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Communicating Cyber Risks to the Board: The Value of a Comparative Metric for Investment Decision-Making

Cybersecurity risk oversight is a major and ever-increasing issue for boards of directors, and one that should be front and center on their agenda. The central issue is assessing the level of acceptable risk to their business entity. However, this poses challenges. Recently, boards have underestimated cybersecurity risks, resulting in large breaches with significant costs. It’s helpful to examine the reasons for this underestimation and identify steps to improve cyber risk assessment for boards of directors.

Why Boards Underestimate Cyber Risk

Cybeta’s research indicates two key factors at play. The first is a lack of cybersecurity expertise at the board level. Many recent drivers of cyber risk have outpaced board members’ levels of understanding.  Technology and cybersecurity expertise are usually outside of their core fields of expertise.

The second factor is that cybersecurity professionals have done a poor job of communicating risk to the board. In this complex and fast-moving environment, it’s too easy for cyber experts to rely on technical jargon. People who don’t have a background in cybersecurity don’t understand what’s being explained to them.

There is a need for a widely accepted and understood metric to evaluate cyber risk at the board level and beyond. That’s where Cybeta excels.

Threat βeta™ Provides the Right Information about Cyber Risk

Threat Beta from Cybeta is a comparative metric created using proprietary methods, including three primary analytic modules:

Discoverable Network Footprint: Mimicking an external view used by today’s threat actors, we apply our expertise in national security and specialized reconnaissance techniques to better understand an organization’s attack surface.

Weighted Vulnerability Record: We map and compare the depth and breadth of discoverable technologies against thousands of other companies showing similar network characteristics. They are weighted based on a variety of factors, such as vulnerabilities and exposures tied to those technologies.

Attack Likelihood: Proprietary scoring is assigned to each technology based on attack likelihood, frequency, and severity using a combination of open-source and real-time threat metrics derived from advanced machine learning and automatically mined deep and dark web sources

These three elements are considered and then augmented with deep and dark web content plus hundreds of data sources to arrive at a proprietary Threat Beta risk metric, or rating, which is straightforward to communicate to board members.

Threat Beta Provides Offensive Threat Capabilities

This augmentation with deep and dark web content ensures that Threat Beta takes full account of global activity against technologies by malevolent actors, quantifying their offensive threat capability, rather than simply focusing on your company’s defensive security set-up.

Updates to the Threat Beta risk score, based on the global threat landscape, can be derived on a weekly basis to see how the core cyber risk to the company is evolving. Board members can request more detailed analytical briefings from their cyber teams, and everyone can see the underlying drivers of Threat Beta rating trends – which may be increasing due to no fault of the company. These proprietary insights help inform appropriate investment decision-making to mediate cyber risks.


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