The 10 Step Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist

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Ensuring that your organization has the cybersecurity it needs can be a complex process. A cyber security assessment checklist ensures that your business implements and accounts for each of the many integral components of your cyber security posture.

According to the National Cybersecurity Institute, 50% of small to medium-sized businesses have fallen victim to cyber attacks. This highlights the need for your business to identify vulnerabilities, develop strategies, and act on cybersecurity.

While every organization’s needs are different, these key points should be on your cyber security risk assessment checklist.


Improve Your Security Posture With Our Cyber Security Assessment Checklist

Follow each of these steps to gain a better understanding of your current security posture and how you can improve upon it in the future.


1. Identify Threats to Your Security Infrastructure

Understanding the different types of threats that your business faces is key to developing effective security and risk management. Your business should identify high-value assets, such as proprietary or sensitive data, that could be a target for attackers.

From there, you need cyber risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities in your on-premises, cloud, and hybrid systems. There are many threats to consider, from compromised devices to malware and ransomware attacks.

It’s well worth seeking an evaluation from a professional security team to ensure that you handle this step properly.

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Ensure All Systems are Updated

Outdated systems are some of the most easily accessible entry points for a wide range of attacks. For this step of the audit checklist, you need to verify that your systems are up-to-date and that you have a solution in place to ensure that they remain that way.

Updates are integral to the security of all types of firmware and software. Your business must maintain its operating systems, software, applications, and cybersecurity software at all times to keep ahead of attackers.


3. Implement Proper End-User Training

Any system that has gone through the appropriate cybersecurity risk assessments and comes up clean in terms of data and network vulnerabilities still has one major risk: its users.
Ensuring that your employees have the training to prevent data breaches and cyber attacks is a vital step in your risk management plan. Cybersecurity training is essential for educating your staff on how to identify and avoid common threats such as phishing.


4. Maintain Secure Identity and Access Management

No matter what type of sensitive information is stored within your systems, you need a way for authorized users to access it.

Having the right identity and access management practices in place are vital to making this happen. Features such as two-factor authentication and other device security measures are a must-have for your organization.


5. Use Encryption Wherever Needed

Any cyber security audit should include a review of your encryption measures. Encryption is essential, preventing attackers from accessing sensitive information even if they manage to access networks and devices. Ensure that you have the appropriate in-transit and at-rest encryption in place.

Cyber Security Assessment Checklist


6. Develop Data Backup Plans

Data backups are among the most important components of any security risk assessment checklist. Regular backups ensure that your business can continue normal operations whenever an event occurs, from a simple hardware failure to a large-scale ransomware attack.


7. Implement the Proper Security Layers

There are many distinct layers to any effective cybersecurity strategy. Your business needs to ensure that it has the appropriate security protocols at endpoints, throughout the network, on the cloud, and at other key points.

Depending on the nature of your systems, your information security risk assessment should include an evaluation of your antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems, each of which provides protection for different layers.


8. Plan for Cyber Attack Mitigation

Prevention is the most important aspect of any threat assessment checklist, but your business also needs to plan for what happens if something does go wrong.

Data backups and encryption are two key parts of that, but you should also consider cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance can insure your business against damages sustained from cyber attacks. Be sure to find a policy that addresses the specific risks and threats that your business faces.


9. Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the specific industry you’re in, your business can face a wide range of regulatory requirements. Maintaining compliance is essential, as the consequences can be severe.

In one notable example, Anthem Inc. faced a $16 million HIPAA penalty for a data breach in 2015 and lost millions more to various parties through lawsuits.

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10. Get a Complete Cybersecurity Assessment

A cyber security assessment checklist can be a great tool to evaluate your posture and handle internal compliance, but it can’t provide the same impact as a complete cybersecurity assessment.

Having certified professionals carry out an assessment can provide your business with the insights and recommendations needed to optimize your security.


Develop a Cyber Security Assessment Checklist With a Trusted Partner

A threat assessment checklist that cyber security teams can use to evaluate their standing is just the starting point. To ensure that each of these areas is reliably secure, you need professional solutions that can keep pace with the ever-growing world of cyber threats.

As a leading managed services provider, Protek provides a wide range of robust cyber security services that address all of your digital protection needs.

From the risk assessment process to your data recovery plan, trust our experts to develop a cyber security risk assessment checklist that aligns with your needs.

For more information, contact us today to learn how we can help protect your business.