Understanding the Importance of Cybersecurity Assessments

a monitor and laptop screen in an industrial plant and someone writing information found on the screen

Brandon Bohle | June 3, 2021

Brandon Bohle, Systems Analyst

Cybersecurity assessments are a vital part of maintaining the overall operational health of your facility. Even if you’ve already decided against having an assessment performed, understanding how cybersecurity assessments work and your options for handling risk might change your mind.

How Do Assessments Work?

Working in your facility every day may blind you to cybersecurity issues; having an assessment performed by a trusted organization brings fresh eyes and an objective perspective for identifying risks.

The steps to each assessment vary but may include:

  • Document the plant’s security practices, including a review of existing policies and procedures.
  • Compare information to industry regulations, best practices, and standards.
  • Identify gaps to understand the current risks and determine their criticality.
  • Create a report with recommendations on how to address issues.
  • Review the report with the client, helping them understand their current cybersecurity posture.
  • Fully informed, the client then decides what risks they choose to address.

To effectively keep your facility safe, the assessment must result in a unique, prioritized list of specific risks and potential remediation strategies. The organization performing the assessment must understand what’s most crucial to you and your operations.

The organization will identify issues in the assessment, but the weight of the issue will vary between plants, even within the same company. Solutions can be complex, simple, expensive, or cheap, and you will need to keep your goals in mind when deciding what risk level you are comfortable living with and what must be addressed immediately.

Why are Assessments Important?

We can’t know what, who, or when the next big cybersecurity issue will be, but a proactive approach will have your plant prepared and informed about risk. It’s vital that the company you choose to perform your assessment understands the industry and stays abreast of the latest developments. Identifying risk and being proactive by scheduling your cybersecurity assessment will give you peace of mind and a safer facility.

This article was originally published by Automation World.