What you should know about security assessments

What you should know about security assessments

More and more small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like yours are becoming increasingly reliant on IT to handle everything from managing customer relationships to handling accounting. IT systems have become so integral that when these are compromised your operations could come to a screeching halt. Just imagine the chaos a hacker would cause if they ransacked your payroll system the day before payday. And if you’re thinking that such a scenario won’t ever happen to you because your business is too small, know that more than half of cyberattacks are actually aimed at SMBs because their owners don’t take cybersecurity seriously.

If you’ve implemented security measures such as antivirus programs and firewalls, then that’s all well and good. However, be aware that cybercriminals nowadays are more fond of targeting the weakest chinks in your armor: your staff.

With so much to consider when it comes to protecting your business against cyber threats, how do you determine what you need to do and where to start? The answer to this is simple: You need to do regular security assessments.

What are security assessments?

Simply put, security assessments are regularly administered tests that evaluate the following:

  • How vulnerable your organization and third-party partners are to cyberattacks
  • How up to date your IT systems are
  • How compliant you and your business partners are with applicable data rules and regulations
  • How prepared you are to handle security breaches if they were to happen
  • Whether or not your IT systems have already been breached

These tests will then provide you with action steps you need to take to better protect your business.

Why must security assessments be done regularly?

First and foremost, tech is always progressing — and this includes the tools and techniques cyber criminals would use to attack your business. You may have the latest in firewalls one year, but face malware that’s capable of bypassing these the next.

Second of all, black hat and white hat hackers are always racing against each other to find yet-to-be-discovered software vulnerabilities. Your organization is likely to become more exposed to new vulnerabilities over time.

Third, you get to see if cybersecurity training is improving the skills of your staff members, and if they need new or refresher courses. Assessing employees is the first step to enhancing their capabilities. And by training staff regularly, you could turn them from liabilities into invaluable cybersecurity assets.

Last but not least, data regulations are being introduced and amended over time. Regular assessments can help you remain compliant so you won’t worry about violation penalties.

Who ought to be doing the assessing?

If you have an internal IT team with members who specialize in security assessments, then they will be your least costly option. However, the expertise and availability of your team may be limited, so a third-party assessor is your best bet overall. They can assess your organization from square one or perform more thorough investigations after your in-house team discovers security gaps in a preliminary assessment.

How should an assessment be conducted?

While cybersecurity breaches could cost your business dearly, you wouldn’t want to overspend on preventive measures, either. Watch out for agencies that pitch you everything under the sun. Your business’s security needs would be different from that of another business’s based on your industry, goals, processes, and legal requirements — therefore your assessment should have to be in line with those needs.

As previously mentioned, if you have an internal team that could do the assessment, then let them do it. They would be the most familiar with how your IT systems support organizational goals, so they’d have a good understanding of what needs to be checked out security-wise.

However, it would be wise to bring in a third-party assessor every now and then. A fresh set of eyes may see what your team misses, and they’re likely to have more in-depth knowledge and skills when it comes to cybersecurity.

Generally speaking, an assessment will have two components:

  1. Technical security testing – the process of uncovering vulnerabilities in IT processes and software programs
  2. Collaborative security review – the process of working with internal stakeholders to identify security issues, determine how much impact these may have on the business, and come up with a plan to deal with these issues

When it comes to what you should know about security assessments, we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. However, there’s no need to fret, because Complete Technology Services has you covered. Drop us a line or call 816-326-1143 today.

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