Why you should conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment for your business
Posted 29 Jan at 1:16 am in Productivity
[9 min read]
In the ever-evolving and increasingly popular fields of business and technology, upholding the best cybersecurity practices is paramount to ensure your customers, clients, or users aren’t exposed to the countless threats plaguing the internet. In addition to your customers’ virtual safety, businesses must remain vigilant against malicious hackers, bots, scripts, worms, and hundreds of simple yet devastating online attacks.
Cybersecurity risk assessments can help your businesses expose threats to your organization’s digital wellbeing and prioritize issues that may undermine your user’s privacy. The risk assessments are straightforward, lay the foundation for cybersecurity solutions, and may save your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in the future.
What is a cybersecurity risk assessment?
Typically, cybersecurity consultants schedule interviews with each of your company’s key members to analyze their policies, procedures, security measures, and daily practices. After compiling and analyzing the results, the consultant tailors a risk assessment to your business’s characteristics, factoring in team size, industry regulations and standards, projects, and technical literacy of your team.
Afterward, your IT staff works closely with the risk assessors to run through scenarios. They forecast vulnerabilities, the consequences they could have on your clients and organization, what practices the team should and shouldn’t be doing, as well as what tools your business can use to bolster its virtual security.
What is the purpose of IT & cybersecurity risk assessment?
Cybersecurity risk assessments help businesses emerge aware and ready to prevent cybersecurity risks. Your business’ IT staff should have the knowledge, resources, and ability to identify and prevent cybersecurity incidents, and having consultants, risk assessments, and periodic cybersecurity checks can save your business and customers.
Unfortunately, not all risk assessments are as simple as a checklist and an instruction manual. Especially in the cybersecurity realm, it can be difficult to quantify risks, and the threat issues pose to your business.
In most cases, cybersecurity consultants will combine their understanding of your business with their background in the modern security environment to help you create a plan of action against your most consequential security threats, IT vulnerabilities, and online practices.
Why do companies conduct cybersecurity risk assessments?
Usually, organizations conduct risk assessments before significant acquisitions, investments, changes with IT staff, when switching or adopting new technology, and periodically to keep up with the frighteningly rapid changes in the technological security space. Additionally, some industries so heavily rely on robust cybersecurity that organizations must conduct risk assessments to comply with laws and standards. Cybersecurity, healthcare, and finance are prime examples.
In most cases, IT management and support companies in the Philadelphia, Denver, and Pennsylvania areas will already incorporate risk management in their network security. Still, you can continually improve your company’s cybersecurity through managed IT services or risk assessments.
Benefits of Conducting a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Identify Cybersecurity & IT Vulnerabilities
Unlike speeding on the highway or walking alone in a bad neighborhood, the term “risk” has a different meaning in the cybersecurity world. Risk is the potential losses you face when a threat exploits a vulnerability.
Vulnerabilities like weak passwords introduce risks of unauthorized access and exposing confidential information. Companies can impose greater password requirements blacklist commonly used and easy-to-crack passwords to mitigate the risk of a password vulnerability.
While weak passwords are just one example of a vulnerability, everything from an email worm to a backdoor into your data centers are vulnerabilities that businesses must recognize. Each vulnerability poses a risk.
Whether your clients depend on you to ensure their data is safe or your employees entrust their company to protect their online presence, treat each vulnerability as if it were guaranteed to happen. Identify which mitigation strategies are best for the risk and your organization’s resources. Cybersecurity consultants and risks assessments help you do exactly that.
Professional cybersecurity reports and analyses
Cybersecurity risks can appear complicated, ambiguous, or too difficult to measure for new or small and medium businesses. Experts conduct cybersecurity risk assessments to create reports documenting your organization’s current security stature and relevant risks.
If you decide to conduct annual or regular cybersecurity risk assessments, your IT staff and cybersecurity team can quantitatively track your business’ progress as your team develops your security applications. Additionally, archiving regular risk assessments shows investors and clients that you actively invest in cybersecurity and care about everyone’s safety and information.
Available and tailored expertise
While cybersecurity assessment services provide you with valuable data, they represent a snippet of your company’s virtual security stature. For many businesses to reap the benefits of risk assessments, having involved and regular discussions with dedicated cybersecurity experts add exponentially more value to these assessments.
Cybersecurity risk assessments are results, not solutions. They provide businesses with a foundation to solve their vulnerabilities and account for risk. It’s up to you to create cybersecurity solutions; the risk assessment is merely a tool to achieve that.
Even if your IT team consists of a cybersecurity professional, external consultants and other experts can provide your company with more insight, potentially reveal vulnerabilities that your internal team overlooked, and add a broad range of expertise and knowledge to the minds of your staff.
Most of the time, when organizations perform cybersecurity risk assessments, experts identify gaps in a business’s security practices undocumented risks and introduce new threats that weren’t initially in the company’s crosshairs. Identifying hidden internal and external cybersecurity threats could be the difference between saving your company’s data and trying to purchase it from ransomware.
Adaptable risk registers
Risk assessments reveal the most critical and pressing cybersecurity risks your business faces. In most cases, experts will also prioritize those risks based on your company’s resources, core values, and IT team’s capability so you can take immediate action.
The cybersecurity consultants will do their best to provide you with the insight and tools to create an effective risk-mitigation plan. Businesses should use the risk mitigation plan and the consultant’s problem-solving experience to identify how to solve vulnerabilities and address risks.
Understand how equipped your business is to address risks
Cybercriminals and hackers are not the only threats in cybersecurity. Corporate leaders must acknowledge and address non-malicious threats alongside harmful attacks. For example, a business not continually backing up critical data can cripple the entire organization and expose users and customers.
In the event of a power surge, fire, or natural wear and tear of the hardware, companies can face tremendous consequences if they do not mitigate the risk. This principle applies to every threat, scenario, and point of failure.
Risk assessment specialists almost always have or can help you acquire the resources to find vulnerabilities. When searching for cybersecurity consultants, managed cybersecurity services, or performing a risk assessment, consider these factors:
- Technical vulnerabilities
- Governance inconsistencies
- Compliance gaps
- Vendor risks
- Human error
- Risk prioritization
- Risk assessment frequency
- Tools and techniques used
- Business aspects covered in the risk assessment
While not all IT management companies in Philadelphia will specialize in network and cybersecurity, most can provide you with information, system, or cyber risk analyses for businesses to consider their services.