In an era where digital threats are constantly evolving, understanding and mitigating these risks through a cybersecurity risk assessment is not just a recommendation; it’s a necessity for every business.
Why A Cybersecurity Risk Assessment is Crucial
Cybersecurity risk assessments are vital for identifying vulnerabilities within your network and systems. Technology and Cybersecurity are intangible items that are often hard for non-technical people to understand. A Cybersecurity risk assessment helps non-technical people make business decisions by identifying gaps in their technology and Cybersecurity.
Understanding Your Vulnerabilities
Understanding a business’s vulnerabilities is an essential first step. We like to call these hidden vulnerabilities because it is easy for them to hide in plain sight. Vulnerabilities can include outdated software, open ports, unaddressed flaws in software, unmonitored access control, and weak or stolen passwords, to name a few of the vulnerabilities we look for.
The Consequences of Neglecting Cybersecurity
Most businesses only understand the impact of having proper Cybersecurity solutions and practices once they have an incident. Proactively performing a Cybersecurity risk assessment identifies the pitfalls early and allows you to course correct to prevent or mitigate the impact of a Cybersecurity incident from happening.
Step-by-Step Guide to Performing a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
When performing a Cybersecurity risk assessment, it is essential to test 4 key elements.
- People: First, you need to understand how “cybersecurity aware” your team is. Then, you need to find out if they have any vulnerabilities, such as weak passwords, poor cyber hygiene, etc.. Understanding where your team’s security awareness lies helps you determine what training is needed.
- Data: What kind of data are you storing, and where are you keeping it? Who needs access to it, and what type of availability does it need? Understanding these questions can help you determine what kind of data risk you have.
- Network: How locked down is your network? Do you have open ports to the Internet? Do you have Internet Of Things(IoT) devices on the same network as your computers? Do you have outdated software and hardware? Understanding these vulnerabilities allows you to address, mitigate, or remove them.
- Applications: What applications are you using on the desktop and in the “cloud” or SaaS? Are they configured properly? Is anyone in your organization using software that is either illegal or unauthorized to be used? Understanding this information helps to identify shadow I.T. or software not authorized by your organization and can potentially be unpatched and, therefore, hazardous to your organization. You can’t protect what you don’t know exists.
Finally, by understanding those 4 key areas, you get a big picture of your cybersecurity gaps and an analysis of your financial impact if you were to get caught in a cyber incident.
How Regular Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Protect Your Business
Cybersecurity is not a set-it-or-forget-it one-time solution. Because threats are constantly evolving, so are the types of protections you put in place. What works today can suddenly and without warning be ineffective tomorrow. You should perform Cybersecurity risk assessments regularly, whether once a year or multiple times.
Customizing Your Cybersecurity Strategy
Every business is different, even within the same industry and size. A Cybersecurity strategy should be tailored to your organization. By performing a Cybersecurity risk assessment, you can identify what is necessary to protect your business.
Leveraging Expertise: The Value of Professional Consultation
Most organizations find it challenging to acquire and retain the proper staff to oversee Cybersecurity strategies. Companies with internal I.T. departments are usually reactive in nature and don’t usually have the luxury of planning and executing these strategies.
For organizations with internal I.T. departments, partnering with a professional organization with expertise in Cybersecurity allows your internal team to concentrate on the day-to-day reactive support while working closely with the Cybersecurity experts to provide an overall safe environment for the business.
For Organizations without internal I.T. departments, it’s critical to find a partner with expertise in Cybersecurity who can provide that day-to-day reactive support. Such an organization should be structured to have someone oversee and design strategies operationally and from a cybersecurity aspect. Also, have a team that performs the daily duties.
By performing a Cybersecurity risk assessment as a non-technical business owner or officer, you can adequately make business decisions regarding technology and Cybersecurity. By learning where your vulnerabilities and risks are, you can choose to mitigate, accept, or eliminate them with the proper strategy in place.
If you want to learn more about how Underdog Cyber Defense or our Cybersecurity Risk Assessment process can help you, book a complimentary 15-minute consulting appointment here. Or to learn more about the services we provide click here
About the Author:
Carmine Corridore is a seasoned professional in the I.T. industry with over 30 years of experience. Holding various positions from field tech, team lead, service manager, project manager and Director of I.T. Currently he services as the Client Facing Chief Strategy Officer and President of Underdog Cyber Defense. Carmine is a Credentialed Certified in Cybersecurity.