How to Offer a Cyber Security Risk Assessment to Clients?
July 3, 2023, 6 min read
There is a wide variety of cyber threats. An email that appears to have come from a colleague you know and trust can instead be a phishing attempt designed to steal sensitive company data or a virus that affects your computer. All it takes is one click on a malicious link. Cybercriminals aren’t just after the big names in the business; they’re also going after the little guys and gals. It’s hardly shocking that many small and medium-sized businesses worry about cyber threats. 79% of those polled in the 2021 ConnectWise State of SMB Cybersecurity report expressed anxiety about being the victim of a cyberattack within the next six months. In this blog post, we are going to dive into how you can manage and reduce these risks by offering cyber security risk assessment services to your clients.
What is Cyber Risk?
The term “cyber risk” refers to the potential for harm to confidential information, finances, or online operations. Events that potentially lead to a data leak are the most frequently associated with cyber hazards.
Security threats can be another name for cyber dangers. These are some examples of cyber risks:
- Spilling information
- Malware Phishing Internal Threats
There are actions you may do to lessen your exposure to cyber threats.
Sometimes, people confuse cyber dangers and vulnerabilities, even though they have distinct differences. The cyber risk associated with a vulnerability is determined by the likelihood of it being exploited.
The Cyber Risk Assessment: What Is It?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) states that organizations use cyber risk assessments to detect, estimate, and prioritize threats to their operations, assets, individuals, other organizations, and the country that arises from the use of information technology.
A cyber risk assessment’s principal function is to provide appropriate actions to identify hazards by keeping stakeholders informed. To aid executives and directors in making security-related choices, they also offer an executive summary.
Questions like these are at the heart of information security’s risk assessment procedure.
- What are the most valuable components of our IT infrastructure?
- What malware, cyber assault, or human error might significantly affect our company’s data? Consider details about your clients.
- Can all potential dangers be pinpointed?
- How severe is the danger that each threat poses?
- Where do we have an exposure, both internally and externally?
- If those flaws are exploited, what will be the results?
- How likely is it that you will be exploited?
- How might disruptions in cyberspace due to attacks, threats, or other security incidents influence operations?
- To what extent is it acceptable for my company to take risks?
Determine what needs protection if you know the answers to those questions. As a result, you may formulate data security plans and IT security controls to address vulnerabilities. However, before you do that, please consider the following questions and their respective answers.
- To what extent am I lowering what risk?
- Do you think this poses the greatest threat to security?
- Am I taking precautions that are both effective and economical?
Knowing the information value of the data you’re securing can help you tailor your approach to information risk management to meet the specific requirements of your organization.
With a risk assessment form in hand, let’s examine the necessary steps for conducting a comprehensive cyber risk assessment.
Finding the Worth of the Information First
Since most businesses do not have an infinite budget for information risk management, it is prudent to focus on the most important assets first.
Taking the time to define criteria for evaluating an asset worth can save both time and money in the long run. Typically, organizations include the organizational importance, legal status, and asset value. Use the criterion to determine if an asset is critical, major, or minor once the organization formally incorporates it into its information risk management policy.
Establish Assets and Set Priorities
The first stage in conducting a proper evaluation is to locate the assets that need to be appraised. You can then decide which assets to evaluate first. You probably don’t wish to inspect every structure, worker, database, trade secret, car, and office appliance. Keep in mind that not all assets are created equal.
Create a comprehensive inventory of all company assets with the help of end users and upper management. The following data should be collected for each asset:
Locate Potential Cyber Dangers
A cyber threat is some potential security hole that could be used to harm or steal information from an organization. While people immediately think of hackers, malware, and other forms of IT security risk, there are many additional potential dangers:
The destruction caused by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, lightning, and fires is comparable to that caused by hackers. Data and servers are both at risk of being lost. Consider the likelihood of natural disasters when deciding between on-premise and cloud-based servers.
Error in the system: Is the hardware powering your most important systems up to par? How strong is their backing, if any?
Imprecision due to humans: Do you know if your S3 buckets containing private data are set up correctly? Does your company provide malware, phishing, and social engineering training to its employees? Inadvertently visiting a malicious website or falling victim to a phishing scam is possible for everyone. Regular data backups, password managers, and other similar safeguards are essential for effective IT security.
Third-party vendors, employees, trusted employees, privileged employees, hackers, hacker groups, corporate spies, suppliers, and foreign governments all pose potential security risks.
The following are examples of widespread dangers that every business faces:
Attacks, viruses, and human error can all lead to unauthorized access.
Information leaks caused by authorized users: often an insider danger in which data is misused by unauthorized parties.
Leaks of sensitive information, including personal identifiable data (PII), either by hackers or improperly configured cloud services.
Organizational data loss due to insufficient backup or inadvertent deletion
Downtime causes financial losses or harm to a company’s image when services are disrupted.
Once you’ve pinpointed the dangers your business faces, you can evaluate how severe they are.
It’s time to stop talking about what “might” happen and start talking about what actually might. An attacker could use a vulnerability, which is a security hole, to compromise your system and steal information. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) vulnerability database, audit reports, vendor data, incident response teams, and software security research are all useful tools for locating security holes.
With the use of patch management and mandatory software upgrades, organizations can lessen the risks associated with their software. Keycard access reduces the likelihood of an unauthorized individual gaining access to a company’s computing system, but it is important not to overlook physical weaknesses.
Evaluate Existing Controls and Establish New Ones
Examine how to set up safeguards that reduce the chances of an attack or flaw occurring. Explore technical means like hardware and software, encryption, intrusion detection mechanisms, two-factor authentication, automatic updates, and continuous data leak detection. Additionally, utilize non-technical means such as security policies and physical mechanisms like locks and keycard access. There are two types of controls: preventative and detective.
Controls like encryption, antivirus software, and constant security monitoring strive to prevent attacks, and they are known as preventative controls. On the other hand, controls that aim to uncover when an attack has occurred are called detective controls.
Importance of Cyber Security Risk Assessments
Cybercrime is on the rise all around the world, with thousands of breaches in cybersecurity happening every day. According to MonsterCloud’s projections for 2020, the FBI’s Cyber Division might be fielding as many as 4,000 daily complaints about cyberattacks.
Many businesses and their IT departments conduct cyber risk assessments to assist avert these attacks and the resulting financial losses. There is solid evidence that cyber risk assessments help keep networks and data safe for businesses. Keep reading to find out why your company must do regular cyber risk assessments.
Organizations can benefit from the services of cyber security assessment firms by learning about and addressing possible threats. These businesses have access to state-of-the-art security solutions that can examine an organization’s present security policy and suggest ways to strengthen the company’s cybersecurity in general. In addition to offering counsel to ongoing advice for risk reduction. Organizations may build a solid framework for protecting digital assets and maintaining a safe IT environment with the help of cyber security assessment firms.
Compliance needs are something else that security risk assessment firms may help with. Keeping all digital assets secure and doing frequent security evaluations is a requirement of several regulatory regulations. How to achieve these standards, as well as how to create a sustainable strategy for secure asset management, can be provided by cyber security risk assessment services.