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A Complete Guide to Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

cybersecurity risk assessment

Organizations that have brilliant security protocols, get breached. Organizations that build their security infrastructure on the latest cybersecurity trends, get breached.

Cyber attackers are leveraging technology. Their attacks are sophisticated and advanced. So, it is imperative to regularly assess your organization’s cybersecurity risk management strategies. It must be done to prevent the attackers from taking advantage of the loopholes in cybersecurity risk management strategies and identify the strengths of your cybersecurity risk management strategies to build a solid defense mechanism.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to efficient Cyber Security Risk Assessment:

Six steps to CyberSecurity Risk Assessment

#1 Derive value of information/data

Sometimes, even if the hacker successfully steals some business data that has little value, it does not impact the organization. It does not make sense to allocate huge funds for protecting all the data available with the organization. It is viable to choose the information and data that needs to be protected and the best way to do so is to determine the value of such data. The value may be determined by evaluating facts such as financial/goodwill/reputation loss should the information or data get exposed, the significance of information/data to the competitor, impact on the overall operational efficiency of the organization, etc. The evaluation criteria, of course, depend on business to business. It is best to not follow the protocols to determine the value that other organizations follow.

#2 Narrow down on vital assets

Assets could mean anything- hardware, trade secrets, patents, key employees, a breakthrough business strategy, security policies, etc. The organization must narrow down on all the vital assets that must stringently go through cybersecurity assessment. For instance, the activities of a key employee who has privileged access to essential systems and applications should be assessed on the highest priority.

#3 Determine cyber threats and risks

There, unfortunately, is a wide variety of cyber threats. Each of them can be potentially disrupting. Also, attackers, today know exactly what kind of cyber-attack should be launched at the organization. It is imperative to realize that an organization can be affected by both internal threats like weak security protocols, employee errors, unprotected systems, and network security, etc., and external threats such as DDOS attacks, social engineering, ransomware, etc. Organizations should be prepared for the various cyber threats and risks they may be vulnerable to

#4 Implementation of controls

Implementing controls essentially means scaling up the security once the potential threats are identified. The organization may choose to change, modify, or revoke the existing controls. Some examples of implementation of controls are choosing the military-grade (256-bit) encryption for data, deploying threat detection mechanisms, layered authentication such as MFA or 2FA, mandating the use of VPN over public/open networks, etc. The organization must see the implementation of controls as a proactive security measure.

#5 Potential cyber risk rating

Cyber attackers are getting smarter with their cyber attacking techniques. It is important to consider the likely hood of valuable data and information being subjected to cyberattacks despite implementing controls. Here’s an example of a potential cyber risk rating:
On a scale of 1-10 (one being the lowest), how vulnerable is your data?

Ranking 7-10: security controls do not suffice, and the possibility of cyber attack is significant

Rating 6-4: security controls may be effective to some extent, although a quick review and modification would help.

Rating 1-3: security controls are highly effective in combating cyber threats. The possibility of an organization falling victim to cybercrime is very low

Organizations, however, may choose their own method of rating potential cyber risks.

#6 Calculate a risk score

Typically, a risk score is calculated like this:

Exposure impact * potential cyber risk = risk score

The risk score will give you an idea about how vulnerable the organization’s data/information/assets are to cyber threats. This will aid the management to finalize or modify your security protocols.

Achieve optimal cybersecurity with Cross Identity

Cyber Security Risk Assessment sure is a critical process but it is equally taxing. To improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture, investing in a comprehensive Identity and Access Management solution is highly recommended.
Cross Identity is a cloud IAM that offers Access Management, Identity Governance and Administration, Customer Identity and Access Management, and Privileged Access Management. The solution also includes business to consumer functions, unified endpoint management, personalized dashboards, high powered analytics, and business intelligence.

Drop-in a line at and talk to us about deploying CI.

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