Do you own a company and are looking for ways to ensure that sensitive data and customer information are kept safe? Have you heard about security risk assessments and are wondering if it’s right for you? Security risk assessments have become more important than ever with cyber threats and crimes on the rise. You read about companies that have been hacked and breached all the time, and it’s very hard to gain back customer confidence after that occurs.
One thing that may be holding you back is the cost. How much does a security risk assessment cost? It’s based on several factors such as the type of assessment, the size of the company, the industry and much more as we will discuss here.
Types of security risk assessments:
First, let’s discuss the different types of security risk assessments available to companies. There is an IT security risk assessment that looks at the company’s current IT systems, servers, Internet, external storage of data etc. and identifies risks and vulnerabilities in terms of the stored data and information. Because businesses are so reliant on digital files, all documents and data must be kept safe.
Then there is the physical security risk assessment, which involves assessing and identifying threats and vulnerabilities in the office space itself. It could include everything from secure locks on doors, to pass card systems and more.
For most companies, it’s a good idea to do a combined security risk assessment which looks at the IT and physical threats. This is especially important for businesses that have never had a security risk assessment done.
Factors Impacting the Cost of a Security Risk Assessment:
Wondering what determines the cost of a security risk assessment? Maybe you’ve gathered a few quotes and you’re wondering how they come up with the figure. The size and the complexity of the company will be a huge factor in the cost. The bigger the company, and the more complex it is – you can expect to pay more money.
Another contributing factor is the industry that the company is in and the regulatory requirements within that industry. Some are stricter than others. You may also be able to determine the scope of the assessment, and the broader the scope and the more areas it looks at, again you can expect the price to increase.
In-House Security Risk Assessment
· You can feel like you have more control
· You are present for the risk assessment, watching it play out
· The risk assessment can occur on an ongoing basis
· You can have a dedicated person monitoring for threats
· It can be more cost effective for larger businesses
· A full-time employee may be necessary
· This can cost small businesses more in the long run vs. outsourcing
· You may need to invest in proper equipment and tools which is an added cost
· There is training involved, it will also need to be ongoing
Outsourced Security Risk Assessment
· Take advantage of highly qualified professionals
· There’s no need to hire someone for the office
· Outsourcing can be much more cost-effective for small-medium sized businesses
· No need to invest in proper software and equipment to conduct the assessment
· You don’t have to train the person
· It can be hard to find a company that meets all your needs
· Pricing can be all over the board, you may need to get quotes from several before deciding
· You may feel like you don’t have as much control
Professional Services and Consultant Fees:
Curious about how the rates work? If you’re going to hire a professional service, you’ll either pay an hourly rate for the consultant or a fixed-price contract. There are pros and cons to each, it comes down to how much work is involved. If it’s a massive job for a big company, you could be better off with a fixed-price contract.
What happens if you think you’ll need more than one risk assessment and want this to be a regular practice the company uses? Then you may want to speak to a consultant or service about a retainer agreement.
In-House vs Outsourcing Security Risk Assessments:
Wondering if it’s better to conduct the security risk in-house vs outsourcing? When you do it in-house you can feel like you have more control over the situation since you’re present and can see the assessment taking place. It also means you have a dedicated staff member who looks after the task on an ongoing basis, making sure to stay on top of the latest risks and vulnerabilities. With that comes an extra salary, and the fact you may not need a full-time dedicated person.
When you outsource the assessment you can take advantage of professionals who are up-to-date on the latest practices, techniques, trends and risks as well as having access to the best tools and software to address those risks.
From a cost standpoint, it’s important you fully cost out each to come to an informed decision.
Key Components of Security Risk Assessment Costs:
It can also be helpful to understand what goes into the security risk assessment costs so that it doesn’t seem like a figure pulled out of thin air. The process involves an assessment and planning phase, the data collection and analysis phase and then the report and remediation phase. No one of these is more or less important than the other, they are all vital in the process. You can’t afford to rush through any of the phases or skip steps or else you compromise the entire assessment.
While the cost is the cost, there are some cost-saving strategies you may be able to use. For example, it’s always smart to leverage existing resources and tools to bring down the cost, and you can also train and educate your employees so that the security risk doesn’t have to be so in-depth and complex. Finally, anytime you can streamline the assessment process you’re bound to cut down on time, redundancies, and costs.
Importance of Regular Security Risk Assessments:
The biggest mistake a company can make is ignore the issue and not perform regular security risk assessments. Threats are always evolving, and traditions criminals and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to hack systems, whether that be your IT or your physical building. Then there’s the fact that compliance and regulatory requirements change. Ongoing monitoring gives companies a chance to make improvements before big problems occur.
Security Risk Assessment Tools and Software:
What can you use to perform the security risk? There are many security risk assessment tools and software available to consumers, just be sure to look for one that is within the budget and has licensing models. Also, it needs to be compatible with existing systems.
In summary, security risk assessment plays a very important role in the operation of companies, regardless of the size or industry they are in. It’s all about preventing massive security breaches and ensuring data stays safe and secure, thereby protecting the company and its customers. Remember you need to look at both physical (doors, locks windows, external storage, vehicles) and IT/Cloud systems where you store your data and that of your valued customers.
- How often should a security risk assessment be conducted? At least once a year, and it should be ongoing throughout the year always monitoring for potential vulnerabilities.
- Can a small business afford a security risk assessment? Yes, speak to a professional service or contractor and get a few quotes. They may offer different plans based on how broad the assessment is. Many will allow you to pay for their services over the year rather than a single payment.
- What are the common pitfalls to avoid when conducting a security risk assessment? Companies need to be sure they are open and forthright, not leaving any stone unturned so to speak. The more thorough the assessment, the more effective the analysis will be.
- How can a company determine if they are getting their money’s worth from a security risk assessment? Companies can ask to see a full security risk assessment report, the data collected in-depth and written solutions so that you know there has been work and thought put into the report.