What is a Cyber Security Assessment (and Do You Need It?)?

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If your business uses interconnected systems in any way, cyber risk is an unavoidable fact of the modern business environment (especially after the COVID-19 pandemic). And that’s where a cyber security assessment can help you identify, prioritize, and resolve IT security issues. 

Cyber security assessments can:

  • Reduce the long-term costs of cybersecurity threat mitigation
  • Help you develop templates for future cybersecurity fixes
  • Reduce the risk of data breaches, HIPAA fines and OCR audit findings 
  • Prevent the loss of EHR and other sensitive information
  • Allow you to improve cybersecurity postures and security tools


Every healthcare provider should perform a cybersecurity assessment to protect itself from cyber risks, such as data breaches, hacks, and other security concerns. 

Cyber risks threaten everyone. So you can – and should – carry out regular cybersecurity tests and assessments. If you find problems before a threat actor, you can fix the vulnerability before it is exploited.

Generally, there are five critical steps involved in a cybersecurity assessment.

Step 1: Determine the Cybersecurity Assessment’s Scope and Focus

First, your cybersecurity team must identify and limit the scope or focus of the upcoming assessment. No single cyber security assessment can check all aspects of your systems. 

Instead, a good assessment will focus on one or two major areas or likely systems with cybersecurity flaws.

Healthcare providers, for instance, that manage protected health information can focus the assessment on security controls and where it is stored. Or you might focus on the risks of cloud computing in healthcare information systems.

By limiting the focus of the assessment, you can perform a more in-depth cyber risk check and catch real problems before they escalate. 

After narrowing the focus of your assessment, be sure to identify your organization’s physical and logical assets within the test’s scope. This way, you’ll know what to look at when you carry out the test.

Step 2: Conduct the IT Security Assessment to Identify Security Threats

Cyber threats are methods or techniques that threat actors can use against your organization and its assets. As you carry out your vulnerability assessment, identify any cybersecurity threats that crop up. 

To better identify vulnerabilities, consider using knowledge bases such as MITRE ATT&CK. As you identify the threats, collect them and record them for future analysis.

Step 3: Analyze Findings and Threats Found in the Cybersecurity Assessment 

Cybersecurity Assessment

Once the cyber assessment is complete, you must analyze the threats detected and discover how they may impact your institution or practice. 

One of the best ways to analyze the risks is to rank them on a scale from 1 to 5, indicating how likely they are to affect your organization. 

For example, a cyber risk with a rank of 1 would be highly likely to affect your organization soon, while a risk with a score of 5 may be improbable and not warrant much attention from your data security team.

Step 4: Prioritize Risks and Document Them

After organizing the detected risks in this manner, you can prioritize them based on the possible fallout if the attack was to be carried out successfully.

It’s possible that a vulnerability with a high chance of exploitation may have a negligible impact on your organization. For the best results, create a risk matrix chart that lets you evaluate risks:

Cyber Assessment

After making the above chart, you can fill in the boxes with cyber attacks based on their likelihood to occur and the potential harm they may cause to your institution or clinic.

In so doing, you can prioritize which cyber risks you need to focus on when deploying security patches, adjusting institutional protocols, and more. As you follow the priority chain, you will be able to manage your organization’s resources most effectively.

Step 5: Implement Cyber Assessment Fixes, Workarounds

No test is worthwhile if you don’t take the information it provides and use it to its fullest extent.

The last step in any cybersecurity assessment is to implement fixes to your cybersecurity framework that alleviate or mitigate risks discovered during the test. 

Secure Your Systems With True North

An IT security assessment tool is crucial for your organization. You should regularly use penetration testing and other assessments as part of your risk management process to detect possible flaws and to anticipate future security risks down the road.

By leveraging the results of a cybersecurity assessment, your organization will be more digitally secure and less likely to suffer the effects of a hack, data breach, or another digital event in the future.

That’s where a partner like True North can make all the difference. We leverage state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools and decades of expertise to assess your preparedness for cyberattacks.

Reduce the risk of fines and violations with a team that helps clients stay on the right side of HIPAA, PCI, and other standards.

Book your complimentary 30-minute consultation with an expert healthcare IT professional today.

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