Does My Business Need a Cybersecurity Assessment?
The short answer is yes. You wouldn’t drive your car for years without an oil change. The same preventive maintenance applies to cybersecurity and your business. Hackers are continually searching for and finding new vulnerabilities in the software to exploit. If you haven’t reviewed your current business profile against the cyber threats looming, it is difficult to know if you are protected.
Cybercrime headlines continue to pile up. The unfortunate reality to a majority of these crimes is hackers are continuously trying new ways to exploit deficiencies that have been overlooked. The Capital One theft is the latest high-profile example. It was reported that the information was stolen through a known weakness in the Amazon Web Service EC2 system. The hacker identified the vulnerability and started looking for targets or, as the WSJ stated, began “knocking on front doors to hunt for ones that were unlocked.” In this situation, Capital One had missed the weakness, leaving the door open for an opportunist criminal.
It doesn’t make sense to lock the windows if the front door is open. A cybersecurity assessment will tell you not only if the doors and windows are locked, but also where a criminal could easily sneak in undetected. Once you have that information, you can make decisions about whether any risks identified could adversely impact your business and the likelihood the situation would occur. Don’t lock the windows and leave the front door wide open, unless you have analyzed the chances and costs of someone walking in.
What is a Cybersecurity Assessment?
A cybersecurity assessment is a little different for each organization. The major components include a comprehensive security review and testing.
Company Profile: The review starts with developing a profile of your business priorities and operations to understand what threats are most relevant. For example, a company with mobile employees accessing the company network with their own devices will be exposed to different risks than one with employees that only access the corporate network from a desktop computer.
Security Policies: Your security policies should work to strengthen your business. This phase of the assessment will look at what is working, what needs to be updated, and where policies need to be created.
IT Asset Inventory: If it can be connected to the network, you need to make sure it is protected. To get a full picture of your environment, you’ll need to look at all your equipment and software. Older technology may need to be upgraded or new software added to ensure any known vulnerabilities are addressed.
Threat Profile: Once you have a clear view of your business priorities, security policies, and IT assets, you can develop an overview of the threats most relevant to your organization. With an understanding of your vulnerabilities and risks, you can better identify gaps to ensure you aren’t exposing yourself to known attacks.
Business Impact and Tolerance: When building a cybersecurity plan, the goal is to prevent any disruption to your business. Another component of your program has to be preparing for the worst. Can your business withstand a few hours without access to its data? What about a few days? After your team has agreed to the business thresholds, you start to consider appropriate data protection measures.
Test, test, and test again: The best plan can look great on paper and fail because of a missed step or lack of communication. Testing gives your company the ability to see where more training is needed and where to prioritize investments.
Taking the time to conduct a cybersecurity assessment will help you understand the real threats to your business and what you can do to manage the cyber risk facing your organization.
For more information on completing a cybersecurity assessment, contact our professionals here.