A Threat-Based Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Approach Addressing SME Needs

Published in ARES 2021: The 16th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security, 2021

Recommended citation: Max van Haastrecht, Injy Sarhan, Alireza Shojaifar, Louis Baumgartner, Wissam Mallouli, and Marco Spruit. “A Threat-Based Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Approach Addressing SME Needs.”, International Conference on Availability, Reliability, and Security (2021, August). https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3465481.3469199

Cybersecurity incidents are commonplace nowadays, and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are exceptionally vulnerable targets. The lack of cybersecurity resources available to SMEs implies that they are less capable of dealing with cyber-attacks. Motivation to improve cybersecurity is often low, as the prerequisite knowledge and awareness to drive motivation is generally absent at SMEs. A solution that aims to help SMEs manage their cybersecurity risks should therefore not only offer a correct assessment but should also motivate SME users. From Self-Determination Theory (SDT), we know that by promoting perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness, people can be motivated to take action. In this paper, we explain how a threat-based cybersecurity risk assessment approach can help to address the needs outlined in SDT. We propose such an approach for SMEs and outline the data requirements that facilitate automation. We present a practical application covering various user interfaces, showing how our threat-based cybersecurity risk assessment approach turns SME data into prioritised, actionable recommendations.

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