Cybersecurity Risk Assessments across the West Coast
Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
With hacking attempts on business across the nation becoming more frequent each year, cybersecurity is a growing concern for every business. Vulnerabilities and attacks are becoming more sophisticated, which makes it more important than ever to understand the nature of the risk your business faces.
A Cybersecurity Risk Assessment (CSRA) is an essential first step in any cybersecurity program. It helps you identify where vulnerabilities might be lurking in your systems, and what countermeasures you should put in place to reduce your risks of falling victim to cybercriminals.
WHAT IS A CYBERSECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT?
A cyber risk assessment is a process that helps your organization identify potential vulnerabilities and risks throughout your business. Performing a comprehensive risk assessment is an essential first step to properly securing your business, whether you’re starting from nothing or re-evaluating your existing cybersecurity measures.
There are many different types of cyber risks that a business can face. Some are external (such as cyberattacks or natural disasters), while others are internal (such as human errors or malicious activity from an employee), so you’ll need to factor these different potential threats in as you conduct your assessment.
In general, there are four main aspects of a cybersecurity risk assessment: analysis of mission objectives; identification of assets; evaluation of industry-specific threats; and prioritization work plan development. By planning properly, you can identify threats and vulnerabilities early on, which allows you to take appropriate action to avoid potential issues such as data breaches, loss of data, unexpected downtime, and even potential lawsuits and fines.
WHY CONDUCT A CYBER SECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT?
Every business is susceptible to cyberattacks and other cyber risks so it’s important to identify those that may impact your business, and to know how well your company is addressing those risks. A properly conducted cyber risk assessment can help you identify and focus on resources that need improved security, and allows you to gain an overview of your overall security so you can prioritize the actions you need to take to better secure your network, devices, and data.
Armed with the insights and a thorough understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities your company faces that a CSRA can provide, you can create a plan to reduce risk and focus on the most critical areas of your business to protect and mitigate against these vulnerabilities.
Our Cybersecurity Services Include:
Your business for vulnerabilities to uncover any potential threat, and monitoring your network for anomalous activity
Your business network security to reduce the chances of a successful cyber attack
And Much More!
Cloud computing to better protect your data, and applying updates as they’re released to keep your devices secure
And reliable support services from skilled security experts who can act swiftly in the event of a cyber incident
THE BENEFITS OF CYBERSECURITY RISK ASSESSMENTS
CSRAs provide a way to comprehensively evaluate all aspects of a business from a technology standpoint. There are many types of cyber risks, such as data breaches, malware infections, and vulnerability exploits that your business faces. A properly conducted assessment can help you identify and prioritize cybersecurity challenges, helping you understand your current security and identify where you need to improve, and help you systematically strengthen your company’s defenses throughout your business.
Not only can a cybersecurity assessment provide valuable insights into your business’ strengths and weaknesses as far as security, but it can also help identify trends in your business and potential opportunities to improve your processes.
This can lead to improved productivity and employee satisfaction, which can help improve your bottom line. Plus, it can help you ensure your business stays ahead of the curve in terms of security and technology.
CONDUCTING A CYBER SECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT
Creating a risk assessment process and working through an audit takes time, and it can seem like a daunting and challenging task—but it is well worth the effort.
To properly perform a thorough risk assessment, you’ll need to take several steps. You first need to be familiar with your organization’s current cybersecurity posture. This means reviewing current security technology utilized, processes and procedures followed by staff, data storage policies, cloud services utilized, and more.
You’ll need to identify and list all equipment and digital assets (such as accounts, cloud platforms, etc.) your business uses. You’ll also need to set high-level goals to work towards when it comes to securing your company’s devices and data and design a plan to reach these goals to achieve improved security.
PROTECTING YOUR DEVICES, NETWORK & ACCOUNTS
Fortunately, there are some key steps you can take that can help greatly improve the overall security of your business. The key is to list every piece of technology (including hardware, software, your network accounts, etc.) and analyze each one to look for potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
You’ll need to determine each device’s level of risk and determine how to best address these risks, in order of severity. Top vulnerabilities should take priority, so you’ll need to determine which are the biggest threats and adjust accordingly.
There are some simple checks and steps you can take to help greatly improve your current security:
Update Your Passwords
Updating all your passwords—and having your employees do the same—for all your logins is a good first step to take. Use a reputable password manager to set hard-to-guess passwords for all accounts, your Wi-Fi, and for each device. Utilize a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to make each password more difficult to crack.
Update Your Firmware
Ensuring all devices on your network are running the latest firmware updates can help patch exploits and vulnerabilities. Be sure all remote devices (such as business laptops and smartphones) also have up-to-date firmware.
