CYBER SECURITY ASSESSMENT: Examples, Checklist, & Tools

Cyber security assessment
CPA Canada

Because the cyber threat landscape is constantly changing, routine cybersecurity assessments are an essential component of a comprehensive risk management program. At all times, your firm must monitor the cyber hygiene of its whole ecosystem, including third- and fourth-party providers. A cybersecurity risk assessment helps you do this by identifying cyber risks that affect your security posture, allowing you to make more informed decisions about how to allocate funds to implement security controls and protect the network. Let’s look at some of the most common cyber security risk assessments and the actions with tools your company can take to conduct an effective assessment:

What Is Cyber Security Assessment?

A cybersecurity assessment is a process that determines the current state of your organization’s cybersecurity posture and recommends steps for improvement. While there are many different types of assessments, this article focuses on NIST SP 800-115: Implementing Security Controls for Federal Information Systems (ICS) – Security Assessment Methodology 2nd Edition (SAM2). The goal here is to provide some background information about how SAM2 works so you can decide whether it would be suitable for your particular situation.

Cyber Security Assessment Tools

The cyber security assessment tools assesses your company’s cyber security posture. The assessment consists of a series of questions that help determine your organization’s current cyber security posture, identify potential risks and opportunities, and provide an opportunity to evaluate your existing controls.

The assessment is designed to be completed by an outside assessor who has not previously assessed your organization. An assessment report will be generated based on the assessment results, which may include recommendations for improving your cyber security posture.

How Do You Do a Cybersecurity Assessment?

The first step in conducting a cybersecurity assessment is understanding the scope of your project. A cybersecurity assessment can be defined as an analysis that considers all aspects of information security, including network and system security, application development and implementation, user authorization models (e.g., single sign-on), and data classification management policies and procedures.

The scope of your assessment should include the following:

  • The business impact if a threat or vulnerability occurs;
  • Current risk levels for each area identified above; 
  • How well does each area protect against known threats? If not, identify what controls may need to be implemented based on current industry standards/best practices;
  • What other areas need attention? For example: Do we have sufficient monitoring capacity for our network traffic? Is there enough visibility into what customers do online as part of their day-to-day activities without going through us every time they log in?

Cyber Security Assessment Checklist

You can use a standard security assessment checklist to ensure that you are covering all the bases with your cyber security assessment. This is especially important when working on large projects and teams, as it reduces the time needed for each person to complete their part of the process.

The following is a sample checklist that you can customize and use as needed:

  • NIST 800-53 (Computer Security Framework) – This document defines the minimum requirements for information security management throughout an organization’s life cycle. It describes five areas of concern: Risk Assessment, Penetration Testing, Incident Response Plan Development, and Implementation, Facility Security Management Plan Development & Implementation, Policy Guidance Document Creation/Update ability

What Is Included in a Cyber Security Assessment?

A security assessment is a process that uses tools and techniques to collect information about your network environment. A good security assessment aims to ensure that your organization’s data, systems, and applications are as secure as possible.

A good security assessment includes:

  • Scope, schedule, and cost of the assessment;
  • The team who will perform it;
  • The approach used to conduct it (e.g., pen testing or vulnerability scanning);
  • Tools/techniques used during the collection phases – such as port scanning or fuzzing software;
  • People receiving results from this activity – I e., end users who go through their machines one by one (no need for manual logging), partners/vendors who receive reports directly from us via email attachment(s).

Cyber Security Assessment Services

A security assessment is a systematic collection of data to determine the level of risk and identify weaknesses in your organization’s information security. The goal of a security assessment is to identify gaps in your organization’s current processes and policies, as well as evaluate vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

Security assessments can be conducted using open source software like Nessus or Qualys’ Vulnerability Management Suite (VMS), which gives you a snapshot of your network’s configuration right now—or they can be outsourced (such as through Cyber Security Assessments). This process has many benefits: it’s cheaper; it provides real-time feedback; there are no vendor lock-in issues because you get access to all tools at once, and if you run into problems with any particular tool during the assessment phase then there may be another one available for free!

Cyber Security Assessment Report Example

A cyber security assessment report is a document that describes your organization’s current security posture and the gaps in it. It also provides recommendations for improving your organization’s cyber security, including implementing best practices and technologies.

A cyber security assessment report should include the following:

  • The purpose of the report (e.g., “To provide information about our current level of protection”)
  • A description of what kind of information will be included (e.g., “The following topics will be covered:”)
  • A list of references used throughout this document, including any external resources that were consulted during its creation (e..g..” Dr. John Doe wrote this paper.”)

How Long Does a Cybersecurity Assessment Take?

It depends on the size of your business, the type of assessment you want to do, and how much time you have available. The speed at which each part will be completed also has an impact on how quickly you can get results back from a third party, so if they’re slow with responses or don’t provide any results at all, then it could delay other projects in progress by several days or weeks (depending on how many resources are involved). If this happens, then sometimes, it’s better to try again with another provider instead until one who fits your needs comes along!

What is a NIST security assessment?

NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It’s a non-regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, which means it does not make laws or enforce government regulations. Instead, NIST creates and publishes standards for buildings, electronics, and software—including information security standards!

