What is application risk assessment?

Application risk assessment is the process of evaluating and understanding the security risks associated with an application. This metric is used to help organizations make better decisions about how to protect their applications from potential attacks. By examining factors such as the number of vulnerabilities and the time needed to patch them, they are able to estimate the possibility of an attack on their application.

Most organizations are unable to implement all security controls, so they rely on threat models and application risk assessment for a more accurate estimation of how vulnerable their applications are. This allows them to identify where security measures need to be strengthened in order to prevent attacks that could lead to data loss or service degradation.

What are the benefits of application risk assessment?

When it comes to risk assessment, there are many benefits to be had. Companies have seen increases in revenue, efficiency and productivity when they incorporate risk assessment into their operations. In fact, mobile risk assessment apps have already been integrated into a number of industries in order to improve their respective risk assessment programs.

But what about organizations that are at high-risk for cyber attacks? Well, application security assessments are essential for them. Such an assessment can help identify potential threats, the attack surfaces of your application, weak points in your existing appsec process, and more importantly, a roadmap for improving your organization’s overall security posture.

How to perform a security risk assessment

Step #1: Identify and Prioritize Assets

The first step in performing a security risk assessment is to identify the assets. This can be done by working with management to create a list of all valuable assets and then prioritizing them for protection.

Some factors that you should take into account when identifying assets include:

  • The type of asset, such as software, hardware or data
  • The mission or purpose of the asset
  • Gathering information about IT security policies and IT security architecture in order to assess risk levels at an organization level
  • Gathering physical protection measures for certain types of assets

Step #2: Identify Threats

Now that you have a basic understanding of risk, it’s time to start thinking about the threats that could impact your organization. Threats are anything that can cause harm to your organization. This might include natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, hardware failure, interference from other businesses, interception of data, or misuse of credentials.

Any time you’re thinking about a risk, think about natural disasters and whether or not they have a high or low chance of occurring in your area. For example, if you’re located in Florida and there’s a hurricane headed your way, that’s definitely something to worry about! However, if you’re located in California where earthquakes are common, you’ll need to take those into account as well.

Hardware failure is always a threat, but it’s important to understand the risks involved in different areas. The likelihood of hardware failure depends on the quality and age of the equipment. For example:

  • If you have brand new servers with up-to-date software installed, the chances of hardware failure are much lower than if you have older servers with outdated software installed.
  • The same is true for desktop computers versus laptops – desktop computers tend to last longer because they aren’t constantly moved around.

Hardware failure is a threat to any business, but especially for visitors to foreign countries or those with less-than-brand new servers.

Interference is the act of someone causing damage to your business. This could be done intentionally, such as through a cyberattack, or unintentionally, such as through a power outage.

Interception is theft of data. This could involve someone breaking into your office and stealing computers or files, or it could involve someone intercepting your data as it’s being transmitted over the internet.

Impersonation involves the misuse of credentials that have been acquired through social engineering or brute-force attacks, or purchased on the dark web. Social engineering is when an attacker tries to get information from people by pretending to be someone they’re not. For example, they might call your company and try to get information about passwords by pretending to be an employee. Brute-force attacks are when an attacker tries every possible combination of letters and numbers until they find the right one. Purchasing credentials on the dark web means buying them from criminals who have stolen them from other businesses or individuals.

Step #3: Identify Vulnerabilities

Now that you have an understanding of the threats and risks facing your company, it’s time to identify the vulnerabilities. This can be done through a variety of methods, including analysis, audit reports, the NIST vulnerability database, vendor data, and automated scanning tools.

It’s important to remember that not all vulnerabilities can be identified through automation. Some require human interaction and inspection. You must also consider physical and human vulnerabilities in your assessment.

The risk assessment report is an important part of the process that supports management in making decisions about where to allocate resources for mitigating risk. The report emphasizes what risks have been identified and their severity. It should include the impact of each threat and provide recommendations for mitigating risks. The report should also identify key remediation steps which will reduce multiple risks, including accidental file deletion and flooding.

Performing a risk assessment helps identify how risks might affect different areas of your business – from finances to data loss. Quantitative risk analysis determines whether or not a certain type of event will have an expected loss, while a qualitative risk analysis will help you understand what that loss would be like if it happened.

Risk assessments are helpful because they help companies understand what the risks are and how best to mitigate them.

Step #4: Analyze Controls

Now that you have identified and assessed your organization’s assets, it is time to analyze the controls in place to protect them. There are two types of controls: technical and non-technical.

Nontechnical controls include security policies, administrative actions, and physical and environmental mechanisms. Technical controls include encryption, intrusion detection mechanisms, and identification and authentication solutions.

The goal is to identify which controls are effective in mitigating risk for each asset. You can then assign a weighting value to each control (based on how important it is) and calculate the overall risk for an asset. This process is made easy with a control calculation tool in tandem with the asset risk assessment framework.

Step #5: Determine the Likelihood of an Incident

When assessing the likelihood of a vulnerability being exploited, it’s important to use a “high,” “medium” or “low” categorization. This will help you understand the potential risks associated with that particular vulnerability.

