Knowing how to assess cybersecurity risks in a company is a crucial part of cybersecurity. That’s because optimizing a network’s security requires knowing what the threats are and how each of them can impact the business or its clientele. How can you expect to cover for them if you don’t know how they look or appear?
Cybersecurity threats are a real risk that impacts many companies daily. However, many organizations don’t know their risk level and a cyber attack’s likelihood on their business. If your organization is one of those that don’t have any idea of their security’s strength, read on below so you’ll know the steps to take when running a cybersecurity risk assessment.
Take Inventory Of What’s On Your Network
The first step to assessing your security risk is to inventory all the resources within your business’ network. What should be included? Document phones, websites, servers, printers, routers, tablets, and, of course, computers.
It’s also essential to list people who can touch your network’s resources and information, including vendors and departments with access to your systems. Don’t forget your data types and how they connect or how they’re utilized. What components your information and data touch along the way when they travel through your network should also be noted, including how they do it.
Network resources outside your physical location should also be part of the inventory. Catalog information and data on your CRM (customer relationship management) tool or the cloud, too, if you use such platforms.
Pinpoint The Threats
Any vulnerability in your organization’s network that hackers could exploit, like steal data or cause harm by breaching security, is called a cyber threat. However, it’s essential to note that there are many threats that don’t involve hackers. Other threats that business owners need to consider are natural disasters, system failure, human error, and adversarial threats.
The following are damages that may result from cybersecurity threats:
- Service disruption – Downtimes may cause reputational damage or loss of revenue.
- Loss of data – Poor backup or replication may result in an organization losing or accidentally deleting data.
- Data leaks – This damage may be caused by attackers or poor cloud services configuration, resulting in the leakage of sensitive data, like Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
- Unauthorized access – Unauthorized people can touch and use company information or data when hackers attack. It can also be because of malware or employee error.
- Misuse of information – When unauthorized access happens, unauthorized people can use, alter, or even delete data without approval. Note that misuse of information can also be done by authorized personnel in a company. Such cases are considered an insider threat.
Assess the impact of each threat after you’ve identified all those facing your organization.
Estimate The Impact Of Identified Cyber Threats
What would it cost your company to provide identity protection services if a hacker managed to steal all of your clients’ most sensitive data? How much business would your organization lose afterward? What would the impact on your company be if it’ll take you three to four days to recover sensitive data encrypted by a ransomware attack? How about sudden power outages affecting a data center that hosts your business network or database?
It’s necessary to quantify the different cyber threats’ potential impacts when running a security risk assessment. That way, you know how they rank based on importance to your business. The goal of threat analysis is to achieve the most significant results for the smallest possible amount of money spent. Estimating the impact of the identified cyber threats can help you do by letting you know how to prioritize your company’s efforts in curbing cybersecurity risks.
Find Your Network’s Vulnerabilities
A vulnerability is a weakness in your network that a cyber threat can exploit to steal sensitive data, harm your organization, or breach security. An organization can find vulnerabilities through vulnerability analysis, security pen testing, and audit reports, among other methods.
One way to reduce such a risk is to enable automatic forced updates to ensure proper patch management.
Develop And Place Rigid Security Protocols
Businesses can stay safe by mitigating potential security attacks before they happen using cybersecurity controls. Security protocols not only reduce risks but also improves compliance and impact business performance.
Examples of cybersecurity control elements that a company can set are using vendor risk management software, employing multi-factor authentication before users can access business systems, and installing anti-ransomware and anti-malware programs. Using in-transit and at-rest encryption, implementing a password policy for all devices and employees, segregating networks, and setting up a system firewall can also help.
Networks evolve with new devices and technologies coming onto the market. That means everything is constantly changing. With that said, businesses must not forget to measure the results of their risk analysis. There should also be continuous improvement of security processes. You can’t afford to be overconfident about your network’s safety, so threat assessment should be at least once a year.