remediation of vulnerabilities, providing formalized workflow, reporting, and collaboration capabilities.

Security incident response technologies support how an organization plans, manages, tracks, and coordinates the response to a security incident.

Security operations automation technologies that support the automation and orchestration of workflows, processes, policy execution, and reporting.” Tech Target


Threat Intelligence Platforms

“Cyberthreat intelligence is an area of cybersecurity that focuses on the collection and analysis of information about current and potential attacks that threaten the safety of an organization or its assets.

By implementing this tactic, businesses can take proactive steps to ensure that their systems are secure. Through cyber threat intelligence and analysis, data breaches can be prevented altogether, saving you the financial costs of setting any incident response plans in motion.”  Business News Daily

Threat intelligence platforms collect, analyze, and share information about emerging threats, vulnerabilities, and malicious actors. These tools help organizations stay informed about the latest cybersecurity trends and threats specific to their industry.

By leveraging threat intelligence, organizations can proactively adjust their security measures, prioritize vulnerabilities, and strengthen their defenses against known and emerging threats.


Patch Management Systems

All software applications and operating systems have security vulnerabilities. When a vulnerability becomes known, it is classified as a Common Vulnerability Exposure (CVE), and the software developer issues a software update to remediate the defect.

These software updates are called “patches.”

"The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) system provides a reference method for publicly known information-security vulnerabilities and exposures. The United States National Cybersecurity federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), operated by The MITRE Corporation, maintains the system, with funding from the US National Cyber Security Division of the US Department of Homeland Security. Unpatched software and operating systems present prime opportunities for attackers to exploit weaknesses." Wikipedia

(Read Blog: Cybersecurity Risk Management Best Practices)

Patch management systems automate the process of deploying security patches and updates across an organization's infrastructure. These tools help mitigate risks associated with unpatched software vulnerabilities.

By centralizing patch management, organizations can ensure the timely application of critical security updates, reducing the window of exposure to potential threats.


Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Solutions

“Data loss prevention (DLP) software detects potential data breaches/data exfiltration transmissions and prevents them by monitoring,[1] detecting and blocking sensitive data while in use (endpoint actions), in motion (network traffic), and at rest (data storage).” Wikipedia

DLP solutions help organizations protect sensitive data by monitoring, detecting, and preventing unauthorized data transfers or leaks. These tools employ various techniques, such as content analysis, data classification, and policy enforcement, to identify and mitigate data breaches.

DLP solutions can prevent data exfiltration through email, web uploads, removable media, or cloud services, reducing the risk of data loss or compliance violations.

For example, if an employee tried to steal sensitive data by downloading the information on a removable USB device, a DLP solution would prevent this. It would also report the data exfiltration attempt to a centralized console.


Identity and Access Management (IAM) Solutions

IAM solutions enable organizations to effectively manage user identities, access privileges, and authentication mechanisms. These tools enforce strong access controls, facilitate user provisioning and de-provisioning, and enable organizations to implement multifactor authentication (MFA).

A popular access privilege framework is the Zero Trust Framework. 

IAM solutions help prevent unauthorized access to critical systems, protect against insider threats, and support compliance with regulatory requirements.

“Identity and access management systems not only identify, authenticate, and control access for individuals who will be utilizing IT resources but also the hardware and applications employees need to access.” Wikipedia


Encryption Tools

Encryption tools protect sensitive data by converting it into a form that can only be accessed with the appropriate decryption keys. These tools ensure data confidentiality, especially during transit or storage.

Encryption can be applied to various data types, including files, emails, and communications, providing an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access or data breaches.

“Encryption software protects confidential and private data in transit and at rest by making it accessible only to authorized individuals.” TechRepublic


Incident Response Platforms

Incident response platforms streamline the process of managing and responding to security incidents. These tools facilitate incident tracking, collaboration, and documentation, enabling organizations to contain and remediate security breaches effectively.

Incident response platforms help organizations minimize the impact of incidents, gather forensic evidence, and facilitate post-incident analysis to strengthen future incident response strategies.

Discover 4 reasons businesses need an Incident Response Plan. 

Security Awareness and Training Platforms

Human error remains one of the most significant cybersecurity risks. Security awareness and training platforms help organizations educate employees about best practices, raise awareness about potential threats, and foster a culture of cybersecurity.

These tools provide interactive training modules, simulated phishing exercises, and metrics to track employees' security awareness progress.

Find out how to make employees care about cybersecurity awareness. 

As cybersecurity best practices continue to evolve, organizations must equip themselves with the right tools to manage cybersecurity risks effectively. From vulnerability scanners to incident response platforms and security awareness training tools, each plays a crucial role in strengthening defenses, identifying vulnerabilities, and responding to threats promptly.

By leveraging these cybersecurity risk management tools, organizations can enhance their overall security posture, protect critical assets, and mitigate the potential impact of cyber threats in an increasingly interconnected world.

The threats are complex. The tools are complex. It’s easy to see that creating an effective cybersecurity risk management program is best left to trained professionals.

Topic: Cybersecurity Risk Management: Frameworks, Threat Landscape, and Best Practices