Any competent IT professional will tell you that one of their top priorities\u2014 probably the top priority\u2014is securing their enterprise\u2019s data and network. Indeed, CIOs typically allocate a healthy chunk of their overall IT budgets to security.\nConcern, however, does not always translate into competence, or even common sense. Further, throwing money at a problem without first properly assessing and prioritizing an enterprise\u2019s unique IT-related risks actually can create greater vulnerability. You can\u2019t just buy technology, put it in your environment, and assume that your assets are safe.\nEnterprise IT is constantly changing. As new technologies enter the enterprise\u2014mobile devices, cloud storage, Web apps and more\u2014they bring with them new and often unique vulnerability challenges.\nTo avoid the predictable dangers of this \u201cset it and forget it\u201d mindset in an era of dynamic change, it is imperative that IT professionals conduct a thorough risk assessment as the first step toward a sound security strategy.\nThat means 1) determining the types of threats that pose the most danger to the enterprise, 2) mapping where valuable data exists in the network (or cloud) and how it can be accessed, and 3) locating main points of vulnerability. The latter can be accomplished through penetration testing.\nOnce a comprehensive risk assessment is completed, risk can be measured against existing policies and procedures. This reality check is the starting point for enabling IT professionals to develop specific, customized security policies and roadmaps that takes into account physical security, access to network-based digital assets, business continuity and emerging technologies.\nThe best IT security strategies are useless without proper implementation and execution. Enterprise security that can neither detect nor react to threats in a timely and effective manner is no security at all.\nBeyond that, IT professionals must understand that risk assessment and security management are ongoing processes, as well as building blocks for strong security profile. To help protect their enterprises\u2019 critical assets, IT professionals should consider partnering with a managed security services provider that can guide them through the threat life cycle on a continual basis.