With 97% of applications said to have at least one vulnerability, it’s essential that management is aware of potential security issues and taking steps to remediate them. As a CTO or security architect, a security assessment report (SAR) is one of your most valuable tools when enacting change within your organization.
3 Things a Security Assessment Report Must Have
A security assessment report, NIST says should provide a “disciplined and structured” breakdown of a security assessment’s findings.
When prepared and presented correctly, your SAR can help guide your clinic or institution to take appropriate steps to protect sensitive data and operational systems against cyber threats.
However, for your security assessment report to be effective, it must include a few key things:
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary breaks down the overall results of your SAR security assessment. It provides an overview of the report’s findings and highlights pertinent information like the risks your assessment discovered and how vulnerable your organization is.
This big picture element of your report is what most decision-makers will focus on.
2. Assessment Report Overview
The overview outlines the methodology and tools you used in the assessment. It should break down the steps you took to perform the assessment in detail.
Include more technical details to explain the scope of the assessment and to demonstrate nothing has been left out.
3. Results and Recommendations
The results will explain what the scans or tests uncovered in more detail than the executive summary.
This part of the report should also include your recommendations to outline steps management can take to improve security preparedness and mitigate the risks of cyberattacks.
Positioning Your SAR Security Report for Success
After preparing your security assessment report correctly, you still need to present the report in a way that will be understandable and palatable to the decision-makers in your organization.
In healthcare organizations, administrators have to don many hats and may not have the technical expertise necessary to fully grasp what your report contains without some explanation.
To position your IT security assessment report for success and make sure your security strategy is implemented, keep these concepts in mind.
List Results and Recommendations Clearly
When writing the report, list any results and your relevant recommendations as clearly as possible. Decision-makers typically respond well to clear results that they can understand.
Furthermore, if your recommendations are too technical, they may dismiss them out of hand even if the suggestions are the best choices for dealing with uncovered security flaws.
Have an Outline for Future Actions
In addition to providing your recommendations clearly, your role as a security architect is to give an outline or a step-by-step process for how you could implement those recommendations soon.
A potential solution is no solution at all if there isn’t a way to implement it.
To that end, make sure that your report includes a clear outline of the actions you or they can take to mitigate the discussed security flaws thoroughly.
Contextualize Your IT Security Assessment Report
Lastly, include some context for your findings and recommendations, so management knows why you have made the recommendations. Context can be crucial for considering future options about other business concerns, such as finances or the available workforce.
IT can also emphasize the potential severity of certain upcoming cyber risks, like AI-enhanced malware, that must be dealt with immediately.
Work with an experienced IT partner to assess your IT systems for vulnerabilities and build buy-in. At True North, we work with technical leadership in healthcare organizations to build buy-in and improve data security.
Find out if your institution or practice is storing and handing EHR safely.