What is a Security Risk Assessment?

security risk assessment

A security risk assessment identifies, assesses, and implements key security controls or compliance standards for a network.

Carrying out a risk assessment allows an organization to view their network from a potential hacker’s perspective. It helps to identify vulnerabilities and strength in a network, which can be used to make security-related decisions or provide results that a network is compliant for security standards it is trying to obtain. Therefore, conducting an assessment is a vital part of a company’s risk management process.

How Does a Security Risk Assessment Work?

It is best to contact an outside provider to come in and audit your network. You want someone who understands the security and compliance landscape to perform your assessment. A firm that can provide results that can be successfully implemented for your network or even assist with helping make any changes required from the security risk assessment results.

The 4 Steps of a Successful Security Risk Assessment

  1. Determine all critical assets of the technology infrastructure.
  2. Administer an approach to assess the identified security risks for critical assets.
  3. Define a mitigation approach and enforce security controls for each risk.
  4. Implement tools and processes to minimize threats and vulnerabilities from occurring in your firm’s resources.

What Problems Does a Security Risk Assessment Solve?

A comprehensive security assessment allows an organization to:

  • Identify assets (network, servers, applications, data centers, tools, etc.)
  • Create risk profiles for each asset
  • Understand what data is stored, transmitted, and generated by these assets
  • Assess asset criticality regarding business operations to include the overall impact on revenue, reputation, and the likelihood of a firm’s exploitation
  • Measure the risk ranking for assets and prioritize them for assessment
  • Apply mitigating controls for each asset based on assessment results

It’s important to understand that a security risk assessment isn’t a one-time security project. Instead, it is an ongoing activity that should be conducted at least once a year. Continuous assessment provides an organization with a current and up-to-date snapshot of threats and risks to which it is exposed.

Our security risk assessment process creates and collects a variety of valuable information including:

  • Creating an application portfolio for all current applications, tools, and utilities
  • Documenting security requirements, policies, and procedures
  • Establishing a collection of system architectures, network diagrams, data stored or transmitted by systems, and interactions with external services or vendors
  • Developing an asset inventory of physical assets (hardware, network, and communication components and peripherals)
  • Maintaining information on operating systems (PC and server operating systems)
  • Data repositories (database management systems, files, etc.)
  • Current security controls (authentication systems, access control systems, antivirus, spam controls, network monitoring, firewalls, intrusion detection, and prevention systems)
  • Current baseline operations and security requirements pertaining to compliance of governing bodies
  • Assets, threats, and vulnerabilities (including their impacts and likelihood)
  • Previous technical and procedural reviews of applications, policies, network systems, etc.
  • Mapping of mitigating controls for each risk identified for an asset

What Industries Require a Security Risk Assessment for Compliance?

We believe that security is something that all industries should take seriously. We find more and more businesses requiring clients and vendors to adhere to strict security policies. Now, most of the security controls are accepted and implemented across multiple industries for that reason. In several industries, risk assessments are required by a number of laws, regulations, and standards especially for HIPAA, PCI, government contracts, etc.

Contact our team to get your personalized assessment today!

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