What is risk assessment and why is it important?

Lots of activities in life are risky. Everything from driving to investing in a startup involves some form of risk, but as the saying goes: No pain, no gain. The trick is learning to mitigate – or manage – these risks to reduce the chances of disaster. We can mitigate risks by training and educating ourselves to avoid mistakes and carefully analyzing a situation before diving in head first.
The very first step to protecting ourselves against the potential harm of any kind is to undergo the process of risk assessment. For tasks like driving and even investing, risk assessment is often performed instinctually, but in the cyber world, risk assessment requires a clear and methodical sense of purpose.

Assessing cyber risks

Risk assessments as part of cybersecurity is all about identifying what kinds of threats a business is most likely to face and where they might come from. This comprehensive process provides a snapshot of the current status of a company’s information security, risk maps, and common threats and serves multiple purposes:

  • Helps security experts get familiar with an organization and its structure
  • Provides a basic platform of knowledge that informs future security strategies
  • Gives of the gift of efficiency a business doesn’t blindly spend on security measures that may not be the most urgent or necessary

How do cyber experts know what to look for during the risk assessment process? Like in most other fields and industries, cybersecurity also has its standards and protocol that help everyone know where they stand. During risk assessment, experts look first at ISO 31010 and ISO 27005 to make sure they’ve covered all their bases. Then they can get creative and dive in deeper if necessary.

Understanding what threats you face or are most likely to face enhances your ability to manage the risks inherent to operating a business that’s connected to cyberspace. We do the same thing when getting a driver’s license: getting to know the basic functions of a car and where that blind spot in the mirrors are.

Why it matters

Obviously, it’s always a smart move to manage risk. But for cybersecurity, it’s never been more crucial. Taking the step of consulting with security experts and performing risk assessment can make the difference between unhindered progress and a crippling attack that puts your business out of commission and in survival mode.

As competition online reaches fever pitch, the stakes are higher than ever. Those with malicious intent are developing more sophisticated ways to cause disruption and, as high-profile cases in the media attest to, new kinds of threats are emerging all the time. Risk assessment is all about not being caught off guard. So keep your gloves up and keep yourself protected using all the means at your disposal.

What does cyberservices really mean?

When you want to take the safety of your networks into your own hands, you need to look for “cyberservices”. But what does that actually mean? Expectations can ruin relationships and set you up for failure, but knowing what to expect can let you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. So, what can you expect to get as a part of these “cyberservices”?

Cyberservices vs. Cybersecurity

It’s easy to think that cyberservices and cybersecurity are synonymous. They are in fact closely intertwined, but not quite the same thing. Cybersecurity is one of the things you get as a result of cyberservices. It is also a broad term to describe some of the tasks that are included in cyberservices. But cyberservices often include more than a vague guarantee of cybersecurity. So, what are the details? What can you expect when you see the term “cyberservices”?

· Risk assessment – This is the backbone of all cyberservices on which you can build true cybersecurity. Experts start with risk assessment to identify security risks and develop a strategy to move forward in building a robust defense.

· Penetration testing (PT) – One result of risk assessment and the next step in establishing security is penetration testing. PT experts essentially take the place of cybercriminals and use their skills to attack your systems. But don’t worry, the goal is to keep you safe rather than harm you or your business. By assaulting the networks you want to keep safe as if they were malicious hackers, PT experts can identify any existing vulnerabilities in your systems and help you fix them.

· Security design review – Staying safe isn’t only about guessing what hackers might attempt and closing those holes, it’s about reviewing the very structure of your applications and networks to guarantee that they meet a certain standard of security. The architecture of your systems is studied on a broad level and then much deeper, reviewing the security layers of each component. Ideally, security design review should be performed before the official launch or release of an app to try and ensure security before anyone has the opportunity to take advantage of a vulnerability. This means it should also come before any penetration testing, since PT can catch anything that was missed or overlooked in the security design review.

· Compliance – One element you might not think about in connection to cyber is compliance. National and regional governments often implement detailed regulation on the cyber activities of a business to protect consumers and support fair practices. Business also seek to be compliant with various standards of conduct that send a signal of strength and stability. Cyberservices can include helping your business successfully navigate this network of rules and guidelines. It’s just another way of keeping you and your assets safe.

· Other – On a more technical level, cyberservices might also include APT simulation,code review, SDLC, FW rulebase review, security tools professional services, Win/Linux hardening and vulnerability scans, depending on the specific needs of your business. Ongoing consultation services are also important to staying safe and combating new threats that are always emerging as cyberattacks become more and more sophisticated. With so much to cover, it’s also possible to get CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) as a service. It’s always a good idea to have someone on the team that is in charge of security and has relevant knowledge on the subject, even if it’s just for a few days or weeks.

The cyberservice philosophy

You may have noticed a trend running through all of these elements. You can’t miss it: Cyberservices mean safety. The actual tools put in practice to serve your business might vary according to circumstances, but the goal and outcome are the same: security for cyber threats.
Cybersecurity has quickly become one of the most important concerns for any entrepreneur to worry about. Your business almost certainly relies on a connected, online presence or storing data on an internal network. While these activities and operations bring great opportunities and benefits to your business, they also bring the threat of attack that, in the best of circumstances, could be immensely expensive to rectify. Cyberservices help you stay ahead of these threats and protect the prosperity of your business.