The word “assessment” refers to an evaluation process where an organization evaluates its current state against one or more specified criteria or objectives; then takes action based on those findings. A security assessment can help organizations learn about their vulnerabilities by looking at past breaches or current threats posed by cyber criminals; determine whether they have sufficient resources available to prevent future attacks; identify areas where improvements could be made so that hackers fail again–and much more!

What Are the Three Stages of a Security Assessment Plan?

A security assessment is a process that involves gathering information about your network and customers, defining the goals of the assessment, designing an approach to gathering data from different sources, and analyzing the results.

The first stage of any security assessment is planning. In this stage, you’ll decide what information to collect to assess your organization’s cyber security posture. You may also want to consider who will be involved in performing this task and how long it will take each person (and their team) to complete it.

Once your plan has been created, it’s time for execution! In this phase, all those assigned tasks during planning will begin working on them independently or together, depending upon their expertise level.

How Do I Start a Cyber Security Assessment?

The first step in setting goals is to define the problem. This can be difficult if you’ve never done this before, but you must start with a clear understanding of what your organization is trying to accomplish and where its current state is.

Once you’ve defined the problem, it’s time to set measurable outcomes to help your staff understand how they’re progressing toward those goals. If possible, try not to rely on others’ perceptions of how well they’re doing—you should always own up to mistakes and failures as an individual or team member (and don’t forget about yourself!). Being ambitious but realistic will go far in achieving success here; think about things such as: “I want my team members’ fitness levels raised by 20% over the next six months”.

Free Cyber Security Assessment Tools

Free tools can be helpful if you’re looking for a quick cyber security assessment overview. They’ll show you essential information about your network and provide a snapshot of where things are. However, these tools aren’t as detailed or reliable as paid ones, so they won’t give you all the details on how secure your environment is.

Paid cyber security assessment tools are worth their weight in gold because they go into more detail than free ones. They’re also much more accurate when assessing risk levels across different parts of your company’s infrastructure (such as desktop vs. mobile).

Below are top picks of free cyber security assessment tools you must check out.

#1. Kali Linux

Kali Linux is a popular operating system for penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking. It’s based on Debian Linux and has over 600 security tools preinstalled. This makes it ideal for testing the security of a network or web application.

Kali can test the security of a network or web application by conducting various attacks against it (such as port scanning).

#2. Go phish

Go phish is a phishing toolkit for penetration testers and security awareness training. It provides the ability to create realistic phishing emails, web pages, and SMS messages that can be used in an assessment or classroom setting.

The tool was created by Adrienne Porter Felt, who also created the popular pen-testing framework Metasploit Framework (MSF). This project aimed to make it easier for people who don’t have extensive programming experience to build their tools on top of MSF’s APIs without having to learn how those APIs work first–and this is precisely what they did!

#3. Defending

Defending is a web-based security scanner that uses the OWASP Top 10 to help you find and fix vulnerabilities in your web applications. It can be used for penetration and web application security testing. Still, it’s written in Python and open source, so if you’re interested in learning more about its functionalities, check out their outstation on GitHub!

#4. Aircrack-ng

Aircrack-ng is a suite of tools that can be used to audit wireless networks. It is used for auditing WiFi security and recovers network keys and passwords.

The tool was initially developed by Simon Paška, who found that WPA/WPA2 encryption was vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks (DoS) using an automated script known as “Aircrack”. The first version of Aircrack was released in 2002 by Wichert Akkerman and Michal Zalewski.[4] In 2004, Mikko Hyppönen created a new version called Airmon which supports mon0 instead of mon0/1.[5] By 2007, aircrack-ng had been integrated into Kismet’s Linux Shodan plugin (initially released in 2006).

#5. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is an integrated platform for performing security testing of web applications. It contains a collection of tools that support the entire testing process, from intercepting and monitoring traffic through ding report generation.

Burp Suite can intercept, manipulate, and log HTTP and requests and responses to order to website or application’s security. It includes features such as:

  • Proxy – Injects arbitrary payloads into live network connections without special permissions; also helpful in testing third parties like Twitter or LinkedIn (which often require special permissions).
  • Repeater – Allows you to repeat requests multiple times using different inputs easily; useful when trying out different combinations of parameters/headers, etc., e,.g., changing GET parameters between two different URLs by repeating one request several times over!


In conclusion, it should be noted that a cyber security assessment is a process that helps businesses assess their vulnerability to hacking and theft. The assessment includes conducting an inventory of your network infrastructure, assessing the risks involved with each system, testing for vulnerabilities in those systems and dev, eloping an action plan to fix any problems before they become more significant problems. In addition, it’s essential to have ongoing training so employees know how best to protect themselves from hackers who may try to steal confidential information from your company’s systems.

Cyber Security Assessment FAQs

What is Cyber Security Assessment?

A stand-alone desktop application that guides asset owners and operators through a systematic process of evaluating Operational Technology and Information Technology.

What is the security risk assessment checklist?

Provides a list of threats affecting an organization’s assets’ integrity, confidentiality, and availability.

How do you perform a cybersecurity risk assessment in 5 steps?

  • Step 1: Determine the scope of the risk assessment
  • Step 2: How to identify cybersecurity risks
  • Step 3: Analyze risks and determine the potential impact
  • Step 4: Determine and prioritize risks
  • Step 5: Document all risks


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