How to do Cyber security assessment

Cybersecurity assessment is the process of evaluating your cyber risks and identifying vulnerabilities.

It’s essential to perform a cybersecurity assessment periodically so that you can identify any potential threats and take steps to mitigate them.

Evaluate the Scope of the Overall Cybersecurity Assessment

One of the first steps of an overall cybersecurity assessment is to get a clear picture of what you’re dealing with.

If the goal is to assess your organization’s cybersecurity situation, you need to understand precisely what could happen if an attack did occur.

It’s essential to think in terms of the following:

  • What impact would a breach or data loss have on your company?
  • How long would it take you to bounce back from a breach?
  • What would it cost your company in terms of time and finances to recover from a breach or data loss?

Determine the Value of Your Data

Once you have a great understanding of what might occur in a breach or data loss, it’s time to determine the value of your organization’s data.

This will help you determine how much effort and money should be put into protecting that data. You’ll need to consider the following:

What kind of damage could occur?

How much would your company (or customers) cost if this happened?

What do you want to protect?

What information can be used for monetary gain or other malicious purposes?

What information does your company need to keep internally, and what should be shared externally?

When establishing the worth of your data, you must provide answers to a number of questions.

Identify and Prioritize Your Assets

Assets are anything significant to the organization. Assets can be tangible (computers, network equipment) or intangible (customer lists, intellectual property).

The next step is identifying how well each asset is protected today against cyber threats. To do this effectively, you need a clear understanding of what it means for an investment to be protected against cyber threats.

You should start with your interpretation before consulting experts on how they would define it. This will help ensure that all parties involved in any decision-making process agree on what “protecting” means regarding cybersecurity strategy decisions.

To prioritize assets efficiently, you need a good idea of how much damage could be done if those assets were lost or stolen because of poor cybersecurity practices and policies within your company.

Suppose so much damage would result in bankruptcy, for example. In that case, these should be prioritized higher than others less critical but equally important such as customer data, which could still lead to costly legal battles if lost even though there wouldn’t necessarily mean losing money directly due solely to lack of protection measures taken beforehand.

Identify Threats

A threat is a potential source of harm. Threats can be natural or man-made and can be accidental or deliberate. Examples of threats: are fire, flood, earthquake, and terrorist attacks.

Threats are always present, and they can’t be prevented entirely. The goal is not to eliminate all threats but rather to minimize their impact on your organization’s people, processes, and assets through risk management practices that identify the risks posed by various hazards in your physical environment.

Evaluate the likelihood and impact of those hazards; develop an appropriate plan for dealing with them should they occur; create effective preventive measures when possible.

Identify vulnerabilities in your existing safeguards against such hazards/risks through risk assessments; make necessary changes in policies or procedures based on what you learn from these assessments.

Identify Vulnerabilities

Before fixing a vulnerability, you must know what it is. A vulnerability is a weakness that could be exploited if not addressed.

For example, say your company has an email system, and one of your employees uses the same password across all their accounts, work accounts, bank accounts, and social media accounts.

Suppose someone could enter the employee’s email account and get that password information (which they probably couldn’t). In that case, they would then have access to all three accounts and any other accounts using the same password on other sites like eBay or Amazon.

Companies need to limit access points into their networks and ensure that employees use strong passwords with different combinations of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.

Analyze Your Controls

Once you understand the security controls in place, it’s time to dig deeper; this is where the analysis comes in.

The first step is identifying and prioritizing your assets, which are essentially anything that can be lost, misused, or stolen by cybercriminals if you don’t take steps to protect them. Assets may include:

  • Data (financial information, employee records)
  • Hardware (computers, servers)
  • Software licenses (software purchased by customers through licensing agreements)

You also want to identify threats—the actions or events that could cause harm—that might target these assets. For example, hackers could break into an organization’s network and steal data.

A disgruntled employee could steal customer lists from email accounts; someone who works for another company might hack into their competitor’s system for business purposes.

Once you’ve identified threats against your organization’s cybersecurity defenses, consider how they would impact specific systems/applications and then prioritize those systems accordingly based on what they mean to your business overall and whether they’re worth protecting with additional resources like training employees on best practices or implementing new technologies like encryption software programs.

Perform an Information Value vs. Cost of Prevention Analysis

Now that you know what types of cybersecurity risks are present in your organization let’s discuss how to assess them. The first step is to perform an Information Value vs. Cost of Prevention Analysis (IVCOPA).

The IVCOPA helps you determine if a given data asset is worth protecting by comparing its value with its cost of prevention.

In other words, it tells you whether or not it makes sense to implement a security measure based on the potential benefit versus cost analysis.

If the value of information is greater than the cost of prevention, then it makes sense to implement a security measure; otherwise, don’t bother.

Document Your Results in a Risk Assessment Report

A risk assessment report is a document that summarizes the findings of your cyber security assessment. The report should include the following:

  • A summary of the risks that have been identified and ranked.
  • Risk mitigation suggestions (e.g., reduce access rights, implement multi-factor authentication).
  • Recommendations on monitoring and responding to ongoing risks (e.g., create an incident response plan).

These are the phases of cyber security assessment and the tasks that you must perform in each phase. A good cyber security assessment should also include a final report that summarizes the findings of your assessment, as well as recommendations for mitigating risks and preventing data breaches.

Conclusion

The essential thing to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cyber security assessments.

The steps we outlined in this article are just a starting point, and you may need to adjust the order and focus of your assessment based on your unique needs.

The key takeaway from all this should be that conducting an assessment is important for any organization that wants to protect itself from cyber threats—even if it doesn’t seem like there’s much risk at first glance.

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