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Quantification and Mitigation of Human Cyber Risk - A CISO’s Strategic Guide

October 9, 2023  | By: Stephen Boals

A playbook for reducing human cyber risk

In today’s fast-paced cybersecurity landscape, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) should be the vanguards of both technological control advancement and human risk behavior within organizations. Striking a balance between rapid tech innovation and the seemingly unpredictable nature of human actions presents a profound challenge. How does a seasoned CISO not only measure this dual-faceted risk but also construct strategies that are effective, forward-looking, and comprehensive in their approach? Based on our relentless dedication to the human side of cybersecurity research and innovation, cyberconIQ is proud to introduce our holistic 4-phase methodology, created with the unique challenges and responsibilities of the CISO in mind.


1. Inform: A Fusion of Analysis and Precision with myQ and cybermetrIQs

A CISO’s role isn’t limited to mere observation; it requires intricate analysis, understanding, and action. The myQ instrument, a cornerstone of our methodology and patent, offers a detailed breakdown that goes beyond surface metrics. It maps individual risk styles to specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities, enabling a CISO to discern distinct behavioral vulnerabilities at the individual, departmental and organizational level. This detailed mapping ensures a comprehensive understanding of potential ‘chinks in the armor’, preparing the ground for interventions that are both targeted and effective.  Combined with our cybermetrIQs risk quantification tool, CISOs get a baseline view of their organization’s potential for breach as well as projected costs based on our stochastic model.

2. Evaluate:  The Power of Strategic Decision Making with cybermetrIQs

In the boardrooms, numbers speak, but actionable insights resonate louder. With every decision resting on a precarious balance of risk and reward, the cybermetrIQs tool emerges as an invaluable asset. It offers a nuanced ROI analysis, focused squarely on both the human elements, as well as a researched set of impactful indicators of cybersecurity maturity as defined by well accepted frameworks (i.e. NIST, CIS, ISOx). With this tool, CISOs not only glean insights that drive decision-making but also possess the ammunition to underline the financial and strategic import of human-centric cybersecurity initiatives to key stakeholders, management, and board members. This has become critical for public companies subject to the new SEC cybersecurity incident reporting requirements.

3. Remediate: Evolving Beyond Conventional Training Paradigms 

One of the greatest misconceptions in cybersecurity is that a uniform training approach is universally effective. At cyberconIQ we recognize the diversity of human behavior and vulnerabilities, and advocate for a more personalized and customized training approach to reduce human cyber risk programmatically and predictably. By adapting to individual risk styles, this phase ensures that every member of the organization, regardless of their role or seniority, undergoes a learning journey tailored to their unique profile. This not only bolsters the effectiveness of training but turns each employee into a proactive participant in the organization’s cybersecurity defense.  Your employees are now part of the solution and not part of the problem.

4. Extend: Reinforcing the External Frontiers of Security

The modern business world isn’t an isolated entity.  It’s a vast, interconnected web of vendors, partners, and collaborators. As CISOs analyze their attack surface, they recognize that internal security measures, no matter how robust, can be rendered moot if external entities present vulnerabilities and vectors to compromise. The ‘Extend’ phase, therefore, is not just an add-on but a necessity and a growing concern in the age of AI and sophisticated, layered attacks. It meticulously evaluates third-party risk, ensuring that every entity connected to the organization is aligned with its security standards and focus. Furthermore, the inclusion of partner-centric educational resources ensures that third-party entities aren’t just compliant but are active allies in the shared security mission

The Conclusion: Adapt Your Program and Demonstrably Reduce Human Cyber Risk

The intricate dance between technology and human behavior in the realm of cybersecurity demands a guide that’s both comprehensive and adaptive. cyberconIQ’s advisory services expertise in human risk factors and our 4-phase approach, crafted with the nuances of a CISO’s role in mind, offers more than a toolkit—it presents a detailed map, strategic waypoints, and a vision for the future. It’s an invitation for CISOs to transform the often-perceived vulnerability of the human element into a fortified bastion of defense and vigilance.

cyberconIQ stands at the crossroads of innovation and practicality, dedicated to aiding CISOs in their mission to safeguard both data and people. If you’re ready to delve deeper into our patented and proven methodologies, discuss potential collaborations, or simply engage in a dialogue on the future of cybersecurity, please contact us.