What Is a Security Assessment Plan?

Security assessment plans are periodic exercises that evaluate your organization’s preparedness for security threats. They include vulnerability scans of your information technology systems and business processes, as well as recommendations for mitigating the risk of future attacks. According to statistics, 20% of firms report being attacked six or more times each year, and 80% report having encountered at least one cybersecurity issue significant enough to demand a board-level meeting in the last 12 months.

Benefits of Conducting Security Assessment Plans

While digitalization has enhanced services and patient care delivery in today’s healthcare industry, it has also resulted in significant side effects: cybersecurity assaults and breaches. Today’s information technology departments must be attentive in finding network weaknesses before being attacked by cybercriminals. Regular security evaluations are critical for your organization — here’s why.

Analyzes your cyber security protections for critical weaknesses: The first step in developing any strategic security plan is to become familiar with your threats. Security assessments include several procedures and tests to conduct an in-depth audit of your organization’s defenses against various attack methods employed by attackers – internal or external. This could be an external attacker attempting to compromise your network, a disgruntled employee seeking vengeance, or malware. An evaluation identifies those unpatched systems, allowing your team to update software and mitigate risk. The objective of an assessment is to uncover concealed vulnerabilities, flaws, and potential weaknesses in your security architecture. The findings will include everything from shared and accessible access credentials to software version updates that are required, as well as a complete examination of how analysts accessed sensitive material – and a presentation of the exact data discovered. However, identification is simply the first step. Additionally, security assessments give healthcare businesses a risk severity rating for each found vulnerability, recommendations on how to remediate each detected vulnerability, and the option to retest to determine the effectiveness of your remediation efforts.Assures the security of sensitive data in your local environment: All protected health information (PHI) and electronically protected health information (e-PHI) created, received, maintained, or transmitted by a healthcare organization must be secured and protected. Additionally, all methods of keeping and transferring PHI must be examined regularly, including databases, servers, connected medical equipment, mobile devices, and cloud storage. Security assessments can be used to determine if implemented security controls are adequately safeguarding sensitive and confidential information from all possible attack vectors. Internal and external diffusion testing, database security assessments, and web application testing are all available services.Complies with compliance requirements and plan for audits: The HIPAA Security Rule needs all covered healthcare companies to demonstrate and document a regular vulnerability scan to check for vulnerabilities, exploits, and security shortcomings in healthcare equipment, apps, and networks. Additionally, HIPAA requires covered entities to assess the likelihood and impact of any threats to electronically protected health information and implement and document adequate security measures to manage those risks. In general, Health and Human Services require that protected PHI be secured against “reasonably expected risks to the information’s security or integrity” and that you maintain “continuous, reasonable, and effective security safeguards.” The complexity and approach of security evaluations vary. Your firm can select various services tailored to your specific requirements, such as social engineering, database assessments, wireless testing, and web application testing. Documenting all security and privacy policies during an evaluation is critical for procedural audits and provides a fantastic training basis for staff. However, compliance does not guarantee security in the modern era of sophisticated hacking and counterattack methods. Regular audits ensure that your organization is compliant with HIPAA rules and highlight areas beyond compliance that require attention to meet industry cybersecurity best practices and standards.Determines budget and training requirements: Security assessments empower your IT team to identify security protection gaps and chances for growth. Understanding which vulnerabilities are currently active and which are high-priority allows your IT team to make more informed judgments about future security expenditures. Assessments give the documents necessary to justify or steer your IT department’s security budget and validate that budget for the rest of the enterprise. Also, reviews enable healthcare firms to build a positive internal discussion and promote diligence within the organization. Your employees are the essential component of network security. Social engineering and other assessments can identify areas where further training or resources for employee education and compliance are required.Create preparedness plans: Another advantage of doing regular risk assessments is that it allows for the development of contingency plans in a calamity. Whether your data is kept on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination of the two, having a strategic backup plan is a critical component of your disaster recovery and overall security plan. During a policy review, determine what information should be backed up and how it should be backed up, build procedures for restoring backups following a breach, and establish standard methods for testing those restore procedures regularly.Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures Are Updated and Strengthened: A robust security posture encompasses, but is not limited to, the technical tests outlined thus far. Additionally, your corporation must have good rules and procedures in place throughout the organization. You cannot afford to address PHI and administrative data protection in a piecemeal fashion. Costs associated with data breaches and their associated consequences, such as reputational damage, fines, and lawsuits, can cripple any size healthcare institution. Following this comprehensive analysis, your organization will be equipped with the procedures necessary to boost your entire security posture and will be able to rest easy knowing you’ve taken proactive measures to mitigate your risk of being harmed by threats.

How To Conduct a Basic Security Assessment

For some firms, small enterprises, establishing a team to develop and execute information security procedures may seem like a significant enough task in and of itself, much alone the added work of proactively looking for holes in your security system. However, you cannot afford to miss a security audit. These steps will guide you through a basic security assessment and provide you with the skills necessary to begin developing a consistent approach for identifying critical business threats.

