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March 1, 2024 |

9 benefits of a cybersecurity assessment

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We all recognize the importance of cybersecurity, but that doesn't make identifying and fixing your vulnerabilities or areas of weakness any easier. This is why many companies choose to complete cybersecurity assessments. 

A cybersecurity assessment involves a comprehensive analysis of your current security posture, pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses so you can systematically reduce your company's risk.

But that’s just one reason, of many, to complete a cybersecurity assessment.

Below, we take a closer look at the cybersecurity assessment process and highlight nine benefits your company may enjoy by completing one.

What is a cybersecurity assessment?

A cybersecurity assessment is a full-scale analysis of your company’s digital security. Although there are a variety of goals you can set going into this process, some of the most common include:

  • Evaluating security risks
  • Comparing your current maturity level to where you should ideally be
  • Getting actionable recommendations to improve your security posture

What’s assessed during a cybersecurity assessment?

The company you hire to complete your assessment will typically review many cybersecurity-related areas. This can include:

  • Audits and reviews
  • Cloud infrastructure
  • Data loss prevention
  • Email and web browsing protection
  • Governance and leadership
  • Inventory and physical security controls
  • Threat detection
  • Remote access management
  • Log management
  • Cybersecurity policies
  • Backup procedures
  • And more

Ultimately, whoever conducts your cybersecurity assessment should be thorough. The more thorough, the less likely they are to miss potential vulnerabilities.

How does a cybersecurity assessment work?

A cybersecurity assessment aims to have a team of experts evaluate your company’s security to identify vulnerabilities, strengths, and opportunities for improvement. The details of this can vary based on the company you hire or how your internal team decides to proceed.

Organizations can seek a cybersecurity assessment for many reasons, including qualifying for security insurance, validating that they’re on the right path with their current cybersecurity strategy, understanding where their gaps are, prioritizing investment, and more.

At Field Effect, we assess your cybersecurity across more than 15 critical areas based on industry standards, our experience assessing organizations, and patterns observed through our incident response service. Once we understand your cybersecurity posture, we then deliver a comprehensive report highlighting any security gaps your organization may have and recommend practical steps for fixing them.

After your cybersecurity assessment, you’ll typically sit down for a period of discussion and review with the team that led it. This is when you’ll have the chance to ask questions about findings and gain clarity about your next steps.

9 benefits of a cybersecurity assessment 

Cybersecurity assessments take time and resources. So you’re probably wondering what you can expect to get in exchange. If you're on the fence about a cybersecurity assessment, here are nine benefits to consider.

1. Learn where you’re still vulnerable

Perhaps most importantly, completing a cybersecurity assessment will tell you where your company is still vulnerable. You may discover unpatched software, risky user behaviors, insufficient employee security guidelines, or any number of other issues.

Finding these vulnerabilities is the first step toward fixing them. Your cybersecurity assessment team will then recommend specific actions you can take to plug whatever security gaps they found.

This can help you avoid significant future costs. IBM says the average data breach cost in 2023 was $4.45 million. So, even though it may take some money to fix your security risks, you can usually save substantially more by avoiding these costly attacks in the first place.

2. Measure your security against industry standards

Another benefit of completing a cybersecurity assessment is having the opportunity to evaluate how your security posture compares to industry standards and best practices.

The team that handles your assessment will be able to tell you where you are excelling, and where you might have gaps that could leave you vulnerable to an attack.

3. Give stakeholders confidence

Cybersecurity assessments can improve customer confidence in your business. Having third-party validation that you take cybersecurity seriously is important and gives you a leg up on the competition...especially if they can’t say they've taken the same proactive steps.

But cybersecurity assessments aren’t just confidence-enhancing for customers. They can be reassuring to all stakeholders—from investors to third-party partners. As these groups gain more confidence in your business, they may be more willing to partner with you.

4. Prioritize future security investments

Maybe you’re interested in improving your cybersecurity but aren’t sure where to start. Completing a cybersecurity assessment can be a significant first leap toward reaching your goals.

Cybersecurity assessments help you identify where your biggest strengths and weaknesses lie. You can use that information to prioritize future security investments—starting with the biggest problems and gradually working toward lesser issues, if necessary. You can use the results of your cybersecurity assessment as a sort of step-by-step guide to achieve your cybersecurity goals.

5. Qualify for cybersecurity insurance

Cybersecurity insurance provides financial protection to companies that experience serious breaches. Having one of these policies can help you mitigate the financial risk of a cyberattack.

However, when it comes to assessing cyber risk, many underwriters value security tests and audits which may include a cybersecurity assessment. Completing an assessment can often satisfy this requirement, paving the way for your organization to take out a new cybersecurity insurance policy in the process.

Just remember that cybersecurity insurance isn’t a replacement for internal cybersecurity policies. It’s more a backstop for risk than a tool for keeping your company safe.

6. Stay ahead of cybercriminals

Another factor to consider is that cybercriminals are constantly searching for new ways to attack organizations. This is why it’s not enough to create a cybersecurity strategy and lock it in place. Companies must update and evolve their strategies as criminals do the same.

Cybersecurity assessments can help with this. They’re an opportunity to reassess your strengths and weaknesses in light of the criminals' changing tactics. They can help you uncover new vulnerabilities that might not have been there the last time you completed a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment.

7. Provide employee training and awareness

Research suggests that employee errors cause 88% of data breach incidents. This is why it’s so important to develop a cyber-aware culture by training your employees on cybersecurity best practices.

Cybersecurity assessments can be a great place to begin this process. They highlight the specific security areas where your team needs to improve. That way, you can start training employees in their biggest areas of need instead of relying on a more general training plan that may not be as effective.

8. Assess your regulatory compliance efforts

If you do business in a highly regulated industry, you know the challenges of navigating new and ever-changing cybersecurity regulations. Never mind the obstacle of complying with them and confirming that compliance.

A cybersecurity assessment is a useful tool on your compliance journey. It can help validate where you've invested resources and guide your future efforts, positioning you well to obtain and maintain a compliance designation.

9. Receive expert recommendations and advice

Many companies don’t have the internal expertise necessary to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement—particularly as the cost of hiring cybersecurity talent continues to rise.

Even if you do, adding more work to your internal security team’s plate could impact their ability to perform their day-to-day work. Additionally, self-assessments can contain unintentional biases leaving you with a less objective, less helpful outcome.

Whether you have the resources or not, it’s significantly beneficial to have an experienced, dedicated third party assess your security posture and deliver a prioritized list of cybersecurity recommendations.

Considering a cybersecurity assessment?

If you can’t remember the last time your company completed a cybersecurity assessment, there’s no time like the present to start fixing that. Field Effect can help you do it.

We leverage our decades of cybersecurity experience and industry-specific expertise to provide comprehensive cybersecurity assessments for companies of all sizes. Whether you’re concerned about compliance or want to know where you’re most vulnerable, we can provide the answers you need to move forward.

You can learn more by visiting our Cybersecurity Assessment webpage.