Advances in information technology have allowed businesses to enhance collaboration between team members, improve productivity, and generate more revenue. While the impacts of these advances have primarily been positive, increased reliance on digital assets has also given way to a sharp rise in cyberattacks.
In order to protect themselves from these bad actors, businesses must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Specifically, they must perform regular cybersecurity assessments and deploy proven strategies for reducing network vulnerabilities.
Below, we examine why cybersecurity assessments are the cornerstone of any effective information security program.
As the name suggests, a cybersecurity assessment is a thorough review and evaluation process that focuses on an organization’s data security protocols. These assessments are designed to analyze the health of a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure and identify any potential vulnerabilities that may make it susceptible to a data breach.
Cybersecurity risk assessments not only locate weaknesses in a company’s IT architecture but also provide suggestions for remedying said vulnerabilities.
Each cybersecurity assessment will vary in both complexity and scope, depending on the industry that an organization operates within and which firm is conducting the review.
For instance, a company that has a well-established cybersecurity protocol may want to conduct an assessment that analyzes its overall resiliency to an attack. Conversely, a business that is not confident in its current cybersecurity strategy might want to conduct a more comprehensive assessment that evaluates all IT components.
At their core, all cybersecurity risk assessments are designed to help prevent cyberattacks. However, there are several different types of assessments, each of which serves a specific purpose. Some of the most commonly used cybersecurity risk assessments include the following:
Virtually every major organization relies on cloud-based assets in order to support their IT infrastructure. In light of this fact, it is essential to perform risk assessments that are focused solely on cloud security.
These assessments identify potential vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure and help organizations mitigate these risks via governance and control management protocols.
Unfortunately, partnerships with third-party vendors can often provide hackers with a means of surreptitiously penetrating an organization’s IT infrastructure. However, these partnerships have become essential in our increasingly interconnected global marketplace.
Therefore, third-party risk assessments must be routinely conducted in order to identify any vulnerabilities that are created as a result of these partnerships. These assessments primarily focus on risks related to the sharing of data and network assets.
Ransomware attacks can be particularly damaging to an organization. During a ransomware attack, hackers will hold a company’s assets and data hostage until they pay a ransom, which can be as high as several million dollars.
A ransomware sim is designed to help organizations assess the potential impact of a successful ransomware attack. These simulations provide valuable information, such as the average time it takes to detect an attack and how long it takes the company to respond.
Incident Response Readiness
Much like ransomware simulations, incident response readiness assessments can help a business analyze its ability to mitigate the impacts of a successful cyberattack.
By conducting this type of assessment, organizations can gain detailed information regarding their response capabilities to resist viruses, malware, and other types of attacks. Cumulatively, the information gathered from simulations and readiness assessments will significantly improve a company’s ability to respond to cyber threats.
Perhaps the most frequent type of cybersecurity assessment is a general “vulnerability assessment.” This automated form of testing is used to locate flaws within a specific asset or group of assets. The information obtained from vulnerability assessments is used to develop updates or patches.
Once a vulnerability assessment is completed, penetration testing can be performed to exploit any security flaws that were identified. Penetration testing can reveal how effective a hacker would be if they attempted to breach a network using existing vulnerabilities.
Ideally, cyber risk assessments should be performed by an independent organization that specializes in cybersecurity. These firms will conduct a comprehensive assessment based on the unique needs of the client.
Upon completion of the assessment, they will provide the client with a detailed report of their findings and make recommendations for reducing organizational vulnerability.
Technically, yes, a cybersecurity assessment can be performed by in-house IT personnel. This approach is a common practice among massive enterprises, as they employ teams of IT professionals and have incredibly complex networks.
However, internal assessments may be negatively impacted by biases or other confounding factors. Existing cybersecurity protocols are often implemented by the teams that are being asked to perform the assessment.
Internal assessments can be likened to asking a college student to grade their own thesis paper. Even well-intentioned individuals will be more prone to overlook vulnerabilities than an independent reviewer.
Third-party cyber-risk assessments can provide new perspectives and help organizations locate previously unidentified vulnerabilities. Outsourced assessments are particularly useful for small- to medium-sized businesses, as these organizations simply do not have the resources needed to conduct internal analyses.
With cyber threats like ransomware, DDoS, malware, and phishing schemes on the rise, it is vital that you proactively protect your business from these malicious attacks. While there are many ways to do so, one of the most effective is to partner with a cybersecurity assessment firm like SugarShot.
At SugarShot, we are modernizing the way in which technology, IT support, and cybersecurity solutions are offered to businesses. Our unique approach allows us to offer incredible value to our clients while also facilitating continued growth through the power of technology.
To learn more or to schedule your cybersecurity assessment, contact us today.