What is an IT Security Risk Assessment & Strategy?

With internet hacking and cyber attacks on the rise, it’s imperative to make sure your business is as secure as possible in its digital use. A government study found that 74% of small firms in the UK suffered a cyber security breach in 2016, whilst 90% of large firms were hit. Attacks can vary in magnitude, but sometimes these security breaches can cost millions of pounds worth of damage. To help you avoid this fate you should perform regular IT security risk assessments, which will diagnose what the biggest risks are for your business and where you should be focusing your defence.

A lot of IT security comes down to common sense – you wouldn’t leave your front door open or a sign that points to where the keys are hidden, would you? It’s similar online, and a lot of cyber security will depend upon you and your actions. However, when conducting an IT risk assessment it is crucial that you seek professional advice. IT can get pretty complex, and an expert will know the biggest risks and see things where you do not. It’s really worth spending the money now in order to save losing it later, the stakes are just too high. Get your IT security risk assessment right and you will be left with a strong, practical security plan that won’t cripple your bank balance or put your business in danger.

Firstly, assess how important IT is to your business and how you use it. Do your business operations depend upon one or another form of digital programming? By addressing this question you can ascertain what position you will be in should your hardware or software be compromised, and thus how to go forward from there. Identify what the information assets are that you use – all the devices, software programmes, servers, extra equipment – and how dependent you are on these. You might be a business that can continue operations over the phone, in person, etc, without too much of a hitch should your server go down, for instance, or maybe your business functions through digital equipment, such as printers and digital design programmes.

Once you’ve weighed up what assets are most important to your business you can begin to assess each individually for their specific risks. Put together a list of everything that you use on a daily basis, all the computers, machines, handsets, routers, databases and software, and consider what the threats are to each thing and how your business will be affected should they be compromised. Some of the things you should consider are:

  • Theft or loss of hardware
  • Fire damage
  • Water damage
  • Hardware failure
  • Software failure
  • Data theft or loss
  • Data corruption

How easily could any of these incidents occur? What can you personally do to prevent them? Some of these answers will be simple enough, such as moving equipment away from heat sources and out of direct sunlight, but others will be more complicated, and this is why it is important to get expert advice. It’s hard to know how easy particular software is compromised if you don’t have previous experience or the time for in-depth studies of each programme you use. It can be mind-boggling how many unique cases you will have to evaluate, but you don’t have to do it alone!

Make sure your IT security risk assessments are regular and consistently shrewd. The dangers regularly change and new threats develop every week, so keep on top of them. You might choose not to act on particular cyber security threats because it’s just not worth your money, but so long as you are aware of the dangers then you can be ready to face the consequences should they arise. Be smart, don’t leave your business in the hands of fate.

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