The cybersecurity threat landscape continues to grow, increasingly introducing threats to companies, individuals, and organizations. Cybercrime is responsible for causing nearly $1 trillion in damages in 2020, and experts predict that figure will continue to grow. Some of the most significant emerging threats include:
- Ransomware and as-a-service attacks
- Enterprise security tool sprawl
- Misconfigured security applications at scale
- Sophisticated spear phishing strategies
- Increased frequency of credential theft
- Mobile device and OS vulnerabilities left unchecked
- Data governance and management errors
- Distributed growth of insider threats post-pandemic
- Poorly secured cloud environments
- Incomplete post-attack investigations
As you can see, threats can emerge from a host of different factors – and they can look very different depending upon the type of threat and who the attacker is. As a result, it may seem impossible to identify all potential emerging threats at your organization, but that is precisely what a cybersecurity IT assessment attempts to do through your business IT support services.
What is a Cybersecurity IT Assessment?
A cybersecurity IT assessment allows you to examine your security controls and determine how well they defend against known and emerging threats. Traditional cybersecurity IT assessments are required to keep up with the rate at which threats evolve. Security measures that have worked in the past may not stand up to emerging threats.
In addition to conducting cybersecurity IT assessment as a best practice, it’s also important to understand that these assessments can also be a legal obligation if your company is subject to regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA.
In going through the process of a cybersecurity IT assessment, the analysis commonly includes an evaluation of the following components:
- Existing security systems
- Security-related policies and procedures
- Compliance with security regulations
- Vulnerabilities to security incidents
- Resilience to potential threats
Taken together, this information can help security teams identify vulnerabilities in current systems and strengthen an organization’s defenses. These types of assessments with business IT support services can also help prioritize issues with the highest potential for a likely attack and the most considerable potential to impact one’s bottom line.
How to Perform a Cybersecurity IT Assessment?
There are several steps to completing a comprehensive cybersecurity IT assessment, and each professional will recommend a process that works for them. However, all cybersecurity IT assessments include some core actions, including:
- The identification and prioritization of assets. This activity includes defining the extent of the risk assessment process, which can vary across different-sized companies. While this process can quickly become overwhelming once you realize the extent of most assets (which include employees, data, trade secrets, intellectual property, physical equipment, and other properties), it can be made easier by limiting the scope to one type of asset at a time.
- Determining the value of assets. After identifying the assets covered in an assessment, you must also determine the value. For instance, if you lose all your data today, determine how much it might cost to recreate this asset. You must also factor in ancillary charges related to legal fines, penalties, or damages. Understanding the value of these assets can help you understand how much data is worth and determine how much it is worth investing into keeping it safe.
- Analyze the risks and identify their impact. As with a traditional risk assessment, a cybersecurity IT assessment should weigh any risk against two dimensions: impact and likelihood. Understanding a high-risk threat with substantial impact is more of a threat than a low-risk vulnerability with limited impact is easy once it has been phrased using common benchmarks. But categorizing risk across likelihood and impact is essential before you can sort out and prioritize the risks that need to be addressed first.
- Calculate and prioritize risk. Once you have all threats properly categorized, you can then prioritize them based on a risk rating (which is calculated after looking at the impact and likelihood). This prioritization is the first step in developing a threat mitigation plan and identifying areas of your security that can be enhanced.
- Consider the cost of prevention against the value of the asset. While security is essential for operations in modern markets, it must also make financial sense. After all, it doesn’t do any good to have secure data if your company cannot afford the security measures. But you can explore different options, such as managed IT services, that deliver greater security at a desirable price point.
Cybersecurity is more important now than ever before. Conducting a cybersecurity IT assessment is one way to identify threats and enhance your security measures in a meaningful way related to actual current threats. To learn more about the value of conducting cybersecurity IT assessments, contact Sagacent Technologies today.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.