If you’re handling private data in your organization, then you’re obliged to establish security systems to protect its misuse. To achieve this, you should conduct an elaborate risk assessment process to identify and analyze the potential risks to the data.
This process is a crucial ingredient in enhancing your cybersecurity since it enables you to rank and prioritize the risks. This way, you’re able to eliminate the threats based on their possibility of occurrence and the potential damage that they would cause to your organization.
This article will guide you on how you can use your risk assessment process to establish a secure cybersecurity system that will pass all the regulatory requirements.
The Process of Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Use a Targeted Approach
You should never make the mistake of thinking that you can conduct a risk assessment without a well-thought-out plan. If you attempt this, you’re likely to have sketchy cybersecurity strategies that will not offer the desired data security.
While it’s fathomable that you’d like to protect everything within the institution, it’s necessary that you prioritize them and only start with the most vulnerable sections. After you have a clear plan, ensure that you obtain all the regulatory guidelines since they contain in-depth insights on loopholes that cybercriminals explore when trying to access your data.
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Make sure that you only start with the most relevant section based on the needs of your industry. For example, an organization that deals with payments may have crucial cardholder details. Such a company would prioritize compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). On the other hand, a health facility should first follow the guidelines of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Adopt a Multi-Agency Approach/ Assessment Team
After you’ve identified your cybersecurity threats, you need to rank them based on the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of the consequences that would befall your organization in case they occur.
While you may be interested in handling this step independently, you may lack the expertise that’s required to gauge the magnitude of the threats. If that’s the case, you should never hesitate to engage professionals within your organization. This will ensure that you get accurate data that will translate into a highly effective cybersecurity system.
However, you should be careful when engaging people from the outside of your organization since they can misuse the data! If you must do that, then use vendor assessment tools to evaluate their data protection ability before you hire them.
Create an Effective Risk Treatment Program
Once you’ve assessed and ranked the cybersecurity threats that affect your organization, it’s time to formulate techniques that will help you mitigate the risks. You may consider using the following:
1- Use a Tracking Tool: This is an automated tool that will help you to monitor the daily operations of your business closely. Your IT team will help in coding the necessary keys that will help it identify unusual activities in your organization. The tool will generate a report periodically for your assessment. If/when you identify anything weird, you should invoke other mitigation measures immediately before the problem wreaks havoc.
2- Modify Your Working Tools: Depending on the nature of the threats, you can modify your equipment to detect unusual logins, unauthorized sharing of data, or any other attempt to access protected data.
3- Develop a Code of Ethics: You should ensure that all your employees adhere to security measures that you’ve instituted. Anyone unwilling to comply should never be tolerated!
All your systems should be modified to ensure that they block any attempt to compromise your data security.
Invest in Staff Training
While risk assessment is crucial, it loses its value if the implementation is inadequate. To achieve a flawless implementation process, you should train all your staff on all the mitigation measures you’ve adopted.
Let them appreciate the needs to adopt the measures. When at it, you should address all their concerns and questions which will reduce the friction that may arise between the employees and the management. If all the stakeholders agree, you can be confident that the implementation process will be superb!
Evaluate and Review Your Data Security Programs
Risks are never static! When you successfully eliminate one cybersecurity threat, the cybercriminals will work to develop an alternative to compromising your data. As such, you should regularly monitor the system to help you detect loopholes and to improve on them immediately.
The consistent evaluation can be overwhelming, which makes it necessary to incorporate automated tools which generate recommendations to better your security systems. Also, ensure that you regularly engage both internal and external auditors to determine the efficiency of your security systems.
Risk assessment is one of the surest methods that you can use to enhance your organization’s cybersecurity. However, its success depends on how well you conduct the evaluation. You should develop quality recommendations that will block any unauthorized attempt to access private data from your organization and leverage a variety of software that helps you meet this need.