Nearly 45% of organizations globally reported between one and five successful cyber attacks in 2021, according to Statista. Perhaps even more startling, 12.8% of organizations reported more than 10 successful attacks during the same time period. When it comes to cyber attacks, the conversation has changed from if to when.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to minimize risk, whether you’re a small, mid-sized, or enterprise organization. Performing a regular cybersecurity risk assessment, for example, can help you better understand your security posture to mitigate potential risks. Understanding and choosing the right cyber risk assessment methodology can guide your process. But exactly how do you do a cyber risk assessment?
Keep reading to find out the primary elements of a risk assessment, the basic steps involved in completing one, and how cybersecurity solutions like Trava make it quicker and easier to secure your infrastructure.
What Is a Cyber Risk Assessment?
Cybersecurity risk assessment is the process of identifying an organization's current risk landscape, which includes vulnerabilities, threats, and risks. By uncovering these issues, organizations can take action to mitigate potential risks now and in the future.
Vulnerabilities: The weak points or flaws that exist in a company’s infrastructure, which can be either technical or human
Threats: The activities and actions that have the potential to exploit existing vulnerabilities, which could impact confidentiality, integrity, and/or availability
Risks: The combination of both vulnerabilities and threats, which is essentially the probability of a cybersecurity event occurring and how impactful it could be
In short, regular cyber risk assessments empower organizations to develop an ongoing, dynamic plan for cybersecurity risk management. This helps to strengthen security posture for applications, assets, data, and networks.
What Are the 3 Elements of Risk Assessment in Cybersecurity?
At a high level, a cyber risk assessment framework includes three key components: evaluating the landscape, identifying areas for improvement, and creating an action plan.
Evaluating the Landscape: The first component is all about understanding the existing cyber landscape. What assets could be impacted by a cyber attack? What vulnerabilities, threats, and risks exist, and why? What are the potential consequences and business impacts of these factors?
Identifying Areas for Improvement: Once the landscape has been evaluated, organizations can begin to understand, and mitigate, these potential issues. In this stage, it’s critical to evaluate each threat, vulnerability, and risk to identify the items that are most urgent.
Creating an Action Plan: In the final step, organizations can develop an action plan that clearly states what measures need to be taken. A good action plan is specific. It should include detailed information about what needs to be accomplished, who will be responsible for individual items, and in what timeframe to finish everything.
If all of this sounds daunting or overwhelming, you’re not alone. There are plenty of cyber risk assessment tools on the market. There are even organizations like Trava that are dedicated to helping small- and mid-sized businesses through the entire cyber risk assessment process. We’ll talk more about our services at the end of this blog, but first let’s walk through a little more about risk assessments.
What Are the Steps of a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
There are five key cybersecurity risk assessment steps, including assessing, identifying, planning, executing, and monitoring risk. Of course, every assessment may look different depending upon your organization, your goals, your industry, or your assets, but the following steps should provide a jumping off point for cyber risk assessment.
Assess: In this initial stage, you should determine the scope of the project. For some companies, this may include the entire organization, while others may limit the scope to certain business-critical assets. In either case, assess the necessary infrastructure, networks, and assets
Identify: In the next stage, it’s time to identify the gaps, threats, vulnerabilities, and risks that exist. To accomplish this, most businesses use a combination of internal audits and vulnerability scans. Trava supports a number of different vulnerability scans including:
Asset / discovery
3. Plan: Once you’ve pinpointed specific risks and gaps, you can begin to develop a plan to implement the appropriate improvements. As we mentioned in the previous section, the more detailed the plan, the better. But keep in mind that this plan will not be a one-and-done measure. As new and emerging risks present themselves, you may need to rework your plan to resolve the most pressing issues first.
Execute: Next in the process, you should execute your plan to address the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities that were identified. You might consider scheduling regular meetings to assess progress and ensure that everything is going according to schedule.
Monitor: Finally, it’s imperative that you continue to monitor your plan and overall cybersecurity posture. The security landscape changes regularly, and your threats, vulnerabilities, and risks may change over time, too.
Trava Security: Your Cyber Risk Assessment Partner
For small and midsize businesses (SMB) especially, cybersecurity is a challenge. Hiring full-time experts is a strain on resources, but you still need help to ensure that your IT landscape is as secure as possible. That’s where Trava comes into play.
At Trava, our mission is to help SMB protect themselves from the potential damage that cyber threats and cyber attacks can cause. With comprehensive cyber risk protection, we’ll help you assess, mitigate, and insure your infrastructure so you can rest easier.
Get started by taking a free cyber risk assessment to understand where you’re at right now. Ready to take the next step? Reach outto talk about how we can partner with you.