A focused businesswoman sits in front of a laptop reviewing information.
Knowing your cyberscore, or the risk that your company and data will be targeted by cyberattackers, can give you peace of mind or show you which specific areas you need to fortify. — Getty Images/Dean Mitchell

Staying up to date on and enacting the latest cybersecurity measures are crucial for protecting your company from cyberattacks and potential data breaches, but these practices are often overlooked until it’s too late. Knowing your business’s cyberscore, also known as a cyber risk score, can give you peace of mind. Discover what a cyberscore is and why it matters for your business.

[Read More: 6 Ways to Make Your Hybrid Workforce Secure]

What is a cyberscore or a cyber risk score?

A cyberscore, or cyber risk score, is a rating provided after a systemwide analysis of your company’s cybersecurity efforts. A cyberscore indicates the odds of external attacks on your systems, including data breaches and malicious hacks, and helps determine where there are vulnerabilities.

Cyberscores are similar to credit scores but are solely for system security. A higher score indicates a more secure computing network. Assessments are generally provided by a third-party security expert, and while there is no set guideline, it is recommended that you conduct a cyberscore assessment at least once a year.

Understanding the components of a cyberscore can give you tools to create an ongoing cybersecurity strategy. Have strong passwords and multistep verification been implemented across all platforms? Is your antivirus software up to date? How sensitive is the information stored by your organization, and is it stored securely? All of these factors can have an effect on your cyber risk score.

Some additional factors typically included in a cyber risk assessment are:

  • Cloud storage and data.
  • Server security.
  • Asset importance.
  • Data across individual devices.
  • Third-party sharing.

You can find calculator tools online that give you an idea of how your company's cybersecurity plan measures up.

Why do cyberscores matter?

Cyberscores not only aid in protecting your organization from external threats, they also increase company value by lowering your risk. Completing a cybersecurity assessment can highlight areas of necessary improvement and help lay the groundwork for an ongoing security plan.

Here are some additional reasons why cyberscores are important for businesses:

  • Improved risk mitigation. Knowing where your company stands and making cybersecurity a priority can protect you against the threat of attacks and potential security issues.
  • Increased insurance coverage. Having a good cyberscore can improve your insurance coverage and lower your rates, as there is less risk involved in your business.
  • Communication with stakeholders. Showing that your organization prioritizes cybersecurity can boost its value and increase the likelihood of securing outside funding.
  • Compliance with cybersecurity frameworks. Ensuring healthy cybersecurity is necessary to meet international business standards. Common frameworks include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standards (ISO).

[Read More: How to Choose Cyber Insurance]

Calculating your cyberscore

Whether you’re hiring an outside agency to assist with a cyber risk assessment or entrusting the task to your information technology department, it’s important to know how your cyber risk is calculated. This is done by taking note of all company systems and multiplying the possibility of an attack by the potential impact on your organization.

Likelihood factors include the size of your company and the ease of data discovery. Impact factors include the financial consequences of a cyberattack and the fallout from potential violations of federal and state laws. You can find calculator tools online that give you an idea of how your company's cybersecurity plan measures up.

How to improve your cyberscore

No matter what your organization’s cyberscore is, there is almost always room for improvement. Here are some ways to improve your cyber risk score:

  • Keep your software and infrastructure up to date. An outdated system is a weakened system. Ensuring that your devices are running the latest applications is an easy way to protect your assets.
  • Create incident response plans. It is vital to have a rapid response time in the event of a security breach. Having a documented plan of action in place and reviewing the plan regularly can mitigate the potential impact and boost your cyber risk score.
  • Invest in automated tools. Using a security scorecard or other monitoring programs can provide you with immediate insight into your biggest vulnerabilities.
  • Educate your team. Quarterly training and implementing best security practices across departments can aid in prevention efforts and increase your cyberscore.
  • Monitor risk levels regularly. As systems and technology evolve, so,too, will risk levels and best practices. Ongoing monitoring helps your company stay ahead of the game.

[Read More: How to Protect Your Business From Being Hacked]

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