IT Security Assessment Report

Guide to IT Security Assessment Reports: Purposes, Types, & Contents

Historically, IT security has always been a critical part of a complete IT business strategy. With that said, IT security has become less of a “part” and more of the primary focus of today’s IT efforts. IT security assessments aim to reveal system weaknesses to help firms evaluate and manage their risk.

In the past, IT security assessments were fairly straightforward. Simply put, these assessments consisted of basic audits of your network that looked at things like end user activity, authorizations, and so on. While these are important factors for your business to track, a solid cyber security strategy does not end there. If your current IT services are a lot like what was just described, you might find yourself wondering what an IT security assessment report should look like. Keep reading as we explore the components of a proper IT security assessment, along with the various types of security assessments.

The Purpose of an IT Security Assessment

Modern-day IT security assessments follow very different guidelines from their dated counterparts. Your outsourced managed IT support company is expected to produce and reproduce critical flaws and loopholes and proactively patch them prior to a data breach. The majority of today’s companies access the internet in one way or another, making it possible for firms to connect to millions of customers. However, this also means that hackers and other online threats have more entry points to attack your system. This means that following the correct IT security assessment procedures should be at the top of your IT priorities, as proper security measures can prevent your vulnerabilities from being exploited by unauthorized users while still allowing access to clients. To facilitate this, the managed security professionals that you hire should perform regular assessments, reviews, and audits.

Types of IT Security Assessments

Anything that can disrupt your firm’s daily operations falls under the umbrella of items to be assessed. Below is a closer look at some of the main types of security assessments that a managed IT support company can perform.

Vulnerability Assessment

A vulnerability assessment is conducted to identify any weaknesses within your business applications, network, or system that could potentially be compromised or allow unauthorized access. This type of assessment is ongoing because with each system or software upgrade, new features or code that did not previously exist during your initial scan can pose a risk to your IT system.

Penetration Testing

The goal of penetration testing is similar to that of a vulnerability assessment. However, the techniques used in each are very different. Penetration testing is carried out by your managed IT support company, who serve as ethical hackers. Their mission is to mimic the activity that would normally be performed by an actual malicious hacker, including stealing information and data breaches. The reports produced by this testing gives your organization insight into where they are most vulnerable and what needs to be fixed.

Risk Assessment

A risk assessment determines the level of risk that is acceptable to your firm. It essentially lists all of the possible cyber threats at various levels of severity, checks the likelihood that these attacks will happen, and measures the potential impact they would have.

The Key Components of an IT Security Assessment Report

An IT security assessment report usually includes background information, objectives, and limitations regarding your IT system’s security. It should include a detailed report on the current IT environment, as well as the examination methods and the tools/equipment that were utilized when the assessment was conducted. The summary should contain the overall findings from the testing. Besides these items, your assessment report should also include detailed data on the results achieved for the various tests, along with any pertinent drawings and diagrams. It should end with recommendations and a final analysis based upon the test results and findings.

Outlined below are three elements that most standard security assessment reports include.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is basically a general overview of the assessment’s findings. It gives enterprises a quick idea of how well or how poorly their systems and applications performed by highlighting the severity and number of risks that were identified during the scan. The purpose of the executive summary is to provide a “Big Picture” of the overall state of an organization’s IT security so that business leaders and managers can prioritize their cybersecurity efforts accordingly.

Assessment Overview

The assessment overview outlines the methodology, tools, and the basis for the analysis approach taken. This helps to give companies more insight into how their IT provider came to their final conclusion and ensures the legitimacy of the results.

Results & Recommendations

Perhaps the most vital portion of an IT security assessment report is the results and recommendations section. In this segment of the report, you can expect to see a description of each vulnerability that was detected, including what caused it, the severity of the issue, and a recommendation on how to fix it. The high level of detail in this particular section is key in helping organizations develop a strong course of action to address their existing network’s security problems.

What To Do With Your Assessment

Performing a thorough assessment is a great start to improving your enterprise’s cybersecurity, but you’re not going to gain much by filing away your final assessment report immediately after checking the compliance checkbox. While security assessments are often part of certain sectors’ compliancy initiatives, there is so much more that you can gain from your report than merely fulfilling your legal obligations. In order to use your security assessment to its full advantage, you should do the following after you receive your results:

  1. Distribute the findings throughout the chain of command. Digesting the results of a security assessment can be difficult to do alone. Plus, you will likely need your boss’s approval to address certain risks.
  2. Use recommendations to your advantage. With your security assessment report in hand, you will have access to in-depth suggestions on how to address each risk. After reviewing these recommendations, you should put the information to use by creating a clear timeline with well-defined steps for fixing, mitigating, or accepting the risks associated with each weak point that was found. Remember: the idea is to work on proactively reducing your risk to prevent malicious actors from exploiting your system’s vulnerabilities, so don’t wait too long to formulate a plan and take action.
  3. Continue to use a consistent assessment methodology for tracking purposes. Keeping your testing methods and risk register format is key in allowing your organization to appropriately prioritize the importance of each issue. Additionally, it helps firms track their progress in terms of mitigating risk over time.

Contact Us About Your IT Security Assessment Needs

An IT security assessment is a fundamental way to fight cyber threats and protect your company’s sensitive data. These assessments have been proven to greatly lower the amount of outside attacks, making them a quintessential part of maintaining a healthy network overall. Moreover, performing these tests can create awareness within your firm so that any potential internal threats are minimized. If you are seeking an MSP that specializes in going the extra mile for security’s sake, contact us today. At Contigo, we work hard to provide the best technical support possible to protect your business from cyber security threats and attacks. Our reporting services can even provide insight into our the measures we are taking to keep your business secure.

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