Cybersecurity is essential to companies and organizations, especially now that digital communication platforms and business management software hold so much sensitive data. While going digital has definitely made closing deals, transacting, and exchanging sensitive information easier for companies, they often overlook the risks that come with it and only assess potential threats every so often.
So why should companies conduct cybersecurity risk assessments regularly? Conducting cybersecurity risk assessments allows organizations to find vulnerabilities in the system, meet required compliance standards and regulations, evaluate the team’s capability to address these threats, create a detailed report about cybersecurity, and ensure all sensitive data are safe and secure.
The Importance of Having Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
Cybersecurity risks refer to the chances that a company encounters disruptions and attacks on their confidential data, business operations, and finances online. It’s an alarming problem because cyberattacks often lead to data breaches that cost organizations thousands of dollars in repair, business interruptions, and profit loss.
About 61% of companies and organizations worldwide experience damaging ransomware incidents, but this is just one of the many cybersecurity risks that businesses should prepare for. Other examples of cyber threats include data leaks, phishing, malware, insider threats, and cyberattacks.
One of the best ways to prevent all these cybersecurity risks from happening is to perform cybersecurity risk assessments regularly. Its main goal is to inform stakeholders about the state of cybersecurity and respond to the identified threats. Here are other important benefits of having cybersecurity risk assessments within the organization:
1) Find Vulnerabilities in the System
Cybersecurity has lots of components that work together to create a working system, and some of these might get overlooked. These components eventually become blind spots and vulnerabilities that might result in serious threats later on. Cybercriminals will exploit these weaknesses to enter and attack the system.
A cybersecurity risk assessment gives organizations all the data and resources needed to navigate risks and double-check areas that were overlooked before. It ensures that the team is aware of these dangers, allowing them to take proper measures that address the vulnerabilities before the problems start.
2) Meet Required Compliance and Regulations
Depending on the type of industry the organization belongs to and the type of data stored in their database, the company may be subjected to different types of compliance requirements. For example, educational institutions should follow the FERPA, while healthcare organizations should abide by the HIPAA.
Cybersecurity risk assessments help organizations reevaluate whether or not they’re following compliance requirements and other policies required by the law. It also allows them to keep up with new compliance requirements needed for the organization to run smoothly and legally.
3) Assess the Team’s Capability to Address Threats
Cybercriminals are only one of the many possible risk instigators. Teams should also consider and confront different types of non-malicious threats that affect the continuity of their operations. For example, physical servers are likely to stop working due to power interruptions. There’s also the risk of fire hazards if there isn’t proper ventilation and cabling management in the server room.
Cybersecurity risk experts have the experience and resources when it comes to finding vulnerabilities that the organization may overlook. It’s important to consider other factors like technical vulnerabilities, governance inconsistencies, compliance gaps, vendor risks, and human error. This allows the team to come up with the appropriate steps to address each issue, and deal with many forms of potential cyberattacks.
4) Create a Detailed Report About the Cybersecurity
Cyber risk is only one of the many concerns when it comes to running a business or organization, but it’s an important issue that should be properly minimized. Having regular cyber risk assessments allow the companies to find the biggest threats that might affect their operations. This allows them to take all the steps needed to protect their investments.
Many business owners use evaluations from previous cyber security risk assessments to create quantified data that helps them in making informed decisions regarding the company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. A risk assessment also reduces wasted resources and time that are otherwise spent on misleading threats.
4) Ensure All Sensitive Data are Secure
One of the biggest challenges for companies is to keep all confidential and sensitive data safe and secure from the hands of identity thieves, fraudsters, and other cybercriminals. A cybersecurity risk assessment helps companies ensure that they have all the appropriate security measures in place to avoid fraudulent intrusions.
When operating a business, there are many documents that should be reviewed and stored such as bank statements, partnership agreements, and even personal information. Cybersecurity risk assessments produce quantified data that companies use to develop better security measures and protect the network and all included data.
Who Should Lead Cybersecurity Risk Assessments in the Company?
Ideally, businesses should have their in-house IT team perform risk assessments. This is because you need to have an understanding of how the network and digital infrastructure works, ultimately to be well-equipped in identifying and mitigating risks. You can take comfort in the fact that you have a go-to team when there are problems that pop out all of a sudden, and not have to worry about information leakage to competitors and potential hackers.
However, many small businesses don’t have an in-house IT team because having one often requires a huge budget for hardware and employee salary. Their next best option is to outsource a third-party IT team. Some companies also turn to different cybersecurity software to prevent breaches, monitor cybersecurity scores, and reduce third-party cybersecurity risks.
How to Perform Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
Before evaluating and mitigating the risks, businesses need to understand a few things first – the type of data they have, the kind of infrastructure used, and the gross value of protected data. Start auditing the data by asking:
- What data is collected?
- Where and how is the data stored?
- How is the data protected and documented?
- How long should you keep the data?
- Who has access to the data?
- Is the data storage properly secured?
After valuing the data, the next step is to define the parameters of the assessment. Ask the company and the IT team questions like:
- What’s the purpose of the cybersecurity risk assessment?
- What’s the scope of this assessment?
- Are there constraints and priorities that might affect the assessment?
- Who should you contact to get all the important information needed for the assessment?
- What kind of risk model does the company use for analyzing risks?
After identifying the value of information and the parameters of the risk assessment, here are the next steps to complete the cyber security risk assessment:
- Determine information value
- Identify the assets and prioritize them
- Identify the cyber threats (natural disasters, system failure, human error, and adversarial threats)
- Identify all the vulnerabilities in the system
- Analyze the current controls and implement new ones
- Calculate the likelihood of the risk happening, as well as the possible impact of the damages
- Sort the risk priority based on the prevention cost and information value
- Document the results from the cybersecurity risk assessment report
Improve Your Cybersecurity with Abacus
Abacus is a trusted IT solutions provider that offers a comprehensive set of services for all your IT needs. Our team of trained IT professionals and risk assessment experts has the right tools, knowledge, and experience to evaluate the system’s vulnerabilities, identify threats, and improve overall cybersecurity. You can count on us to provide business support plans at the right price to protect your assets, boost your team’s productivity, and help your company thrive in the digital age.
Experience the Abacus advantage today by calling us at (856) 505 – 6860 and booking a consultation today.