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As organizations migrate increasingly to a remote work model, the attack surface is expanding. Network perimeters are vanishing. Employees and vendors can access enterprise assets and applications from their homes. Cybercriminals are finding the scenario ideal to plan and execute attacks. Is your enterprise fully prepared to identify and respond to cyberattacks?

According to a report by IBM and Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million USD. Small and medium-sized organizations can find it extremely difficult to afford recovery from such destructive cyberattacks. They must protect their information technology (IT) infrastructure and assets before it is too late. Evaluating the organization’s security posture proactively with cybersecurity risk assessment and investing in a strong cybersecurity strategy can help.

What is cybersecurity risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment involves a comprehensive analysis of IT and data assets to evaluate risk levels. The risk assessment engagement will cover every possible attack target, including hardware, systems, laptops, intellectual property, customer and vendor information, and employee data. Please read ahead to understand how a risk assessment can offer detailed insights into the different risks and threats that could impact your IT assets.

A comprehensive cybersecurity risk assessment exercise will comprise various activities as follows:

  • Vulnerability assessment to identify bugs or security weaknesses in IT assets
  • Cloud security assessment to ensure your cloud infrastructure is secure
  • Third-party risk assessment to evaluate risks that may arise from vendor relationships and shared data or assets
  • Compromise assessment for detecting command-and-control server activity; lateral movement by cybercriminals, backdoors, and so on; and obtaining visibility into where attackers may be hiding
  • Compliance readiness assessment to determine your organization’s compliance with necessary standards, including the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and Payment Card Industry (PCI)
  • Ransomware readiness assessment via live breach attack simulations, data backup analysis, and disaster recovery readiness to determine the preparedness of your business to defend against a cyberattack
  • Penetration testing to check if your IT infrastructure can be penetrated and exploited
  • Risk assessment to determine the level of impact in case of a cyberattack

Should you invest in cyber risk assessment?

If you consider the increasing number and complexity of cyberattacks, a cybersecurity strategy is a necessity. A successful cybersecurity attack can set the company back by millions of dollars. An accidental or intentional data breach can happen in any department within your organization at any level and time.

To make the right cybersecurity investments, business leaders must know which IT assets need protection and how to build up cybersecurity. You would not want to invest significantly in defenses against events that will not occur. Simultaneously, you will not want to underrate or overlook highly damaging vulnerabilities and risks.

A cybersecurity risk assessment can offer valuable insights:

  • Many business leaders assume they are fully aware of cyber risks and threats that can impact their organization. However, there could be blind stops easily identified via risk assessment.
  • You will have quantified data about all the vulnerabilities in your organization’s IT infrastructure that could potentially be exploited to carry out an attack.
  • You will know your organization’s preparedness in the event of an attack and the cyberattack’s impact on your business — loss of reputation, revenue impact, and business continuity.

Cybersecurity risk assessment ROI

Building a robust cybersecurity strategy based on inputs from the assessment can help protect your organization’s data and IT assets. The absence of such events is the greatest return on investment (ROI). Cyber risk assessments allow business owners, chief technology officers (CTOs), chief information security officers (CISOs), and other leaders to review and update security controls. They can develop the right security policies in the best interest of their clients, vendors, and users. Cyber risk assessments offer various other returns.

Building customer confidence in the business

Have you ever considered a link between cybersecurity and customer growth? A PwC survey report highlights that 85% of consumers will not transact with a company they believe does not have strong security practices. When you implement well-strategized cybersecurity measures, the organization is not only able to avert cyberattacks but also gain consumer trust. You will experience better growth when customers and users know their data is safe and they trust the business.

Investing in the future 

A cyber risk assessment will quantify risks by calculating key cybersecurity metrics, including the single loss expectancy (SLE), the annual rate of occurrence (ARO), the exposure factor (EF), and the annual loss expectancy (ALE) for all your IT assets. You will know how specific threat actors can exploit vulnerabilities and the potential damage they can cause. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about upgrading your organization’s security defenses and allocating cybersecurity budgets wisely.

Protecting your business reputation

The actual cost of not investing in a cyber risk assessment is more than just revenue loss. One malicious cyberattack is enough to harm the company’s reputation, which takes years to build. The flood of negative media during and after a cybersecurity breach can affect a client’s confidence in a company. Consumers will not trust an organization that can’t secure private information. 

Preventing business disruption

Prolonged service disruption, operational shut-down, and IT overhaul contribute to mass business disruption during and after a cyberattack. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can make your business resources or assets unavailable to users. It can lead to a loss in productivity across the organization. Proactive risk assessment allows you to strengthen your cybersecurity and respond better to threats and attacks.

Avoiding unexpected high costs

Lawsuits are a considerable risk after a cyberattack. Data breaches and even hacker negotiations can result in extensive legal fees. The company’s public relations (PR) department must go all hands on deck if a cyberattack occurs. Dealing with media inquiries, strategizing bank recovery, and supporting leadership and IT can lead to excessive PR costs. Investing in cybersecurity risk assessments and protection instead can help eliminate the need for all such high unexpected costs.

Derive the benefits of a cybersecurity risk assessment with cyber defense group

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to move your cybersecurity program forward with a comprehensive, professional risk assessment, CDG can help.

We are shifting the cybersecurity consulting paradigm to address the needs of mid-market, cloud-native or cloud-reliant companies who are experiencing rapid growth. Founded in 2016 by global security expert Lou Rabon, our nimble team draws on decades of experience and diverse technical expertise to deliver a full spectrum of information security advisory and implementation services on a fixed-cost basis. Our right-sized, results-driven approach will help you meet your immediate needs, but also ready you to navigate what’s ahead.

Get in touch, and see what results are possible for your organization.


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