Performing a risk assessment is the first step in deciding where to focus your security efforts. Security teams that operate on outdated or generic vendor information, or fail to update security patches, are setting their organization up for a data breach.
What is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Not only is a cybersecurity risk assessment an essential part of any security practice, but some organizations are also required to perform a risk assessment to meet regulatory compliance standards. These assessments point out security deficiencies, failures in best practices, and potential loopholes waiting for hackers to exploit.
A risk assessment can vary in scope and purpose, but the broader the better when it comes to cybersecurity.
Benefits of a risk assessment
The obvious benefit of a risk assessment is the visibility and transparency into your vulnerabilities. Now, your team can move forward with patches, securing data buckets, and other necessary remediation tasks.
Beyond the operational benefit, regular risk assessment has a reputational factor. Organizations with a strong security posture – regular assessments, strong firewalls, commitment to privacy – recover faster from the reputational damage of a breach than businesses without those elements. Stock prices bounce back quickly, customers feel protected with a clear path forward, and employees have an answer when they do receive complaints about a breach.
Another benefit is improved security throughout your third-, fourth-, and nth-party vendors. As you hold them accountable for the risks they’re taking, they’ll start performing their own risk assessments and patching any security vulnerabilities. This ripple effect improves your credibility and makes every interaction with your online presence safer.
How to perform a risk assessment
While every department in an organization needs to perform risk assessments at some point, cybersecurity and information technology require greater insight. Depending on the industry, regulatory compliance may have a standard for the risk assessment or the data that needs to be protected. However, even organizations without a point-of-sale system need to protect the personally identifiable information (PII) for their users – whether that includes username, email address, age, or address. Even the smallest piece of malicious code on a website can trigger a long future of identity protection for the compromised user.
Learn the full extent of
your external attack surface
From a cybersecurity perspective, you can only protect the assets you know about. An extensive assessment of your external attack surface gives you a current snapshot of every online asset, whether managed directly by your enterprise or by an nth-party vendor.
Because every company in your digital supply chain relies on third-party vendors for to operate their business, your organization faces risks from your vendors’ vendors. While these services are essential to growth as a company, a risk assessment ensures you have a clear picture of your vulnerabilities throughout this ecosystem.
analyze and prioritize
the vulnerable assets
Once you have that snapshot of your online ecosystem, you need to analyze the data and prioritize the next steps in remediation.
Cyberpion’s Ecosystem Assessment tool not only provides the snapshot but also prioritizes each risk so your team knows where to start. This information helps you meet regulatory standards and saves you time repairing breaches.
Protect Your Organization with a routine risk assessment
The cybersecurity world is changing every day, and malicious attackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their tactics.
Cyberpion recommends a full ecosystem assessment scan every two weeks to stay ahead of vulnerabilities. In 2016, Marriott bought a third-party vendor whose server was compromised two years earlier. Without due diligence or continued assessment, they allowed the server to remain compromised for another two years.
For NIST compliance, risk assessment becomes part of security culture, not just a one-time occurrence.
Cybersecurity risk comes from anywhere, and the next greatest risk is malware-infected employee devices. With many teams working remotely or using cloud services for their documents and communication, security may seem impossible. Regularly communicating best practices around WiFi usage, server access, permissions, and password sharing can keep security at the front of your employees’ minds.
What do you really know about the security posture
of your digital ecosystem?
See the risks you’re exposed to with a vulnerability assessment.