Cybersecurity Risk Management — Your Questions Answered
The digital world expands every day, and the power technology holds over the workplace grows with it. As technology permeates professional life and digital storage becomes the norm, the impact of cyber threats grows ever-greater. Without proper precautions, your organization faces great risk.
How Does a Cybersecurity Risk Management Service Benefit Me?
Even in a regulated industry with a significant duty of care such as healthcare, finance, and insurance, there are opportunities to improve and vulnerabilities to patch.
Security perfection is impossible, but privacy laws mandate that perfection, with severe financial and legal consequences. Outages lose work hours, and data breaches damage reputations, perhaps permanently. This risk places a tremendous responsibility on your IT team.
But with the day-to-day requirements of IT (which exploded as work-from-home rose), vulnerabilities can slip under the radar. Cybercriminals work day and night to find new vulnerabilities, and any software platform can leave you exposed through no fault of your own.
A cybersecurity risk assessment identifies vulnerabilities in your security and IT infrastructure that you might never have known existed until it was too late.
A security expert doesn’t have to pull double-duty between keeping the lights on and upgrading the company’s protection the way you would — a cybersecurity risk management service makes your everyday job easier and keeps the number of crises you face low.
What Does Cybersecurity Risk Management Do?
A cybersecurity risk assessment works alongside the protocols put in place by your own team to determine the data most in need of protection and to supplement your own IT infrastructure.
After the most vulnerable targets have been identified, the cybersecurity risk management provider of your choice identifies potential threats to your most valuable data, then assesses your existing security measures and tests vulnerabilities in your systems.
When the legwork ends, the provider documents not only their findings and their current recommendations but a plan for the future in order to ensure your data remains secure as criminal methods evolve.
The first step in a cybersecurity risk assessment is to determine which data needs the most protection. Protection in the wrong place is worse than no protection at all. This data asset analysis includes, but is far from limited to:
- HIPAA protected health information (PHI)
- Social Security numbers (SSN)
- Credit/debit card and bank account numbers
- Home addresses
- Phone numbers
- Birth dates
- Invoices and billing
In handling customer information, you have a duty of care to ensure customer safety and privacy and to prevent identity theft. But you also have a duty of care to your own organization. Compromised employee accounts can open the door for criminal access, but the loss of critical systems that disrupt your business is just as dangerous.
Begin from your own internal systems and work outwards. If you outsource a service or store and access your data through a third party, determine how that third party notifies you of breaches and outages.
Do you know the notification turnaround time? Are you compensated or refunded for outages? Can you store local backups? If you don’t know the answers to these questions or how to ask them, an expert cybersecurity risk assessment helps you find out.
Once the data that needs protection has been identified, a cybersecurity risk assessment helps determine the threats it needs to be protected against. While cybercriminals loom large in the mind of security designers and IT professionals alike, there are other dangers to consider.
For example, natural disasters can take servers out of commission for weeks or months, and power outages can leave data unsaved, corrupted, or unrecoverable.
Remember the human element — well-meaning employees can still cause unintentional breaches and fall for phishing attempts. Leakers and malicious actors can also do far more damage if acting from within your organization.
Now that the cybersecurity risk assessment has determined which data needs protection and the gravest threats, it helps you evaluate your existing security protocols.
The assessment analyzes the status and quality of, among other things:
- Limits on internet-enabled devices
- Admin controls
- Email filtering
- Two-factor authentication
- Disaster recovery
If these security measures sound unfamiliar, then the cybersecurity risk assessment can recommend software solutions to expand your arsenal of tools.
Cybersecurity firms have the time and expertise to recommend the best solutions for your business, which leaves you with more time to implement those solutions and continue your own IT projects.
Documentation and Implementation
A cybersecurity risk assessment doesn’t end with the analysis. The documentation after your cybersecurity risk assessment ends should inform you, in plain language, of your most vulnerable data, the greatest threats to it, and the protections and protocols to apply going forward.
The documentation not only recommends immediate changes but also establishes a clear structure and framework to follow for months and years to come.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines are the industry standard that any cybersecurity risk assessment should cover (and whose absence in a firm’s pitch should cause concern). However, even if your department can read and understand these guidelines on its own, the external perspective of a cybersecurity risk assessment brings expertise and experience to the table to develop standards tailored to your business.
While NIST standards are excellent, they are not perfect. If a guideline doesn’t fit your company’s security needs, adjust it. Demonstrate that you and your company are willing and able to treat your future security with care and consideration rather than rubberstamp broad-spectrum guidelines.
With a thorough understanding of your existing infrastructure, your greatest opportunities to improve, and your most dangerous threats, you and your IT department gain a clear future direction.
New guidelines don’t stop at improvements for current infrastructure; they provide data and recommendations to help you improve long-term. Rome wasn’t built in a day – data security improvements require a plan that lasts for months or years.
The best cybersecurity firms are ready and willing to help you plan for the future and include that plan in the assessment documentation to make it easy to spread throughout IT, management, and beyond.
From protection to detection to incident response, this documentation is invaluable in every step of the cybersecurity process.
With valuable information available online through NIST and other sources, it can be difficult to justify the potential cost of a cybersecurity risk assessment to management. However, you should consider some of these factors:
An IT department has other priorities. You have to ensure that every aspect of the company’s digital infrastructure, from servers to connections in-office to work-from-home employees’ equipment, functions at peak capacity. Your team needs to maintain a comprehensive investment and R&D plan for future development.
You probably don’t have the time to spend on an in-depth assessment of the systems that you’re tasked with keeping operational.
Expert security advice from a specialized provider takes the time crunch out of your busy queue and puts it into the hands of professional security experts. They ensure you meet your company’s security needs and regulatory requirements.
Devastating data breaches happen every day. The cost of fines and loss of reputation can be astronomical and far outweighs the cost of a skilled cybersecurity risk assessment.
An assessment does more than lessen the odds of such a breach — if one does occur, it gives you a plan to mitigate the damage and restore operational capacity as soon as possible.
By leaving you with a plan, the assessment prepares you and your team for a rapid, professional, and well-executed response to any crisis. Emotions run high in the event of a disaster, but a cool, rational response proves your value as IT experts.
As rapid, unprecedented changes continue, the cost of catastrophe grows ever higher. Disaster is rare but inevitable. Readiness provided by expert planning mitigates damage.
Most of all, cybersecurity risk assessments represent an investment. New methods of regular vigilance and expert planning demonstrate commitment to security not as a legal obligation but as a sign of dedication. Customers need assurance that their data is safe with you, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In the event of a breach, financial loss occurs not only from damage and loss of reputation but from government fines and penalties.
A risk assessment team that has knowledge of and experience with the requirements of your industry, beyond the scope of your company, helps you remain compliant in every step of the process and deliver on your duty of care to customers’ private data.
Contact Us Today
With experience in regulated industries like healthcare, a history of navigating complex issues, and excellent service, we would be proud to meet your needs. Offering a free 60-minute evaluation and a suite of compliance and security services, Touchstone Security is the right choice for your security needs in the new digital age. Call today.
At Touchstone Security, we provide a variety of services and solutions for small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and large enterprises that may not be able to furnish a full IT team alone. Instead of the enormous expense of new hires or the potential liability of temporary workers, let Touchstone perform a risk assessment for you.