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

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.

 

Jack and Jack talk Risk Modeling at Cyber Risk NA

I had a great time this week at Risk.Net’s Cyber Risk NA conference this week. I moderated a panel on Modeling Cyber Risk with Jack Jones (EVP RiskLens), Ashish Dev (Principal Economist at the Federal Reserve), Manan Rawal (Head of US Model Risk Mgmt, HSBC USA), and Sidhartha Dash (Research Director, Chartis Research).

We only had 45 minutes and ran out of time before we could get to all the topics I had on my list, so I wanted to included some notes here of things we covered:

  • I opened with a scenario where I asked the panelists if they were presenting to the board would it be more honest to disclose the following top risks: 1) IOT, GDPR, and Spectre/Meltdown or 2) Our Top Risk is that we aren’t modeling cyber risk well enough. Most everyone chose option 2 :-)
  • We talked about whether there was a right way to model
    • Poisson, Negative Binomial, Log Normal
    • Frequentist vs Bayesian
  • Which model for scenarios makes more sense: BASEL II categories or CIA Triad?
  • Level of abstraction required for modeling
    • Event funnel: Event of interest vs incident vs loss event
    • Top Down vs. Bottoms Up
  • What are key variables necessary to model cyber risk (everyone agreed that some measure of frequency of loss and impact/magnitude are necessary)

Things we wanted to get to but ran out of time:

  • What is necessary to get modeling approved and validated by Model Risk Management
  • Should you purchase an external model or build your own?
  • Can we use our Cyber Models for stress testing/ CTE calculations?
  • Do we combine cyber scenarios with other operational risk scenarios?
  • One audience question that we ran out of time for was “How was the FAIR approach different than LDA & AMA and how does it address their weaknesses (Frequency and severity correlation)”
    • This was a good question but to be fair, FAIR wasn’t designed to be a stress testing model. However, many of the inputs used for FAIR are also used for LDA and AMA.
  • There were lots of other audience questions about the use of FAIR which is always encouraging!

Accepted at RSA – Quant Risk Implementation

I’m very pleased to announce that my proposal was accepted for this year’s RSA Conference! I’ll be giving an overview of the quantitative risk framework I’ve implemented at my firm, TIAA.

I’ll be speaking Wednesday morning (April 18th) in the Security Strategy Track as an Advanced Topic.

Here is the abstract:

This session will review the Cyber Risk Framework implemented by TIAA that scales from the granular level up to business-level aggregate risk reporting, avoiding some typical pitfalls by avoiding being too narrow or broad. Included in this session are discussions about policy, standards, configuration baselines, quantification, ORM/ERM risk reporting, and project lifecycle engagement. 

FAIR plays a big part in our framework, so you can be sure to have your questions answered about how to implement FAIR in your organization.