Update Your Software
Updating all software used across all employees’ devices can help remove potential vulnerabilities that attackers could otherwise exploit. This includes everything from your devices’ browsers to word processing and office applications, operating systems, and more.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is another great way to improve overall security throughout your business. When an employee attempts to log in to a site, they’ll need to verify their attempt with a one-time code sent to their mobile device or private password manager to gain access.
Securing all your business data with strong encryption can make it impossible to (or extremely difficult) to steal. When properly secured, even if hackers gain access to your network, they will not be able to read or distribute your company’s private information.
Use a Firewall
Implementing a firewall can help detect and block suspicious traffic before attackers are able to infiltrate your network or cause downtime and interruptions. Having a firewall protect your network is a crucial step to take when it comes to protecting your business network.
Install Malware Protection
Ensuring each device on your business network (and remote devices) has real-time monitoring and scanning to detect and block suspicious files, viruses, ransomware, and other malware can help greatly reduce the chances of a breach or data loss.
PROTECTING & TRAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES
Because of this, it’s important to discover how aware each staff member is about potential threats they’ll face as part of your cybersecurity risk assessment. From phishing emails to various social engineering attempts, malware-infected download links, and more, there’s a lot your employees need to be aware of.
To properly train and protect your staff, there are several steps you should take as you work through a cybersecurity audit.
Some key steps include:
Providing Cybersecurity Training
Requiring each staff member to go through cybersecurity training can help them learn to be aware of and identify different types of attacks they may face, and teach them what actions to take when they encounter these scenarios.
Conducting Vulnerability Tests
Utilize a service that sends test emails to employees to track when and if they click suspicious links or provide information when they shouldn’t. The insights you can gain from these tests can help you work with employees to teach them how to be more vigilant before they accidentally interact with a real threat.
Forbidding Physical Storage
Create a policy to ban media such as USB drives, external hard drives, and CD-ROMs. Not only can staff misplace these devices (or have them stolen), but these devices may also become infected if placed on a compromised machine (such as an infected home computer) and can introduce malware into your network.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONDUCT A CYBERSECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT?
The complexity of today’s cyber threat landscape makes it imperative to conduct periodic risk assessments to identify new vulnerabilities that may arise over time. You should consider performing a CRSA at least once a year, though conducting them at more frequent intervals is a good idea when possible.
It’s especially important to conduct your first risk assessment as soon as possible if you have never performed one before. Risk assessments are the first step when it comes to creating a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, so there’s no time like the present to get started.
Another good time to perform a risk assessment is any time your company has experienced an attack or breach. It’s a good idea to run a full analysis to determine how and why an incident occurred, how well your systems and processes protected against the incident, and where you can further improve your security going forward.
LIMITATIONS OF RISK ASSESSMENTS
Working through a comprehensive CSRA can be a challenging and time-consuming task. If you aren’t experienced with cybersecurity and don’t follow the latest security trends and news, you may not know where to start, or you may not be sure what to even look for while conducting an audit.
Risk assessments can miss threats that you may be unaware of. For example, if you have a firewall in place, there may be certain types of attack that hackers can use to bypass your security, but you may not be able to discover and address these threats when conducting your assessment.
In addition, it’s important to note that a risk assessment is only a starting point on your journey to better security. It’s an assessment of what could happen, but an assessment doesn’t actually tell you what will happen or how likely it is to impact your business—they only look at potential risks. As mentioned before, cyber security is a constantly evolving field and risks change as soon as new vulnerabilities are discovered.
If you have an in-house IT team, these team members may be able to perform routine risk assessments and checkups, though you’ll need to ensure they have the resources and technology they need to be thorough in their assessments—which can be pricey.
HEROIC IS HERE TO HELP
Properly conducting a proper Cybersecurity Risk Assessment on your own can be a daunting, time-consuming, and difficult task. There are a lot of moving parts to consider, and it’s important to be thorough to ensure you uncover and eliminate all potential threats to your business’ security.
Fortunately, you don’t have to undertake this task on your own, and you don’t have to hire expensive in-house IT to conduct these audits. If you run a business in California, Oregon, or Washington, the team at Heroic Technologies is here to help.
Our team of friendly and knowledgeable experts can work with you to conduct a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment, create a customized plan, and provide the recommendations you need to secure your business and keep your data safe.
As a leading managed service provider in these areas, we can also provide customized ongoing support and cybersecurity services to help implement the best possible solutions for your business. When you partner with us for your IT needs, you don’t have to worry about breaches and downtime—instead, you and your team can focus on what’s most important: growing your business.
Protect Your Data Today
Contact us today to schedule a risk assessment and get started on improving your cybersecurity risk management.