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Are you worried about the security of your organization’s data and assets? If so, a security risk assessment may be suitable for you. This blog will discuss what a security risk assessment is, its benefits, and how to know if it’s time for one in your organization. Whether you’re looking to improve your current cybersecurity measures or meet compliance regulations, read on to learn more!

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What is a security risk assessment?
A security risk assessment (SRA) is a tool that helps organizations evaluate their current level of protection against cybersecurity threats and identify any potential vulnerabilities. By asking essential questions relevant to your assets, preparedness, present risks, and mitigation plans, an SRA can provide valuable insights for improving your organization’s overall cybersecurity. SRA is conducted by cybersecurity experts where some of the processes include penetration testing (ethical hacking to evaluate your security) – and ends with recommendations to address the risk and security gaps in your organization.

But what exactly are the outcomes you should be looking for? To make it easier, here you’ll find five questions that you should ask during your SRA so that you can take actionable steps to take to fortify your network:

5 questions that need to be answered in your security risk assessment

1. What are the cyber assets you need to protect?
When it comes to cybersecurity, the definition of assets is the business data you want to protect from cybercriminals. This means it covers everything from protected data, such as private information of employees and customers, to any intellectual property your organization has. A risk assessment is the perfect time to identify these assets and categorize them from least to most valuable. Categorizing your assets is as important as identifying them because it gives you the information you need for a risk mitigation plan.

2. What are the cybersecurity risks you’re currently facing?
It’s important to know the internal and external factors that threaten your business. This means knowing what threats you’re facing and the risk factors involved. Cyber threats differ depending on your business and the assets you possess. For instance, the aerospace industry is more vulnerable to attacks by nation-state actors, while the finance industry faces a higher risk for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The same goes for risk factors. You can’t protect your assets without knowing what you’re up against.

3. What are the current strengths of your security response?
While your security response may have been optimal last year, the ever-changing landscape of cyberattacks demands constant improvement to plug potential gaps that are just waiting to be exploited by cybercriminals. Cybersecurity experts conducting your SRA can identify the current strengths and weaknesses of your security response. This information will assist you in your cybersecurity decision-making and save your organization’s resources by focusing on vulnerabilities and security gaps that require optimization.

4. What’s your current mitigation plan for a cyberattack – and how can it be improved?
Do you currently have a cyberattack mitigation plan in place? And if you do, could it be improved? A mitigation plan is there to prepare you to expect the unexpected hence it needs to be as tight as it can. Cybersecurity experts say that for many organizations, the question is not “will we be attacked?”, but rather “when will we be attacked?” thus, an ideal and complete mitigation plan should cover during and beyond the aftermath of an attack. With an SRA, you’ll be able to identify actionable steps to take when an attack happens; for instance, what can your personnel do should an attack occur?

5. I’ve done my assessment, when should the next one be?
Risk assessments shouldn’t be a one-off exercise. Think of your regular health check – once in a lifetime isn’t enough. And this goes for SRAs too. The types of cyber threats change year by year; what was prevalent in 2022 could be less of a threat in 2023. A regular SRA can tell you whether your organization’s security procedures and policies need improvement to match the evolving threats. But “regular” depends on how high-risk your business or industry is. Based on your risk profile and the result of your initial SRA, you’ll be able to know when should your next assessment be.

Is now the time for a risk assessment for your organization?
A security risk assessment can give you clarity on your organization’s assets and the cybersecurity risks facing these assets. It can also be used to assess the strength and weaknesses of your security response and mitigation plans. All these are essential steps toward protecting your organization against today’s ever-evolving cyber threats. Plus, a risk assessment can help you meet compliance regulations which can be done by asking cybersecurity experts to check whether your security controls meet the regulations, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Suppose you are looking for a way to improve your organization’s cybersecurity and protect your assets from ever-changing cyber threats. In that case, it may be time to consider conducting a security risk assessment. This process involves reviewing your company’s assets and identifying any potential risks or vulnerabilities that could put these at risk. With the help of cybersecurity experts, you can create an effective mitigation plan that will help prepare you for the unexpected. If you’re ready to take control of your organization’s security and protect it against today’s rapidly evolving digital threats, contact our IT experts to discuss your next steps.

Download our guide to identify vulnerabilities and meeting compliance requirements