Guarding your business against malicious attacks on your critical data is essential for business growth. This is why you need risk assessment services from experts who will help you preempt threats to your network and assist to mitigate such threats. Third-party services and vendors can help conduct a risk assessment for your business.
Here’s how to evaluate which provider is right for you.
What is a risk?
Risk is a business concept that determines the financial or reputational loss of a business in four basic categories — zero, low, medium and high. This shows that risk is a possibility which can be averted if the necessary measures are put in place.
The three factors that play into the vulnerability assessment of a business are encapsulated in the following questions:
- What’s the vulnerability of the system?
- What are the threats?
- What are the reputational and financial damages when the system is breached or unavailable?
Risk, therefore, can be equated to the threat vulnerability value of information.
What is Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
Since risk is the uncertainty that’s encountered in business, cybersecurity risk assessment is the use of informational systems to identify, estimate and prioritize organizational risks into different categories.
Cybersecurity risk assessment helps board members or decision makers to make informed decisions in the best interest of the business. Also, it empowers a business with the right tools to prioritize risks and mitigate the most dangerous ones before others.
Importance of Performing Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Having a secure business is one of the surest plans to grow your business. Cybersecurity risk assessment is so important and if you don’t know the tremendous progress it can bring to your business, you may not exploit its power. Let’s examine a few of these importance:
- Saves long-term loss: When a cybersecurity risk assessment is carried out early enough by a risk assessment company, it saves the recipient company possible major losses that stem from security breaches. Some of these losses could be financial or reputational.
- Equips the business with a cybersecurity risk assessment model for the future: Risk assessment needn’t be a continuous process if it’s done correctly by risk assessment companies. There’s no need for an intermittent update of data because once risk is assessed, you’re able to identify possible threats in the future.
- Stalls data breaches: Since risk assessment services expose possible threats and vulnerabilities that are harmful to a business, you are armed with the needed information to prevent data breaches and data loss.
- Prevents application downtime: Also, since most business engagements are carried out online, cybersecurity has become imperative. Performing risk assessment helps to prevent a downturn on your business’ application. This implies that you don’t have to stop making money, even for a minute.
- Arm you with better organizational knowledge: Employing a risk assessment service will eventually enlighten you on the strength of your organization’s security and show you where there’s a need for improvement.
It’s important to note that even if your staff are familiar with how your digital and infrastructural networks work and they can perform risk assessment services, it’s best not to leave anything to chance. So, hiring the services of a cybersecurity risk assessment company will save you some imminent losses.
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How to Evaluate Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Services
Here, below, are seven steps you can take to evaluate the services of a third-party vendor conducting risk assessment on your defense network.
1. Identify and prioritize valuable information
Critical data such as trade secrets and customers’ details are important assets in cybersecurity. A great risk assessment service will identify and prioritize your company’s most valuable data. To achieve this, the third-party vendor will need to work with you to gather what you regard as valuable. The cybersecurity risk assessment company you hire must assess risk with the following features of your network in view:
- Software and Hardware
- Mission or purpose
- IT Security policies and architecture
- Network topology
- Information storage protection
- Information inflow and outflow
- Technical security controls
- Support personnel
2. Determine the threat
A threat takes advantage of a weakness to breach the security of an organization. The risk assessor must determine what kind of threat you are facing or may face in the foreseeable future. Determining the exact threat to expect will enable the risk assessor to provide the most suitable solution to help mitigate malicious actions against your defense. Some examples of such threats include:
- System breakdown: this is largely dependent on the quality of the organization’s computers. The likelihood of a system failure in a new high-quality computer is relatively low compared to a computer that’s been in use for a long time. So, it’s wise to upgrade your computers from time to time.
- Incidental human intrusion: No matter how careful a person is, this remains inevitable. There are always possibilities of errors which can cause a threat to the security of a business. These errors can include clicking malware links, mistakenly deleting data, etc. An easy way to guard against this is to put the necessary securities in place, such as anti-malware and data backup.
- Malicious human action: This is the behaviour of people that can threaten the security of your business. Such behaviours include initiating a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack against your website, impersonation, and hacking of systems to steal data.
3. Determine the Vulnerabilities
A vulnerability is a weakness that can be exploited to cause harm to the security of any business. A superb risk assessment service will determine existing vulnerabilities and prepare you for the vulnerabilities to anticipate. Vulnerabilities can be spotted through analysis, audit report, vendor data, etc. Testing the systems in the IT department is a very good way to find loopholes and fix them.
4. Analyse controls and execute new ones
Adequate risk assessment will examine the controls that are in place to determine the possibilities of threat and vulnerability. New controls can be executed through technical means like hard and software encryption, data leak detection, two-factor authentication, etc.
5. Estimate the possibility of various scenarios on a yearly basis
Having identified the value of your critical assets, vulnerabilities, and controls, the next thing to do is determine the likelihood of the occurrence of these risks and their impacts. In doing this, you must determine the effect of your losses to know how much to spend on guarding against it.
6. Contrast risks based on the cost of prevention against information value
In order to properly determine the risk levels and action points for the management, follow these general guidelines guide:
- Low – determine whether to let the risk slide or guard against it.
- Medium – corrective measures should be developed within a stipulated period.
- High – corrective measures should be developed immediately.
7. Document your findings
This is the final step and perhaps the most important one. Ensure that the third-party vendor documents their findings in a risk assessment report to help your decision-making on policies, procedures and budget.
The report for each threat should be described as risk, value and vulnerabilities, as well as impact and possibility of occurrence and control recommendations.
This process will help you establish guidelines and policies that will better help you secure your business against attacks.
Securing the right third-party vendor to help your business assess risk can be quite a daunting task. However, it’s not impossible to do. Evaluating risk assessment services from third-party vendors should be based on their adherence to due process in risk assessment.
Protecting your critical data and systems isn’t just a one-off event. Cybercriminals are working tirelessly to create new ways to gain access to financial, health, or government data. That’s why you need to know where the weaknesses and vulnerabilities are in your system — so you can stay ahead of all malicious actors.
Get access to top-notch cybersecurity risk assessment services by signing up for a free vulnerability scan from RSI Security. You’ll then receive your own custom Cyber Risk Assessment Report after assessing your systems for potential weak points. Our free vulnerability assessment is a limited-time offer. So, take advantage quickly. Don’t wait until there’s an attack on your system to discover where your vulnerabilities are.
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