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Complying with data privacy and protection regulations wouldn’t give several business owners sleepless nights if it only meant installing a predefined list of security solutions. Compliance goes way beyond this, and for good reasons. In principle, regulators, local or international, want businesses to:
Each of the above steps is mandatory and non-negotiable. A closer look will tell you that installing a list of expensive security solutions comes only after the first three steps in the process have been followed. Skipping past these initial steps and acting merely on presumptuous knowledge is tantamount to leaving your business’ future to sheer chance. It’s anyone’s guess what that would lead to.
To get started in compliance, it’s crucial to Understand and Calculate Organisational Risk.
That’s why we’re going to explain to you why a thorough and accurate risk assessment is truly the first step towards achieving compliance. Moreover, when repeated regularly, it can help you demonstrate continuous compliance while keeping cyber threats at bay.
A thorough and accurate risk assessment can unearth a host of crucial insights from even the deepest and darkest alleys of your IT environment to ultimately empower your decision making. Having actionable insights at your disposal can help you build strategies to reduce risk levels in practical ways instead of shooting in the dark by testing various tools.
Here are some of the essential details that become more apparent and unambiguous with every risk assessment.
The baseline of the System
A risk assessment helps you chart out the lifecycle of all data that is collected, stored and managed in your entire network.
Identification of Threats
A detailed risk assessment identifies all the possible threats, such as intentional, unintentional, technical, non-technical and structural, that your business data is exposed to.
Identification of Vulnerabilities
With each assessment, you get the latest list of vulnerabilities prevalent in your network concerning patches, policies, procedures, software, equipment and more.
Current Status of Existing Controls
From the assessment report, you can also understand the existing security and privacy controls protecting your business against vulnerabilities.
Related: Learn how to create an Asset Register and Risk Register.
Probability of Impact
An accurate assessment report is fully capable of anticipating the probability of a threat that might exploit one of your network’s existing vulnerabilities.
Strength of Impact
Risk assessment also helps you gauge the possible impact of any threat hitting your business.
Imagine how easy it would be for you to build and implement a strategy to fix the security loopholes in your business while maintaining a well-documented record of your efforts.
While assessing whether you did everything in your capacity to ensure full compliance with the regulations, you also need to keep in mind that a regulator seeks evidence of compliance – documented reports. Besides helping you chart a successful path to compliance, a thorough risk assessment adds significant weightage to demonstrating evidence of compliance. When you present the risk assessment reports along with other documentation, you demonstrate how your business carried out due diligence in upholding principles of data privacy and protection.
Learn more in our article: Gathering evidence to prove compliance.
Please remember that no regulator expects you to have a fail-safe strategy. What matters is uncompromising intent, informed action and undeterred consistency. If you can demonstrate all this, you will most likely avoid any punitive action, as well as a long list of problems that could surface afterwards.
Contrary to what is often claimed, there are no shortcuts to compliance or to any of the steps that lead to it. At the outset, achieving compliance might seem gruelling. However, it isn’t as bad as it looks when due process and expert guidance is followed.
A conversation with us is all you need so we can help you walk through the complexities of risk assessment with diligent and customised guidance. Get in touch today to receive specialised advice.
Looking for more info on risk management? We have many articles addressing this topic in the Compliance section of our blog. Check it out and let us know if it brought more clarity to your business.