Cybersecurity Risk Assessment in 5 Steps

Cybersecurity Steps

All organizations that use IT infrastructure and involve some form of internet connectivity are vulnerable to ever-growing cyber threats. It is essential for all such organizations to deploy intelligent and up-to-date cybersecurity measures. However, it is not possible that every organization can follow the same cybersecurity measures because the threat surface varies depending on the IT infrastructure of an organization. In order to protect your organization from cyber threats and maximize the security defense system, you need a well-planned cybersecurity program. And the first step towards it is cybersecurity risk assessment. So, how to do a cybersecurity risk assessment? Let's find out in this blog.

Key Benefits of Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

A cybersecurity risk assessment helps to identify and prioritize security vulnerabilities that could otherwise result in severe consequences. Some of the key benefits of cybersecurity risk assessment are as follows:

  • Helps to identify all the minor to major cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Helps to check and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.
  • Helps to create security documentation.
  • Helps to educate employees about all the possible security vulnerabilities.

In short, security risk assessment empowers an organization to drive its cybersecurity practices towards the vulnerabilities that are actually going to cast an impact if left untreated. Moreover, there are even organizations that regularly conduct risk assessments with solid documentation to keep themselves protected from new security loopholes and also up-to-date with the latest threats.

5 Steps to Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Cybersecurity risk assessment can be divided into multiple steps and sub-steps, but the following are the five key steps:

1.      Asset Identification

The first step is to identify what are the assets that cybercriminals will target to hack. For that, you have to identify sensitive information assets that your organization handles, such as card numbers, Social Security numbers, users' personal information, internally developed code/scripts, etc. Moreover, also answer questions such as how users access data, how is data exchanged, do vendors access data, etc. Once you have gathered all such information, then set up a priority list that clearly narrates the assets that should be protected.

2.      Vulnerability and Threat Identification

Once you have identified the assets thoroughly, the next step is to research and list all the potential vulnerabilities and threats that can compromise your data security. Today there are tons of vulnerabilities or threats to look into, such as unauthorized access, data misuse by authorized users, malware attack, unintentional data loss, unintentional data leakage, service disruption, etc. So, in order to make the vulnerability and threat list, you can conduct a thorough vulnerability scan, internal audit, or get cybersecurity services from professionals. By the end of this step, you must have identified all the potential weaknesses and threats associated with your organization's IT infrastructure.

3.      Analyze Risks Probability

After identifying vulnerabilities and threats, the next step is to analyze and determine their probabilities. For that, you have to take each risk individually and assign a low, medium, or high probability level depending on its likelihood of occurrence and the resistance present in current control systems. This way, you will know what are the risks that need urgent attention.

4.      Analyze and Plan Security Controls

Now that you know what are the security risks associated with your organization and their probability level, the next step is to analyze your current security control system and plan things accordingly. First, check if the present security controls are capable to withstand the vulnerabilities. Secondly, look for what are the crucial security controls you are missing, such as encryption technology, two-factor authentication, access control, patching, etc. In short, you have to finalize all the security controls you need to minimize the impact of all potential attacks.

5.      Documentation

Once the risks are identified and the security controls are finalized, then you are almost done with the cyber security risk assessment. All that is left now is to document your risk assessment thoroughly so that associated personnel can get the info they need and that you can proceed with the cybersecurity plan effectively. The documentation can include details, like potential risks and their probability levels, current security controls, needed security controls, etc. In short, it should act as an all-in-one comprehensive risk assessment document for the whole organization.

Conclusion

Cyberthreats are a big concern of organizations all across the world. The advanced technologies and new sophisticated tactics are all helping cybercriminals to practice new ways of penetrating systems. However, if you conduct a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment on a regular basis and follow all the five steps, you will be in a better position to keep your cybersecurity infrastructure up to date. So, begin your cyber security assessment today and minimize the chances of cyberattacks greatly.

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