Insider tips on conducting a security assessment across your operations
Data breaches tend to make headlines more frequently now than at any time in the past. Cybersecurity risks are not only more rampant but are also more damaging than they have ever been. A security assessment is a key step in ensuring and understanding your organisation’s capacity to handle these types of risks.
This type of assessment aims to highlight security gaps within your systems and point out the potential risks that may lead to exploitable vulnerabilities within your operations.
Regular assessments will also help your teams handle new threats better by increasing employee awareness. Ultimately, it helps you adopt a more comprehensive, targeted, and robust security strategy; one that’s aligned with your company’s growth plan.
Continue reading to discover insider tips that will help you conduct thorough security assessments across your operations.
Tip 1: Clearly define the scope of your security assessment
Security assessments are not generic; there isn’t one assessment that is relevant or useful for every organisation. Market pressures, infrastructure, culture, and risk tolerance, all play significant roles in determining the scope of the assessment, all of which may vary.
To understand the scope and define it as clearly as possible, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Which areas of my business will the assessment evaluate?
This needs to be mapped out in as much detail as possible. Either the assessment has to be comprehensive, spanning the breadth of your operations or it can focus on specific processes or departments.
Do I need a security assessment or a penetration test?
These are two very different things. While security assessments help you understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of the processes in place, penetration tests identify exploitable vulnerabilities within your systems. A security assessment often identifies system-related issues, whereas a penetration test focusses on what to patch.
Do I have a timeline for my assessment?
Here, you would have to consider the logistics of this process and determine a timeline for the assessment.
Tip 2: Get your documentation in order
Documentation that outlines your existing processes, security policies, guidelines, and standards will need to be submitted to your assessment team if your security assessment is conducted by external teams.
The documentation will help this team understand the organisation’s current state of security, assist in framing discussions during the assessment process, and identify gaps within your systems.
In this process, you need to ensure that all documents that may be necessary or would assist the assessment process are provided, ordered, and structured accordingly. This will, ultimately, improve the insights you compile in your security assessment report.
Here, the issue isn’t how well your processes are documented; what’s important is having all your documentation in place for the assessment.
Tip 3: Understanding the organisational environment
A comprehensive and insightful assessment rests on your security team enjoying a deep understanding of your organisational environment. In this process, the assessment team may need to speak to your teams to understand your processes and policies if sufficient documentation is lacking.
The motive, here, is to ensure that there’s a deep understanding of what technologies and practices are in place, what sort of high-level controls are in place, and how these practices are being followed within the organisation.
Tip 4: Choosing the right people for the job
Even if a self-assessment is something you’re confident doing, it goes without saying that the input from a third-party assessor is unparalleled.
Hiring teams comprising individuals with a deep understanding of information security processes, alone, however, is not enough. Instead, make sure your assessment team comprises individuals who have a background in technical testing, for instance, governance and risk compliance, vulnerability management, and business intelligence.
Speak to the Triskele Labs team for thorough security assessments
Security technology is evolving and so are the threats inherent to the business environment. Security assessments are an important way of ensuring that your business is free from vulnerabilities that can make it an easy target for cybercriminals.