How to Perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment (Template)

How to Perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment (Step by Step Template). Nearly all firms are vulnerable to a cyber attack because it is practically required to have internet access and some IT infrastructure. Organizations must carry out a cybersecurity risk assessment, identify which assets are most vulnerable to the dangers the organization confronts, comprehend how significant this risk is and manage it.

By reducing the risks found during the assessment, it will be possible to avoid legal and compliance problems, costly security incidents and data breaches that have serious consequences. Hence this article discusses cyber security risk assessment and how to perform it in simple steps. 

Shall we proceed with How to Perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment (Step by Step Template)?

Cyber Security Risk

Well cybersecurity risk is the likelihood of exposure, loss of sensitive information and important assets, or reputational damage resulting from an organization’s cyber attack or network breach.

It is of key concern across all industries and businesses should work to adopt a cybersecurity risk management strategy to guard against continually developing and changing cyber threats.

Some types of cybersecurity risks include malware, password theft, traffic interceptions, phishing attacks, cross site attacks and DDoS.

Cyber Security Risk Assessment

Critically cybersecurity risk assessment identifies and assesses risks for assets that cyberattacks might impact. Here, you assess potential threats from inside and outside your organization while considering how they can affect the CIA triad, thereby calculating the financial impact of a cybersecurity catastrophe.

With this knowledge, you can better adjust the cybersecurity and data protection measures to suit your firm’s real risk tolerance. This, in turn, lowers the overall risk to a level the company can tolerate. Stakeholders and security teams can then use this information to make informed choices about how and where to deploy security controls.

Components of a Cyber Security Risk Assessment


Threats are situations that could endanger the people or resources of an organization. They include advanced persistent threats, DDoS attacks, and social engineering attacks. Threat actors are frequently driven by monetary gain or political ambitions and may be connected to nation states, insiders, or criminal organizations.


Likelihood is known as the probability that a threat will materialize. The likelihood that something will occur is usually a range rather than a precise number.


Vulnerability in cybersecurity is a weakness, fault, or mistake that an attacker could use to gain unauthorized access. The vulnerability management is essential for staying one step ahead of thieves since one can exploit vulnerabilities in various ways.


The damage that results from a network outage is known as the consequence. An organization typically experiences direct and indirect impacts when attempting to fix the issue. The effects of an assault may affect an organization’s finances, operations, reputation and level of regulatory compliance.

Steps to conduct a Cyber Security Risk Assessment (Template Checklist)

Step 1: Determine and Order Assets

Assets are servers, client contact information, confidential partner documents, trade secrets and other extremely valuable items in the company. The management, department representatives, and business users must determine a comprehensive list of assets and order accordingly.

They must then establish a method for estimating the significance of each asset, considering its monetary value, legal standing and significance to the organization as some criteria, amongst others. Using this standard, categorize each asset as critical, major, or minor after it has been properly incorporated into the risk assessment security policy and approved by management.

Step 2: Determine Threats

A threat could endanger your company, from natural disasters to viruses, hackers, and other possible hazards. They are usually classified into natural catastrophes, hardware malfunctions and nefarious actions, which may cause many issues to the company depending on the level.

To effectively determine the threats, you must consider the likelihood of several things like natural disasters and equipment placement in areas affected by them. You also must keep in mind the quality of products you attain to decipher the likelihood of failure, which is vital. 

Step 3: Determine Vulnerabilities

More to add with regards to vulnerability is that it is a flaw that could allow danger to hurt your business. Software flaws can be found using audit reports, the NIST vulnerability database, information security test and evaluation (ST&E) methods, penetration testing and automated vulnerability scanning programs. Other flaws such as physical and human weaknesses should also be considered. 

Step 4: Evaluate Controls

To reduce or eliminate the likelihood that a threat would exploit a vulnerability, you need to examine the measures in place. This includes utilizing technical controls like encryption, identification and authentication tools, as well as non technical controls like security regulations, administrative procedures, and physical and environmental controls.

As their name suggests, these controls can also be divided into preventive and detective categories, which foresee or thwart risks that have occurred or are being processed.

Step 5: Evaluate Incidents Likelihood

To evaluate incidents likelihood, you consider the type of vulnerability, the threat source’s ability and intent, the presence and efficiency of your controls, and the likelihood of a vulnerability being exploited. In the end, the likelihood of an assault or other unfavorable event is categorized using a high, medium, and low scale.

Step 6: Assess the Potential Impact of a Threat

Examine the effects of an occurrence on the missing or damaged asset, taking into account the asset’s purpose and any operations that rely on it, the asset’s value, and the asset’s level of sensitivity. To gather this data, you can start with a business impact analysis (BIA) or mission impact analysis report. A qualitative evaluation of the system impact could occur in the high, medium, or low range.

Step 7: Prioritize Essential Cybersecurity Risks

After noting the potential impact of a threat, you need to determine the level of risk to the IT system using criteria. Some criteria include the probability of a threat advancing, the cost, and the effectiveness of the current or future security procedures in minimizing or eliminating risk.

A risk-level matrix is helpful for this kind of risk estimation as each risk scenario is categorized using the “Likelihood times Impact.” Any scenario that exceeds the predetermined tolerance threshold should be prioritized to reduce its risk to a level acceptable to the organization. 

Step 8: Recommend Controls

Determine the steps necessary to mitigate the risk using the risk level guide. For a high level, as quickly as feasible, a plan for corrective actions should be created. For the medium level, a plan for corrective measures should be developed within a reasonable period. In contrast, the team should decide whether to accept the risk or implement corrective actions for lower levels.

Step 9: Record the Outcomes

Creating a risk assessment report is the process’s capstone and aids management in making the best choices possible about the budget, guidelines and other factors. The report should cover each threat’s corresponding vulnerabilities, assets at risk, impact on IT infrastructure, chance of occurrence and control measures.

The risk assessment report may also highlight important corrective actions to reduce several risks. Each phase should include information on the associated cost and the commercial justifications for the investment.

When to Conduct a Cyber Security Risk Assessment

Since it is not always simple to determine when a cyber security risk assessment is due, most organizations update everything on time once a year. As a general guideline, you should also plan to do a risk assessment at least once every year. This way, you can determine when it has to be done, when you last completed it, and when you should update it.

Risk assessments must be conducted and reviewed as part of your regular working procedures if you want to ensure that you, your colleagues, and the company are safe, protected, and in compliance with the law.

Cyber Security Risk Assessment: Who Performs It?

In organizations, cyber security risk assessment is usually performed by specialized internal teams handling risk assessments. This team is usually led by the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Security Officer (CSO), who is considered the foremost authority on data protection. Reps from all departments where vulnerabilities can be found and addressed are also included.

Overall, the IT personnel must be familiar with the operation of your network and digital infrastructure and the flow of information, including confidential information that might be helpful during the evaluation. For smaller firms, a third party can be contracted. Additionally, organizations can use cybersecurity software to track their score, stop breaches, send security surveys, and lower third party risk.

Thank you for your time in reading how to Perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment (Step by Step Template).

How to Perform a Cyber Security Risk Assessment Conclusion

Businesses must realize that risk assessment can aid them in preventing breaches, avoiding fines and penalties, and protecting their sensitive data. Even with the strongest security measures in place, a company will still need to keep up with the most recent dangers that could target your business due to the always evolving nature of cyber security threats.

Finally cyber security risk assessment comes into play by guaranteeing any company’s long term growth. Ensure that establishing one is of top priority for your organization.

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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