Penetration into a company’s network is a complex undertaking. Today’s sophisticated threat actors mount a multi-pronged offensive that uses information about your organization, the activities and behaviors of your staff and intelligence about your technology and cybersecurity infrastructure to prey on your vulnerabilities and access your stored data. Your response to this risk should be both proactive and reactive. In other words, you cannot afford to wait for your resources and systems to be compromised before you take action. Your best defense is to regularly conduct a cybersecurity analysis that focuses on protecting your most vital assets against attack.

Cyber Security Risk Analysis: Learn Your Current Status

Before you can guard your networks against future cyber threats, you must understand your present baseline ecosystem. The threat intelligence process can help you to identify the attack vectors that pose the highest risk to your organization so that you can address them above all others. Your cybersecurity risk analysis should consist of several components:

  • Examine your assets. Begin by documenting all devices, including routers, printers, tablets, phones, computers and servers, that reside on your network and in the cloud. Specify how each connects, how content travels throughout your network and which inside and outside parties have access. 

After full collaboration with all stakeholders in your company, clarify the targets most likely to be attacked, making sure that you know of all staff members and third parties who can use them as well as where they are stored. 

Keep in mind that while information is often kept on your main server, it also might be on web applications or downloaded to an employee’s desktop or laptop computer.

  • Estimate your vulnerabilities. Although you might not be an expert analyst, you probably have some idea where the source of your company’s potential weaknesses lies. IoT and email are two common Achilles heels that often present challenges to those attempting to build a network protection infrastructure.
  • Know your enemy. Entities seek to infiltrate your systems for any number of reasons. Threat actors may be criminals who want to monitor your information traffic, steal your data or sabotage your operations. They may be nation states or hacktivists with political or social agendas, or they could be people exploiting your vulnerabilities from the inside. 

The nature of the attacker helps to determine their activities, strengths and weaknesses, and the more knowledge you can gain about your adversary, the better will be your ability to avoid adverse security events. A cybersecurity analysis will provide you with information about the bad actors that pose the most serious threats, ranking them in order of priority and furnishing highly educated guesses on the tactics they will use to infiltrate your security boundaries.

  • Perform an assessment of the controls you have already implemented to predict, prevent, detect and act against attack vectors. Using metrics, security consultants can help to pinpoint areas of vulnerability found in the gaps between the systems you have already put in place and the abilities of cyber criminals to supersede them. 

Types of security controls that most companies implement include firewalls, development of a password protocol, anti-malware tools, implementing mandatory multi-factor authentication for business systems and using vendor risk management software. Your security analyst can provide you with support and company-specific recommendations in this regard.

  • Report on all suspected risks and the sources of vulnerabilities, and list recommendations for mitigating these loopholes. Potential solutions might include enhanced staff training, more advanced account and password protection and an improved system for backing up and upgrading applications and firmware. Although taking these steps can entail a good deal of work for a wide spectrum of stakeholders throughout your business, the process, including investigations, provides many long-term benefits.

A network security risk analysis is not an assessment that should be conducted only once. For best results, you should always be monitoring your system and creating a defense plan that is as thorough and current as possible. Conducting a cyber security risk analysis is one of your best proactive weapons that will allow you to measure and analyze your overall cybersecurity skills and capabilities on an ongoing basis. 

Resilience is a term that has received a great deal of recent attention in the national news media – and for good reason. Regularly evaluating your security posture by means of a network security risk analysis can furnish your company with intelligence to assess resources, diagnose vulnerabilities, make constructive changes and recover quickly should a breach occur. In today’s environment, this is the best model any company could ask for.