U.S. businesses suffered 50% more cyber attacks per week in 2021 compared to 2020. Although the threat of cyberattacks is very real, only half of small- to mid-sized businesses currently have a cybersecurity plan in place.

As cyberattacks continue to increase in number and complexity, improving your company’s digital security infrastructure is critical to the health and survival of your business. To begin strengthening your cybersecurity posture, you should start with risk identification. And the first step in the risk identification process is conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment.

At their core, cybersecurity risk assessments are designed to help companies evaluate their existing security landscape to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. The results of a cybersecurity assessment help to inform and improve an organization’s overall digital strategy. The main objectives of this process are to solidify protection and prevention methods, so all digital assets are well-protected against current and future threats.

Broadly speaking, there are five types of cybersecurity assessments: Baseline cybersecurity assessments, penetration testing, red team testing, vulnerability assessments, and IT audits. Let’s take a closer look at each of these items. 

1. Baseline Risk Assessments

  • Baseline risk assessments, also called IT risk assessments, are a high-level evaluation of all technical assets. These assessments examine how your technical assets are managed and stored to help you identify where application security defects occur.

2. Penetration Testing

  • Penetration tests, also called pen tests, are simulated cyberattacks that examine your digital infrastructure and reveal vulnerabilities. For example, these tests often evaluate the strength of web application firewalls and other aspects of a website.

3. Red Team Testing

  • Red team testing is similar to penetration testing because it utilizes simulated cyberattacks. However, red team testing has a much more narrow scope. Penetration testing gives companies a broad overview of identified vulnerabilities, but red team testing involves achieving objectives to access specific target data or systems.

4. Vulnerability Assessments

  • After all security issues have been identified, a vulnerability assessment is conducted to evaluate recognized weaknesses. During this assessment, each vulnerability is quantified and prioritized.

5. IT Audits

  • More narrow in focus than IT risk assessments, IT audits evaluate specific items of an organization’s information technology infrastructure including:
  • Applications

  • Data use and management

  • IT policies

  • IT procedures

  • IT operational processes

The objectives of an IT audit are to ensure that all systems are secure and in compliance with established regulations and requirements.

Want to Learn More?

Platforms like Trava Security offer unlimited access to various risk assessment surveys including baseline risk assessments, penetration tests, and much more. Learn more about the types of risk assessments and how Trava approaches each one here.

What Are the Types of Security Testing for Software?

In addition to general cybersecurity risk assessments, there are various types of application security testing. Application security testing methodologies were created to protect software application data and code against various cyber threats. The two main types of application security testing are static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST).

  • SAST increases software security by evaluating the source code to pinpoint vulnerabilities.

  • DAST evaluates web applications by simulating threats to test security strength and identify vulnerabilities.

Understanding how both of these application security testing formats function is especially important to SaaS leaders who need to achieve and maintain SOC2 or ISO27001 compliance certifications. Interested in learning more? Discover how to enhance cyber security for SaaS solutions, here.

How Do You Perform a Cybersecurity Assessment? Start With a Checklist

The best place to start when performing a cyber security assessment is by using or creating a checklist. Although every cybersecurity assessment checklist varies slightly, the main objectives closely align. These objectives are:

  • Identify all potential consequences of an attack

  • Evaluate threats and vulnerabilities

  • Assess the risks associated with every threat and vulnerability

  • Develop your risk management plan

  • Build a strategy to monitor and handle risks

For in-depth instruction regarding cyber security assessments, check out Trava’s comprehensive guide. In addition to our guide, the NIST National Checklist Repository is also worth exploring. This public resource is extremely valuable and contains a variety of security configuration checklists for specific IT products or categories of IT products.

Don’t Want to Wait? Assess Your Risk Now

If you’re pressed for time and want to start your security journey today, take Trava’s free risk assessment. This quick online assessment allows us to conduct a vulnerability scan of your website to provide an in-depth risk report and your Cyber Risk Score which both offer you greater insight into your current cybersecurity standing.

What Is A Cybersecurity Assessment Tool?

All cybersecurity tools function to help simplify and streamline the cybersecurity process, so businesses can easily protect their most vital assets. Specific risk assessment tools are meant to help companies evaluate the current landscape of their cybersecurity risks. Although there are many risk assessment tools and platforms available in today’s marketplace, some offer more than others. For example, Trava provides a wide range of tools to help users identify cyber threats, reduce risk, and insure financial assets. We offer various risk assessment surveys, vulnerability scans, phishing simulations, and so much more.

Learn more about cybersecurity risk assessments and other best practices on our resources page. Or schedule a demo to see what Trava can do for you.