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Why Cyber Security Risk Assessments are Critical for Risk Management

The recent cyber attack on the HSE has firmly highlighted the steadfast requirement for businesses and organisations of all sizes to review their current cyber security posture. The cyber attack on the HSE is by far the most devastating in this country to date but it’s certainly far from the first. Many many Irish businesses have been targeted by similar hacks in the last 12 months and a number of them have paid ransoms – they just all don’t make the media.

Often businesses feel they have no choice but to pay or risk going out of business if they don’t retrieve their data from the criminals. This is not a position any business wants to find themselves in.

Adequate cyber security is not a once off solution, it has many layers and touchpoints. It requires a strategic approach. IT Security needs to be managed and reviewed and most importantly it needs expert attention.

So where do you start?

Before you rush into buying and implementing various anti-virus or end point protection solutions you need to have clarity on what your specific business needs to protect your data and systems. Every business differs in this regard. You will most likely already have some cyber security measures and solutions in place – some of which may need upgrading, others may be suitable but only if complemented with solutions in other areas. The simplest and most efficient way to fully understand your IT security needs is to undertake a cyber security review.

Instead of advocating the benefits of cyber security risk assessments, of which there are many, let’s take a look at the risks of NOT conducting a cyber security review or a cyber security risk assessment.

Potential Risks of not conducting a Cyber Security Risk Assessment

No real understanding of your current cyber risk level: An audit will help ascertain your current strengths and weaknesses and identify paths to improvement. Determining where your maturity level lies in the cybersecurity scale is the quickest and most efficient way to improve cyber resilience.

High Maturity: Strong Risk Posture

Medium Maturity: Some adequate measures in place but more to do

Low Maturity: Lacking in many areas with significant work needed

Understanding your current risk level through practical testing and assessment gives true visibility on the security requirements. In short you identify the gaps but not only are they identified but proven through testing.

Inadequate Monitoring: Without clear understanding of which areas of the business represent the greatest risk it is difficult to allocate resources meaningfully, especially to those that need ongoing monitoring. As threats evolve and criminals learn methods to evade security measures, continuous monitoring has become a core principle of a robust cybersecurity program. In many industries compliance requirements enforce ongoing monitoring of threats. A security audit will identify the areas in your network that are weakest and where ongoing monitoring may be needed and to what level.

Inability to Determine Potential Impact: A Security Risk Assessment will identify how and where your current IT Security is weak. From this you can determine the potential impact that a cyber breach could have on your business and this will inform your Disaster Recovery planning.

Difficulty in Deciding on Level of Investment and how to Prioritise Response: If you don’t know the level of risk that your business currently faces it is impossible to prioritise your response. IT security is multi-faceted and different businesses will need different levels of protection depending on what they currently have in place, what compliance issues they face and what type of data they hold. A risk assessment will help you determine what level of investment is needed to adequately protect your assets and meet compliance requirements.

As an Advanced Fortinet Partner we have the skills, the solutions and the know how to protect your business from the continued threat of cyber attack. 


IT and cybersecurity monitoring

So Why Bother with a Cyber Security Risk Assessment?

As new and emerging cyber threats challenge traditional responses cyber security demands a more sophisticated approach. Putting in an anti-malware solution across corporate computers will no longer be your guarantee of security in the modern age of inside threats and targeted attacks. Even moreso in an age where remote working is becoming the norm and employees are logging into networks from many different locations and often on unsecured devices.

IT Risk Assessments have a significant role to play when it comes to securing digital assets. Knowing what is in place and what is not via auditing and what is and what isn’t a significant issue is at the very core of understanding and implementing the right security.

While assumptions can be made, in many cases, they’re wrong. Time is the enemy. To adopt a wait and see approach is to put your business organisation at serious risk. The unfortunate HSE attack has proven that point.

Unfortunately, it’s the general opinion of most companies, particularly at the management level, that their computer systems are secure. However, one of the only ways to determine whether this is actually true is by performing a thorough audit of computer systems.

If you carry the burden of IT security risk in your business I would have a serious think about how you measure the risk and consider if you are taking the best approach. An IT security or cyber security review carried out by an experienced Cyber Security Company is the most efficient way to really understand what your current Cyber Security posture is.

And remember whatever measures you physically put in place it is critical that your staff receive cyber security awareness training to further strengthen your defences.

We work with Microsoft and Fortinet, the leading global Cyber Security Company to provide Cyber Security Risk Assessments for businesses of all sizes. We can help you learn what you need to do to uplift your current IT security measures and help protect from the latest wave of cyber scams.

HCS are a leading IT Services and IT Support company in Dublin delivering outsourced IT Services and Managed IT Services to businesses across Ireland.

Also Read: How to prevent a Successful Phishing Attack when Employees are Working Remotely?

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