ICYMI: Risk Management and the Paradox of Common Sense

I really enjoy reading Duncan Watts work and I was blown away by how he assailed the concept of common sense that we all rely upon so readily:

What we don’t realize, however, is that common sense often works just like mythology. By providing ready explanations for whatever particular circumstances the world throws at us, common sense explanations give us the confidence to navigate from day to day and relieve us of the burden of worrying about whether what we think we know is really true, or is just something we happen to believe.

Questioning our perception of reality is pretty heavy and you can spend a lot of time working through that. But in my article I use this idea to break out of the crutch of using common sense to manage risk.

You can read the full article on the @ISACA Newsletter site here.

 

ICYMI: Organizational Signals for Changing Risk Appetite

I was inspired to write this article by a change in the speed limit that happened on a local Interstate. It was a good jumping off point to illustrate the parallels between speed limits and risk appetite and what it takes to change each.

You can read the article on the FAIR Institute website here.

ICYMI: Concept Creep: Why Cyber Risk Problems Never Get Solved

I had a great time writing this post for the FAIR Institute. I was inspired by post-doc David Levari of the Harvard Business School’s article in The Conversation called Why Your Brain Never Runs out of Problems to Find. In it he talks about how our brains have a sliding scale of what “badness” is over time and how something will always occupy the spot of “badness” even when its not that big of a deal. In my write-up, I apply that to cybersecurity and include some pointers for FAIR practitioners.

You can read my latest FAIR Institute post here.

Using Risk to Justify Security Strategy and Spending

I wrote a piece for RiskLens* recently that talks about how to utilize FAIR for building and justifying an information security budget and strategic initiatives. Its an interesting problem space as there is a need to have the appropriate level of abstraction (program level versus technology level) but its also a very solvable problem to add risk reduction justification to these annual budgetary exercises.

Fun story: one time I did this exercise years ago, I actually rated one initiative as *increasing* risk. It started an interesting discussion but the lesson is that not everything will result in less risk to your organization. Budgeting is a complicated amalgam of math, politics, and priorities; be sure to bolster your budgeting process with some risk arguments.

Click here for the RiskLens article: How CISOs Use FAIR to Set Strategic Priorities for Spending

*I am a professional advisor for RiskLens

ICYMI: Cyber Risk Sentinels

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on KRIs last week on The FAIR Institute’s website. I used the metaphor of Sentinel Species (think canaries in coal mines) to serve as an indicator of risk, but not of risk itself. That important distinction is one that I strongly feel is a difference we aren’t making in our identification and use of KRIs.

You can read the full article here.

RSAC18 Wrap up

I was very honored to have had the chance to share my quantitative cyber risk journey with the broader security community last week at the RSA Conference. My session had over 100 people in attendance (quite a feat at 8AM on a Wednesday!) and the questions and followups were so good they lasted until we were kicked out of the room. The book signing afterwards caused the bookstore to sell out of copies of Measuring and Managing Information Risk.

I shared some more thoughts on the conference with the FAIR Institute here (where you can also read thoughts from other FAIR practitioners). Lastly, my session slides are available here. Be sure to reach out if you are interesting in learning more; I’ve already had one follow-on session with someone who was unable to attend.

 

ISACA Global Achievement Award Winner

I’m very pleased to announce that I have been awarded an ISACA Global Achievement Award, specifically the John W. Lainhart IV Common Body of Knowledge Award. Full citation below:

ISACA John W. Lainhart IV Common Body of Knowledge Award
Scope: Recognizes an individual for major contributions to the development and enhancement of the common body of knowledge used by the ISACA community.

Jack Freund, Ph.D., CISA, CISM, CRISC
“For contributions in developing the CRISC Certification and for ensuring the integrity and quality of the CRISC Certification exam content.”

I’ll be granted this award on 28 May at the ISACA EuroCACS conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The full list of this year’s award winners is here.

I’m very proud of the time I’ve spent working on the CRISC certification (almost 8 years now) and it’s astronomical growth since its launch. I truly do believe that it is a very high quality IT risk certification that employers can rely on to ensure that their staff has core IT risk knowledge. I’m very humbled to have my small contributions acknowledged in this way.