How To Carry Out A Cyber Security Risk Assessment

If you’ve decided to make cyber security a priority within your company, your first step should involve carrying out a cyber security risk assessment. In the same way that a fire safety risk assessment will help you determine how safe your premises are in the event of a blaze, a cyber security risk assessment will make it easier for you to keep your company’s data safe and secure.


Wondering where to start? Here are just a few things to think about when carrying out a cyber security risk assessment.


Why carry out a cyber security risk assessment?

The purpose of a risk assessment is to provide yourself with a summary of the risks that impact the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the systems and data used within your company.

Your assessment will help you identify ways your data could be accessed maliciously. It will also lay the groundwork and enable you to set out a plan of action to improve security across your company.

The process may seem daunting at first, but it can be incredibly insightful while also making it easier for you to see what needs to change and what’s already going well.


How safe are your devices?

It’s really important to assess how safe your devices are and determine whether they’ve been protected with appropriate software.

Although it may seem like a daunting process, you’ll need to identify every tool and programme that is installed on each machine. It’s also worth looking at the types of website that are visited to assess whether these pose any risks. Are employees required to download files and programmes from the internet? If so, are these safe? Do you have sufficient preventative measures in place to ensure viruses, malware and ransomware are unable to infect your machine?


How strong are your passwords?

Your passwords have the potential to be one of the strongest barriers between your company’s data and hackers. However, far too many businesses are using straightforward passwords that are easy for both people and machines to guess.

During your cyber security risk assessment, you need to determine how strong the passwords used throughout your business are. Not only should you assess the passwords created by yourself, you should also make sure employees understand the importance of complicated login details.

Make sure your passwords are made up of a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid words that can be found in the dictionary and be careful where you log this information. Take a look at our guide to creating strong yet memorable passwords for inspiration.


Do your employees understand their responsibilities?

As part of your risk assessment, consider your employees’ role in keeping your business safe online. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much of an impact do your employees have on cyber security?
  • What are their responsibilities?
  • Do they understand their responsibilities?
  • Have they been given the tools and training to do their job safely and effectively?
  • If an employee failed to honour their responsibilities, what could the consequences be?
  • Is there anything you can do to minimise the risk?

This blog post only gives a brief overview into the aspects of your business you’ll need to assess during a cyber security risk assessment. From the risk of theft/loss to the levels of encryption used by your company, there are countless things to take into account.


If you’d like to learn more about assessing cyber security risks within your company, please get in touch with the team at Prism.