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8 Reasons to Conduct a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

July 14, 2022 | Posted in:

Cybersecurity

The rate of technology change is accelerating, along with the number of attack surfaces within a company environment. At no time was the acceleration more evident than during the height of the pandemic. Many companies had to adapt and invest in technology to simply keep operating. Organizations quickly make this shift by introducing new systems and tools to support a remote workforce and enhance their digital customer experience. This shift, however, also introduced new breach pathways.

To address the increased cyber threats, many businesses are conducting cybersecurity risk assessments to uncover weaknesses and gaps in their environment.

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a comprehensive review of your security defenses. It exposes vulnerabilities and determines if your organization has the right mix of security practices and measures to combat modern threats effectively.

Exposing any cybersecurity weakness within your environment is one of the crucial reasons why a business should conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment; here are the others:

CLARIFY PERCEPTION OF CYBERSECURITY POSTURE

As the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know. So what don't you know about your cybersecurity posture? Confusion around cybersecurity generally stems from an organization's perception of their risk or, better-stated, misperception of risk.

52% of SMBs experienced a cyberattack in 2021, and 60% closed their doors within six months of a serious cyberattack.

Misperception is especially true for a business that has NOT been hit by a cyberattack or lacks first-hand knowledge of a company that has. A cybersecurity risk assessment clarifies your cybersecurity posture so you can evaluate and prioritize your risks.

EMPLOY EFFECTIVE CYBERSECURITY STRATEGIES & PROTECTIONS

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Beyond the pandemic, the rise of the cloud has changed the network topography for many organizations. As your network digitally expands, your cybersecurity strategy must evolve to defend against new cyber threats. A cybersecurity risk assessment will look across your network to evaluate what you are doing and, more importantly, what you are not. You can then create a cybersecurity roadmap and begin fortifying your cybersecurity defenses.

KNOW WHERE TO INVEST IN CYBERSECURITY

lock_cents_invest_cybersecurityDon't continue to waste your budget on cybersecurity protections that aren't effectively keeping out the criminals. Not knowing how your defenses can be breached makes it difficult to know where to invest your cybersecurity dollars. 

Once a cybersecurity risk assessment is conducted, you should have a firm understanding of your level of risk (low, medium, high prioritization) for each area assessed. Risk is calculated by identifying a threat or vulnerability and evaluating the likelihood and impact of a compromise.

RISK = LIKELIHOOD x IMPACT

A cybersecurity risk assessment that applies this methodology will help your organization prioritize where to spend your defense dollars for greater effectiveness. 

MEASURE CYBERSECURITY MATURITY & RESIDUAL RISK

Cybersecurity maturity estimates how effectively security controls have been implemented to help mitigate identified risks. A cybersecurity risk assessment should have context-aware interviews, documentation, configuration reviews, and automated scanning tools to help determine how well current controls are implemented and your level of residual risk. Generally, having a highly mature level of cybersecurity controls in place will help to reduce your overall cyber risk.

PREPARE AHEAD OF AUDITS

No organization wants to fail an audit; especially one focused on its defenses. In fact, cybersecurity risk assessments are now required by a growing number of regulations, standards, and laws. Before your next audit, a cybersecurity risk assessment identifies where your security controls are ineffective or nonexistent. This valuable information can help you stay on top of cybersecurity and meet your compliance obligations.

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EVALUATE EMPLOYEES' CYBER AWARENESS

Cybersecurity is more than IT. The 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report states the human element was involved in 82% of 2021 reported breaches. This comes as no surprise - we are human, after all.

A cybersecurity risk assessment will give insight into the threats employees face so you can educate them on how to spot and address cyberattack attempts. While training employees is important, having technology in place, such as multi-factor authentication or identity and access management, can be a safety net thereby reducing your chances of a breach should a human error occur.

ANALYZE IT MANAGEMENT & GOVERNANCE

Certain policies and plans are critical business continuity components your organization will rely on should an event or breach occur. A cybersecurity risk assessment will evaluate existing IT policies, IT planning, disaster recovery planning, and IT governance documents. A review of these documents and processes can uncover any weaknesses that introduce exploitable risks.

OBTAIN/RENEW CYBER INSURANCE

Sohposo Guide to Cyber Insuance_Ramsomware Figure 2021

Cyberattacks and losses have increased over the past several years, leading to more demand for cyber insurance. Sophos Guide to Cyber Insurance states the average ransomware recovery cost for a mid-size organization hit $1.85 million last year, more than double the previous year's figure of $760,000.

The increase in losses has prompted insurance carriers to intensify cybersecurity requirements from businesses seeking coverage. Before you renew or obtain coverage, a cybersecurity risk assessment will uncover your systems' weak points. You can then address any vulnerabilities that may prevent your organization from obtaining cyber insurance.  


Uncover weaknesses in your cyber defenses before the criminals do.

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Cybersecurity is a never-ending race to outpace hackers. A cybersecurity risk assessment gives you a clear picture of your business's risk exposure.

Knowing your organization's cybersecurity maturity and where weaknesses are in your defense posture will help you proactively address your risks and keep you a step ahead of the cybercriminals.


For more information on IT and security services, connect with us at info@systemsengineering.com or call 888.624.6737. Customers, please get in touch with your Systems Engineering Account Manager.