Understanding Risk

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Time
8 hours 20 minutes
Difficulty
Advanced
CEU/CPE
9
Video Transcription
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>> Understanding risk.
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The learning objectives for
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this lesson are to explore risk management,
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to define how to measure risk,
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and to explain the ways to respond to risk.
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Let's get started. Risk management.
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The very basic overview of
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risk management is identifying,
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assessing, and mitigating vulnerabilities and threats.
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An easier way to look at this is,
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every organization has
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something that's important to them,
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they need to protect it and they want to
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find out what do they have to spend to protect it.
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That's basically what we're going to be
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talking about through this lesson.
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What is important to us?
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How much is it going to cost to protect it?
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What is the damage if something were to happen to it?
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On top of that, every organization has
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different types of risks
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and they will manage that differently.
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There are different things that are important to
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one organization that is not important to another.
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It's important that we make
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sure that we've properly identified what's
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important so that we can later on come up with
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ways to manage the risk to those valuable assets.
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But there are some common frameworks
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we can use to help us with this.
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The first is the NIST risk management framework.
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We can also use the ISO 31,000.
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We're going to discuss both of these later in the lesson.
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There are five phases to
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the overall risk management process.
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The first is where we start with the identification
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of mission-critical assets or functions.
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We go around the company and making sure we've
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identified everything that's important.
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Now it's critical to make sure we're
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asking all the right people.
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I've gone into a situation with a company,
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where the upper management
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let us know that these things were important,
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but as we dug through and
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we're talking to other departments,
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we had another department tell us that this
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was important to them only to find out
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that the upper management wasn't aware of
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just how critical that was to the overall business.
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You've got to make sure that you're talking to
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everyone to get all of the important parts
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of your company's assets or
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functions to make sure that you know
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what you even need to worry about for risk.
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From then, we move down to
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the identification of known vulnerabilities.
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We have our assets or
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our functions, where are they vulnerable?
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If we have a building that's in
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a typhoon area or a hurricane area,
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and we don't have any other way of
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restoring operations if something
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were to happen, that's a vulnerability.
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We need to make sure that we have a way
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of planning for these types of vulnerabilities.
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But it's critical that we
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know where all the vulnerabilities
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are before we can even begin addressing a plan for them.
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Then we move down to the potential threats.
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What are the threats to these assets?
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If we're a company that's engaged in
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proprietary research that will be valuable to someone,
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then you can bet that corporate espionage
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or hacker attacks are going to be a problem.
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We need to make sure we make plans for those.
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Then we move to the analysis of business impacts.
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If this thing were to happen,
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this thing that we're dreading,
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this vulnerability has now been exploited,
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how is that going to impact our business?
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Once we know all of these things,
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we can begin to figure out how to
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identify our risk responses.
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This is where we decide how
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we're going to handle that risk.
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How do you go about measuring risk?
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Well, first we need to define some terms.
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Risk is a measurement of
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the impact or the consequence and
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the likelihood that a threat
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will exploit a vulnerability.
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We need to define likelihood.
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This is how realistic is the threat to occur.
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Are we worried about that a meteoroid is going
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to crash into our building? That's not very likely.
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But again, if we're doing proprietary research,
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that is very valuable
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is it likely that a competitor
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is going to try to steal that data?
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Yes, that's pretty likely.
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Then finally, the impact.
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If the risk happened, how bad would it be for us?
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There are different ways of doing risk analysis.
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The first one we're going to discuss is
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the quantitative risk analysis.
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When you hear quantitative,
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you need to think numbers.
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For risk, this usually involves money.
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We start off with a single loss expectancy.
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This is the cost of a single event happening one time.
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For example, a server crash.
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If we look at the history of
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our servers and we average one server crash,
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we want to look at the cost of that crash.
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What does it cost us when that crash happens?
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Then we move to the annual loss expectancy.
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This is adding all of
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those single-loss events together
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over the course of a year.
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We hope that our server is not
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crashing more than once a year or even once a year,
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but if it were to crash multiple times,
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then what are those costs together?
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Then we have our annual rate of occurrence.
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This is how many times in
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a year does that single event occur?
