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9 Reasons to Complete a Security Risk Assessment

Posted December 09, 2014 by Lynn Brown

What is the level of document security in your business?

Whether or not you have all the answers, completing a security risk assessment will identify the vulnerable areas and risky office procedures that increase the risk of a security breach.  

Here are 9 reasons why your company needs to do a security risk assessment regularly:  

  1. Privacy Laws. Protecting confidential information is the law, and a company that doesn’t comply could face state and federal fines and other penalties. Watch this video about different privacy laws.
  2. Risk. Research shows that businesses of all sizes and all industries are at risk for a data security breach caused by either some kind of external attack or an insider threat or error.   
  3. Cost. Data breaches cost a lot of money. According to Shred-it’s 2014 Information Security Tracker, the average U.S. data breach cost $5.85 million including $3.3 million in lost business.
  4. Housekeeping. There continues to be document management issues in the workplace. For example, many workplaces still have open recycling bins. To reduce the risk of an information security breach, replace them with locked containers and secure document destruction. Also, a document retention schedule including secure shredding services is recommended for all confidential information. Introduce a Shred-all Policy so all documents that are no longer needed are securely destroyed. 
  5. Risk Management. The 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study showed the three root causes of data breaches are malicious or criminal attacks, system glitches, and human errors. But other issues need to be addressed. For example, the growing mobile workforce has created its own risk factors. The Visual Data Breach Risk Assessment Study showed that 67% of employees expose sensitive data outside the workplace. But 70% of working professionals said their company had no explicit policy on working in public places.
  6. Employees. The workforce has such an important role to play in information security. Staff should be trained in the importance of security, how to spot the signs of an attack, and what to do when they see something suspicious, advises the 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report. For example, when data is no longer needed, it should be securely shredded and then recycled by a paper shredding service.
  7. Reputation Management. A data breach can cause major damage to an organization’s reputation. In fact research shows that reputation and the loss of customer loyalty does the most damage to the bottom line. Following a breach, companies must invest heavily to save their brand image and to get new customers, according to 2014 Cost of Data Breach.  
  8. Be Proactive.  Rather than wait for an information breach to occur, it’s important today to know what you’re dealing with and to put recommended safeguards in place. The Cost of Data Breach study showed that a strong security posture results in the greatest decrease in the cost of data breach.
  9. Awareness.  Awareness really is the first step towards addressing and improving information security best practices. Here is a DIY security risk assessment to determine the level of document security in your workplace. 

What are the five most vulnerable areas for data breaches in an office? Check out this information security checklist to find out. 


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