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What is security assessment and why your business needs it

24th March 2022 Print

A security risk assessment is one of the most fundamental ways to help identify and assess security controls in applications in order to implement necessary changes. Essentially, this is a way to focus on preventing security defects within a business.

Anticipating potential security problems before they happen is perhaps the most important part of cybersecurity and the only way to keep your business safe. The importance of this is what drives businesses towards security assessment services, who already have routine experience in carrying out security assessments.

Beyond the damage that cyberattacks can cause to your reputation and finances, certain assessments may need to be carried out in order to comply with certain regulations. Keeping up to date on both recent attacks and new legislation is therefore paramount.

What a security assessment consists of

First and foremost, identification is the primary part of a security assessment. This is where all critical assets of your business infrastructure are highlighted. All data that is created and stored is diagnosed as interacting with these assets so a risk profile can be carried out. All IT assets should be saved in a database.

It’s important to have a core assessment team that reviews the existing security policies in place. Going through each IT asset, potential threats can be identified. In general, potential threats can be identified from past experiences, but this isn't enough, so it will be necessary to read news reports and discuss other threats with peers. This is where you can identify gaps in the current system.

The impact of each threat should also be estimated, such as the financial, reputation, and logical ramifications in the event of an attack. This can help prioritise attacks as being high, medium, or low. In conjunction with this, the likelihood of each attack should also be scored as being high, medium, or low.

Security testing

Security testing can help test the security strength of the software, networks, and hardware - this goes beyond assessment and is a little more hands-on. So, simulating cyberattacks is one way to test your IT systems, as well as security scanning which should be done regularly.

Both security and vulnerability scanning are common to spot weak points in the system you have used, but again, it may be the sort of thing that you outsource to a security assessment service now and again for a more experienced verdict.

Ensuring software is up to date is an important part of security too, as well as surveying employees to detect potential human errors. In fact, around a quarter of attacks when working from home are caused by human error, so these need to be identified. 

Ultimately, it’s a matter of assessing the costs of protection against the costs of a breach, too. At some point, our security assessment must end or have its limit, because inherently we could perform endless assessments. We need to strike a balance whilst remaining thorough, and we can do this by comparing potential costs from both security services and the event of a breach.