How to conduct an effective risk assessment

risk assessment identifies, analyzes, and evaluates the risks that your organization may face. Conducting an effective risk assessment allows you to identify the gaps in your organization’s critical risk areas and determine actions to close those gaps. It also ensures that you invest time and money in the right areas and do not waste resources. 

The assessment and management of information security risks is at the core of ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an information security management system (ISMS). 

What does a risk assessment include? 

A risk assessment identifies information assets that could be affected by a cyber attack, for example, hardware systems, laptops, customer data, etc., then identifies the risks that affect those assets. A risk estimation and evaluation is usually performed, followed by the selection of controls necessary to treat the identified risks. 

It is important to frequently monitor and review your risk environment to detect any emerging threats. Failure to conduct accurate risk assessments could result in your organization overlooking, underestimating, or neglecting risks that could be severely damaging.  

Five simple steps to an effective ISO 27001 risk assessment 

1.Establish a risk management framework that outlines how you intend to identify risks, who the risk will be assigned to, and how the risks impact the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the organization’s information. 

2. Identify the risks that could affect the confidentially, integrity, and availability of information. 

3. Analyze the threats and vulnerabilities for each asset within your organization and assign them impact and likelihood value based on your criteria. 

4. Evaluate the risks that have been identified and prioritize which ones need to be addressed first. 

5. Select risk treatment options. There are four suggested ways to treat risk: 

  1. ‘Avoid’ the risk by eliminating it entirely
  2. ‘Modify’ the risk by applying security controls
  3. ‘Share’ the risk to a third party (through insurance or outsourced)
  4. ‘Retain’ the risk (if the risk falls within established risk acceptance criteria)

Simplify the process 

Risk assessments can be time-consuming and complicated. Spreadsheets are commonly used but can be challenging to set up and maintain, and are prone to user input errors.  

Risk assessment software eliminates the need for spreadsheets, and ensures that assessments are produced accurately and easily.  

vsRisk™ is an information security risk assessment software tool created by industry-leading ISO 27001 experts. Fully aligned with ISO 27001, it helps you deliver fast, accurate, and hassle-free risk assessments. It enables you to automate your risk assessments, saving 80% of your time and cutting consultancy costs. 

Streamline the risk assessment process, and deliver consistent and repeatable cybersecurity risk assessments every time. 

Save time and money when tackling complex risk assessments >>