Every day, thousands of cyberattacks occur and wreak havoc on organizations, large and small. Victims experience lost critical data, stolen assets, and damaged reputations for being unable to defend their systems from the vast vulnerabilities and threats that continue to grow and change as attackers innovate. Add in a lack of expertise and resources, making it seem impossible for small businesses to protect themselves. That is where organizations must be strategic.
To defend against cyberattacks and protect assets, organizations must make priority decisions by using cybersecurity risk management to create effective defense strategies. Routine cybersecurity audits can help organizations of all sizes identify and understand security risks and threats to their assets and understand how to protect them.
How Cybersecurity Audits Help
Adding regularly conducted cybersecurity audits to your organization’s business strategy will protect your organization from costly security incidents and data breaches, which saves money in the long run. Protecting networks, data, and sensitive information are necessary to protect an organization’s success, and risk assessments will help increase overall security in the ongoing battle against the ever-changing threat landscape.
Additionally, regulators such as SEC, FINRA, NYDFS, PCI-DSS, FTC, NASAA,
and more require an annual security risk assessment, and six regulators have announced separate plans in 2023 to enact additional rules to instruct companies on how to manage their risks:
- The Department of Defense (DOD)
- The Federal Reserve
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC, part of the Treasury)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
In addition, regulations protecting consumer data privacy are expanding throughout the United States. In addition to the CCPA/CPRA, four other states joined California with new privacy laws including:
- Colorado Privacy Act
- Connecticut Data Protection Act
- Utah Consumer Privacy Act
- Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act.
Know Your Score
Cloud service providers, Salesforce and Microsoft have created platform risk assessment scoring systems to identify gaps in recommended security controls. A Secure Score or health check is essentially a security tool that measures an organization’s security measures and computes a score accordingly. A higher score indicates that the organization has many security practices in place, while a lower score shows that an organization is more vulnerable to attacks.
Secure Score is a useful security tool for an organization. Specifically, it can provide the following benefits.
- Offers a snapshot of the organization’s current security standing.
- Provides the required visibility, guidance, and control to beef up their security.
- Helps to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Compares the existing state with historical benchmarks to help organizations understand the impact of their security tools and policies.
- Provides appropriate recommendations that can help an organization to move forward in the right direction.
- Offers visual representation of trends for easy understanding.
- Helps to comply with security guidelines and legislation.
- Integrates with other products for a streamlined experience.
- Allows you to export the score and actions to a PDF or CSV.
Understanding Risks is a Must!
Different types of organizations treat risks differently from others. For example, a hospital maintains patient records that would inflict heavy consequences on its customers and patients if they were accessed or leaked by attackers. A risk assessment may recommend the hospital prioritize allocating resources toward protecting the confidentiality of its data with privacy-related measures. It can also indicate that there is less risk to the availability or integrity of their data, so fewer resources should be allocated to those areas.
A risk assessment may also help a firm prioritize where to allocate resources to implement protective, access, and monitoring practices and cyber awareness training to prevent attackers from stealing their research or inside attackers from selling them to the competition. It could also indicate that they have fewer confidentiality risks, so they would not allocate resources to that area.
Once an organization has determined its most important assets to protect, identified what threats may attack these assets, understood how vulnerable its assets are, and understood how an attack would affect its functionality, it can make knowledgeable decisions on how to allocate resources toward mitigating the risks effectively.
Also, Cybersecurity consulting firms can perform risk assessments for your organization along with many other services tailored to your situation and information. Independent advisors can help identify business threats, provide a baseline for your current security program, and define security strategies in line with business objectives and technology strategies.
Combating the rising cost of Cyber Insurance with Cybersecurity Audits
Insurance companies are facing a much higher likelihood of claims, and those claims are also likely to be more costly as these cyber incidents are larger and more impactful on organizations. Over the last year, the cyber insurance market has shifted significantly. Generally, it has become more expensive to purchase cyber insurance and expensive premiums now offer organizations significantly less coverage than before. In some cases, organizations are now paying multiple times more for cyber insurance than they paid in recent years, and yet they are receiving substantially less coverage.
Another benefit, Cybersecurity Audits can reduce insurance premiums by demonstrating a proactive approach to identifying, analyzing, and evaluating risks within an organization’s cybersecurity setup and assessing its ability to protect its information and information systems from cyber threats. The cyber risk assessment also determines the potential threats from attackers that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the organization’s information and identifies what measures are needed to protect the organization’s assets. By identifying and prioritizing risks and threats, organizations can make improvements to protect their assets and create an action and recovery plan in the event of a cyberattack.
Cybersecurity Audits are essential to help protect an organization from cyberattacks resulting in lost critical data, stolen assets, and damaged reputations and are required by various regulators. They identify and prioritize security risks and threats, as well as determine the measures needed to protect critical assets. Conducting regular risk assessments and allocating resources effectively can help organizations mitigate risks and protect against attacks.