5 Steps for Running a Network Security Audit
You do not hope for the best unless you have prepared yourself to handle the worst. Nowadays, most companies rely on the cloud to store data. Unfortunately, since information is more valuable than ever, there are significant risks of insecure data storage, which is why a regular network security audit should be a part of your process.
Data breaches can bring your business to the ground, especially after legal proceedings are brought against you. Case in point: the massive Equifax data breach of 2017 that cost the company over $1 billion to settle consumer complaints. To avoid a similar fate, it’s imperative to stay in charge of your data security by conducting regular network security audits.
Importance of a Network Security Audit
Among the many benefits of carrying out network security audits, some of them include:
Getting a complete analysis of your systems
An audit is supposed to be thorough, meaning that every area of your security systems will be scrutinized by the audit team using various security audit tools. As a result, they can identify the weaknesses and threats that need to be addressed to enhance security and prevent data breaches.
It helps you choose the right security tools
Network security tools come in the form of hardware and software. Such tools are designed to facilitate the protection of your organization’s networks and data. There is no one-size-fits-all security tool, and an auditor will use varied methods of identifying potential threats and recommend how best to protect your infrastructure.
Monitor data flow
In this era where we view everything as a potential cyber threat, you might have implemented lots of firewalls to block traffic. However, in some instances, such firewalls block traffic traversing an alternative path to the network. Through a security audit, the audit team will assess all the data flowing in your business to ensure that none of it is stolen, mishandled, or lost.
Enable implementing changes
An audit process does not necessarily aim to discard every measure you have put in place to protect your network. It only helps to find the loopholes that need to be dealt with; hence after conducting their investigations, auditors give recommendations. Of course, it would be wise to implement any suggestions regarding your security policies and procedures as soon as possible.
Steps for Running an Effective Network Security Audit
Identify the scope
The scope of any audit refers to all the devices in your organization’s network. They can be managed or unmanaged. Managed are those directly owned by the company and contain sensitive data, including computers. On the other hand, unmanaged devices belong to visiting guests and contractors; for instance, Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Each device connected to your network increases the threat of cybersecurity. Therefore, ensure that all devices are up to date by locating their endpoints and vulnerabilities to prevent data breaches.
Conduct threat assessment
You should then check the managed and unmanaged devices for any threats. Threats to networks come in many forms, including identity thefts, sabotage, intellectual property theft, and information theft. Consequently, the most common threats to security include physical breach, malware, malicious inside attacks, attacks on IoT devices, and employee exposure. The key is knowing what or who you are trying to prevent from accessing your network and formulate a good defensive plan.
Evaluate security performance
Review the organizational policies and check if they are good enough to protect the network from the listed threats.
Prioritize the risk found
Once you notice that your policies are lacking in protecting the network, you will have already identified the risk involved. However, no risk causes the same level of damage. Therefore, you have to prioritize each taking into account the damage it can cause, the probability of it happening, and the money it would cost you to recover from it.
Come up with solutions.
Now that you know which risks are more dangerous than others, it is time to formulate solutions. The solutions could be measures such as strengthening password policies, limiting access to sensitive data, allowing read-only access, storing sensitive data separately, and backing up the rest. Also, ensure that the network configurations are correctly set up and the servers have anti-malware software.
Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Network Security Audit
An in-house audit team will have you paying a fixed salary for not a lot of work. Remember that once the systems are in place, you only require one person to ensure the daily operation is efficient, yet you will have to include the entire team in your payroll.
On the other hand, outsourcing a network security audit team ensures that you only call them when you need them. Besides, finding the right auditors for your organization can be costly both in money and time. However, with an audit firm, you already know you are approaching professionals, and the only time you will spend is in comparing the reviews of each firm.
More experience at your disposal
Unless you are willing to train your in-house auditors every year to update them on the current threats and ways of resolving them, you are much better off with an outsourced firm. A hired firm always stays on top of everything that is required to give them a competitive advantage. Moreover, a firm has lots of people with varied skills and is equipped to resolve any of the security threats you might be facing.
Additionally, firms have been hired by various businesses, which predispose them to different situations. As a result, a security audit firm has broader experience than an in-house team confined to handling the threats that your business may have.
If you consider the processing of running an audit using an in-house team, you will see that assessing the threats may not be objective. Involving an outsider ensures that the opinion given is unbiased to provide an objective evaluation of your network security state. Magnataur offers customized digital solutions to any threats by conducting an in-depth assessment of what your network lacks.