July 22, 2020 by Jennifer Hawks

Risk Assessments Critical to Driving Positive Cybersecurity Outcomes

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Industries: 9-1-1 & Law Enforcement Federal Fire & EMS

Topics: Cybersecurity Device Management Services Disaster Recovery Services Infrastructure Services

Do you know where your organization is vulnerable? Are you doing everything you can to protect your mission-critical ecosystem? Are your networks and applications safe and secure? In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can find the answers to these questions with third-party risk assessments. 

The Stakes are High

In today’s constantly changing digital world, with remote operations and teleworking on the rise, cyber attack surfaces are increasing, opening up more opportunities for cyber crime. Add in advancements in attack techniques and an ever-evolving number of internet-connected devices, and organizations face a perfect storm when it comes to detecting and protecting against cyber threats.

The stats on cybersecurity attacks are staggering. By 2021, it is estimated that cybercrime will cost six trillion dollars annually. By 2022, the human attack surface is expected to reach 6 billion people as more and more people enter the digital world – increasing potential targets for cyber criminals. And in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a 300 percent increase in reported cybercrimes. Now, more than ever, understanding cyber security threats and being aware of your organization’s vulnerabilities is critical.

Security is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have in order to stay in business.  

Considerations for Risk Assessments

Taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity is critical to protect your entire mission-critical IT ecosystem from this increase in cybercrime. It all starts with understanding the security environment. In order to prepare an effective response and develop a roadmap to protect your system, you need a complete understanding of your vulnerabilities. Conducting periodic risk assessments of your network can provide your organization with the critical information it needs to make informed decisions.

Before you jump into conducting a risk assessment, it’s important to understand your unique requirements and needs. 

  1. Operations Overview: Developing a high-level understanding of your organization and operational needs is a critical first step. What technologies are you using? What does the architecture of your system and network look like? How are those systems distributed? These considerations help to establish a baseline for your operations and the components that need to be assessed.
  2. Existing Approach: It’s important to understand your current approach and practices. What are the current roles and responsibilities within your IT organization? What policies and procedures are currently in place? Have you completed any previous assessments? Are there specific areas of concern that you want to pay special attention to? The answers to these questions provide insights into your current state and steps needed to attain the desired state.

Assessing Your Risks

Any assessment starts with data gathering. This is your opportunity to review your current environment, processes and procedures in regards to cybersecurity. But where to start?

  1. NIST Aligned-Risk Assessment: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework serves as a useful guide to help your organization manage their risk awareness. The NIST assessment uses this guide as a baseline to develop an understanding of your risks. Through the NIST-aligned assessment, your organization completes a holistic compliance evaluation across the entire mission-critical ecosystem – including networks and applications – to determine potential gaps.  NIST Framework
  2. Technical Vulnerability Assessment: Any security vulnerabilities can open the door for hackers to access your systems and applications. To protect your organization from these potential threats, your tools and technologies need to be secure. It’s important to validate your existing technologies and scan them for potential vulnerabilities that attackers may try to manipulate. Any potential gaps that are identified should be prioritized for remediation to help harden your security and reduce the likelihood that a cybercriminal can breach your systems.
  3. Threat Intelligence Assessment: The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving. Understanding current and emerging threats is important to better protect your organization against exploitation. Evaluating threats from external actors, internet-based risk and exposure allows you to remediate identified gaps. Ongoing assessments ensure that your cybersecurity processes remain dynamic enough to respond to emerging changes.

While each of these three assessments provide your organization with useful insights, together they help to paint a full picture of your organization’s current environment and identify the critical gaps that need to be addressed to ensure you are protected from cyber attacks.

At Motorola Solutions, our Risk Assessment and Consulting Services provide a structured approach for identifying, assessing and managing infrastructure and software cyber risks – ensuring your organization fully understands your risk posture and the changes needed to minimize exposure. 

Let us help you identify where your cybersecurity risks exist. Take our free assessment and learn where your organization might be vulnerable.

Contact us to find out more about our solutions and services.

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