Every year, more than 155 million individuals’ records are exposed to data breaches in the U.S.
With data breaches averaging new highs of $8.64 million and U.S. companies the most targeted entities of cyber attacks, it begs the question of whether your cyber security is up to par.
That’s why as an organization if you don’t follow a security risk assessment checklist, your sensitive data is likely already facing unforeseen threats and vulnerabilities.
To identify threats, master risk management, and improve your security posture, a threat assessment checklist for cyber security should be followed. If you aren’t familiar with the risk assessment process or how to create a security risk assessment, this article will cover both.
What is a Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist?
Cybersecurity risk assessments help organizations pinpoint vulnerabilities across their infrastructure (such as hardware, laptops, systems, and customer data) that could be affected by a cyber attack.
Additionally, through the information provided, businesses can identify potential risks and flag them to their security team before impacts can be felt.
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8-Step Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist
Cyber risk assessments are essential for businesses of all sizes as cyber attacks continue to evolve in complexity and grow in frequency. The core objective of a cyber security risk assessment checklist to help you:
- Assess risks
- To identify security threats
- Reduce your organization’s vulnerability
- Ramp up your readiness against the unexpected
Now that you know what you should gain, let’s go over the eight steps involved with our cyber security risk assessment checklist:
1. Identify the high-value assets across your organization that could be impacted by threats. Common examples include servers, domains, trade secrets, customer credit card data, and other sensitive client information.
2. Identify potential consequences by narrowing down the financial losses you would incur should a given asset fail. A few consequences to keep in mind include:
- Data loss
- Legal (litigation) consequences
- System or application downtime
3. Identify threats and their severity such as system failure, natural disasters, accidental human error, and malicious exploitations, along with their security level.
4. Identify vulnerabilities across your infrastructure that may allow cyber threats to breach your digital defenses. Generally, vulnerabilities are broken down into three categories, which include:
- Human: Careless and untrained staff members unfamiliar with security risks
- Physical: Using outdated technology that has underlying vulnerabilities
- Non-Physical: Using unpatched software or providing excess access control
5. Evaluate risks. Identify, assess, and prioritize risks (monetary losses and operational impacts) that a cyber threat may pose to your business by their level of severity (low, moderate, to high). From there, develop a detailed solution for every moderate to high-risk, along with estimated costs you may incur.
6. Create a Risk Management Plan. By using the data points collected, you should be able to get started on your risk management plan. Here’s a quick example:
|Risk Management Plan Example|
|Threat||Vulnerability||Assets (& Consequences)||Risk||Solution|
|Network outage – overheating in the service room
|Our central air system is over ten years old
|Servers, email, processes, and websites will be unavailable for at least 2 hours.
|(Potential loss of $50,000 per event)
|Purchase and install a new central air system
|Malicious human attacks (interference of DDoS attacks)
|Firewalls are configured properly and have effective DDoS mitigation
|Website will be unavailable.
|(Potential loss of $5,600 per minute).
|Monitor firewall or invest in firewall-as-a-
|Natural disasters like floods, tornados, and earthquakes (location matters)
|Our servers are located on our bottom floor – who has access to the server room and does it remain dry year-around?
|Servers may be at risk, which may result in all of our services becoming unavailable.
|Low||No actions needed|
|Human-based errors such as accidentally deleting files or compromising business email credentials.
|User permission controls are properly configured, software patches are in place, and backups are routine.
|Sometimes data loss is unpreventable but in most cases, it should be fully restored by a backup. An example would include files on a file share drive.
|Low||Provide ongoing monitoring over privileged users, permission changes, and backups|
7. Create and deploy a strategy to mitigate the biggest vulnerabilities, make infrastructure enhancements, and ensure leadership (and the rest of the team) are committed.
8. Define your mitigation processes. Even though a cyber security assessment checklist can elevate your security infrastructure, it’s impossible to plan for everything which is why knowing how your organization manages risks (and why) can help prevent your business from facing similar risks down the road. For more clarity, refer below:
|Example: Risk Mitigation Process Example (Network Outage)
If you’re still unsure about your cybersecurity, consider our free network security scan today.
Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Check out these blogs:
Ensure Coverage With Our Cyber Security Assessment Checklist
On average, it takes businesses 287 days to identify and contain a data breach.
For most, that is a risk that few can survive, considering the length of the containment process and its high average cost of $4.87 million.
To ensure your business isn’t taking unnecessary risks, partner with Executech for enterprise-level cybersecurity services with a small business focus.
Our cyber security assessment checklist will allow you to improve your risk management, help you identify threats and vulnerabilities for rapid remediation, and elevate your security through proactive approaches that are trusted by more than 680 companies.
Supporting more than 26,400 end users with an average CSAT rating of 98%, you can rest assured knowing that all your cybersecurity needs are met by our expert technicians who are devoted to providing superior customer service.
Get help with your threat assessment checklist for cyber security by contacting us today for more information.