Earn More Trust. Grow More Business.

Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Tools

Cybersecurity Risk Assessment With Trava
Trava Security

Did you know that the FBI received nearly 850,000 cybercrime complaints in 2021, with each data breach costing $9.44 million on average? If those numbers sound dramatic, it’s because they are. As companies become more open to new cloud-based technologies and remote work, they have to account for a growing number of risks and vulnerabilities. Even just from 2020 to 2021, there was a 50% increase in how many cyberattacks occurred per week.

What’s worse, reports indicate that hackers are now targeting small- and medium-sized businesses. This is at least partially due to the fact that larger companies and corporations have invested in top-of-the-line, comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. In other words, small businesses aren’t protected from cyberattacks. Just because they might seem like minor targets to hackers, that’s simply not the case.

Fortunately, with a firm understanding of the different types of risks and vulnerabilities—and how to address them—small business owners can rest a little easier knowing that their applications, operations, and data are safe.

In this article, we’re going to:

What Are the 5 Types of Cybersecurity?

When people talk about cybersecurity risks and risk management, they’re typically referring to some combination of application, cloud, critical infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), and network security concepts.

What Are Cybersecurity Threats, Risks, and Vulnerabilities?

One of the most difficult aspects of cybersecurity is being aware of—and keeping up with—the threats, vulnerabilities, and risks that can put your organization at risk. While they’re often used in tandem or even interchangeably, it’s worth noting the difference between a “threat,” a “vulnerability,” and a “risk.”

In other words, Threat + Vulnerability = Risk. Next, let’s look at specific examples of vulnerabilities, risks, and threats.

What Are Examples of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities?

Cybersecurity-related vulnerabilities are often categorized by type or cause. There are three common cybersecurity vulnerabilities–your network, operating system, and processes/people.

What Are the Most Common Responses to Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities?

Cyber criminals can be both determined and inventive, so it’s difficult to give a full picture of the extensive list of potential vulnerabilities. A few of the most common categories include:

What Are Examples of Cybersecurity Risks?

Four of the biggest risks facing modern small businesses are access management, cloud misconfigurations, zero-day vulnerabilities, and risks caused by third parties. These are somewhat technical terms, so we’ll define these next..

What Should You Do Once a Risk Has Been Identified?

In response to a specific, detected risk, there are five key actions to undertake:

What Are Examples of Cybersecurity Threats?

The top 3 cyber threats of 2023 are:

What Are the Different Types of Cyberattacks?

There are seemingly new types of cyberattacks being undertaken on a continuous basis, but 10 of the most common cyberattack types are:

You can learn more about each of these attack types in our article, Top 10 Cyber Security Threats and How to Prevent Them.

What Is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a best practice that is designed to help an organization to understand its current landscape—including vulnerabilities, risks, and threats. The findings of this assessment help a company strengthen its overall cybersecurity strategy. The primary objectives are to ensure that networks, applications, data, and assets are well-protected, and that comprehensive measures are in place to guard against future threats.

Why Is It Important to Conduct a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

The main reason why an organization should regularly perform a cybersecurity risk assessment is that you can only strengthen your cybersecurity if you’re intimately aware of the potential vulnerabilities, threats, and risks you’re up against. As such, conducting a cybersecurity assessment should be a key component in any risk management initiative. More specifically, a cybersecurity risk assessment can help you better understand the finer details of any potential threats, including the:

Further, a cybersecurity risk assessment provides organizational value in various forms, including:

What Is Included in a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

In broad terms, a cybersecurity risk assessment template is a multi-step process that includes three key stages.

  1. Evaluation: What is the current state of cybersecurity? What vulnerabilities, risks, or threats are present or possible? How does the organization currently respond to threats, and how successful are those efforts? Are there already specific cybersecurity assessment tools in use, or are you still exploring your options?

  2. Identifying and Prioritizing Areas for Improvement: Based on the initial findings of the cybersecurity evaluation, an organization can work to further understand—and mitigate—their most-pressing vulnerabilities, threats, and risks.

  3. Making an Action Plan: In response to items 1 and 2 above, a cybersecurity action plan outlines what measures should be taken, including a timeframe.

