The short answer is yes. You wouldn’t drive your car for years without an oil change. The same preventive maintenance applies to cybersecurity and your business. Hackers are continually searching for and finding new vulnerabilities in the software to exploit. If you haven’t reviewed your current business profile against the cyber threats looming, it is difficult to know if you are protected.
Cybercrime headlines continue to pile up. The unfortunate reality to a majority of these crimes is hackers are continuously trying new ways to exploit deficiencies that have been overlooked. The Capital One theft is the latest high-profile example. It was reported that the information was stolen through a known weakness in the Amazon Web Service EC2 system. The hacker identified the vulnerability and started looking for targets or, as the WSJ stated, began “knocking on front doors to hunt for ones that were unlocked.” In this situation, Capital One had missed the weakness, leaving the door open for an opportunist criminal.
It doesn’t make sense to lock the windows if the front door is open. A cybersecurity assessment will tell you not only if the doors and windows are locked, but also where a criminal could easily sneak in undetected. Once you have that information, you can make decisions about whether any risks identified could adversely impact your business and the likelihood the situation would occur. Don’t lock the windows and leave the front door wide open, unless you have analyzed the chances and costs of someone walking in.
First, what is a Security Assessment?
A cybersecurity assessment is a little different for each organization. The major components include a comprehensive security review and testing.
Company Profile: The review starts with developing a profile of your business priorities and operations to understand what threats are most relevant. For example, a company with mobile employees accessing the company network with their own devices will be exposed to different risks than one with employees that only access the corporate network from a desktop computer.
Security Policies: Your security policies should work to strengthen your business. This phase of the assessment will look at what is working, what needs to be updated, and where policies need to be created.
IT Asset Inventory: If it can be connected to the network, you need to make sure it is protected. To get a full picture of your environment, you’ll need to look at all your equipment and software. Older technology may need to be upgraded or new software added to ensure any known vulnerabilities are addressed.
Threat Profile: Once you have a clear view of your business priorities, security policies, and IT assets, you can develop an overview of the threats most relevant to your organization. With an understanding of your vulnerabilities and risks, you can better identify gaps to ensure you aren’t exposing yourself to known attacks.
Business Impact and Tolerance: When building a cybersecurity plan, the goal is to prevent any disruption to your business. Another component of your program has to be preparing for the worst. Can your business withstand a few hours without access to its data? What about a few days? After your team has agreed to the business thresholds, you start to consider appropriate data protection measures.
Test, test, and test again: The best plan can look great on paper and fail because of a missed step or lack of communication. Testing gives your company the ability to see where more training is needed and where to prioritize investments.
Taking the time to conduct a cybersecurity assessment will help you understand the real threats to your business and what you can do to manage the cyber risk facing your organization.
It’s like taking your car in for a tune up. You find a shop or dealer that works with your car’s make and model; they perform a complete inspection, check spark plugs, rotor, fuel injector, air filters, fluid levels, break pads, etc. Then by the end, the shop usually recommends the necessary changes to keep your car healthy.
A security assessment is similar. Your IT provider gathers information regarding your business, goals, security measures, policies and procedures. They use a series of tools to test your systems. They then compare their findings with industry standards along with your business goals to provide recommendations tailored for your business.
Cybersecurity assessments uncover, protect, and remediate any potential system vulnerabilities. This is what you can get from an assessment:
- Identify potential threats to your technologies, digital apps, and operations
- Determine the adverse effects of cyber threats
- Locate internal and external vulnerabilities
- Evaluate the likelihood of risks and importance level
- Threat recovery options
Here are 5 key reasons why cybersecurity assessment is important:
Nobody can guarantee that you won’t be hit by cyberattack. However, preparing for any kind of attack can save your business. A cybersecurity assessment will help you map out risks, prioritize it, and anticipate the likelihood of its occurrence. You’ll be able to understand the full range risk exposure of your business, while bracing your organization for a potential cyber attack.
Gap analysis is part of the cybersecurity assessment process. It looks at the loopholes between your security programs. In fact, this is one of the most critical elements of an assessment since IT experts examine how your cyber protocols can be enriched. Most of us are drawn by building a security framework, yet turn a blind eye onto creating a closed loop security model, which dramatically fortifies cyber defense. Gap analysis identifies that deficiency and helps create a clearer picture of how your cybersecurity plan should be.
A cybersecurity assessment locates vulnerabilities in your infrastructure and applications. IT experts drill down to the granular details of your systems until they catch a flaw. You’ll discover the overall risk of your business, and procedures to carry out against cyber threats. The results are eye-opener, yet could be overwhelming. Although the assessment only sheds the light to a more protected organization.
As your business grows, you can easily lose track of asset inventory. A cybersecurity assessment traces back to all of your assets from physical technologies to digital apps. Any type of attack is possible especially with modernized tactics of hackers. This can arise in computing environments, containers, web applications, and devices. With asset discovery, you can keep a sharp look on your IT environment.
The overall results of the assessment will let you understand how to intercept future attacks. Your employees too will be more aware of where threats might set in and how to counter it. Being mindful is the best prevention against viruses. If your employees are following best security practices, the less likely you have to worry about huge sums of ransoms.
A cybersecurity assessment helps develop a foundation for your business. It reveals the openings in your systems as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your security program. Upon taking an assessment, you can establish a more cyber resilient plan across the organization. If you need extra hands, contact BlackPoint. Our team has a proven track record of preventing hacks. Complete an assessment and let us handle the security audit process.