Why carry out a cyber security risk assessment?
Risk assessment – the process of identifying, analysing and evaluating risk – is the only way to ensure that the cyber security controls you choose are appropriate to the risks your organisation faces.
Without a risk assessment to inform your cyber security choices, you could waste time, effort and resources – there is, after all, little point implementing measures to defend against events that are unlikely to occur or won’t have much material impact on your organisation.
Likewise, it is possible that you will underestimate or overlook risks that could cause significant damage to your organisation.
This is why so many best-practice frameworks, standards and laws – including the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and DPA (Data Protection Act) 2018 – require them.
What does a cyber security risk assessment include?
A cyber security risk assessment identifies the various information assets that could be affected by a cyber attack (such as hardware, systems, laptops, customer data and intellectual property), and then identifies the various risks that could affect those assets.
A risk estimation and evaluation is usually performed, followed by the selection of controls to treat the identified risks. It is important to continually monitor and review the risk environment to detect any changes in the context of the organisation, and to maintain an overview of the complete risk management process.
ISO 27001 and cyber risks
The international standard ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (ISO 27001) provides the specifications of a best-practice ISMS (information security management system) – a risk-based approach to corporate information security risk management that addresses people, processes and technology.
Clause 6.1.2 of the standard sets out the requirements of the information security risk assessment process. Organisations must:
- Establish and maintain certain information security risk criteria.
- Ensure that repeated risk assessments “produce consistent, valid and comparable results”.
- Identify “risks associated with the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability for information within the scope of the information security management system”, and identify the owners of those risks.
- Analyse and evaluate information security risks, according to the criteria established earlier.
It is important that organisations “retain documented information about the information security risk assessment process” so that they can demonstrate that they comply with these requirements.
They will also need to follow a number of steps – and create relevant documentation – as part of the information security risk treatment process.
ISO 27005 provides guidelines for information security risk assessments and is designed to assist with the implementation of a risk-based ISMS (information security management system).
ISO 27001 and cyber security
Download our free green paper – The 10 Critical Ingredients to Reduce Cyber Risk with ISO 27001 – for an introduction to implementing best-practice cyber security with ISO 27001.
IT Governance risk assessment services
Conducting a cyber security risk assessment is a complex process that requires considerable planning, specialist knowledge and stakeholder buy-in to appropriately cover all people-, process- and technology-based risks. Without expert guidance, this can only be worked out through trial and error.
IT Governance provides a range of risk assessment and cyber security products and services to suit all needs.
Effective risk management is the key to achieving ISO 27001 certification, and maintaining and improving an ISMS. Our three-day practitioner-led course teaches you to use practical risk management methodologies to mitigate cyber security risks and ensure compliance with ISO 27001.
Way's to learn:
IT Governance’s fixed-price, three-phase Cyber Health Check combines consultancy and audit, remote vulnerability assessments and an online staff survey to assess your cyber risk exposure and identify a practical route to minimise your risks. Our approach will identify your cyber risks, audit the effectiveness of your responses to those risks, analyse your real risk exposure and then create a prioritised action plan for managing those risks in line with your business objectives.
Find out more
vsRisk Cloud is an online risk assessment software tool that has been proven to save time, effort and expense when tackling complex risk assessments.
Fully aligned with ISO 27001, vsRisk Cloud streamlines the risk assessment process to deliver consistent and repeatable cyber security risk assessments every time.
Find out more
Why choose IT Governance?
IT Governance specialises in IT governance, risk management and compliance solutions, with a special focus on cyber resilience, data protection, the GDPR, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), ISO 27001 and cyber security.
IT Governance is also recognised under the following frameworks:
- UK government CCS-approved supplier of G Cloud 9 services
- CREST certified as ethical security testers
- Certified under Cyber Essentials Plus, the UK government-backed cyber security certification scheme
- Certified to ISO 27001:2013, the world’s most recognised cyber security standard