Risk assessments are important to every business

What is a risk assessment and why do you need one?

Have you filled out a cybersecurity insurance application lately? Had a prospective client inquire about your security standards and policies? Laid awake at night thinking about that article you read and could it happen to your firm? A cyber risk assessment is a great way to methodically work through your cybersecurity profile and come up with objective results and a plan for improvement. No network or plan is perfect, and there will always be vulnerabilities. It is important to understand your cybersecurity risks as the first step toward getting them under control!

Whether expanding to a competitive market, creating a new business infrastructure, or even developing leading-edge technology, there are risks associated with every business decision you make.

Defining the cybersecurity risk assessment

With the growing threat of cyber attacks, many companies are prioritizing their cybersecurity risk as a first step to create a safe and digitally secure business environment.

Cybersecurity risk assessments are a way for companies to:

  • Analyze current business systems and processes
  • Identify potential vulnerabilities and compliance issues
  • Create an actionable plan to address risks

Risk assessments can be performed by an internal resource or through a third-party assessor. Regardless of who manages the process, the result is a practical and cost-effective way to protect against devastating data breaches and significantly improve operational effectiveness.

Here are 3 reasons you need one.

1. To shore up any compliance gaps

Regulatory compliance laws like HIPAA are designed to protect the personal information of clients, customers, and employees. Additionally, government mandated compliance programs like the Defense Department’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will be standard practice moving forward. 

Cybersecurity risk assessments are designed to work in a highly regulated business environment. When it comes to identifying gaps in existing security infrastructure, they’re invaluable.

With data storage procedures, transactional processes, and application usage, risk assessments provide companies valuable insights to make better-informed decisions about how to structure their business security.

In turn, that allows you to focus on areas that are lacking in security rather than spending valuable time and energy in securing everything at once. It’s similar to creating a security priority list.

2. To prevent data loss and downtime

A key benefit to a risk assessment is that it allows a business to protect its network and devices from data loss and downtime, both of which can be costly and time-consuming. 

Getting ahead of any attacks on your network is critical. You should also be sure to keep your software updated on a regular basis to avoid security vulnerabilities in applications and services.

Risk assessments key you in to the status of your network, ensuring the latest firmware and security patches are installed and fully operational on everything that needs to be updated.

Related content: How to protect your business from insider threats

In the event of unexpected downtime or data breaches, a thorough assessment will help pinpoint any gaps in the company’s disaster recovery plan.

That helps you get back to operational status as quickly as possible if it happens again.

3. To discover any vulnerabilities

In today’s digital landscape, protecting your business against security vulnerabilities is necessary for survival.

Without secure networks and strict administrative protocols, a business exposes themselves to external and internal threats to their data. Keeping these threats at bay requires a proactive approach to cybersecurity planning and execution.

Risk assessments help businesses remain agile when combating current and future threats to data security. The earlier a business can recognize flaws in their system, the sooner they can devote the time, money, and resources to resolve their issues.

Conclusion

Many companies today use third party certifications like ISO 27001 to show they have examined their risk posture and put controls in place to protect their data.  But, you don’t have to start out on that big of a scale.  All of our Managed Services clients receive free access to risk self-assessment software.  Additionally, we offer customizable templates for all our clients on things like Bring Your Own Device or Internet Use policies.  These templates range from robust templates following specific NIST Risk Management Framework, to simple employee policies to get you started.  Risk assessments are for every business and we can help you find the right way to start managing your risk.

Want to know more about how you can improve your security? Check out how to protect your business from phishing attacks.