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There's a formula here for you to be able
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to calculate this on a test and you might
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see some of these questions where they are giving
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you numbers for you to calculate based on this formula.
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The ALE equals the SLE times the ARO.
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We're trying to calculate what is
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the annual loss expectancy,
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which is expressed as a cost.
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All of these costs added together and that is equal to
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the single loss expectancy times
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the annual rate of occurrence.
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But the SLE can be broken
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down further into different parts.
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We can define the asset value or the AV.
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How much is that asset worth?
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The exposure factor or EF is,
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what portion as a percentage of that asset would be lost.
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An example would be if a hurricane
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damaged half of our corporate building,
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that will be an exposure factor of 50 percent.
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Our SLE can be calculated as SLE equals AV times EF.
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Then we also have total cost of ownership or TCO.
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This is all costs associated with an asset,
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including the cost to operate it
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and maintain it over its entire lifetime.
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We also have our return on investment or ROI.
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This compares the cost of
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the item to the benefits it provides.
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These next terms are very important and you're likely to
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see questions on the test about these.
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Mean time to recovery, MTTR.
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This measures the amount of
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time a device or a service is down,
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how long from when it
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goes down to when it is back up again?
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Then the mean time between failure or
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MTBF is the lifespan of a device,
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but also the amount of time until a service goes down.
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Then with a gap analysis that measures the difference
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between the current state and the desired state.
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By creating metrics such as ALE, MTTR, MTBF,
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and TCO, an organization can
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evaluate where they stand and make improvements.
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We look at our historical MTTR and our MTBF,
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and we decide this isn't
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good enough and we need to improve.
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By calculating those functions,
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we can get numbers that we can use to help move us
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towards that goal line by using a gap analysis.
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>> There are some issues with quantitative risk analysis.
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It's difficult to perform when the value of
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an asset or the components cannot be easily determined.
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Sometimes it's hard for us to
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do, especially with intangibles.
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But it does offer an effective way of
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describing the assets in an organization,
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what the organization actually has,
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and then the risks that are associated with those assets.
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It can be used to help decision-makers by
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providing good information so they
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can plan where to place the money,
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where they need to spend to lower the risk.
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A qualitative risk analysis,
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this evaluates through words and not numbers.
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Keep in mind quantitative numbers, qualitative words.
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It's very subjective and
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this is especially so when compared to quantitative.
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It works well for the assets that are
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intangible such as brand or reputation.
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But it requires a lot of input from
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other departments such as your marketing,
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your sales, and your corporate communications teams.
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How do we respond to risk?
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The first thing we can do is to avoid it.
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This means stop doing whatever is causing the risk.
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It doesn't mean ignoring the risk. We can accept it.
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This means that if the risk happens,
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it's not worth the cost to prevent it.
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If it happens, we contain it and
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then it's cheaper to contain it than it is to prevent it,
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then we can mitigate the risk.
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This is the process of lowering
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the possibility that the risk will occur.
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Usually mitigating controls help
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to lower the chance of a risk occurrence.
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Then finally, we can transfer the risk.
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This is give the risk to a third party.
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This is usually done by purchasing insurance.
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I've got some good examples
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here to help you understand the differences
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between the different types of risk responses.
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The company has a software application and
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the manufacturer has gone out of business.
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A lot of vulnerabilities have
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been discovered in the software.
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To avoid the risk would be to stop using
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the software altogether and find a replacement.
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To accept the risk is
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if the vulnerabilities are exploited,
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the damage won't exceed the cost to replace the software.
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If we find another software to
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replace and the cost is $50,000,
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but through our calculations we discover
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that if the software
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the current one that we're using is
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exploited and the cost is only $10,000 to us,
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then it doesn't really make sense to
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spend $50,000 to move to
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a different software platform
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because of the cost when we can just accept the risk.
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We can mitigate the risk by using
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various security products to help harden the application.
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We can isolate it to its own air gap network.
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Then we can transfer the risk by
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purchasing insurance that would cover
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the company in the event that we
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were breached because of this software.
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Let's talk about inherent and residual risk.
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Inherent risk is everything in life
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carries some level of risk. It is built-in.
