** Juanita Koilpillai is Founder & CEO of Waverley Labs and President of the Digital Risk Management Institute

(link to Part 1)

Part 2 of 3

Digital risk is a new category of risk that refers to the opportunity for bad actors to exploit the applications and infrastructure supporting digital business applications in all industries. The breaches can and have exposed millions of customers and employees and partners to unauthorized access to core systems data and operational technology by unauthorized users. The implications of an attack on digital applications are, by their nature, widespread. Whether these are highly publicized, headline grabbing, or silent, insidious successful attacks the occurrence is disruptive, often impacting large populations of users. Identities are stolen, money is lost, lights go out, accidents occur, planes stop, and patients are stranded in disabled ERs.

Today, digital risk implies that the opportunity to disrupt business involves a higher number of previously untouchable targets and the threats leading to more attacks with greater consequences – touching more customers, disrupting a greater landscape of functionality that disrupt the core business. The cost of these disruptions to the business is not related to just the attacks themselves but to the digital business that is put at risk. The costs of a digital attack are measured in TWO ways:

First is the cost of responding to the attack and the clean up that follows. Clean up includes communication to stakeholders (shareholders, customers, clients and/or employees), activities to monitor for the users the extent of disruptive activity and the rebuild of the digital infrastructure and applications

Second and what DRM is most focused on is the lost opportunity, the impact to revenue, corporate reputation and good will and the fines levied on BOD and executives of public companies (depending on the breadth and depth of the incident)

Mitigating digital risk applies to these new applications or digitized business processes. Not every digital transaction and interaction warrants the same focus, expertise, monitoring, response – in fact it would be financially and logistically impossible to do this. Today, despite the maturing of security information and event management and the sophistication of tools to monitor the perimeter, few organizations are finding greater efficiency or lower costs or greater confidence. More devices and software designed to “protect or prevent” are generating even more data not to mention expense. The deluge of data is increasing the challenge of “finding the needle in the haystack” – that one indicator that an attack is in progress – BEFORE it occurs. While only high profile breaches make the news, security organizations and business leaders are sensitive to the increasing activity and constant threat.

*** Continue to Part 3