What is a cybersecurity risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a process of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating risk. It helps to ensure that the cybersecurity controls you choose are appropriate to the risks your organization faces.

Without a risk assessment to inform your cybersecurity choices, you could waste time, effort, and resources. There is little point in implementing measures to defend against events that are unlikely to occur or won’t impact your organization.

Likewise, you might underestimate or overlook risks that could cause significant damage. This is why so many best-practice frameworks, standards, and laws require risk assessments to be conducted.

How do you conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment identifies the information assets that could be affected by a cyberattack (such as hardware, systems, laptops, customer data, and intellectual property). It then identifies the risks that could affect those assets.

Risk estimation and evaluation are usually performed, followed by the selection of controls to treat the identified risks.

It is essential to continually monitor and review the risk environment to detect any changes in the context of the organization, and to maintain an overview of the complete risk management process.