What is a Risk Assessment? Understanding Your SOC 1 Report

Author: kirkpatrickprice00

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Most information security frameworks require a formally documented, annual risk assessment. You may be seeing this requirement over and over again in your pursuit of SOC 1, SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA, or HITRUST CSF compliance. What is a risk assessment, what is the purpose of a risk assessment, and why is it so important to information security frameworks? A risk assessment is a methodology used to identify, assess, and prioritize organizational risk. Without a risk assessment, organization can be left unaware of where their critical assets live and what the risks to those assets are. From there, you can assess the likelihood and impact of those threats from actually happening and give yourself an opportunity to evaluate your current security controls to determine if what you’re doing will be an effective defense mechanism against a malicious attack.

One way to look at a formal risk assessment process is your organization is now being proactive rather than reactive. If you have the opportunity to anticipate a potential security incident and address the potential adverse impacts, chances are you will be successful and save your business from any operational and reputational loss.

In relation to a SOC 1 audit, the controls that you select to be tested and described in your SOC 1 report need to be based off of your risk assessment. You must determine what risks you’re facing in the achievement of your control objectives and then you must implement the controls in order to address that risk.

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