There has been a marked and steady increase in cyber-attacks and cyber-criminals have a multitude of tools at their disposal to gain sensitive information. Business organizations, especially, face a greater risk. Managing risk is a critical task and the process starts with a risk assessment. If you don’t assess your risks, they cannot be properly managed, and your business is left exposed to threats. Cyberattacks do more damage than just financial loss. It could also damage a businesses reputation and involve a loss of performance which can all impact and even dissolve your business permanently. Read how data breaches continue to target the healthcare sector on our blog.
Conducting a risk assessment is a vital method to understand vulnerabilities, threats and consequences as well as their potential impact on your business.
Here are 4 steps on how to conduct a risk assessment:
1. Identify Threats
A threat is any vulnerability that could be exploited to breach security to cause harm or steal data from your organization. Hackers, malware, and other IT security risks are just a few threats. Some others are natural disasters, system failure, human error and adversarial threats (third party vendors, trusted insiders, established hacker collectives, etc). The most common threats that affect every organization are unauthorized access, misuse of information by authorized users, data leakage, loss of data and disruption of service.
2. Assess Risks
The next step is evaluating the likelihood and consequences of each risk. Security professionals must be able to determine how often certain threats will occur. Conducting a risk assessment will help them and assess whether stronger security measures are required. This allows companies and executives to allocate a budget to hinder future cyber-attacks. It is vital to understand the nature of risks and their ability to affect daily operations. Incorporating appropriate controls and mitigation strategies can help in this feat. HackShield is a great and affordable way to address data liability within a secured environment to mitigate cyber risk by:
- Instantly discovering sensitive data and applying transparent encryption
- Assessing the level of liability on endpoints and stratify risk
- Tracking and protecting selected data for anyone in the system
- Shutting down access to protected data for terminated employees or discontinued third parties
- Monitoring third-party downloading of protected health information (PHI) on any device
- Writing rules as to who can have access to information
- Preventing the transfer of data to non-authorized targets
- Monitoring and auditing data movement at the endpoint to ensure compliance
3. Analyze Controls
Several categories of information are needed to adequately assess your control environment. Some examples are organizational user provisioning controls, administration controls, risk management controls, etc. Read more about risk management processes on our blog. The control categories may be broadly defined as satisfactory, satisfactory with recommendations, needs improvement or inadequate. It is advised to use multiple layers of security as opposed to one for better security prospects. To mitigate cyber threats it is crucial to create a successful “culture of cybersecurity” that will be understood by the entire organization. This will result in fewer cyber-attacks and good cyber-hygiene.
4. Review Potential Risks
After the first three steps of identifying, assessing, and controlling necessary mitigation strategies, organizations must continuously be on the look-out for potential risks. If the controls prove to be ineffective, organizations should go back and re-evaluate their mitigation strategies. The growing number of sophisticated and targeted attacks put security professionals at a higher risk of attacks, which is why risk assessment should be a continuous process. The goal is to achieve fewer data breaches and reduced consequences following cyber attacks. ComplyShield can successfully help you incorporate risk mitigation techniques. It was designed to provide a unified platform for corporate healthcare compliance and risk management activities which automatically integrates with security and risk management and audit operations. It provides:
- Simple activation of any compliance framework like HIPAA, HITECH, PCI DSS, ISO 27K, FISMA, SOX
- Collaboration tools for all compliance activities
- Dashboard and compliance status reports
- Integration with SecurityShield apps to document compliance status related to IT security
- Ready-to-use, built-in policies, procedures, and assessment templates
- Complete audit trail to document all required activities