Data risk assessment template

Step 1: Discover sensitive data and classify them

What to do How to do it

 Define your sensitive data

Clearly define what type of data constitutes as sensitive for your organization. It can include personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, healthcare records, intellectual property, and confidential business plans.

 Create data discovery rules

Create rules to identify specific data patterns, formats, or keywords associated with sensitive data. Use a combination of regular expression and keyword match to create data discovery rules specific to your organization.

 Identify data assets

Scan your data storage to locate instances of sensitive data that matches the created rules across your organization.

 Classify data

Once the discovered data is validated, tag it based on sensitivity (as public, internal, confidential, restricted, etc.) to prioritize protection efforts.

 Map data flow

Map the flow of data throughout the organization, starting from data collection, storage, processing, and transmission. This ensures that you can have clear transparency across the organization.

Step 2: Identify threats and vulnerabilities

What to do How to do it

 Identify potential threats

List the most common internal and external threats that your organization is likely to encounter, such as malware, phishing, insider threats, advances persistent threats (APTs), and unauthorized access.

 Identify potential vulnerabilities

Identify and assess vulnerabilities in the organization's hardware, software, and networks.

Step 3: Assess and analyze risks

What to do How to do it

 Create a risk matrix

Formulate a risk matrix and assign risk ratings to different threats and vulnerabilities based on their likelihood of occurring and the potential impact on your organization's data.

 Assess current security controls for gaps

Evaluate the existing security controls, such as firewalls, encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems. Identify gaps between current controls and best practices.

Step 4: Enforce mitigation strategies

What to do How to do it

 Build an incident response plan

Create and test an incident response plan to address data breaches and cybersecurity incidents effectively.

 Manage access controls

Ensure proper access controls are in place, limiting data access based on job roles and responsibilities.

 Encrypt your data

Implement encryption for data at rest, in transit, and in use to prevent unauthorized access.

 Design cybersecurity training for employees

Conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training for employees to promote best practices and reduce human-related risks.

 Set up a data backup and recovery plan

Establish a 3-2-1 data backup strategy to make sure that data is protected and available in case of a breach.

 Update security patches and software

Maintain a robust patch management process to ensure systems and software are up-to-date.

 Stay up to date on compliance requirements

Review compliance regulations relevant to your organization, and make sure your cybersecurity measures adequately meet them.

 Review your risk assessment steps and keep adapting

Conduct periodic audits and reviews of your data risk assessment process and make necessary adjustments based on changing threats and technology.

Disclaimer: This checklist is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. ManageEngine makes no warranties, express, implied, or statutory, as to the efficacy of the information in this material.

How ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus can help you streamline data risk assessment

With DataSecurity Plus you can easily discover sensitive data in your data storage, classify them based on sensitivity levels, and analyze file ownership and permissions. The Risk Analysis module of DataSecurity Plus can:

  • Scan for sensitive data in your data repositories using default and customized regular expression and keyword match data discovery rules, with minimal impact to your productivity.
  • Create compliance-specific policies to discover sensitive data quickly and check if they are sufficiently protected, as per requirements.
  • Create extensive classification profiles to tag files based on sensitivity levels.
  • Configure alerts to spot data that violates sensitive data storage policies, and execute scripted custom scripts to remediate those violations.
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