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Taking a Risk-Based Approach to XDR and Critical Business Assets

Cybersecurity does not exist in a vacuum.

Your security operations are one pillar of supporting the overall goals of your entire organization. But security executives (CIO, CISO, CTO) and business executives (CEO, COO, CFO) across the board are often disconnected on key priorities. According to McKinsey, while 41% of business executives are happy with their company’s focus on cyber resilience, only 13% of security executives agree.

Your company may find itself trapped in a similar scenario:

  • Business executives do not understand the prevalence and importance of defending against cyber risks.
  • Security executives are not aligned on business priorities and objectives.

But cyber security is expensive, time-consuming, and reaches every corner of your organization. To successfully protect your company, you need both types of executives to work together and determine a shared set of priorities.

Developing a risk-based approach to cybersecurity requires three steps:

  1. Determine critical business assets
  2. Establish remediation based on risk tolerance
  3. Minimize business impact with comprehensive planning.

By following these three steps, you can set your entire organization up for success.

Step 1. Determine Critical Business Assets

According to McKinsey, more than half of enterprise SecOps buyers analyze less than 40% of their security log data.

To even begin thinking of aligning business and security objects, you have to figure out organizational priorities. Which assets are most critical to protect? Especially as cybersecurity is moving to encompass more and more sources of data, such as through expansive Extended Detection and Response (XDR) implementations, your company should determine a hierarchy of business assets.

Future implementation can depend on establishing:

  • Scope of cyber security program
  • Internal and external context for any solution
  • Documented strategy agreed upon by all relevant executives.

Step 2. Establish Remediation Based on Risk Tolerance

Now that you know which assets are most important to your business, you can begin to protect them.

Your threat detection and response should account for your organization’s risk tolerance in case of every asset. First, you must ensure that any relevant legal and regulatory requirements are met. Second, you need to introduce appropriate levels of security monitoring that match your business objectives.

Assess risk based on both potential costs to your organization and vulnerability across solutions. Are certain parts of your system essential or could they be changed to a safer alternative?

For example, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) operations are comparatively high-risk. Could you switch your employees to a different solution? If not, you need to ensure that high risk components of your infrastructure are sufficiently monitored.

Step 3. Minimize Business Impact with Risk-Based Cybersecurity

Once you establish a good sense of risk tolerance and vulnerability across your organization, you can craft an appropriate plan.

Cybersecurity systems can never protect you against all threats, so what losses are you capable of handling? If you expect to experience any downtime, you should prepare a loss tolerance threshold. Establish how much downtime you can tolerate, how long the outage can be and how many customers it could affect.

To prepare for potential data losses across business assets, maintain and regularly test offline data backups. Ensure that those backups are not only secure, but easily accessible in case of any data loss.

Craft plans and operational standards for efficient recovery. If your organization is attacked, how will you restore functionality to minimize interruption to any business functions? Plans can include corruption testing to identify good backups or keeping track of backup functionality and whether it meets the pace of your operations.

Security and business should reinforce each other at your organization. When preparing for the worst, craft plans that incorporate the priorities of all your stakeholders whether on the business or the security side.


If you are ready to conduct an external assessment of your organizational assets and identify your specific risk tolerance, Pareto Cyber has a team of experts ready to help.