What is Cyber Risk Assessment? Why is it Crucial for any Business?

securityIt’s the decade of technological advancements, but in addition, it’s the decade of ever-rising cybercrimes. In fact, one in every ten web addresses is a malicious address and web attacks have risen by 56% in the last year, reports Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report. This brings us to the question:

What should businesses do to fight these cyber-attacks? The first step in any defense strategy is assessing the enemies or their attacks. In this situation, the enemies are the cybercriminals and their attacks plan to exploit the security weaknesses of the information systems available in any organization.

That means the first step should be to assess the security weaknesses in the information systems of an organization. In other words, cyber risk assessment is the initial step for any organization when opting for a defense strategy for protecting against modern web attacks. That said, let’s get to the details!

What is Cyber Risk Assessment?

Cyber risk assessment is the process of identifying and analyzing cyber risks, i.e., the risks present in the information systems and information technology used in an organization. Cyber risks are any risks connected with financial loss, operation loss, or reputation loss of an organization associated with the business’s information systems.

Cybersecurity risk assessments are used to identify your most important data and devices, how a hacker could gain access, what risks could crop up if your data fell into the wrong hands and how vulnerable you are as a target. It should be noted that depending on your industry, you may already be subjected to mandatory cybersecurity risk assessments from a certified entity. In such cases, you may need to use a third-party system to comply with regulations,” per business.com.

For instance, the risks include cybercrimes, data breaches, and system outages. The reason being: all of these risks incur some or the other loss to any business, thus the cyber risk assessment helps manage these risks. But that’s not all!

Successful cyber risk management is more than installing antivirus systems and firewalls, monitoring logs, and other must-have security solutions. It asks for a holistic view of the people, processes, and products for building a secure and productive organization.

But how a cyber risk assessment is fulfilled?

The best method of performing cyber risk assessment is to investigate and identify threats to your business, internal and external vulnerabilities, the potential impact of those vulnerabilities being exploited, and the likelihood of exploitation. If you find answers to these, you’ll have your assessment ready.

Why is it Crucial for any Business?

In the present business environment, every organization relies on information systems and information technology to do business. That’s why there are a few particular threats that every business must know about and deal with them. Risk assessment and management strategies form a crucial part of just not being aware of but also dealing with them. Then, there is a great difference between standard risk assessments (which include workplace injuries and more) and cybersecurity risk assessments (which include technological risks).

The main purpose of a cyber risk assessment is to inform the decision-makers of an organization and assist in setting proper risk responses. It also provides an executive summary to assist executives and top-level directors to make educated decisions about information security in their organization. The assessment helps ensure that the installed cybersecurity policies and solutions are appropriate to manage the potential risks faced by an organization.

Why does it matter? You could waste financial and other resources without a cybersecurity risk assessment to inform your cybersecurity controls. After all, there is little reason to implement controls to defend risks that may not occur or impact your organization. Moreover, it’s bad decision-making to implement solutions that may not be able to control or manage the potential risks.

That’s the reason various industry frameworks, laws, and standards — including the China Internet Security Law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (VIC) — ask businesses to conduct risk assessments.

If you’re still not convinced, let’s check out some more reasons for conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment in your organization — it helps avoid risks!

1. Safeguards your Business

First of all, it assists in safeguarding your business from all types of cyber risks including but not limited to cyberattacks, data breaches and leaks, etc.

1.1. Provides Self Awareness

If you and your organization’s decision-makers know about its strengths and weaknesses, it provides a better idea of the areas your organization must invest in. It further helps to avoid extra-spending of costs or other resources.

1.2. Helps Avoid Security Incidents

As it’s repeated multiple times in this post, a well-conducted cybersecurity risk assessment helps improve your security practices and solutions, which further helps in mitigating online attacks or threats and data breaches and leaks.

1.3. Thus Reduces Long-term Costs

Obviously, when your organization identifies potential threats, works in advance to mitigate them, and thwart security incidents like data breaches and leaks, it helps your organization save financial and other resources in the long term.

2. Industry’s Best Practices

That’s not all; there are more reasons to run a cyber risk assessment than some benefits for your business. It’s required by many laws and industry standards.

2.1. Helps Get Cyber Insurance

You must get a cybersecurity risk assessment to get cyber insurance. And if you don’t know, cyber insurance is supercritical in present dangerous times. Your organization may go out of business in just six months of an online attack.

2.2. Required Legally (Usually)

As it’s detailed before, there are numerous federal laws and industry standards which require organizations to run cybersecurity risk assessments regularly, binding you to run the assessments. For example, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).

That’s all about the cybersecurity risks assessment and the numerous reasons for conducting such an assessment. Did you find it helpful? Write a comment.