A cybersecurity risk assessment helps you expose and prioritize issues that could undermine your organization’s security. The risk assessment process starts with a series of interviews during which a cybersecurity consultant will meet with key members of your organization to analyze your policies, procedures, and controls. The consultant will tailor the assessment to your organization’s size, industry regulations, business operations, and other special considerations. You’ll work through scenarios to forecast the consequences of vulnerabilities that are common in businesses like yours. One of the main benefits of a cybersecurity risk assessment is an increased ability to identify and prevent cyber incidents from impacting your organization.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a simple “Risk Checklist.” Risk is abstract, and although we can’t reach out and touch your security risk, we can measure it by examining the associated factors: threats and vulnerabilities. Risk Assessment specialists combine their unique understanding of your business operations with a broader understanding of today’s security landscape to identify your most significant threats, vulnerabilities, and risks.
Why do companies conduct cybersecurity risk assessments?
Conducting a Risk Assessment will help you understand and plan to mitigate risks to your organization. A cybersecurity risk assessment is not a solution to risk, but it can become your guide to mitigating unnecessary risk wherever possible.
Organizations conduct risk assessments before acquisitions, divestment, and integrations to see where they may be inviting risk. Heavily regulated industries, like finance and healthcare, must complete risk assessments to comply with standards like GLBA, SOX, HIPAA or CMMC.
Sometimes companies conduct risk assessments before and after major systems changes — switching from on-prem to the cloud, for example. Comparing the reports from the pre-assessment and post-assessment can help ensure a smooth and secure transition.
What do you learn by performing cybersecurity risk assessment?
In a number of circumstances, a risk assessment enables you to make informed business decisions by highlighting potential issues and revealing priorities for which areas to fortify first. Protecting your organization from adverse events like data breaches is a big reason why risk management is beneficial in cybersecurity.
Benefits of Conducting a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
#1: Identify Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
Anyone who has sped on the interstate or eaten from a food truck is familiar with the concept of risk, but risk has a special definition in cybersecurity. “Risk” is the potential loss when a threat exploits a vulnerability. You can think of vulnerabilities as opportunities for negative outcomes. For example, a weak corporate password policy invites the risk of unauthorized network access and sensitive data exposure. An organization might implement a longer character requirement or blacklist commonly used passwords to mitigate the risk associated with this vulnerability.
#2: Get Security Documentation
Risk exists in the gray area, but experts are available to help you put it in black and white. After we conduct your cybersecurity risk assessment, we create a report to document your current security posture and any relevant risks. We’ll meet with you (virtually these days) to securely deliver the report and answer any questions you have.
Conducting annual cybersecurity risk assessments allows you to track your quantitative progress from year to year as you close gaps and strategically develop your security program. Additionally, keeping a record of regular risk assessments indicates to potential clients and investors that you are investing in cybersecurity.
#3: Gain Insights from a Cybersecurity Expert
While the final report has both functional and symbolic value, it is still a snapshot. The discussions you have with a dedicated cybersecurity risk expert are an invaluable aspect of the assessment. The risk assessment process forces you to think about every little aspect of your business operations and wonder: What would we do if something bad happened? As a third-party observer, a cyber risk assessor has the unique perspective to catch gaps that may be overlooked internally.
During this process, you may come to realize that some of your documented procedures are outdated or inadequate. The process that experts use to identify gaps in your environment will help you understand that environment more fully.
#4: See if You Meet Compliance Regulations
Depending on your industry and the types of data you store, your organization could be subject to cybersecurity compliance requirements. For example, educational institutions must abide by FERPA, and healthcare organizations are subject to HIPAA. ProCircular’s experts are well-versed in various compliance standards, and a risk assessment will clearly identify where your organization meets compliance and where you do not.
#5: View an Actionable, Prioritized List of Risks
Not only does a risk assessment reveal the most critical cybersecurity risks within your organization, but our experts also prioritize those risks so that you can take action immediately. The risk assessment process will provide you with the insight and tools to create an informed risk-mitigation plan. Your final report will include a detailed list of risks that are most likely to affect your business and recommendations for mitigating those risks.
#6: Understand Your Ability to Address a Security Threat
Cybercriminals are not the only instigators of risk. Business leaders must consider and confront even non-malicious threats to their business continuity. For example, servers that are stored under a water-based fire suppression system would be ruined in the event of a fire. This storage decision invites the risk of service disruption.
Risk assessment specialists have the resources and experience to find vulnerabilities where you may not have thought to look. At ProCircular, we consider technical vulnerabilities, inconsistencies in governance, compliance gaps, vendor risks, and, most importantly, the human element of security to find gaps in your organization’s defense.
Choose ProCircular for Your Next Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
ProCircular’s risk assessment specialists are engaged with you throughout the entire process, giving you real-time updates of critical vulnerabilities. During the report delivery meeting, we walk you through our results and help you understand our methods. We validate both the existence and the quality of your security controls to ensure you are prepared to deal with cybersecurity threats. Contact the cybersecurity experts at ProCircular, or call 844-95-SECUR to learn more about cybersecurity risk assessments.