If you’re an organization who periodically performs risk assessments, you’re most likely managing your assessments on a spreadsheet. Whether you’re performing risk assessments to meet a compliance mandate, satisfying a contractual obligation, or are proactively keeping your data secure and safe, you should consider ditching the risk assessment spreadsheets and opting for intuitive, automated risk assessments.

We’ve Always Used Spreadsheets, So Why Change Now? Here are five reasons why spreadsheets are the worst way to manage a risk assessment.

  1. Spreadsheets are inefficient, especially if you need to engage multiple people in the process, which typically you will during the remediation efforts. Most spreadsheet programs only allow for a single user to access the document at a time, so it’s easy to lose track of changes and multiple versions.
  2. It’s hard to have a repeatable process as often times you are seeking input from multiple people and everyone could possibly interpret the findings in different ways. Spreadsheets do not provide a platform where findings can be discussed.
  3. Spreadsheets are typically not secure, and if they are being passed around a non-secure system, hackers can easily intercept the documents, and you’ve just given them a roadmap of your company’s security liabilities.
  4. Task management is near impossible in a spreadsheet for many of the reasons stated above. The real work does not begin until after you have performed the risk assessment. Managing remediation tasks is key in creating a secure environment. If you do not fix the issues the assessment uncovered, there’s no reason to run the assessment.
  5. Spreadsheets do not easily allow for the attachment of documents, artifacts and other support materials, making it difficult to not only present your findings but providing input on the issue and resolution.
  6. Accountability is tough to track when you simply have a spreadsheet with a list of tasks to be performed. It’s hard to manage when a task was completed, or assign resolution tasks to your team. A spreadsheet also does not allow for a clear view of historical data that can show a track record of improvement or data security trends.

We understand risk assessments do not affect a company’s bottom line – that is until a breach occurs. By performing and managing your risk assessments through an automated Web-based tool that was created for this very task, you will be able to assign and track remediation efforts, easily pull reports, and quickly and efficiently share your risk assessment, adding to the health of your business. Organizations should treat risk assessments as strategic initiatives for growth and security, not as administrative tasks that are only being completed because they are required.

Ready to kiss those spreadsheets goodbye and say hello to a streamlined tool that can help you maintain compliance and take a proactive approach to risk assessments? Contact us today to schedule a demo or to get a quote!

Mark Fulford

Mark Fulford

Mark Fulford, CISSP, CISA, ABCP, CRISC, is a Shareholder in the risk services division of LBMC, PC. With nearly 25 years of experience in information security audit and compliance, Mark understands how to translate technical jargon into actionable intelligence. With significant experience in healthcare, his expertise includes assisting companies with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA & PCI, HITRUST compliance, as well as providing assurance to clients and their stakeholders through SOC 1 and 2 reporting engagements. More recently, his focus has been on helping organizations identify and manage information security risks through both guided and automated risk assessment techniques.