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Assessing cybersecurity risk can be a daunting task if you look at the size and resources of the organization. For smaller firms, it is easier to use a one-that-fits-all strategy. Nevertheless, when dealing with a much larger firm, all bets are off the table because the amount of information can be overwhelming.
The limitations of assessing cybersecurity risk for a large firm begins with the number of people that are doing the work. It is never a one-person show if you care about the company and the users of its product.
Sometimes the way and manner the business runs don’t conform with the overall objective of the firm. At other times, processes and functions may be lagging with delivery and transaction problems. If you have to deal with regulatory agencies and manage your image due to negative feedback to the public, you can add those to the list too.
All these could get presented as the firm's inability to control risk effectively. A hacker that infiltrates your firm system can rake havoc in your business operations even it is slowly done. That is why cybersecurity risk assessment is essential.
To access the company for threats and potential risks, here are the few steps you should have in mind.
Image source: Semantic Scholar
Get yourself a risk assessment team.
Risk assessment is not about the number of employees you employ in order to tell what risk is inherent in the business. It is about working with people in strategic positions that could be beneficial to the strategy you are planning to adopt. These people possess the right information on how the operation works.
On the list of people that should form your team, are the managers of the various departments in the firm, the CISO of the company, privacy officers, and senior staff of the company.
With all these people behind you, pertinent questions can be asked, like, what is the operating system of each department, and what data does it use? If the source of the data available, is the source reliable? What internal and external data flows from each department, the origin of the data, and who receives the final information?
By stream lining each department data flow on a chart, you can quickly point out where to start your data assessment.
Arrange your information asset
By arranging the information asset you just received from the trusted managers of these departments, you can pinpoint the information flow based on the software, infrastructure, and platform used.
Pertinent questions about some of the arrangements in each department will reveal where the information you just received gets stored. Where do the retailers of this info get it from? What are the appropriate channels they use in sending this info to each section? What is the authentication process to ensure the data is genuine? Also, questions like, who is the party with access to this data, what are the connecting devices, and much more?
A risk assessment or identifying threats
Threats pose a significant obstacle to the operations of a business and its continuity. In order to mitigate risks, one has to know;
Firstly, the infrastructure, platform, and operating systems that power the functions of the business.
The necessary information viable in the business operating system in case there is a breach.
What are the devices connected to the classified and confidential information set out by the firm, and if they likely to get attacked?
What are the consequences of a data breach? For example, a case of unauthorized access, misuse of information, data leakage, loss of data, and disruption of production.
What measures will be put in place in case any of these occurs?
Do you have a plan to continue your operations when any of these attacks occur? What are the vulnerabilities existent in the different operations of your business?
Run an analysis of the risks
In analyzing your risk assessment, you have to be mindful of the parameters you set, in terms of;
How much impact does the threat need to carry before it could get regarded as high, low, and medium impact?
What is the control environment put in place to ensure an attack doesn't escalate once it reaches a specific parameter? For example, does the business have Admin controls to deal with any type of threat, how about organizational and user provision control to mitigate the attack before it escalates?
Is there a plan to secure and protect the firm's infrastructure and ensure continuity of operations?
How do you rate each control level for them to be able to mitigate risk, meaning, are they enough?
Does each control level stand as satisfactory, needs improvement, or are they highly inadequate for the potential threats you face?
Some of these controls have names are, password login, encrypting data files, authentication processes, training of employees through seminars and workshops, antivirus, the two-factor authentication process, and more.
Calculate your risk
Calculating the eventuality of a risk occurring is a more effective tool than leaving it at the analysis stage. In an ideal world, we assume and base our judgments on assumptions. When we assume, we put our business and operations in greater danger because it makes workers nonchalant. The moment they get laid back or certain that all checks are in place, the attacker strikes a vulnerability.
It is crucial to classify or calculate threats based on low, high, and medium risk.
Low threats involve minor threats that do not cause severe damage to the assets of the company but need to be completing reduced.
Medium threats focus on those threats that take the firm an amount of time to remove.
High threat refers to those threats that need immediate attention; otherwise, things will implode.
Calculating them refers to their impact as against the likelihood of them to occur. That will be based on the risk rating system of the various threats your firm faces.
Monitor and review process
The time to understand and monitor threats is when the five steps have been implemented. We all know that threats are continuously changing in the environment. It is only by keeping the firm's database updated about new and possible risks so that the business can stay afloat.
Allow staff to attend best cybersecurity bootcamps to learn new techniques in spotting potential risk.
Response time also has to be improved to reduce the number of low threats that can turn into severe ones.