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Risk Mitigation Decisions for IT Security

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Enterprises must manage their information risk as part of their larger operational risk management program. Managers must choose how to control for such information risk. This article defines the flow risk reduction problem and presents a formal model using a workflow framework. Three different control placement methods are introduced to solve the problem, and a comparative analysis is presented using a robust test set of 162 simulations. One year of simulated attacks is used to validate the quality of the solutions. We find that the math programming control placement method yields substantial improvements in terms of risk reduction and risk reduction on investment when compared to heuristics that would typically be used by managers to solve the problem. The contribution of this research is to provide managers with methods to substantially reduce information and security risks, while obtaining significantly better returns on their security investments. By using a workflow approach to control placement, which guides the manager to examine the entire infrastructure in a holistic manner, this research is unique in that it enables information risk to be examined strategically. © 2014 ACM.

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