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How Often Does Your Organization Need a Security Assessment?

October 11, 2022 by
How Often Does Your Organization Need a Security Assessment?
Reza Abdolee

Cyberattacks are on the rise. Cybercriminals use sophisticated tools and the latest technologies to attack businesses, affecting them beyond financial consequences. According to Statista, loss of customers, damage to brand reputation, and an increased cost of notifying customers were the three main consequences of cyberattacks in 2021.

With cyberattacks getting more complicated, frequent, and targeted, it becomes challenging for businesses to secure their infrastructures and assets. They need to perform regular security assessments to identify security risks in their organizations to defend against cyberattacks.

Some organizations do not see value in performing regular security assessments. This article highlights the need for security assessment and discusses the ideal assessment criteria and frequency of security assessment within an organization.   

Why Do You Need Frequent Security Assessments?

A cybersecurity assessment is critical as it helps identify and address security weaknesses in any organization. It provides a comprehensive overview of your systems and valuable insights to address security vulnerabilities in the best way possible. The benefits of conducting regular and on-time security assessments are the following;

  • Less Downtime: Longer periods of downtime present several challenges in the workplace, including missed deadlines, frustrating tasks, and decreased productivity. Performing IT and Security assessments regularly and more frequently can help tackle this issue. It ensures the working of systems at an optimal level.
  • Reduced Chances of Data Breaches: In the first half of 2022, over 53 million individuals were affected by data compromises. Data breaches not only disrupt business operations but also impact customer trust. Security assessments help you stay informed on new threats and ahead of cyber criminals to avoid data breaches.
  • Evaluates Security of Data Flow:  Data today is a critical asset of any enterprise. Security assessments ensure the security of business-critical data by determining the data flow throughout your organization.
  • Enhanced Customer Trust: Reduced data breaches significantly impact and maintain customer trust, as security assessments help strengthen your IT infrastructure.

How Often Should You Perform a Security Assessment?

While regular security assessments are an essential part of a cybersecurity program, the time interval between each assessment depends on different factors, including the size of your company, the type of data you deal with, etc. Some organizations prefer monthly or quarterly security assessments, while others prefer semi-annual assessments.

Generally, it is recommended to perform a cybersecurity assessment at least twice a year. However, enterprises face many challenges in conducting cybersecurity assessments. As stated by 43% of respondents, the primary challenge to performing assessments is time and lack of personnel.

A cybersecurity assessment provider can review available options for your organization and work with you to make the most out of your business.

Factors Affecting the Need for a Security Assessment

How often you should conduct security assessments depends on various factors.

The Number & Size of Computer Systems

Businesses using fewer computer systems or applications are likely to conduct security assessments more easily and quickly than those with complex IT infrastructure. Multiple access points present more opportunities for hackers to access sensitive information. Such businesses should conduct security assessments monthly or quarterly.

Type of Information Stored

Businesses that store sensitive data, including customers' personal or financial information, need to pay more attention to cybersecurity. It is recommended to perform security assessments for such organizations as frequently as possible.

Significant System Changes

The next factor affecting the need for a security assessment is any change implemented by your company, including adding new software, any network server transition, fixing bugs, etc. Consider conducting a cybersecurity assessment if your organization has recently implemented any significant system change.

Stringent Compliance Standards

Your company needs frequent security assessments to comply with several compliance standards. Security assessments ensure your security practices meet international compliance standards and enable security. Stringent compliance standards require regular security assessments in companies.

How Can You Perform a Security Assessment? 

A security assessment involves a complete assessment of all your IT infrastructure components. Below are a few common steps to conduct a security assessment at your organization.

  1. Select Security Assessment Criteria: Determine the type of criteria you want to meet and develop security controls based on that security criteria to analyze and test your system. Maintain a record of your internal security policies to ensure whether security controls are being implemented or not.
  2. Determine Your Assets: Identify the critical assets you need to secure, as failing assets might incur severe consequences for your organization. These assets may include sensitive customer or business data, internal documentation, corporate financial data, etc. 
  3. Assess Current Security Processes: Assessing the current level of your security controls and performance is critical for effective business operations. You could have robust and rigorous security practices and procedures, yet you might not know about the latest techniques cybercriminals use to disrupt functions. A practical evaluation of your current security is essential to identify weak links.
  4. Assess Staff Training: More people having access to sensitive data leads to greater chances of human errors, resulting in data compromises. Ensure cybersecurity training for staff members having access to sensitive information so that no liabilities are left.
  5. Monitor Network Logs: Monitor network activities of your organization and evaluate event logs. Tracking logs enable you to identify which employees have access to restricted data and if they are following the proper security measures or not.
  6. Identify Potential Threats: Identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited and lead to severe consequences. Determine potential threats like outdated patches or weak passwords. Regular security assessments help in penetration tests and the identification of security vulnerabilities.
  7. Implement Controls: Now that you have reviewed the threat landscape of your organization, identified vulnerabilities, and assessed staff training, ensure the employment of internal security controls to prevent exposure of sensitive information. More importantly, check the security of wireless networks, their proper segmentation, and the use of the latest encryption algorithms. 

Conducting a Cybersecurity Assessment 

A data breach can drastically damage the reputation of businesses of any size. It is recommended to perform security assessments regularly and should be part of the IT or security team schedule. Organizations that understand the importance of security assessments conduct security assessments weekly or monthly to ensure the security of their organizations.

Today’s sophisticated threat landscape makes it challenging for organizations to conduct a thorough security assessment. Specialized cybersecurity companies like Novesh can assist you in conducting detailed and rigorous cybersecurity assessments.

Our security analysts are available to review your security program, assess your OT or IT systems and networks, identify existing and future threats, determine security gaps and provide solutions to improve your overall cybersecurity posture. Get in touch and book a free consultation with one of our security analysts today! 

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