With so much attention focused on e-commerce in recent years, the health and security of IT systems is a big priority for more than 33 million American small businesses. More businesses than ever have sensitive personal data or customer financial data on file. Keeping that data safe is extremely important to maintain customer trust and stay in legal compliance.
Of course, the ongoing shortage of qualified cybersecurity experts makes this more difficult and more necessary. Despite the difficulties, there are real benefits to regular cyber risk assessments. Keep reading for an overview of the key benefits.
Identification of Risks
The grim situation for most businesses is that cybersecurity risks can come from all kinds of places. Some of the more common places include:
- Human error
- Denial of service attacks
- SQL injections
A regular cyber assessment helps you stay on top of what happens in your business on the IT front. It lets you identify internal cyber threats, such as weaknesses in your IT security, as well as areas where external threats can gain a foothold in your systems.
Just as importantly, it can also help you identify bad actors in your own organization. While human error is a serious, but likely forgivable, sin, intentionally damaging systems or downloading sensitive data is not.
Finding and eliminating bad actors from your organization can save you a lot of trouble and money.
Identifying a risk or many risks also arms you to make decisions moving forward regarding your IT systems.
While it’s not relevant to every single organization, certain industries do operate under heightened expectations in terms of cybersecurity. Healthcare services and financial services are specifically targeted with regulations regarding data.
Healthcare services often possess extensive records regarding your health, medical procedures, and prescriptions. This is extraordinarily personal information and could potentially damage your career or personal relationships if exposed.
These organizations are bound by HIPAA regulations to protect your medical information. The HITECH Act also imposes requirements on healthcare organizations https://cybriant.com/data-breaches-in-healthcare/in regard to electronic medical record security.
As finance covers a lot of ground, there are many laws and voluntary policies in place to protect consumer data. One of the most important laws is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which includes a privacy rule. One of the important voluntary policies is the PCI-DDS, which governs security around credit card cardholder data.
Any business that collects information from kids must comply with COPPA or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
A regular cyber assessment helps businesses and other organizations ensure that they remain in compliance. This is particularly important following a change in software.
Get Professional Insights
Most businesses that don’t maintain a fully staffed IT department don’t try to run their cyber security risk assessments. The level of technical knowledge required usually far exceeds the level of in-house expertise at small businesses.
The upshot is that the company conducting the assessment is usually a managed service provider. These companies must keep cybersecurity professionals on staff.
That gives you a golden opportunity to get the opinion of a cybersecurity pro on your existing infrastructure and software. It also means you get their opinion on hardware or software that you might be considering in the near future.
For example, they can give you a reasonably reliable opinion on whether you need something like application security.
Prioritization of Risks
Very few, if any, businesses run a completely watertight ship in terms of cybersecurity. The world of information technology evolves too fast for that.
New viruses spring up on an almost daily basis. New pieces of software with new, native vulnerabilities go on the market all the time. Even your hardware or the firmware loaded onto it can prove vulnerable.
So, in many cases, the real question facing business owners isn’t, “Where are we weak?” The answer to that question is a laundry list as often as not.
The real question becomes, “What weaknesses are a crisis for my business right now?”
Good cyber risk assessments don’t just identify risks, but they help you to prioritize those risks into general areas. For example, they might break down into areas like high risk, medium risk, or low risk.
Knowing the high-risk threats lets you put fixing those first on the list.
Finding Non-Standard Risks
Risks come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Not every risk comes from an overseas hacker or a business rival. Some risks come from your own decisions.
For example, is there a locked cage or a locked door protecting your servers? If not, basically any employee can walk up, plug in a USB drive, and download data.
Many business owners don’t think about their employees as that kind of risk. Hence, they don’t do anything to protect their servers.
For that matter, what kind of fire suppression system do you use in your server room? Is it a water-based system? If so, someone burning a bag of popcorn in the break room could destroy every last bit of data on those servers.
Hopefully, you employ good data backup protocols. Even if you do, those kinds of oversights could easily leave you on the hook for a lot of expensive hardware replacements.
A good cybersecurity assessment will help you spot these kinds of weaknesses. While there isn’t always an easy fix for those problems, awareness can help you plan for them.
Cyber Security Assessments and You
Most businesses cannot avoid the necessity of cyber security assessments these days. Businesses are simply too dependent on the internet, digital data, and their IT infrastructure.
While that IT hardware, software, and the internet open up a lot of possibilities and a big target audience, they come with risks. Regular cyber security assessments let you identify those risks and plan to deal with them.
They also let get some advice from a cybersecurity professional, which isn’t always easy for small businesses.
Cybriant offers managed security services for businesses. For questions about our offerings, please contact Cybriant today.