Some say “what if” scenarios are a waste of time. Is it really worth throwing valuable time and resources at a bunch of hypotheticals that may never see the light of day?

For fraud management teams, asking “what if” can save your business tens of thousands of dollars, avoid reputational damage, and one day even save your business sometime down the road. Even with a cybersecurity plan firmly in place, too many businesses still operate under the false belief that “it will never happen to me.” Unfortunately, this mindset can put an organization at greater risk because the cyber defenses they deployed six months or a year ago eventually fall behind the changing times.

The recent article, “Why collaboration is the only way to combat cyber threats,” makes a point all fraud and risk managers need to learn: cybersecurity technology is only effective when processes are in place to keep it that way. This means that your security strategies need to change with evolving cyber threats.

This is where hypotheticals can play a role in creating stronger network defenses. Asking “what if” questions can help organizations understand strengths and uncover weaknesses across your enterprise. This is one of a series of things Dan Solomon, director of cyber security services at Optimal Risk, recommends fraud management teams consider to better prepare their systems for cyber attacks.

  • Silos approach leaves companies vulnerable: Working alone to combat online fraud is a fragmented, outdated approach that often leaves businesses susceptible to data loss and service disruptions.
  • The converged approach to security: Evaluating all areas across your infrastructure -- including people, process risks, and physical configurations -- helps you understand network dependencies, which are critical to the integrity of your system.
  • Analyze cultural barriers to security: Security effects all aspects of an enterprise, and many organizations still lack effective communications between the physical security and IT teams to adequately protect their operations from sophisticated cyber attacks.
  • Mapping assets and processes: Configuring a single security risk framework that maps technology, processes, safeguards, management and systems is essential to effectively responding to changing threats.
  • Stakeholder buy-in: Getting corporate buy-in from the highest level is critical for implementing security initiatives such as training employees about modern threats and building processes around prevention, detection and response.
  • Evolving threats: Part of raising your team’s awareness of constantly evolving threats is addressing “what if” scenarios on how to deal with them. Creating mock real-world attacks and evaluating how your team recognizes and responds to them will better prepare your team in the event of an actual attack.

Prevention is really all about how preparation. While it sometimes takes an actual cyber attack or data breach to get a business to take threats more seriously, asking “what if” and taking the proper security precautions can help prevent fraud and minimize the financial impact an attack can have on your business.