How to Start with Risk Assessment for SMBs

By CIOReview | Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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Risk assessment is a part of disaster recovery planning, which helps in finding possible security vulnerabilities and breaches in a company infrastructure. These breaches can harm business operations or lead to loss of vital data. Risk assessment is a very important part of a company’s overall security posture as it checks for all possible risks a company can face and measures to follow in order to counter them.

An organization mainly faces two types of security risks, man-made or natural. While man-made threats are cyber attacks, data theft, illegal processing of data, among others, natural threats, on the other hand, can be events such as floods, earthquakes, power failure, or other natural disasters. The task of IT managers, however, is to keep the company’s network safe from any type of data security vulnerabilities.

All organizations are vulnerable to various unmanaged security threats, but small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are much open to security breaches because they lack comprehensive security arrangements. SMBs are always exposed to risks and it can affect the daily operations of the firm, disturb the revenue model, increase IT budget, and in some cases, cause serious impacts leading to business shutdown. Therefore, to tackle and mitigate all security risks, IT managers will have to fully understand the starting point in the risk assessment journey and how to implement it to make a solid disaster recovery plan. The risk assessment strategy depends on the company size and domain, and IT managers will have to fully understand company infrastructure and develop a plan which best suits IT assets.

SMBs lack in resources to appoint a consultant, who can guide risk assessments and develop a concrete plan to manage those risks. Therefore, SMBs will have to make their own risk management plans and for that – a proper risk assessment is necessary. A proper risk assessment provides information about the possible security threats, their impact on company operations, and how to manage and minimize the severity of threats. It is not possible to mitigate all security risks in a go. Therefore, company will have to conduct risk assessment on timely basis to stay updated with latest strategies.

IT manager will have to start with analysis of company’s current infrastructure. A clear understanding of company software and hardware is important because it helps in finding the security loopholes and assessing the strength of the systems. After getting a clear understanding of the IT environment, IT manager will have to identify the possible threats, which can damage company infrastructure and hurt business prospects.

After successful identification of the possible risks, IT manager will have to check the vulnerability of each risk with the company current infrastructure. After analysis of infrastructure, IT manager is well aware of the flaws and loopholes in infrastructure. IT managers will have to check impact of threats by implementing into real life scenarios.

Checking for vulnerabilities in real-life scenarios helps in finding the preparedness of a company in the face of a disaster. It will help in understanding the current security standings of the firm. The knowledge of the current  IT infrastructure setup will assist IT manager in finding  what measures company is already following, like which antivirus, firewall, company systems are using, and a company is using cloud computing to keep data safe or not, among others.

After, getting a clear understanding about the firm’s IT environment, possible security threats, the resistance against threats, security, network standings, and impact of the disaster on the organization, the task of IT manager is to plan how to reduce the impact. Risks can’t be fully eliminated, but the impact can be minimized. The IT manager will have to make a proper report so it can be used in future assessments. A successful risk assessment helps in making proper contingency plans and how to act in case of any disaster.

Risk assessment needs to become an integral part of management policies. It assists firms in building a strategy for strong disaster recovery plan to keep company resources and operations risk free. It is necessary to conduct risk assessment every year as prioritizing the assessment will ensure the safety of the workplace.

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