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Having any publicly accessible servers
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creates the potential for an attack.
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This is a risk included with offering any service.
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Mitigating controls that by lowering the risk.
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Residual risk is once we've
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done all our mitigating controls,
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everything has been applied,
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whatever is leftover after that is our residual risk.
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Risk appetite is the level of
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residual risk that is
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acceptable for a given organization.
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This is basically you
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deciding how much you're willing to put up with.
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After you've done enough controls and
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you really don't feel like it's
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cost-effective to spend any more,
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then you're accepting it at that point
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you've mitigated it as far
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as you can go and now you
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have to accept what's left over.
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This is your risk appetite.
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Different organizations will have higher risk appetites.
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You'll see some that fly by the seat of
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their pants and don't have quality backups in place.
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Obviously, they have a very high risk appetite,
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but that has to be decided for each organization.
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Risk exceptions.
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If a risk cannot be mitigated or
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another risk response cannot be applied, for example,
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it can't be transferred or
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avoided then a risk exception can be used.
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However, this should not be done lightly.
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When you're doing this you're basically saying,
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we can't do anything about it.
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We're going to keep performing the risky activity.
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But we think we have
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a legitimate reason as to why we're doing this.
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When you do that, you need to have
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a complete description of the risk and then document
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the rationale for the decision you
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made for the risks exception.
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You need signatures from all those making
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the decision to be documented with all this together.
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This is especially important when it comes
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to compliance frameworks like HIPAA.
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In the next slide I'll go into an example
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where that happened for me.
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But when you're basically
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saying we're not going to do anything about this risk,
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you want to make sure that all the people
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that are making that decision have documented
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their signature and they're signing off on it because
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that's the kind of thing that could
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potentially come back and bite you one day.
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Instructor side note. I mentioned HIPAA,
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but risk is a key part of HIPAA regulations.
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From my experience, many practices
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either don't have the financial capacity
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or the desire to do the things
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that are necessary to protect patient data.
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They will take the response
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of sticking their head in the sand,
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which is basically is the same thing as
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if you pretend the risk isn't there, it just goes away.
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It's surprising how many people
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take that attitude about cybersecurity,
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because the cybersecurity is
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generally not something you can see.
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It's not like someone walking up
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to you and pointing a gun at you.
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Things are happening where attackers are coming in
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and stealing data and it may be
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months or years before that's ever found.
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But because it's not seen,
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we don't put importance on it.
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I've seen many providers or physicians that
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will create wild exceptions
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for why they don't want to do something.
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They're trying to create documentations or at least
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they're trying to go that far, but I can tell you this,
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that often the government
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agencies that are responsible for investigating this,
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the Health and Human Services department,
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they don't take kindly this thing
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and fines can be very expensive.
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But the key to remember is risk doesn't
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go away just because we don't like it or
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we pretend it's not there. Let's summarize.
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We went over risk management and we discussed
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the ways we can measure risk with
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quantitative or qualitative analysis.
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We went over the different risk responses and we
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discussed inherent and residual risk
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along with risk perceptions.
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Let's do some example questions.
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Question 1. This is the amount that would be lost
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over a year based on the sum total of all SLEs.
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Annual loss expectancy or ALE.
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Keep in mind some of the questions on the test are
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going to ask you exactly like this,
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where they're going to use those acronyms
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instead of spelling it out.
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You need to make sure you know these acronyms
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because that's how they could try to
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trip you up on some of these questions. Question 2.
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When using this type of risk analysis,
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words are used to describe the risk and their impacts.
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Qualitative risk analysis.
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Remember, qualitative uses
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words, quantitative uses numbers.
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Question 3, how long between when
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an asset goes down to when it is restored?
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What is the definition for this?
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Mean time to recovery or MTTR?
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Finally Question 4.
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When the cost of a risk occurring is more than the cost
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of mitigating it this type of risk responses used.
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Acceptance. I hope that gave you a good overview
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of risk because we're going to
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use these a lot in the next lessons.
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If you need to go back and look at it again,
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make sure you understand those formulas,
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make sure you understand those terms and
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those risks responses. I'll see you in the next lesson.
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