You can also use Tandem to assess your security risk through data classification and access control. With this tool, you can generate a risk-level matrix which is a useful way of estimating risks. The likelihood of an exploit and the cost should be taken into account when determining risks.

It’s also helpful to have a control calculation tool handy which makes it easy to report on your security risk posture periodically. This will help you stay on top of any new threats that might arise.

Step #6: Assess the Impact a Threat Could Have

The first steps in performing a security risk assessment are to complete a business impact analysis or mission impact analysis document. This document helps an organization understand the potential impacts of losing access to certain systems or data. The value of an asset factors into the decision-making process for performing a security risk assessment. For example, an organization may deem credit card information more valuable than employee contact information. Sensitive assets factor into the decision-making process for performing a security risk assessment.

An IT risk assessment requires four components: a threat, vulnerability, impact, and likelihood of occurrence. To determine the impact of a threat on an organization, you must identify what could happen if that particular threat was realized. Examples of threats include natural disasters (earthquakes), website failures (DDoS) , and corporate espionage (denial of service). Once these threats have been identified, you need to determine which vulnerabilities could be exploited by each type of threat.

For example, outdated antivirus software is a vulnerability that can be exploited by many different types of threats. Another example is poorly secured websites that cannot withstand a DDoS attack; this would make them vulnerable to being shut down completely as part of such an attack. Impact can also refer to financial losses, such as the cost of repairing or replacing damaged equipment. Finally, likelihood is used to describe the probability that a threat will occur. The likelihood can be described as a range, not a specific number.

After completing all of these steps, you should have a good understanding of the potential impacts associated with various threats and vulnerabilities.

Step #7: Prioritize the Information Security Risks

After completing the risk assessment, you will have a list of risks in order of priority. This is where management needs to get involved and make decisions about which risks should be addressed first. The goal is to reduce or mitigate the high-risk items on the list.

The process of addressing these risks begins with developing a plan that includes specific steps and timeframes for completing the tasks required to remediate them. The next step is implementing the plan, followed by monitoring and reporting on progress.

High-priority risks should be given top priority because they can have a large impact on your organization if not addressed quickly.

It’s important to remember that risk assessments are not one-time events; they need to be repeated on a regular basis so that you can gauge your organization’s security posture and make sure your policies and procedures are up-to-date

Step #8: Recommend Controls

After the team has completed the risk assessment, it is time to put together a plan of action. This step can be difficult because it requires translating technical mumbo-jumbo into business speak. The goal of this phase is to identify specific steps that need to be taken in order to reduce or eliminate the risks that have been identified.

A high-risk level will require a plan for corrective measures to be developed as soon as possible. A medium risk level will require a plan to be developed within a reasonable period of time. Low-risk levels may not require any action at all, but the team should decide whether or not they will accept the risk and what corrective actions should be taken if necessary.

Risk assessments are important because they help organizations make informed decisions about their security posture. However, these documents can often be long and overwhelming. As such, it’s helpful to break them down into manageable chunks so that everyone involved can understand them easily

Quantifying risks helps organizations report on their posture easily, which can help them mitigate vulnerabilities more effectively

Step #9: Document the Results

The final step in a security risk assessment is to develop a risk assessment report which can be used to make decisions on budget, policies, procedures and so on. This document should include:

  • A description of the corresponding vulnerabilities
  • The assets at risk
  • The impact to your IT infrastructure
  • Key remediation steps that will reduce multiple risks

What factors should be considered when performing application risk assessment?

When performing an application security risk assessment, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. This will help you to identify vulnerabilities that could lead to a security breach. Some of the factors you should take into account include:

  • The type of data being processed by the app
  • The sensitivity of the data
  • Who is using the app and for what purpose
  • What kind of cyber-attacks are most likely to target your organization
  • How well the app has been tested and how many vulnerabilities have been found
  • What measures have been taken to secure the app against attack
  • How easily the source code can be modified to improve security
  • Which third-party services are being used to protect the app

What is the difference between application risk assessment and other types of risk assessment?

There are many different types of risk assessments, but application risk assessment is unique in that it focuses specifically on vulnerabilities in applications and their systems. This type of assessment identifies when there are weaknesses in cryptographic algorithms, protocols or keys that could compromise data protection. It also looks at improper validation of server certificates and trust chains, which may expose sensitive data to unauthorized access.

Another common type of risk assessment is infrastructure risk assessment, which focuses on the security of an organization’s entire IT infrastructure. This includes devices such as firewalls, routers and switches, as well as servers and operating systems. Network security assessments are also popular among businesses; these assess the security posture of a company’s network traffic and identify any possible threats.

Application risk assessment should be done regularly in order to ensure that your applications are secure and protect your customers’ data.

How often should application risk assessment be performed?

It is generally recommended that risk assessments are performed at least annually.

“If you are not familiar with this concept then according to ISACA an application security risk: assessment and modeling are defined as Currently, a generic risk assessment metric is used to assess application security risk (ASR). This does not encompass the basic factors of application security such as compliance, countermeasure efficiency, and application priority. Obviously, the results are not commensurate with the actual risk posed by application security.”