Cybersecurity breaches are ever-increasing and are nearly inevitable at some point. Every company, big or small, needs to prepare for this growing threat to protect their business and customers.
Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
A cybersecurity risk assessment is a process that allows a company to identify and evaluate any and all cybersecurity risks within their system. This could include software or hardware. Once those threats have been identified, they are prioritized based on risk factors. After the prioritization, the cybersecurity team is able to make decisions and suggestions about future security measures.
While there are suggestions made in a risk assessment, they should not be confused with risk management. Risk assessments are all about prioritizing risks, not dealing with risks after being identified.
Why is an Assessment so Important?
Almost every company relies on information technology to run its business. Most of those systems are not easily replaceable or repairable. If a company allows its system to become compromised, both it and its clients could be in huge trouble. Cybersecurity threats are also always changing. A cybersecurity risk assessment can help alert a company about those changing, growing threats to keep both the company and its clients safe.
5 Steps to Conducting a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
There are five main parts to a cybersecurity risk assessment: prepare, frame, assess, monitor, and respond.
The first step is to prepare for the assessment. This means identifying assumptions or concerns you already have about your cybersecurity. Are there any particularly vulnerable spots in your system? You also need to identify who and what will be participating in the assessment. This could be an IT team or professional leading the group, or even a third-party firm.
The next step is to frame the risk or, in other words, contextualize it. This means answering questions such as, “Where does this risk create a vulnerability?” and “If this risk becomes a breach, how does it affect other systems?”. This process should give the cybersecurity professional plenty of context about the risk and aid them in creating a strategy.
Once the framing is complete, it is time to assess them. This is where the determination of the impact of each threat is made. You can rank each threat based on its priority and severity to the company. It’s important to look at the likelihood, impact, and risk of each problem when ranking them.
Once you have identified and ranked your threats, you’ll need to respond to them. This involves running tests and finding solutions to those threats so that they no longer put your system at risk. The steps to responding are to develop a course of action, evaluate the different courses of action, and determine the most appropriate solution.
After making changes to your cybersecurity, you will need to continue to monitor those changes to ensure that they remain effective at securing your system. This takes time, and you won’t see immediate results. Be patient with the measures that have been taken and check back frequently to see if your solution has worked.