Team internal meeting about cybersecurity

A complete guide to performing an internal cybersecurity risk assessment

Cybersecurity risk assessment is all about identifying, examining, controlling, and managing cyber threats. It’s an essential part of any company-wide data and IT security management program.

Why is risk assessment important?

If your business handles any form of data or operates in an e-commerce capacity, especially online, it’s inherently at risk of cyberattacks. In fact, rampant cybercrimes are among the most potentially devastating threats facing modern businesses.

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand the cyber threat landscape so you can maintain a good security posture. Running a cybersecurity risk assessment at least once every year is the only way to identify the unique threats that your organization faces and develop effective risk mitigation solutions. A co-managed partner can help you do this within your organization.

2020 has been a particularly challenging year for cybersecurity. As COVID-19 disrupted normal business operations, cybercriminals seized the opportunity to attack companies that had lowered their guard. It’s only in June that Microsoft reported a surge in pandemic-related social engineering attacks targeting cooperates and individuals.

Now is the time to take a fresh look at the threat environment and determine how your organization should address emerging risks presented by the “new norm.”

Step-by-step cybersecurity risk assessment

The main purpose of a cybersecurity risk assessment is to help you make informed decisions about protecting digital assets. Here’s how to go about assessing cyber risks:

1. Determine the value of assets and scope of the assessment

You first have to identify security-critical assets in your organization and assign them a value. Doing so will help you determine the assessment’s scope. Perhaps, you might want to run an assessment on your data center, network systems, office equipment, or even employees. But, of course, there is no problem in assessing the entire IT infrastructure provided you have the resources to do so.

2. Discover threats and vulnerabilities

Threats and vulnerabilities go hand in hand, and identifying them is a crucial stage in cybersecurity risk assessment. A threat is whatever you’re defending your organizations against – malware intrusion, DoS attack, cryptojacking, etc. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses that threats can exploit to harm your digital assets – basically any gaps or loopholes in security.

3. Analyze security controls

Examine all the security controls in place and establish new ones that could eliminate or at least minimize vulnerabilities and the risk of threats. Typical security controls include firewalls, antimalware, access authentication systems, and intrusion detection mechanisms.

4. Prioritize prevention based on assets’ value

It may not be possible to implement all the necessary controls due to budget limitations or other constraints. So, order security recommendations by the potential severity of the threat they prevent and the value of the IT asset they protect. Implement new security controls on the assets that need them most and work your way down the list of priorities.

5. Write an assessment report

A well-documented cybersecurity risk assessment report represents your security posture. Be sure to describe the entire assessment process in detail, including all the findings, recommendations, and actions taken. This could form a reference point for informing important security decisions until the next risk assessment and a solid template for future evaluations.

Let the experts handle cybersecurity management for you

Cybersecurity should be a top priority in your company. That’s because the threat landscape is increasingly dynamic – new threats, vulnerability, and security controls pop up all the time. On top of that, the cost of data breach and non-compliance with data security standards is at an all-time high.

The point is, it’s challenging for most companies to keep up with cybersecurity best practices. Partnering with a co-managed IT security provider is your best bet at ensuring all the necessary security measures remain intact, up-to-date, and compliant with regulations. We will work with your IT team and handle your cybersecurity risk together.

Cybersecurity is not what it used to be only a few years ago. Things in the digital world change rapidly and drastically. Running a thorough ongoing cybersecurity risk assessment with a co-managed partner like KME can open your eyes to new threats, better defense mechanisms and help keep your people and profits protected.