Navigating the Cyber Risk Conundrum: The Power of Managed Cyber Risk Reduction

We know what you’re facing. You are in a cyber risk conundrum, and it sucks.

In today’s digital landscape, organizations face a daunting cyber risk conundrum that plagues security professionals. With increasing pressure from stakeholders, the need to effectively manage cyber risk has become paramount. The staggering cost of cybercrime, predicted to reach $8 trillion in 2023 and projected to soar to $10.5 trillion by 2025, further intensifies the urgency. (

Addressing these challenges requires aligning cyber protection measures with the business’s risk appetite, prompting crucial questions that demand answers. How can data be accessed and analyzed to communicate cyber risk effectively? What security metrics drive actionable risk reduction? And how can a risk-based approach be adopted with limited budgets and staffing?

Overcoming the Resource Gap

One instinctive response might be to scale up and build an in-house cybersecurity team to tackle the problem head-on. However, statistics from the (ISC) 2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study paint a worrisome picture. As of 2022, there was a global workforce gap of 3.4 million jobs, with a staggering shortage of 436,080 positions in the United States alone. This workforce deficit jeopardizes essential functions such as risk assessment, oversight, and critical system patching. Therefore, relying solely on staffing up may not be a viable solution.

In addition to staffing shortages, organizations are also facing budget and time constraints, constantly forced to do more with less. According to our recent Cyber Risk Confidence Index, 51% of organizations are failing to conduct a full and comprehensive cybersecurity assessment and risk evaluation more frequently than once every six months, due primarily to limited resources. That number jumps up to 60% for smaller businesses of 2,500 to 4,999 employees.

The Pitfalls of an Overwhelming Security Tool Landscape

Another instinctive reaction to combat cyber risk may be to accumulate more security tools. However, the proliferation of security tools within enterprise organizations has created its own set of challenges.

According to Venture in Security and the IT Harvest Dashboard, the largest cybersecurity vendor database counts 3,231 companies across seventeen security categories. Acquiring a multitude of security tools without proper planning or coordination results in a fragmented and disjointed security infrastructure where tools operate in isolation, leading to inefficiencies, redundancies, and difficulty in managing and integrating these tools effectively.

The Security Assessment Challenge

The security assessment landscape is rapidly evolving as digital transformation and new work practices emerge. Security teams are now grappling with a multitude of factors such as human error, SaaS platforms, third-party applications, and misconfigurations, necessitating the adoption of assessment and risk-discovery tools.

However, the proliferation of these tools has introduced its own set of challenges, notably the overwhelming amount of data they generate. The lack of consistency and standardization among different tools further compounds the problem, making it difficult for organizations to prioritize remediation actions effectively. Additionally, the absence of contextual understanding and integration hampers the process, leading to delays and inefficiencies.

Ultimately, decision-making becomes complex due to the abundance of findings and recommendations from various tools, potentially resulting in analysis paralysis. While outsourcing assessments may seem like a solution, it still poses similar challenges and prevents the measurement of security maturity improvements over time. Security leaders must address these issues to establish a robust and effective security assessment strategy.

The Struggle for Effective Risk Reduction

Amid limited resources and expansive toolsets, it becomes increasingly difficult to continuously monitor security postures and identify potential control failures. Determining the most effective metrics to monitor for risk reduction also poses a challenge, as does deciding who will act on the insights gained from these metrics.

Critical Start’s Cyber Risk Confidence Index found that while 90% of security leaders say their organization has dedicated resources available for managing and reducing cyber risk, in almost half of situations (46%), this consists of just one person. This leaves little room for proactive risk mitigation.

Smaller security teams not augmented by robust cybersecurity tools and an expert team may often operate with a false sense of security. For example, the Critical Start research shows that 75% of smaller businesses (with 2,500 to 4,999 employees) experienced a cyber breach in the last two years and were 10% more likely to have experienced a breach than organizations with a larger workforce of 20,000 to 25,000 employees.

Considering the cybersecurity skills shortage, the growing complexity of technology environments, and the escalating frequency of threats, this reality is unlikely to improve without automation. It requires significant resources and investment to understand organizational cyber risk and the most impactful ways to improve protections, yet security leaders may not be able to obtain these funds without demonstrating the risk reduction impact they will have. Welcome to the cyber risk conundrum. Sound familiar?

The Path Forward: Managed Cyber Risk Reduction (MCRR)

Security solutions on the market today have fallen short by not providing orchestrated, well-informed, and cost-effective risk adjusted protection across the areas of security needed to defend organizations from sophisticated cyber threats.

Aside from technology, it is difficult to identify, measure and act on cyber risk – with many leaders overwhelmed or unclear on where to even start. Organizations need help identifying risk quickly, continuously, and tying risk analysis into actions that demonstrate measurable improvements to instill confidence in their security investments and prove they are making the most impactful risk-based decisions. 

Recognizing limitations of traditional approaches, there is a cost-effective, guided, and measurable alternative available: Managed Cyber Risk Reduction (MCRR). Building upon the foundation of Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services, MCRR combines advanced cyber risk monitoring technology with a human-led risk and security operations team. It offers a comprehensive solution that encompasses real-time risk monitoring across security domains, coupled with continuous monitoring and response to cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and risks. To achieve optimal results, an experienced team must be supported by cyber risk monitoring technology and a proven service model.

By aligning to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), MCRR approaches cybersecurity holistically and proactively. The five NIST functions, Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover, are supported by Critical Start’s exclusive offerings that empower organizations to manage their risk and continuously improve their cybersecurity strategy. In the face of an ever-evolving cyber risk landscape, organizations must navigate the conundrum of effective risk management. Traditional approaches such as expanding the cybersecurity workforce or acquiring more security tools may not yield the desired outcomes due to resource constraints and the complex nature of modern threats. However, embracing the power of Managed Cyber Risk Reduction (MCRR) presents a compelling solution. By leveraging a combination of technology and human expertise, MCRR enables real-time risk monitoring, continuous threat response, and measurable reductions in cyber risk. With this holistic approach, organizations can confidently strengthen their security posture and align their cyber protection measures with their risk appetite. In the ever-changing realm of cybersecurity, MCRR emerges as a cost-effective, guided, and measurable investment, helping organizations triumph over the cyber risk conundrum.

For more details on the above, check out our newest whitepaper on the cyber risk conundrum and the evolution of MDR, and other resources.

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