Friday, December 9, 2022

4 Steps on How to Conduct a Network Security Risk Assessment

With networks being a key cybersecurity risk area and breaches on the rise, network security risk assessments should be a vital part of a company’s security strategy.

A network security risk assessment allows a company business to see their infrastructure and network from a cybercriminal’s perspective and enables security pros to find the right solutions to security problems.

See below to learn all about how to conduct a network security risk assessment to help improve a company’s network security: 

4 Steps on How to Conduct a Network Security Risk Assessment

1. Identify And Prioritize Assets And Data

A company’s important assets can include their infrastructure, network, internal data, and customer data. 

The company’s data can be labeled critical at high, medium, or low levels. Once their data is prioritized, an assessment can identify specific network needs and weaknesses in an area. 

How to Classify Assets And Data


Access restrictions


Low sensitivity

Public access

Website, product announcements, job listings

Medium sensitivity

Internal access (if accessed by public, not catastrophic)

Telecommunication systems, emails, brand

High sensitivity

Protected data (if accessed by public, catastrophic)

Customer details, financial records, internal operation documents

Alternative Classification Terms

  • Public: This classification is similar to low sensitivity. Public access is available without security controls. This information is not a large concern.
  • Internal: Similar to medium sensitivity, this classification is meant for internal use only. However, if this information is exposed, it will not be detrimental to the business.
  • Confidential: This classification is between medium and high sensitivity. The data needs to be confidential. If the data is exposed, the company may deal with negative results. 
  • Restricted: Similar to high sensitivity, if this data is leaked, it is detrimental to a company. If leaked, it can cause a loss of customers and money and lead to legal, and regulatory consequences.

Once the data is classified, IT teams can move on to assessing the data.

2. Choose A Type Security Assessment Type

Choosing a security assessment type can be based on classification of data, industry, and the company’s preference. 

Network Security Assessment Types

Each assessment can offer comfort in a business’s cybersecurity. Using assessments can help an IT team make the correct decisions for a business. It is vital to map out and see vulnerabilities to prevent future attacks.

Factor To Consider with Assessment Types

  • What categories the data is in
  • See financial cost and risk
  • Customer information safety
  • Industry-based risk attacks

Because security risks are varied, a company should conduct multiple assessments for the best results.

See more: 5 Top Security Assessment Trends

3. Perform The Network Security Assessment

Once the company decides what assessment works best, it is time to perform the assessment. Here are the steps based on the assessment that a business selects:

Vulnerability Assessment Steps

  1. Decide what a business needs to test the most
  2. Vulnerability identification
  3. Analyze the vulnerabilities
  4. Treat vulnerabilities through patching

IT Audit Steps

  1. Plan for the audit
  2. Do preparations for the audit
  3. Perform the audit
  4. Report the company’s findings

IT Risk Assessment Steps

  1. Identify the problems in a business’s system
  2. Decide what may be harmed and how it would happen
  3. Analyze the risks detected
  4. Record what a business finds and implement it

Penetration Testing Steps

  1. Plan for the test
  2. Scan to find vulnerabilities 
  3. Gain access to vulnerabilities and security
  4. Analyze findings

Once the vulnerabilities are identified and solved, it is time to set up prevention controls.

4. Set Up And Implement To Network Security

Implementing prevention and security controls is the next vital step. When a company receives its results from a network security risk assessment, it is important to see what the priorities are and see how the problems can be solved. This can reduce risks and vulnerabilities within a company’s infrastructure and network.

Factors For Setting Up Prevention Control Plan

Controls Description Examples
Preventative Implemented before a cybersecurity threat and reduce and avoid the potential impact of a cyberattack. Policies, processes, procedures, encryption, and firewalls
Detective Planned to detect a cyberattack while it occurs and provide help after the incident occurs. Cybersecurity detection software, host and network intrusion detection, and virus identification
Corrective Limits the impact of a cyberattack and helps the network return to normal operations. Antivirus software, recovery plans, and host and network intrusion remediation

There are many ways to implement security solutions for a network or infrastructure: including firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), antivirus and anti-malware software, encryption, and automatic updates

Setting up prevention measures requires monitoring both the network and the security systems to make sure they continue to do their job for the company.

See more: What is a Technology Control Plan?

Is There Software That Can Help With A Network Security Risk Assessment?

See below for some vendors offering network security risk assessment software:

  • Vigilant Software’s vsRisk: VsRisk is a top cloud-based information security risk assessment tool by Vigilant Software, an IT service and IT consulting company in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
  • LogicManager Cybersecurity Risk Management Program: The Cybersecurity Risk Management Program is a standardized cybersecurity risk assessment that helps companies understand the risks that IT asset, policy, procedure or control holds, made by LogicManager, a computer software company in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • SolarWinds Cybersecurity Risk Management and Assessment tool: SolarWinds Cybersecurity Risk Management and Assessment tool is an IT risk assessment software that helps cybersecurity policies with automated assessments. SolarWinds is a computer software company based in Austin, Texas.

Other vendors and tools include:

Why Should You Do A Network Security Risk Assessment?

Network security risk assessments have the potential to help a company reduce the risk of being a victim of cybercrime. 

Benefits Of Performing A Network Security Risk Assessment

  • Improve security awareness: Within an organization, vulnerabilities can go undetected for long periods, and cybercriminals can steal information. When a network security risk assessment is completed, a company will have more knowledge of which areas need attention. 
  • Protection against data breaches: Data breaches are not uncommon, and they can come at a high cost, expose private information, and hurt the trust in a company. Network security risk assessments can assist in identifying network vulnerabilities before a breach can occur. See more: Average cost of data breach surpasses $4 million for many organizations
  • Educate employees on security measures: Finding the vulnerabilities in a network can help employees understand specific security issues. By learning what needs to be prevented, a security team can better discover ways to keep data secure. See more: How to improve security awareness and training for your employees

See more: Automating Security Risk Assessments for Better Protection


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