Know the Differences Between Security Risks, Threats & Vulnerabilities

Know the Differences Between Security Risks, Threats & Vulnerabilities

Security Risks Threats Vulnerabilities

Organizations need to maintain an active overview and understanding of security risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. The interactive relationship of all three components combine to create a primary evaluation and recommended action plan. As a result, you can rationalize this process along the lines of a professional high-level security expert, and you can understand and interpret the results of security audits and implement their findings in a way most suited to your organization.

Lower Risk Through Comprehensive Evaluation

The likelihood of occurrence, how great the consequences, and the potential effect a criminal, terrorist or another disastrous event may have on your organization creates the kind of panoramic landscape you need to manage risk properly. Risk, threat, and vulnerability are not interchangeable terms when it comes to security:

  • Threats generally can’t be controlled. No one can stop the efforts of an international terrorist group, prevent a hurricane or predict an active shooter entering their premises. While threats need to be identified, they often remain outside of your control.
  • Risks can be mitigated and managed to either lower vulnerability or the overall impact on the business.
  • Vulnerabilities can be addressed and alleviated. The company should identify weaknesses and proactively initiate measures to correct identified vulnerabilities.

A risk assessment makes you re-think your security approach to protect your critical resources. Consider what critical resource would have the biggest impact if it were compromised to determine what you need to protect the most. It is not uncommon to have a false sense of security based on the existing security measures you have in place.

Very often, there is an exploitable weakness stakeholders and the security team had not foreseen. This is why an evaluation performed by outside experts is crucial to protect irreplaceable items like infrastructure, personnel, intellectual property, servers and IT structure, company R&D, and all other data and communications.

Risk Assessment is Not a One-Time Event

As your organization grows and changes over time, so does the world in which it operates. Technology and all its implications expand daily. Security systems that worked five years ago may not be adequate against today’s counter technology. Risks and vulnerabilities should be re-evaluated continuously.

A Complete Stakeholder Perspective

As businesses become more connected and interdependent, so do their sources of risk. When designing a risk management framework, it must have a complete stakeholder perspective that includes shareholders or owners, employees, policy makers, suppliers, service users, and customers as well. When all stakeholders are included, the risk evaluation is comprehensive.

Outside security and risk management experts are trained to identify risks, threats, and vulnerabilities uninfluenced by company politics or any elements that may compromise risk evaluation and the subsequent recommendations. As a company or government official, the wisest decision you may ever make for your organization is to recognize the need for expert risk assessments.

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