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At its most basic, a proper risk assessment is a foundation for any organization’s information security program. Most organizations are required to complete mandatory risk assessments to test for compliance such as PCI DSS, SOC2, ISO 27001, NIST, HIPAA, and other standards. With the raging amount of cyberattacks currently targeting organizations, many are choosing to opt for cyber security solutions empowered by innovative technologies like artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning(ML). Apart from enhancing security, both technologies can also play a critical role in increasing productivity, revenue, and enhancing the user experience. Unfortunately, both of these technologies can also be wielded for the reverse purpose, i.e., penetrating the defenses of organizations through hacking private networks, software bugs capable of crippling your infrastructure, and more. Many cyber security experts agree that these technologies can actually make it far more challenging to identify, track, and mitigate critical hacks and breaches. With these technologies gaining physical prominence, AI misuse becomes a growing concern for organizations. All of these make it even more crucial for organizations to understand their own cyber security preparedness with an extensive cyber security risk assessment.

Risk assessments are often seen as a mandatory step before acquisitions, divestment, integrations, and major systemic overhauls (such as migration from on-premise to cloud) to evaluate the risk profile of organizations. This is particularly true for heavily regulated industries, like finance and healthcare, that need to comply with standards like GLBA, SOX, HIPAA, or CMMC. For effective risk assessment practices, please reach out to Managed IT services Redding.

What Makes an Effective Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

It is critical for organizations to understand that proper cybersecurity risk assessments are always an on-going process. It is a continuous opportunity for companies to unearth, protect and manage potential risks or vulnerabilities. This evaluation should really form the foundation of your organization’s core security plan. Effective and regular risk assessment can offer up solutions to secure your systems from lurking dangers, and find smarter ways to mitigate risks.

In an ideal scenario, organizations would be able to make use of the expertise of in-house IT teams with an intuitive understanding of information flows, proprietary organizational knowledge etc. to conduct thorough risk assessments. In fact, over time organizations have found that transparency is a key element in conducting effective cyber risk assessment.

Benefits of Conducting a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Why should your organization conduct cybersecurity risk assessments?

Detect and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Each unexplored vulnerability in your organization’s network can lead to changing risk profiles without anyone being aware of it. Regular risk assessments help your organization stay ahead by detecting and mitigating vulnerabilities early enough so hackers can’t take advantage of them. Even simple steps like blacklisting commonly used passwords or mandating a longer and more complex password requirement can go a long way to mitigate the risks.

Save money in the long term

As outlined above, early threat/ vulnerability detection and mitigation can be key to reducing the number of security incidents that an organization has to face on average. By default, this leads to saving on both financial costs and reputational costs in the long term. For more ideas on cost savings through being better prepared for risk mitigation, please refer to Cybersecurity Sacramento.

Risk assessment enables better organizational knowledge

While most organizations may hesitate from delving too deep into their own vulnerabilities. Knowing these in advance can actually give you an edge as you will be empowered to know exactly where you need to make progress in order to mitigate risk and improve your security posture. Fresno IT Support can help you get started.

Thorough Security Documentation

Developing a total understanding of risk management takes time and expertise that organizations may not have readily available in-house. In those cases, it may be advisable for organizations to actually recruit reliable experts that can help them understand their risk profiles and status of current security posture in detail. These experts create a thorough report once your cyber security risk assessment is completed. This kind of analysis can help you understand your progress with security posture over time as it tracks both quantitative and qualitative progress. Risk experts are also happy to discuss the report with you in detail and answer your questions with regards to developing a comprehensive security program. Maintaining records of annual cyber security risk assessments can also help your clients, partners, and investors develop trust in your proactive-ness in long-term cybersecurity planning.

Insights from cybersecurity experts can provide much-needed guidance in comprehensive security planning

Always keep in mind that cyber security risk assessments tend to summarize the status of your security posture. For a deeper dive into your strengths and vulnerabilities and how to manage the latter, you need considerable time with reliable cyber security experts. Ideally, this discussion should force your thoughts to ponder on the minutest details of your business operations and processes that may be putting your entire operations at risk. This is why it’s critical to engage an outside expert as they cast a fresh eye on the problem and may be able to offer insights and guidance that even meticulous in-house plans may gloss over. They will also be able to tell you if your documented procedures are inadequate or out of date. They will help you understand your operating environment in detail, identify the chinks in your security defense armor and help you patch over the gaps.

Risk assessments can help you meet compliance regulations

There is a reason why compliance testing always starts with extensive risk assessments. While compliance requirements vary widely depending on the industry the data types stored by your organization, meeting those compliance requirements regularly depends on periodic risk assessments.

Prioritize risks and act on them

Knowing your risks is only the first step towards effective risk management and mitigation. Take the help of cyber security experts to prioritize all risks that can cause the most impact and start acting on them at the earliest. The risk assessment part paves the way to building an informed risk mitigation plan with the right tools and knowledge in place.

Marce Miracle

Marketing & Communications Manager at Apex Technology Management, California-based IT Support Company. She is an expert in in-depth market research and knows how to stay on top of the most recent industry trends. She has a strong focus on budgeting and ensuring maximum profitability in the business.