You wouldn’t drive a car for years without an oil change. The same preventive maintenance applies to cybersecurity and your business. Hackers are continuously searching and finding new vulnerabilities in the software to exploit. You need to sign up for a cybersecurity risk assessment to review your current business profile against the cyber threats looming.
Cybercrime headlines continue to pile up. The unfortunate reality to most of these crimes is that hackers continuously try new ways to exploit deficiencies. The Capital One breach is a fairly recent example of a high-profile cyberattack. 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.” Capital One had missed the weakness in this situation, 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 risk assessment will tell you not only if the doors and windows are locked but where a criminal could easily sneak in undetected. Once you have that information, you can decide whether any identified risks could adversely impact your business and the likelihood the situation could 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.
What Is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
A cyber risk assessment evaluates and analyzes your organization’s cybersecurity protocols, controls, and ability to remediate vulnerabilities and outside threats. The assessment is conducted within your business objectives rather than as a task list for a cybersecurity audit. This allows you to gain a high-level analysis of your system and network weaknesses so your security teams can begin implementing security controls to mitigate them.
Components of a Cyber Risk Assessment
While running a risk assessment, cybersecurity experts will analyze your systems from top to bottom to get a complete picture of your organization’s current cybersecurity efforts and uncover its vulnerabilities. From there, they’ll help create a customized cybersecurity solution that’s made to fit your current situation and business goals. There are five components to a cybersecurity risk assessment:
1. 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 employees who only access the corporate network from a desktop computer.
2. Security Policies
Your security policies should work to strengthen your business. This phase of the assessment will look at what’s working, what needs to be updated, and where new policies need to be created. From there, consultants will propose new security policies that bolster your company’s cybersecurity strategy.
3. IT Asset Inventory
If it can connect to the network, it needs to be protected. To get a complete picture of your environment, you’ll need to look at all of your equipment and software. Some older technology may no longer provide any value and may be a liability to your business. Upgrading to newer software and technology can address vulnerabilities and potentially save your company money.
4. 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. Understanding your vulnerabilities and risks can better identify security gaps and ensure you aren’t exposed to known attacks. Once you have a solid understanding of your current situation, you can develop a new cybersecurity strategy designed to fit your business.
5. 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.
What Can You Get Out of a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
Taking the time to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment will help you understand the real threats to your business and what you can do to manage the cyber risks 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, brake pads, etc. Then by the end, the shop usually recommends the necessary changes to keep your car healthy.
A cybersecurity 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 and 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.
- Recommend new software, technology, and policies that better protect your business.
- Evaluate the likelihood of risks and their importance level.
- Set out disaster recovery options.
5 Reasons to Get a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Your business needs protection, which is why you need to run a risk assessment. Cybersecurity incidents are at an all-time high, and hackers will only get smarter and more sophisticated with their tactics. Here are some reasons why your business should get a cyber risk assessment:
1. Risk Mitigation
Nobody can guarantee you won’t be hit by a cyberattack. However, preparing for any kind of attack can save your business. A cybersecurity assessment will help you map out, prioritize, and anticipate risks. You’ll be able to understand the full range risk exposure of your business while bracing your organization for a potential cyberattack.
2. Gap Analysis
Gap analysis is part of the cybersecurity assessment process. It looks at the loopholes between your security programs. 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 to 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.
3. Identify Vulnerabilities
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 an eye-opener, yet could be overwhelming. Although the assessment only sheds the light on a more protected organization.
4. Asset Discovery
As your business grows, you can easily lose track of asset inventory. A cybersecurity assessment traces back all of your assets from physical technologies to digital apps. Any type of attack is possible especially with sophisticated tactics of hackers. This can arise in computing environments, containers, web applications, and devices. With asset discovery, you can keep a sharp look at your IT environment.
5. Increased Awareness
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 them. Being mindful is the best prevention against viruses. If your employees are following best security practices, you will be less likely to have to worry about huge sums of ransoms.
A cybersecurity risk 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 IT. Our team has a proven track record of preventing disasters. Claim your free cybersecurity risk assessment and let us handle the security audit process.