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An Introduction to Information Security Risk Assessment

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: ISRA

It makes sense to invest in risk assessment because hackers are incessantly assessing your cyber assets for vulnerabilities. Businesses have often overlooked the benefits of Information Security Risk Assessment and it has costed them in millions. Likes of Yahoo, Quora and Sony failed to identify the hazards and faced scrutiny.

Hackers are continuously assessing your site for vulnerabilities; they will either get inside your system or wait for firewalls to expire and then attack. Most of the times hackers do not wait for firewalls to expire, they either start to steal information or try to bring the system down.

Also Read: The Definitive Guide to PCI DSS Compliance

What is Information Security Risk Assessment?

Information Security Risk Assessment is the study of vulnerabilities that can affect processes or halt the system. Risk assessment is a process of identifying, documenting, resolving and eradicating security concerns. A thorough study of cyber assets allows businesses to ensure that proper security of customer’s information and also ensures compliance at all times.

Organizations with enormous cyber assets need to assess their information security incessantly to ensure that no asset is at risk. Hackers will scrutinize your site inside out. The government urges every enterprise that stores cyber information to conduct a risk assessment to drive moles and unwanted codes out of the system.

Information Security Risk Assessment Checklist

Such assessments are very meticulous and carry information relevant to almost every operation, function and system. The assessment is designed to outdraw the security boundaries of all cyber assets. Any process or system that fails to meet the requisite security benchmark needs immediate attention and additional security.

ISRA is carried out with a checklist. The mentioned checklist includes parameters on which the entire system, process, and systems are measured. Any lacking is reported while all vulnerabilities are discussed in detail. By investing in Information Security Risk Assessment, organizations can safeguard themselves from paying hefty fines & penalties after data breaches.

The ISRA Checklist includes: 

  1. Information Security Policy: This step includes scrutiny of documentation. Every organization is subjected to the maintenance of security literature. This literature is designed to guide cyber security executives through varied processes.

The security documentation must include steps to taken in case of a cyber security attack. The literature is designed to control, eradicate or avoid modern-day cyber security attacks.

Also Read: Vulnerability Assessment: Everything You Should Know About

  1. Organizational Security: Designed to ensure the organization’s overall security, this step looks over the nuances of information security and relation with other organizations involved. Access of APIs and other linked features are put under scrutiny. This step includes the following processes:
  • Allocation of information security responsibilities
  • Co-operation between organizations
  • Independent review of information security
  1. Security of Third Party Access: No corporation can afford to leave its system open up for external attacks but it gets complicated for enterprises, who need to share APIs just to be in business. Some of the scrutiny this step includes are:
  • Identification of risks from the third parties
  • Security requirements in third party contract

Security of third party access ensures that other parties are equally attentive towards data security. Through proper documentation, it is ensured that every party is taking requisite steps to ensure proper handling of cyber assets.

  1. Asset Classification and Control: This step includes the following processes:
  • Inventory of assets: All assets are protected under this process. A thorough inspection of assets ensures that every asset is protected and no unauthorized access is reported.
  • Information Classification: to ensure that all information is classified properly, running information classification is necessary. This scrutiny makes it easier for businesses to apply for compliances.

Some of the nuanced steps are: 

  • Classification guidelines
  • Information labeling and handling
  1.  Personnel Security: This is perhaps the most important checklist, failing this checklist can cost organization compliance certificates. Personnel security is necessary because it is the core of compliances like GDPR and PCI DSS. Some of the steps this process includes are:
  • Including security in job responsibilities
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Terms and Conditions of employment

Interesting Read: Biggest Data Breaches in the History of Mankind [Infographic]

Steps to Successful Risk Assessment?

Organizations consider the ISRA Checklist as the most important step to follow, which is true but not the complete truth. It is equally important to ensure that ISRA is implemented properly and the right steps to implement successful risk assessment are:

  • Define your risk assessment methodology
  • Compile a list of your information assets
  • Identify threats and vulnerabilities
  • Qualify the extent of the risk
  • Mitigate the risks to reduce them to an agreed and acceptable level
  • Compile risk reports
  • Review, monitor and audit

Things to know before conducting ISRA

Organizations undergo data breaches because they fail to understand the vulnerabilities and risks in real-time. Such lack of attention to detail and security of informational assets have costed businesses in millions. With Information Security Risk Assessment becoming a standard practice, businesses are now finding it easier to move towards a safer environment.

Business is now more concerned because failing security assessment can lead to hefty fines. The fear of fine and penalty has pushed organizations looking for ISRA services but lack of information has hurried them into acquiring the wrong kind of risk assessment. Here are some things every business should concern before opting for ISRA:

  • Compliances required: Risk assessment should inform organizations about the vulnerabilities they need to cover before applying for compliances.
  • Kind of attacks they are vulnerable to SaaS-based companies are vulnerable to fishing attacks along with Fintech companies but other companies are vulnerable to attacks that lead to system failure. ISRA helps the organization get a grip on the information related to the kind of vulnerabilities they need to cover through such risk assessments.
  • Customer confidence builder: Businesses that cater to customers directly must understand that customer confidence is perhaps the biggest key driver. By working on winning customer confidence and adding requisite features, organizations can move towards success.

Also Read: What are Managed Security Services & How it Benefits Your Organization?


The dynamics of cyber security have changed and businesses that are failing to cope up with the changing dynamics will sooner or later lose their cyber assets to hackers. Vulnerabilities are increasing daily and any business that fails to complete the requisite compliances and cover risks will be liable to pay hefty fines.

Through Information Security Risk Assessment, businesses can move towards providing their customers with better security. By rendering all vulnerabilities out of the system, businesses can move towards offering better customer confidence.

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