How Do I Know If I Need Cybersecurity Risk Assessments? 

One of the things we hear from many organizations is, “I don’t know where our cybersecurity stands. Are we good? Bad? Do we have holes? Do we meet industry standards? How do we know where to start?” A cybersecurity risk assessment is an easy way to begin to answer all these questions and more–some you probably didn’t even know you had.

Who is a cybersecurity risk assessment for?

cybersecurity assessment is for any organization, small or large, looking to understand where their cybersecurity stands and where they need to make improvements. For example, organizations with compliance needs in industries such as healthcare, finance, and government manufacturers perform regular cybersecurity assessments to meet requirements or to prepare for an audit—something that can come down from regulatory bodies and/or companies they do business with who are doing their own third-party vendor risk assessments.

Typically, a cybersecurity risk assessment is performed by an internal IT lead on behalf of the company. The results of the assessment are provided to the business leaders to show them where improvements can be made in their cybersecurity posture, ultimately with the goal of gaining buy-in for the subsequent cybersecurity initiatives.

What is a cybersecurity risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a survey/questionnaire that reviews your company’s cybersecurity posture in several ways. It covers topics such as:

  • policies
  • plans
  • procedures
  • technology
  • testing
  • training

Imagine it like a checklist that, when completed, shows you where your company is doing well and where it needs to improve.

If an organization has compliance needs, they might use the assessment to see how they stand against a specific cybersecurity framework or frameworks such as NIST 800-171 or NIST-CSF NIST 800-51, for example. These frameworks and recent laws set the standards and guidelines as to what should be in place for an organization to help protect against and respond to a cyber-incident.

When does a cybersecurity risk assessment matter?

Just like your health, cybersecurity improvement is an ongoing process. It’s a posture, not a project. Once you complete an assessment, you can then begin to strengthen any areas of weakness that were surfaced. Once significant improvements have been made, complete another assessment. This is important because threats change, organizations change (new location, employees, technology), and requirements for companies change. You should continue to complete the full assessment at a frequency designed for your company. For many companies that is at least semi-annually or annually.

If your company suffers a cybersecurity breach or incident it will be important to conduct an assessment soon after the incident to understand where the weaknesses are and then work to strengthen them.

Where does a cybersecurity risk assessment happen?

Cybersecurity assessments come in many different forms and can be completed both digitally and in-person (i.e. good old pen and paper!). Spreadsheets and questionnaires are fairly common, but online platforms and tools are fast becoming the norm, often streamlining the process and enabling collaboration. For example, with Defendify’s free, 2- minute cybersecurity health checkup you can complete a cybersecurity assessment using a simple web-based tool that guides you through intuitive questions and generates actionable recommendations using plain English (i.e. straight talk, not tech talk). It even maps against popular cybersecurity frameworks and, once completed, your given a simple letter grade and can access prior results all through a single pane of glass.

Know the strength of your cybersecurity. Take our FREE 2-minute cybersecurity health check-up questionnaire and get recommendations on how to improve.

Why is a cybersecurity risk assessment important?

There are a lot of good reasons why performing a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment is important for your business, here are a few of the most common:

  1. Answer the question of “Where do I stand?”
  2. Identify and prioritize areas for improvement.
  3. Prepare for compliance needs and third-party requirements.

Be proactive and regular with your cybersecurity assessments

Completing a cybersecurity assessment is something just about every business will go through at some point. While it could be for a bank, an audit, compliance, insurance, or to win—or not lose—a key customer contract, it’s also the first step to cybersecurity self-improvement. Don’t wait, get your cybersecurity assessment into gear and take your organization’s cybersecurity from reactive to proactive.

Want to take your cybersecurity to the next level? Get All-In-One Cybersecurity® with Defendify.

Resources & insights

How Do I Know if I Need Vulnerability Scanning?
“How do I know if I need vulnerability scanning?” is a question that business owners, IT providers, and individuals alike have asked themselves and their security resources. Cybersecurity can seem complicated, and it can be difficult to understand which tools or solutions apply to your specific systems. The good news is, we’re here to give you the rundown on the 6 W’s of vulnerability scanning, so you can decide for yourself if vulnerability scanning is right for you (spoiler alert: it is!).
Cybersecurity Bootcamp: Get Your Security in Shape
Just like adopting a fitness regimen, building a strong cybersecurity program requires discipline, dedication, and a solid plan. Get your security in shape with our cybersecurity bootcamp.
The Inside Scoop: Types of Insider Threats in Cybersecurity
The types of insider threats in cybersecurity might surprise you. You might be inclined to think that the greatest risks posed to your organization are the result of malicious intentions, when in reality, exposure caused by the negligence of partners and/ or employees can be equally or even more damaging.

Protect and defend with multiple layers of cybersecurity

Defend your business with All-In-One Cybersecurity®.

Explore layered

Learn more about Defendify’s three key layers and All-In-One Cybersecurity®.

How can we help?

Schedule time to talk to a cybersecurity expert to discuss your needs.

See how it works

See how Defendify’s platform, modules, and expertise work to improve security posture.

Take the first step toward comprehensive cybersecurity with a free Defendify Essentials package

Gain access to 3 award-winning cybersecurity modules. Nothing to install. Nothing to pay for.