Depending on the organization and its objectives, there are several different types of security risk assessments, including:

Do you know your Cyber Risk Score? Take our free assessment to gain new insights into how you can strengthen your cybersecurity posture.

What Is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Framework?

A cybersecurity risk assessment framework provides a template of repeatable practices for understanding, addressing, and guarding against a range of organizational threats. A common framework is a set of recommendations put together by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These recommended practices are centered around key concepts like continuous improvement and ongoing compliance.

Broadly, NIST’s recommended Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is meant to establish a common language and approach for strengthening cybersecurity. According to the NIST, it exists to empower organizations with a consistent, repeatable process to:

Describe their current cybersecurity posture

Identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement

Assess progress toward a target state

Communicate among internal and external stakeholders about cybersecurity risk

What Are the 5 Areas of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides a model for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, risks, and threats. This framework categorizes main activities into five distinct functions:

How Do You Do a NIST Risk Assessment?

You can explore the current NIST risk assessment framework in more depth on the NIST website. Key resources include:

These include additional, voluntary elements that are new to the framework.

What Are the 5 Steps to Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?

At a high level, you can create your own security risk assessment program by executing five steps. Coincidentally, these aren’t too different from the NIST framework components we covered earlier, and include:

  1. Assessing the organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

  2. Identifying any cybersecurity gaps or vulnerabilities.

  3. Planning for cybersecurity improvements and creating a roadmap/timeline.

  4. Executing the plan in order to address any/all identified vulnerabilities.

  5. Monitoring the cybersecurity strategy’s effectiveness, as well as how the cybersecurity landscape changes over time (and what new vulnerabilities it may present).

What’s important to note here is that cybersecurity is not one-size-fits-all, so developing a consistent and repeatable cybersecurity risk assessment methodology that fits your needs is crucial. For a more in-depth look at this process—and how Trava Security can power your cybersecurity initiatives–download Trava’s Guide to Beginning a Cybersecurity Program.

What Is a Risk Assessment Report in Cybersecurity?

A cybersecurity risk assessment report provides a standardized method for communicating an organization's cybersecurity posture, including how it plans to address or respond to various vulnerabilities, threats, and risks. It should offer specific as well as industry-level information about real or potential vulnerabilities, how valuable data and other assets are stored and secured, potential consequences of data breaches or other attacks, and so on. Creating a clear and well-organized report helps stakeholders and investors understand that your organization takes cybersecurity seriously—as it should.

A cybersecurity report should, at a minimum, contain 5 distinct components:

Putting It All Together: Here’s Your Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Checklist

To wrap up our cybersecurity risk assessment guide, here’s a basic checklist to get you started with your own risk assessment program.

  1. Identify valuable assets, so you can develop a comprehensive program for their protection and management.

  2. Determine potential consequences, so you know exactly what’s at stake.

  3. Understand threats and the dangers they pose, in order to quantify and prioritize them.

  4. Identify and address vulnerabilities, for similar purposes of prioritization and planning.

  5. Conduct a risk assessment, like Trava’s Cyber Risk Score assessment.

  6. Create a plan, to keep the team aligned, on track, and moving forward.

  7. Build a strategy for mitigation, including how you’ll monitor known risks as well as those that may not have made themselves known (yet).

For a more in-depth exploration of this checklist, read our related article.

What Is the First Step in Performing a Security Risk Assessment? Connecting with Trava!

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” Are you familiar with this proverb? Well, the same can be said about cybersecurity.

Perhaps as you’ve read this article, you’ve been concerned that with so many new and evolving security threats occurring every day, your own cybersecurity posture is lacking something. If that’s the case, then there is no better time than right now to start developing a cybersecurity program for your organization.

Trava offers a wide range of cybersecurity risk assessment tools, including vulnerability scans tailored to applications like:

Trava has risk assessment surveys and phishing simulations available as well. To learn more about each of these scan types and more, download Trava’s Complete Guide to Vulnerability Scan Types.

Unsure whether or not you need this? Fill out our short form for a free Cyber Risk Score assessment, or read some Case Studies to see how we’ve been able to help companies just like yours.


Get cybersecurity tips, articles, and videos sent straight to your inbox