Evaluating Your Cybersecurity Health - A Checklist

Salomon Kisters

Salomon Kisters

Jun 21, 2023

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The frequency of cyber attacks is increasing at an alarming rate, making it essential for individuals and organizations to evaluate their cybersecurity health.

A comprehensive cybersecurity assessment helps identify various security threats, vulnerabilities, and their potential impact. Cybersecurity refers to the protection of devices, networks, and sensitive data from unauthorized access, use, electronic attacks, theft, and other malicious activities.

In this blog post, we have compiled a detailed checklist that will help you evaluate your cybersecurity health and provide you with actionable steps to enhance your security posture. It is essential to understand that cybersecurity is not a one-time thing, and regular evaluation and implementation of security measures are crucial to stay ahead of cyber threats.

Assessing Your Network Security

Your network is the backbone of your IT infrastructure and is an integral part of your cybersecurity defense. Here are some essential steps that will help you evaluate your network security posture:

  • Identify and Map Your Network: Begin by identifying all the devices on your network and mapping how they communicate with each other. Knowing the devices connected to your network will help you have an inventory of all the devices that require protection and reduce the risk of misconfigured devices.

  • Evaluate Access Control Policies: Access control policies determine who can access your network and are a fundamental part of your security framework. Review your access control processes and ensure that they follow the principle of least privilege, which allows users to access only the data and resources they need to do their jobs.

  • Assess Network Security Protocols: Review your network security protocols, including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Firewalls. Ensure that your firewall policies follow the best practices for network security, and your VPNs use strong encryption. Another best practice is to perform periodic vulnerability scans to identify any gaps in your network security and remediate them promptly.

  • Monitor Network Activity: Finally, set up network monitoring systems to detect any anomalies or potentially malicious activity on your network. Network monitoring should include logging, auditing, and analytics tools to identify known or unknown cyber threats on the network and eventually mitigate them.

Analyzing Your Password Policy

Passwords are one of the most basic yet effective security measures to protect your data and systems. Assessing your password policy is essential to ensure that your authentication mechanisms are strong enough to withstand attacks. Here are some points to consider when analyzing your password policy:

  • Password Complexity: Check if your password policy enforces strong password complexity requirements, such as minimum length, special characters, upper and lower case characters, and numbers. Passwords that are easy to guess or crack are one of the most common ways attackers gain access to networks and systems.

  • Password Age and Expiration: Review your password policy to see if passwords expire periodically, and users must change them regularly. Passwords that are too old pose a security risk as attackers can use them to gain access for a prolonged period.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA is an essential security feature that provides an extra layer of protection beyond passwords. Review if your password policy requires MFA for critical accounts or systems.

  • Password Storage: Ensure that your password storage mechanisms do not expose passwords to unauthorized users. Passwords should be stored in an encrypted format and never stored in cleartext.

Reviewing Your Data Backup Strategy

Data backups are an essential aspect of cybersecurity that gets too often overlooked. A backup is a copy of the data or systems that can be used to restore them in case of a cyber attack, data loss, or natural disaster. Without a reliable backup, the recovery process can be arduous, time-consuming, costly, and sometimes even impossible. Here are some points to consider when reviewing your data backup strategy:

  • Backup Frequency: Evaluate how often data backups are taken. Determine the criticality of the data being backed up and the potential damage or loss that could occur in the event of data loss or corruption.

  • Backup Retention: Determine how long backups are retained. Ensure that the retention policy aligns with regulatory and compliance requirements and the business needs.

  • Backup Storage Location: Review where backups are stored and ensure that they are held in secure locations, whether on-premises or in the cloud. The backup storage location should be protected from unauthorized access, fire, and flooding.

  • Test Restorability: Periodically test restoring data backups to ensure that the backup is reliable and can be used for recovery. A backup that cannot be restored is useless.

  • Backup Encryption: Evaluate if data backups are encrypted at rest and in transit. Encryption can protect backups from hacking, theft, and unauthorized use.

Investigating Your Employee Access Controls

Controlling employee access is an essential aspect of cybersecurity that can reduce the likelihood of a breach. Employees can be a significant threat to the security of a company as they can unwittingly or maliciously leak sensitive information or introduce malware.

Investigating your employee access controls can help ensure that employees have access only to the information and systems they need to do their jobs. Here are some points to consider when investigating employee access controls:

  • Access Rights: Determine the level of access that each employee needs. Access rights should be assigned based on the principle of least privilege, where employees are given only the access they require to perform their job functions.

  • Password Policy: Evaluate the password policy and ensure that it aligns with industry best practices. Passwords should be complex, changed regularly, and never shared.

  • Multi-factor Authentication: Consider the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an additional layer of protection. MFA requires employees to provide a second factor, such as a code or a fingerprint, in addition to their password to access a system.

  • Access Monitoring: Review access to company systems and data and monitor it for any suspicious activity. Suspicious activity can include attempts to access files or systems that the employee does not normally access or large downloads of sensitive information.

Understanding the Importance of Cybersecurity Training

Adequate cybersecurity measures cannot be implemented without the cooperation and participation of employees. Therefore, the significance of cybersecurity training cannot be overstated. Cybersecurity training can help employees understand the risks involved and their role in protecting company data. It can also help employees identify potential risks and prevent cyberattacks:

  • Raising Awareness: Cybersecurity training can help raise awareness about the potential risks of cyberattacks and the importance of data protection. By educating employees about the consequences of cybersecurity breaches, they can become more careful and vigilant in their online activities.

  • Preventing Human Error: Cybersecurity breaches can occur due to human error. Employees could unknowingly open suspicious links or emails, download unverified software, or use weak passwords, which can leave the company vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity training can help prevent these errors and provide employees with the necessary skills to recognize and respond to potential security threats.

  • Compliance: Many industries require companies to comply with specific cybersecurity regulations. Cybersecurity training can help ensure that employees are aware of these regulations and understand their importance. Compliance training can also help companies avoid penalties and legal action if regulations are not followed.

  • Protecting Reputation: A security breach can damage a company’s reputation, leading to a loss of customers and trust. Cybersecurity training can help prevent security breaches and ensure that employees take the necessary precautions to protect sensitive data. By protecting the company’s reputation, employees are also safeguarding their own employment.


Now that you understand the importance of evaluating your cybersecurity health, it’s time to take action. By following the checklist we have provided, you can identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to strengthen your security posture.

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and it requires an active effort to stay ahead of emerging threats. Regularly review your cybersecurity policies and procedures, and consider conducting regular training sessions to ensure that employees remain vigilant and informed.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if you need it. Cybersecurity experts can provide valuable insights, identify potential risks, and offer practical solutions to improve your cybersecurity health!

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