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4 Features FIs Should Look for in a Cybersecurity Assessment Solution

2 min read
Apr 15, 2021


How strong are your financial institution’s cyber defenses? It’s a question that’s top of mind at every bank, credit union, mortgage company, and fintech—and it doesn’t have a simple answer.  

Related: Creating Reliable Risk Assessments


The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) developed its Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (CAT) to help FIs assess cyber risk and maturity. Not only does it highlight the type of information examiners are looking for, but it also drives home just how many elements need to be considered when assessing a FI’s cybersecurity posture. From board and management oversight to vendor management and incident response, the CAT asks over 400 questions to help FIs identify strengths and weaknesses. 

Related: Creating Reliable Risk Assessments: How to Measure Cyber Risk 

While answering these questions is essential for analyzing inherent risk and cybersecurity maturity levels, it’s also a daunting task. FIs looking to streamline the process may want to consider a software solution for cybersecurity assessments. 

Here are four features to look for:  

1. Simplifies the CAT process. Assessing your cyber maturity using the CAT requires answering, tracking, and analyzing the responses to over 400 questions. It’s a time-consuming task. 

A good cybersecurity assessment solution should eliminate as many friction points in the process as possible, creating workflows that allow your institution to make quicker work of the questionnaire and more easily identify cybersecurity issues so you can move on to remediating risk 

2. Leverages existing work. Few things are more frustrating or a bigger waste of time than entering the same piece of information over and over again. 

Make sure your solution cuts down on repetitive busywork by populating fields with information you’ve already entered. It’s also helpful if your cyber solution integrates with and can leverage data from other solutions you use. 

3. Empowers you to divide and conquer. Answering over 400 questions takes time, and it’s unlikely that one person knows all the answers. 

Seek out a solution that lets you easily divvy up the questions, assign them to different staff members, and track their responses. It makes it much easier to collaborate and benefit from each other’s work. 

4. Helps interpret the results. Once you’ve answered all the questions, you still need to figure out what it all means. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you need to do next? 

A good cybersecurity assessment solution can cross-reference data about your cyber maturity to identify gaps and areas for improvement, create meaningful board and status reports, and help determine the next steps. 

Don’t let the volume of questions deter you from assessing your FIs cyber maturity. From SolarWinds to Accellion, cyberattacks are increasing in frequency and severity with criminals constantly innovating new ways to gain unauthorized system access. The CAT is a valuable tool for uncovering weaknesses and helping ensure your FI is prepared and protected.   

Want more insights into cybersecurity assessments? Download our free whitepaper Guarding Against Cybersecurity Threats: Assessing Third Parties to learn what you can do to better mitigate the risk of working with third-party vendors. 



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