Network security risks are looming everywhere – be it your home or your business. How do you protect your organization from such risks? A thorough risk assessment for your organization should be high on your list of priorities when initiating and conducting your business. This assessment must be specific to your needs because your security strategy will be customized to
your organization’s business.
Here are some tips on how to perform a network security risk assessment
What are your digital assets?
The first step should be to take a deep look at your organization’s functioning and list all the digital assets you have. Your digital assets will include any and all information that you receive, store, process, or share within and outside your organization. This will include any information of any kind, such as contact and financial information, pertaining to your employees, clients, third-parties, or the government.
What are your threats and vulnerabilities?
Once you have identified your digital assets, you must think about what threats put your network security at risk and how vulnerable your assets are to them. Think of probable sources of data leaks, possible unauthorized access, and untrustworthy authorized personnel. To identify your vulnerabilities, you can utilize information from any previous audits and government vulnerability databases. Any logged reports of previous data exposure in your organization should also be analyzed.
What are your current network security policies?
If there are any security policies that are currently operational in your organization, take a stock of them. Are they enough to protect your organization based on your identification of important assets and vulnerable data? Evaluate your encryption methods, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software. Identify which of your previously noted vulnerable assets are protected by the current policies and which are not. This will help you revise your data security framework.
How hard would a security breach hit you?
It is essential to foresee the impact of a potential data breach in your organization. How sensitive and critical is the information stored in your digital assets? This part of the risk assessment could be quantitative or qualitative depending on your organization’s digital assets. You can assign a cost to each vulnerability being exposed to a threat. Look at issues of confidentiality agreement breaches exposing your clients to financial risks. If you are bound by federal regulations such as HIPAA, think of the legal issues that a security breach would initiate.
Have you documented your findings?
The entire risk assessment process must culminate in a comprehensive documentation of your findings. This may seem like a very easy task, but it is hardly a trivial one. Your documentation must include your prioritization of the network security risks to your organization. You can classify the potential threats and vulnerabilities as critical, high-risk, moderate-risk, and low-risk. This will help you design an efficient network security policy.
It might seem like a mammoth task to protect your organization from network security threats. An intensive risk assessment can ease your task greatly. Follow our tips to ward off any potential network security risks to your organization.