How to do an IT Risk Assessment and why it’s importantNicola Moss,
IT risk assessments are an extremely important process. Performing a comprehensive IT security assessment on a regular basis helps companies develop a solid footing in guaranteeing business security.
The importance of IT risk assessments lies in the fact that they enable businesses to do several things:
- Identify and remediate IT security gaps
- Prevent data breaches
- Choose appropriate protocols and controls to mitigate risks
- Prioritise the protection of the asset with the highest value and highest risk
- Eliminate unnecessary or obsolete control measures
- Evaluate potential security partners
- Establish, maintain, and prove compliance with regulations
- Accurately forecast future needs
What is an IT Risk Assessment?
An IT risk assessment or a cybersecurity risk assessment, is a process that identifies and evaluates risks for assets that could potentially be affected by cyberattacks. Through this evaluation, you are able to identify both internal and external threats that could impact elements such as data availability, confidentiality and integrity while concurrently estimating the costs that said cybersecurity incidents could lead to.
Acquiring this information through an IT risk assessment will enable you with the ability to tailor your own cybersecurity and data protection controls, matching them proficiently to the true level of risk tolerance your organisation possesses.
Understanding three key points is elemental to success when understanding what an IT risk assessment is and getting your IT risk assessment started. These include:
- Understanding what the critical information technology assets of your organisation are to pinpoint where data loss or exposure would have a major impact on your business operations
- Knowing the vital business processes that use or involve this information
- Being vigilant of threats that could affect the ability of those business functions within their operations
Once you have begun to understand what needs to be protected within your organisation, this is where IT risk assessment strategies can be put into place. Here you can spend your money in the right areas, implement appropriate IT risk assessment solutions, and consider each risk in terms of level of priority and cost effectiveness.
How to do an IT Risk Assessment
How to do an IT risk assessment is simple in its structure, once you know how. How to do an IT risk assessment must entail four key components. These are:
Understanding the threat, whether it’s a natural event, a targeted attack, or a mistake, is imperative in the protection of your organisations people or assets.
Any potential weakness within your business’s IT infrastructure can lead to damage. Examples here are outdated antivirus software that can leave you open to malware attacks, physical damage such as flooding in a basement, affecting your hardware, or even employees who are susceptible to allowing for human error. Vulnerabilities come in many forms, so ensuring you remain vigilant on all levels is essential to a successful IT risk assessment.
The impact of an exposed vulnerability or the aftermath of a threat that has made its way through could be drastic for your business. The impact of a ransomware attack would have numerous impacts such as a decline in productivity, expenses involved to recover data and even the impact of losing data or critical information for good, exposing confidential details at times.
This involves a strategic viewpoint within your IT risk assessment. Figuring out the probability of how likely any threats or vulnerabilities will have, as well as the likelihood of their impact is an important factor to consider. It is usually not a specific number but a range.