Documented security risk assessments, conducted periodically, are required by the leading security frameworks, including NIST and ISO/IEC 27001, and numerous industry regulations. In the healthcare industry, for example, a risk assessment is mandated by the HIPAA Security Rule and the ONC and CMS Rules. In financial services, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) Act requires routine security risk assessments. Penalties for failure to comply are applied frequently, and in healthcare are widely publicized as well.

A qualified Virtual Chief Information Security Officer, or VCISO, has the experience and expertise to assess your security risks, document and prioritize them based on severity, and provide actionable recommendations for risk remediation.

Risk Assessment Services

The purpose of a security risk assessment is to evaluate the adequacy of security controls in place within your organization. It provides a structured, qualitative evaluation of the operational environment in terms of threats, vulnerabilities, risks, and security safeguards.

Security risk assessments consist of the following activities. Many will be conducted onsite, while others may be completed remotely.

  • Identify and agree on the scope of the assessment
  • Collect all relevant data, including policies and procedures, network maps, equipment inventories, and other materials
  • Identify threats and vulnerabilities using penetration testing, system scans, and other tools and techniques
  • Document the threats and vulnerabilities revealed by each method
  • Determine the likelihood of threat occurrence, and the potential consequences of threat occurrence
  • Determine the level of each risk based on severity and potential impact
  • Finalize documentation including detailed reports, backup materials, remediation recommendations, and executive summary

Results of the assessment may be presented in a live or online meeting on request, and the VCISO will be available to answer questions and provide guidance as needed.

Types of Security Risk Assessments

In addition to regularly scheduled security risk assessments, other assessments may consist of (1) baseline security reviews, (2) reviews focused on security architecture, and (3) reviews of third-party vendor security. All three reviews encompass the activities outlined above.

Baseline Security Review. As its name implies, a baseline security review serves as a foundation for all subsequent reviews, evaluating your organization’s security environment internally and externally at a given point in time. This is a sound option when you have not conducted a risk assessment in several years. It also enables you to establish a regular schedule for security risk assessments going forward.

Security Architecture Review. This review assesses the security and vulnerability of your organization’s security architecture. These components range from networks and information systems, firewalls and servers, to end-user devices such as desktops and laptops, to security software and applications. Because security technology advances steadily, it’s a best practice to conduct periodic reviews of your security architecture.

Vendor Review. Many security rules require a holistic security assessment that includes third-party organizations that handle information on your behalf. This may include cloud service providers, data processing companies, payment processors, and other business associates who create, manage, transmit, process, store, or destroy data and information for your organization.

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Conducting regular security risk assessments, and actively remediating the identified security risks, is a fundamental requirement of most security frameworks and industry regulations. Engaging a VCISO in this endeavor provides numerous advantages.

24By7Security has conducted thousands of security risk assessments across multiple industries, and our VCISOs are highly credentialed and uniquely qualified to assist you.

Learn more about this service, and our unique five-pronged approach to risk assessments.

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