A Step by Step Guide on how a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment is Performed

Risk assessment needs to be done frequently for any organization. These risk assessments protect against cybersecurity threats that are happening every day.

It is an essential activity that needs to be executed carefully. The following steps can act as a guide to risk assessment.

Almost every organization relies on information technology and information systems to complete transactions and conduct daily business. Many risks are introduced during these transactions. These risks need to be examined to ensure that they are mitigated effectively.

The cyber risk assessment is used to identify, estimate, and prioritize the risk to an institution’s operations. By providing the organization with an executive summary, cyber risk assessment helps in making informed decisions to support the proper risk responses.

We are going to review the steps used when performing cybersecurity risk assessment:

Identifying the size, scope of assessment, and complexity of your organization assets

It is essential to understand the architecture and details of the system that you need to protect.

First, identify exactly what you are going to assess. This will allow you to determine the scope of your assessment. It will also help you plan your time wisely, and you will not leave any component or forget anything at all.

Make a list of everything that needs to be assessed.  This includes data, partners, and vendors. Identify data exchanges, both physical and logical containers such as removal devices, data centers, code, and scripts.

This initial step will help to determine how your cybersecurity risk assessment will be successful. Make sure you do not omit valuable assets, as this can be devastating to your findings.

Determining assets value

Knowing the asset value of everything that needs to be assessed will help you see the importance of it.

Determining asset value can be difficult because it is affected by many factors.

Ask yourself questions like if the company loses the data, how time or money will it cost to start again from the ground up. You can ask yourself how far competitors would go to obtaining your data.  If there is a compromise, what revenue can be lost, and how much damage will occur?  These questions will help you in knowing how valuable your assets are.

Vulnerability and threat identification

Make a list of potential and relevant threats to your systems to help you do your cybersecurity assessment.  Common risks include unauthorized access, internal attacks, misuse of privileges, data leakage, or unintentional exposure of information. Data loss caused by poor back-up processes is also a vulnerability.

Internal auditing can assist you in knowing the vulnerable areas of the system. Doing a vulnerability scan will also give you information regarding areas that need to be addressed.

Weighing the cost of prevention

Calculations should be done at this stage to determine if the value of the data or system is worthy of the cost of the mitigation methods.

Implementation stage

Your assessment will help to determine what you controls you should implement. The identified controls will be applied and put into action. The plan should always be cost-effective and practical. You need to closely monitor to ensure that the controls meet the expectations of the organization.