Cyber Risk Assessment
It’s necessary to conduct a cyber assessment to keep your business safe. This includes identifying threats, prioritizing risks, and setting security controls.
Most organizations rely on information systems and extensive amounts of data to run their business effectively. It’s necessary to conduct a cyber risk assessment regularly to keep data secure, and all systems are running efficiently. The following are the essential steps to take when conducting a cyber risk assessment.
How Should Risks be Identified?
There are a few basic questions to answer when determining how risks should be identified.
- Who and what can harm the organization? – Most businesses face two general types of threats. These include persistent attacks in the form of hacking and malware and the types of attacks that are committed through negligence and mistakes.
- What specifically can be harmed? – Each organization will need to identify areas unique to their business. A law firm may cite client data as its primary asset. For a hospital, it would likely be patient records, and for a bank, financial information would be the most crucial data.
How and Where is Data Stored?
Where data is kept plays a large part in determining risks and formulating a security plan, according to Forbes, deciding between cloud storage and in-house storage is similar to deciding whether to rent a building or buy your own. Whether your data is currently stored in the cloud or on-site, you’ll need to evaluate how this is now working, the costs involved, and if your organization would be better off changing how information is stored.
How Should Threats be Prioritized?
When prioritizing security threats, a company will want to start by assessing both financial and legal penalties for losing or exposing specific types of data. The following are questions a company would then ask when deciding how to prioritize each particular threat.
- How difficult would it be to retrieve, recreate, or regather this data?
- How much time will it take to do this?
- How much will it cost?
- How valuable is this information to competitors?
Answering each of these questions can help a company create a priority level that could be categorized according to severity. For example, a level one could contain the highest threats while each subsequent level would list lower risks.
How Should Security Controls be Set and Maintained?
Security controls must be put in place and actively maintained. There are several types of security controls an organization may choose to implement.
- Updating Software and Hardware – Every device that contains or controls information should be inventoried, reviewed, and updated regularly. Anti-virus software, patch management, and encryption are all security measures that can safeguard software and hardware.
- Educating Employees – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lists training employees as their first cybersecurity tip for small businesses. This would include requiring strong passwords, establishing internet guidelines, and providing ongoing security training.
- Bringing in a Managed IT Team – Management controls could include an in-house team or hiring an outside group of cybersecurity experts. Experienced IT professionals can evaluate each organization and provide security measures that are individualized for each particular business.
Who Will Conduct the Assessment?
While a business can conduct their risk assessment, it’s typically not recommended. A company needs a team of IT management professionals with the expertise to safeguard their data and maintain ongoing security controls.
Alliance Technology provides managed IT services that include cybersecurity, data backup, and recovery, and strategic IT counseling. Alliance Technology features its Armada Program that provides an all-inclusive security platform. Armada gives clients the highest levels of cybersecurity, an experienced consultant, and access to a support team that answers each call in an average of three minutes.
They have worked with law firms, financial institutions, non-profits, and a variety of small businesses to make sure each organization meets the highest standards of security. Alliance Technology Partners offers customization to meet individual business needs and can provide monthly pricing options. Contact Alliance Technology for more information.