When you collect customer data such as credit card information, your clients trust you to keep it safe. However, as cyberattacks grow in number and sophistication, preventing data breaches becomes harder and harder to do. That’s why small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to take measures to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities. The best way to start is with an IT risk assessment.
What is an IT risk assessment?
An IT risk assessment is a comprehensive review of an organization’s IT infrastructure, processes, and protocols to identify and analyze potential threats and vulnerabilities that could be exploited to threaten data and network security. This guides SMBs in deciding how to minimize risks to acceptable levels to improve their overall security posture.
How can SMBs benefit from an IT risk assessment?
There are a number of reasons why SMBs should perform an IT risk assessment.
#1. Avoid costly data breaches
Falling victim to a data breach can have huge financial implications, including lost business, regulatory fines, and remediation costs. In fact, IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. The average is even worse in the United States — the most expensive among countries — which is reportedly $8.19 million. Not only that, but SMBs have higher data breach costs relative to their size than larger businesses: $3,533 versus $204 per employee. These costs do not even take into account the long-term negative reputational impact of a data breach.
Conducting an IT risk assessment is a proactive approach in preventing or at least reducing the number of security incidents. This saves your SMB from losing money and experiencing reputational damage.
#2. Justify security investments
An IT risk assessment can present an analysis of a security investment versus potential losses and expenses from security breaches. It can also help calculate the long-term financial benefits of security investments. This helps SMBs make a business case for security spending. They will then be able to budget appropriately for security and know which security solutions to prioritize.
#3. Comply with industry regulations
Many SMBs need to adhere to various laws, regulations, and standards such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). And one of the primary compliance requirements is to undergo regular IT risk assessments. Doing so ensures that security settings, protocols, and procedures follow industry rules and regulations.
In the event of a data breach, government regulators and insurance companies will demand documented proof that proper security measures were in place. IT risk assessments and the resulting remediation can serve as evidence.
Don’t fret if you don’t have the in-house personnel to perform a thorough IT risk assessment — Founders Technology Group, LLC can conduct it for you. Not only will we uncover your IT security’s weak points, but we’ll also come up with an action plan to beef up your defenses. Call us at (860) 256-8197 to schedule your assessment.