How often do you wonder if your IT systems, networks, privacy, and data are safe and sound? Well, it turns out not many companies impose all necessary measures to physically restrict access to vital information. To address this issue, we will explore how to conduct a security risk assessment to benefit your business.
To save millions of dollars, companies dealing with sensitive information need to prepare for external and internal risks. External ones include unfair competition, while internal ones entail disgruntled or aggrieved employees. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it pinpoints the principal issues.
In any case, failing to address security gaps can result in a company comprising highly sensitive data, including
- Passwords and source code files,
- Inventory lists for hardware and other assets,
- Production lines,
- Network maps and outlines,
- Schedules, notes, and
- Financial information.
Apart from preventing significant loss, a security risk assessment benefits the target company in many other ways. Some of these include increased productivity of IT operations, audits, and security. Similarly, this tool enhances communication and expedites decision-making company-wide by acquiring information from multiple parts of an organization.
When learning how to conduct a security risk assessment, it's paramount to factor in all aspects — as it can both prevent loss and augment business operations. But first, let's investigate how physical breaches work in concert with hackers in the first place.
Physical Breaches and How to Thwart Them
Most notably, the famous Sony security breach resulted in the company paying USD8 million. However, it wasn't only an online attack that caused the disaster. In fact, some reports suggest that the malicious actors had physical access to the company's confidential data, facilities, and systems.
Admittedly, this is one in a series of security breaches that cost corporations billions of dollars yearly.
Needless to say, most incidents can be prevented if the company contracts a risk assessor to employ the CARVER methodology. In short, the said approach comprises a qualitative and a quantitative assessment of an asset's vulnerabilities.
For instance, your facilities may be prone to unrestricted access due to a specific workplace culture or location. In turn, the CARVER methodology looks into security gaps and establishes a detailed plan to aid in future and ongoing security processes.
Similarly, commercial burglary or unrestricted access often happens because of a lack of proper detection devices on-site. An alternative reason could be a wide gap between detecting a crime and responding to it. A risk assessment done via the CARVER methodology addresses all of those issues.
Along similar lines, here are a few time-tested methods to prevent physical security breaches:
- Monitor points of entry and exit,
- Restrict physical access in line with security policies,
- Train the concerned employees to handle any situation,
- Identify and secure critical information,
- Change access passwords and keys, and
- Hire on-site security guards.
Implementing these measures can vastly increase the security of your data and facilities.
Considerations When Conducting a Risk Assessment
Depending on the industry and size of a business, employing a security risk assessment may take hours or days. At any rate, it's worth the time as it can yield immeasurable benefits to the company that requests it.
The main objective of a security risk assessment is to understand the existing environment and system. The second goal is to identify risks by analyzing the information and data collected. In a nutshell, here is how to conduct a security risk assessment:
- Establish which information is available to the public or accessible from the company's website,
- Document hardware and other physical assets, including data centers, networks, communication components, and peripherals (laptops, desktops, etc.),
- Verify which authentication and identification mechanisms are in place and how to improve them,
- Identify what government regulations pertain to minimum security control requirements and come up with solutions to align them,
- Collect informal policies, guidelines, or procedures that could hamper security,
- Specify network architecture and system infrastructure, including how they are interconnected and configured, and
- Record which intrusion detection systems and firewalls are in place.
Ultimately, how to conduct a security risk assessment is a question of expertise and expediency. Individuals with superficial know-how in this field can only do so much.
In contrast, we recommend engaging internally or sourcing externally a team of risk assessors with years of experience. What's more, this group of experts must be able to come up with a security plan as soon as they assess the risks.
In other words, establishing what problems plague your organization and then postponing implementing solutions can induce headaches for everyone involved. Therefore, the best time to act was yesterday, while the second best time is today!
Developing a Security-First Culture
Awareness and training comprise the building blocks of physical security. To that effect, we suggest implementing a holistic approach that tackles personnel, physical, and cybersecurity in protecting a company's:
- Facilities, and
Any methodology that ignores one or more of the above risks inflicting substantial harm to the corporation. That is why it's crucial to take any seemingly harmless risks seriously.
Specifically, employees need to learn how to report incidents in real-time and adequately communicate with each other. Such an approach prevents events from occurring — or returning to business operations quickly after an incident.
Note: Physical security-related breaches, especially those with inside help, are difficult to recover from and contain. The reason is that the threat actor inside the company can tamper with or remove all evidence. Thus the importance of thorough background checks on all current and future employees.
Finally, physical and digital threats for companies continue to evolve. At this point, the proof is aplenty to suggest that malicious actors are upping their game by recruiting insider threats. In fact, they have their eyes fixed on finding the path of least resistance in an organization. As a result, we suggest urgently learning how to conduct a security risk assessment or engaging risk assessors to do the job for you.
Bedrock Special Projects provides peace of mind by implementing security risk assessments to benefit prominent individuals, their families, and corporations. The Art of Executive Protection – Delivered with Elegance by Design.
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