5 Reasons For a Security Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment
John Mess - Sr Security Advisor, NCI

No business, regardless of size, is immune to cyberthreats. The need to be proactive in protecting your business and its sensitive data has never been greater, and that’s essentially what a Security Risk Assessment enables you to do.   

A Risk Assessment is the process of identifying, estimating, and prioritizing information security risks. The careful analysis of threat and vulnerability information allows businesses to determine the extent to which information breaches could negatively affect the organization as well as the likelihood that such events will occur.  

The purpose of a Security Risk Assessment is to gain insight into:  

  • Threats to your organization's operations, assets, and individuals  
  • Identify internal and external vulnerabilities 
  • The harm that may occur 
  • The likelihood that harm will occur 
  • Determination of risk 

Now that we have a clear understanding of what a Risk Assessment is, now let’s discuss the top reasons why a business should prioritize them. 

5 Reasons to Conduct a Security Risk Assessment


1. Understanding Your overall Baseline Security Posture

Security posture is your organization's overall cybersecurity strength and how well it can predict, prevent and respond to ever-changing cyberthreats.  You can’t fix what you haven’t assessed! Many organizations understand that they need to do something in the realm of Information Security/Cybersecurity. What comes first? What comes next? How do you know if you are implementing the correct controls in the correct order? Getting a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment gives you a baseline, identify top vulnerabilities, and point you in the right path for success. 

2. Identifying Your Top Vulnerabilities 

Pretty straight forward...  a Risk Assessment helps determine existing security flaws and overall risk levels.  Not only that, but you’ll gain a better understanding of your assets and reduce the likelihood of being breached. Critical, High, Medium, and Low are terms you should be familiar with when talking about identifying your vulnerable areas of your organization, both technical and non-technical (policy and procedure).   Tools such as Nessus and Qualys can automatically scan your network and determine where your gaps are, as well as provide a path to fix and patch. 

3. Keep Up with Compliance 

HIPAA, FFIEC, CMMC… just to name a few. Whatever industry you are in, you may have to abide by a particular acronym of regulation. Healthcare, Banking, Manufacturing, Government all have specific controls you must map to in order to remain compliant. Risk assessment platforms have mapping tools to provide guidance on how to shrink that gap between current and future state as you progress toward compliance. 

4. Roadmap for Remediation 

What to fix first? Logical order of events…. How will this improve my security posture in a timely manner? If you were to look at all controls that needed to be fixed, where would you start? The roadmap will put these in a logical order based on how critical they are for your organization. It will allow you to see which areas need more work, and where to spend your time and money.  

5. Security First Culture 

Train, Train, and Train… Making sure every person at your organization is aware of cyber risk is a must. Make sure they aren’t afraid to speak up if they accidentally click on a malicious link. It is better to bring it forward then to let it fester and gain a foothold on your network. Malware and Ransomware is making it tough for companies to sleep at night. There are solutions that can help with 24/7 monitoring, but the fastest and most cost-effective way to protect your organization is having a culture of security first individuals. 

 

More Information Security Resources: 

5 Ways to Protect Against Cybercrime 

Remote Working: Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Crucial for Security

NCI Security Services