We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” – Thomas S. Monson

Business owners and entrepreneurs know that the importance of risk assessments and this point cannot be understated. While it may be impossible to predict the future, it is very possible to prepare for it with a balance risk framework. whatever it may, or may not, bring . At its core, a risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards (circumstances that negatively affect individuals, assets, data, processes, or the environment) and analyzing what could happen should a particular event occur.

Putting controls into place to prevent, detect, and correct each potential key risk is integral key to an organization’s long-term success and maintaining an appropriate risk culture.

There are a variety of ways to identity and design controls to protect your business through an effective risk management strategy. These include:

Information Security Risk Assessment

A business must prioritize risks to the organization’s operations, information, tangible and intangible assets. It is extremely important in today’s environment to consider how the company’s IT infrastructure controls can reduce its risks and minimize financial loss. To begin an information security risk assessment, an analyst should take a look at the total of all assets, including information assets, and how a significant event could result in a monetary loss if the organization were to suffer downtime or damage resulting from a unforeseen event impacting their website, primary servers or production data. Some scenarios include an unforeseen cyber incident not detected in the security strategy, unintentional loss of data from sloppy data handling or late discovery of a perpetrator hacking into a critical system containing protected patient information from an unapplied system patch.

Security Risk Assessment

Security Risk Assessment

In addition to an information security risk assessment, companies should focus on conducting a standard security risk assessment at least annually. This type of assessment identifies various gaps in company governance, technology operations, and key business processes in order to ensure the environment is protected against internal and external security exposures. This includes identifying weak passwords, ineffective human resource policies, and haphazard card key entry and tracking. When this type of risk assessment is conducted, it’s critical to inspect, review, and test key infrastructure. This includes the sampling of production servers security controls in place to the number of “privileged users,” with access to highly sensitive assets and information.

Vendor Risk Assessment

Identifying risks from external service providers is just as critical as identifying those within the organization. A vendor risk assessment helps organizations identify, prioritize, and understand risks of using a third-party vendor’s products or services to manage key internal business processes. It’s especially crucial to conduct this type of assessment if the vendor manages or has access to sensitive data and information or handles functions that are critical to the company’s key business processes. These functions are also referred to as ‘financial viability’ or recovery time objectives (RTO) from a service level standpoint.

Internal Control Risk Assessment

In order to successfully create an effective risk management approach, it’s necessary to conduct an internal control risk assessment. This requires mapping internal controls to the identified risks to see if any gaps exist, overlap, or show inconsistencies between the risks and controls. Internal controls are often established policies about what to do in the event of a threat as well as the procedures to implement the policies.

Control Risk Assessment
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a unified standard for implementing cybersecurity, where third-party assessors audit a company and assign a level that reflects the cybersecurity protections in place. The CMMC brings together a number of prior compliance processes, including the NIST 800-171 framework. The CMMC will encompass multiple maturity levels that ranges from Level 1: “basic cybersecurity hygiene” to Level 5: “advanced/progressive .” The intent is to incorporate CMMC into Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and use it as a requirement for contract award. The Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to migrate to the new CMMC framework in order to assess and enhance the cybersecurity posture of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). The CMMC is intended to serve as a verification mechanism to ensure appropriate levels of cybersecurity practices and processes are in place to ensure basic cyber hygiene as well as protect controlled unclassified information (CUI) that resides on the Department’s industry partners’ networks.