What is risk assessment and why is it important
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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.

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