Security vulnerabilities in your technology infrastructure are no longer something just for your IT department to worry about; the impact of a cyberattack can quickly send ripples throughout your entire organization, from its balance sheet to its stockholders. And with more than 53,000 security incidents reported in 2018 alone, the question has seemingly flipped from not if, but when your network could be in the crosshairs.
So is your organization prepared? One of the best ways to know for sure is to perform an IT risk assessment, which can help you get a strong grasp of your current security vulnerabilities and prepare for those that may be lurking around the corner. An IT risk assessment can span the leadership, policy, procedural, technical, and employee facets of your organization to present an action plan to remediate issues before they are exploited.
To help your organization dive deeper, here are four key questions an IT risk assessment can help answer and the impact they can have on your business.
Are You Prepared for the Future of Your Business?
Your business may have started out as a regional or specialized provider and grown in scale and scope over time. In the midst of this growth, maybe your IT footprint—its security tools, data centers, productivity tools, hardware, and other components—hasn’t kept pace. An IT risk assessment can reveal areas of need while also looking forward to future compliance, regulatory, and business goals that could shape the next phase of your company.
Do You Know the Current Risks to Your Operations?
As organizations have more of their operations connected to the internet and employees embrace mobile technologies, the risks to your organization can quickly escalate. An IT risk assessment can reveal all of the potential network, hardware, software, and physical threats to your IT platform so that proper changes to operating policies, procedures, and infrastructure security can be made.
An IT risk assessment can include interviews, penetration tests, document and policy reviews, and evaluations of hardware, software, and network security health. At the end, your organization will have a holistic grasp of the current state of your IT environment.
Is Your IT Platform Aligned to Your Business Functions?
Security needs to enable your business, not hinder it, but finding that balance can be difficult without an IT rIsk assessment. Identifying the right levels of authentication, access controls, backups, and system monitoring can make the difference between having frustrated employees and having employees who understand reasonable security protocols. If your IT platform and security controls aren’t able to support your customers and core operations effectively, an assessment can identify a path forward.
Is Security Part of Your Business Culture?
Though no organization can be completely free of risk, an IT risk assessment can reveal a lot about the professional mindset of your IT professionals and other business staff. An assessment can confirm if regular security patches and updates have been applied, if sound change management processes have been followed, and if other security tools are in place and working properly.
An assessment can also test the knowledge and awareness of your staff to find areas of potential focus for training. About 17 percent of security breaches are the result of employee errors, so there can be a lot of room for improvement here.
Taking the Next Step
Although an IT risk assessment can be conducted in-house, in order for an organization to gain an unbiased, comprehensive, and timely understanding of the effectiveness of their IT operations and security, bringing in an outside vendor can be the best option to make the process more efficient and effective and less invasive to other business operations. However, if your organization already has a separate compliance, auditing, or regulatory function in place, utilizing these teams to perform an IT risk assessment can be a great place to start before moving on to more complex evaluations.
Whether your organization is trying to keep up with strong growth or is mature in its operations, an IT risk assessment can be a great way to gain a holistic perspective on the effectiveness of your IT budget, systems, security, and policies to be ready for the road ahead.
Interested in a targeted assessment covering areas that are most frequently problematic? A comprehensive risk and security assessment from FNTS will define the assets you are trying to protect, identify critical risks within your current security controls, and set standards for your ongoing security strategy.