Step 1: Catalogue and identify your information assets

The first step in managing a security assessment is to create a detailed inventory of your informational assets. It’s critical to note that different roles and departments will have varying viewpoints on what the most valuable assets are, which is why you should solicit advice from multiple sources. For salespeople, the most critical information asset can be your company’s CRM. At the same time, IT’s most vital information asset is likely the servers they maintain, and HR’s most critical information asset is confidential employee information. After identifying all of your information assets and essential stakeholders across all departments, you’ll need to sort them according to their level of sensitivity and strategic value to the firm. You’ll need to speak with the administrators of all primary systems across all departments to obtain accurate and complete information.

Step 2: Recognize threats.

Hackers are frequently at the top of the list when considering data security concerns, but dangers to your business’s data security can take various forms. As this list of 2019 data breaches demonstrates, while hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in a business’ firewalls or website security programs has been extremely common, various other threat types contributed to data breaches in 2019. When developing a list of all the different hazards your organization confronts, you must consider a variety of various threat kinds. Finally, natural calamities and power outages may create devastation just as much havoc as humans, so you must also account for those types of dangers. Following this phase, you should have a comprehensive list of the threats to your assets. According to research, almost 34% of organizations worldwide are impacted by insider threats each year. 66% of firms believe that malicious insider attacks or unintentional breaches are more likely than external attacks. Insider occurrences have surged by 47 percent in the last two years.

Step 3: Recognize vulnerabilities.

A vulnerability is a flaw in your system or procedures that could result in an information security breach. For instance, this is a massive vulnerability if your business keeps customers’ credit card information but does not encrypt it or test the encryption process to ensure it functions correctly. Allowing weak passwords, failing to update software security patches, and restricting user access to sensitive information are all habits that expose your business’s sensitive data to attack. Another danger you may face during the coronavirus health crisis is a staffing shortage. Security safeguards may be overlooked if IT security staff is working remotely or, worse, is ill. Also, it is critical to consider physical weaknesses. For instance, if your workers work with paper copies of sensitive information or take business equipment outside the office, this might result in data misuse, just as flaws in your software and electronic systems do.

Step 4: Examine internal controls.

Following vulnerability identification in your systems and processes, the next stage is to create controls to mitigate or remove vulnerabilities and threats. This could be a control designed to eradicate the exposure or address hazards that cannot be eliminated. Technical controls, such as computer software, encryption, or tools for detecting hackers or other breaches, or non-technical controls, such as security rules or physical controls, are all examples of controls. Controls can also be classified as preventative or detective controls, depending on whether they prevent incidents or detect and inform you when an incident occurs. Adequate controls demand experience and expertise. If your organization lacks in-house security and compliance subject matter experts, it is critical to seek support from professional services businesses with extensive experience resolving IT security challenges.

Step 5: Calculate the probability of an incident occurring.

Using the data you’ve obtained – about your assets, the risks they face, and the controls you’ve implemented to mitigate those threats – you can now categorize the likelihood that each of the vulnerabilities you discovered will be exploited. Numerous organizations use the terms “high,” “medium,” and “low” to represent the likelihood of a risk occurring. Thus, if a critical application used to run your business is out of the current, and there is no method in place for periodically checking for and installing updates, the chance of an incident affecting that system is likely to be significant. On the other hand, if you handle a high volume of personal health information, have automated mechanisms in place to encrypt and anonymize it, and periodically test and verify those systems’ performance, the risk of an incident is low. You will need to make this decision based on your knowledge of the vulnerabilities and the controls implemented inside your company.

Step 6: Determine the severity of the threats to your information security.

Prioritizing your security risks will assist you in determining which ones require immediate attention, where you should focus your time and resources, and which dangers can wait. This stage may benefit from using a simple risk matrix that enables you to visualize the data you already have about each vulnerability/threat pair you’ve found. Risks that are both likely to occur and have severe repercussions would be prioritized as high. In contrast, risks that are unlikely to happen but have minor implications would be prioritized as low, with everything else falling somewhere. You can create a risk matrix that is as simple or as sophisticated as you choose. If you’re a large firm with several risks competing for your time and attention, a more detailed 55 risk matrix will almost certainly be beneficial; smaller organizations with fewer hazards to prioritize will generally get by with a simple 33 matrix.


What is the purpose of a security survey and inspection?

A security survey is a comprehensive on-site examination and analysis of a facility to ascertain the presence and value of assets; to assess the existing security program; to identify gaps or excesses; to define the level of protection required, and support recommendations to enhance overall security.

What is a checklist for risk assessment?

When preparing to undertake a risk assessment, a risk assessment checklist guarantees that you have assessed every aspect of your firm. With a list, you can be sure that you’ve addressed risk from every angle and have gathered all of the information necessary for your firm to establish a risk management plan. Risk assessments are a legal duty for all employers and self-employed individuals. They must evaluate the risks to their employees and to anybody else who work activities may impact.

Why is it necessary to do a security survey?

The survey collects the data essential to establishing the right level of safety and security for your firm to successfully manage risk and liability and plan for ongoing operations during a potential crisis. Also, a security survey ensures that the money you’ve invested in security is being used effectively. As security threats and the assets that require protection evolve, so should your security system. Conducting regular security audits will assist you in identifying flaws in your current system.

Employee records, customer information, loyalty schemes, transactions, and data collection are all examples of critical pieces of information that businesses typically maintain. This prevents third parties from misusing the information for fraudulent purposes, such as phishing scams and identity theft. The Security Assessment Plan explains the data obtained before assessing the regions evaluated and the proposed scheduled actions performed.