Has Your Risk Assessment Hit the Mark?

risk assessment bullseyeWhen we work with new clients who have come to us because they have experienced a data breach or security incident, they often express frustration because they thought they had taken the necessary steps to secure their systems and data only to learn the hard way that something may have been missed.

More often than not, the new client has had some type of risk assessment. This may have been conducted using a do-it-yourself type assessment tool that was not tailored well enough to their unique situation, needs, and potential risks. Or, if they had a more in depth, customized risk assessment, often we find that it was conducted three, four, or even five or more years ago. An inadequate or infrequent risk assessment strategy only provides a false sense of security that can lead to security vulnerabilities or compliance troubles. To protect your company or organization, be sure your security risk assessment hits the bullseye.

Tailored Risk Assessment

A turnkey, one size fits all risk assessment tool may provide some insight into the most basic risks your company may face. Inevitably, no two companies have the exact same IT environment or be used in the same way. To conduct an effective risk assessment, your company needs a partner who can take the time to understand your systems along with the policies and practices for using and interacting with systems and data. We find these unique variances between clients’ systems and practices to be the most important areas to consider in a risk assessment. Our team can easily identify the most basic risks that are inherent in the type of tools and systems your network uses. But that only scratches the surface. Your network grows and changes as your employees interact with it and as your data grows and changes.

In Depth Risk Assessment

A surface level risk assessment will only protect your organization from the most basic, obvious risks. The risk factor or unguarded entry point that may not be a concern for most companies may be your biggest weakness. Your risk assessment must factor in best practices and common threats and then dig deeper to understand any risks that may inadvertently be created by your company’s unique compilation of tools, the concerns of your industry, and even the practices of your employees that may make a future breach or attack possible.

Updated Risk Assessment

The threats we face constantly evolve, tools and software packages update continuously, and the creative tactics of hackers change every day. The threats and vulnerabilities identified in your last risk assessment may not reflect the risks you face today. And the steps you took to address vulnerabilities identified in the past may not be sufficient to protect your network today. As you make changes within your systems to address weaknesses, update tools to fix bugs or install patches from the developer, and even as your employees come and go, your risks shift and evolve in a variety of critical, potentially dangerous ways. Even to simply repeat the steps taken in your last risk assessment, you could be missing new factors that could lead to security or compliance issues.

Every company has to work with the resources available at any given time – that includes time, personnel, and focus as well as financial resources. A customized, thorough risk assessment will require significant resources to be conducted effectively. But the risks of an insufficient risk assessment are far greater than the costs of a thorough examination. When a risk assessment hits the bullseye – when it is tailored to your environment, goes deep enough to identify the underlying threats you may face, and when it is kept current, expanding on past assessments, you are left with a clear picture of threats you may face, an actionable plan for addressing those risks over time in a prioritized order of criticality and cost to do so, and you can rest assured that you have done all in your power to limit risk and achieve compliance.

We believe that it is vital that you find a partner to work with your organization and walk through your risk assessment with you objectively and with the expertise that only comes from vast experience and a thorough understanding of the security challenges businesses face today. For your organization, Loricca’s team of analysts may be your perfect partners. We may not be. It is important that you work with the right firm to conduct your risk assessment. In our experience, few companies have the resources or capabilities to go it alone.

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