Network Security Audit – Why Businesses Need It
As the world becomes more digitally connected and accessible, the need for online security is increasing multi-fold. From ordering your groceries and food, booking your travel, banking, and even consulting health care providers, everything is done online either through a website or a mobile app. As the number of touchpoints for potential breaches increases, so does the need to have more robust monitoring and control. This is where network security audits play a vital role.
Internet of Threats!
Before we get into the why, what, and how of Network Security Audit, let us revisit some of the most infamous cybersecurity breaches of recent times. In May 2014, eBay reported an attack that exposed 145 million users’ personal data like name, address, date of birth, and addresses. Marriott has faced multiple data breaches over an extended period starting in 2014 to as recently as 2020, wherein millions of guest data were exposed to unauthorized users. Even the major professional network, LinkedIn, was not immune to cyber-attack, with millions of email addresses and passwords being sold on a hacking website.
Why Network Security Audit?
All the above cases make it evident that no network, website, or application is safe in today’s world, and that is why it is so important to ensure that your business’ digital assets are protected. Most people have a retrospective view of security assessments and audits – they consider it to be something that needs to be done after a security incident has occurred. But that can be too late!
Network Security Audits help your company to identify the vulnerabilities that exist in your network. It helps you to understand the potential security risks and address them in a timely manner. It is a proactive measure to ensure that the right security policies are implemented upfront. It is also not a done-once-and-forget process. As the online world grows and your company adds more hardware or software components to the network, so make the threats.
What is a Network Security Audit?
This brings us to the question of what a Network Security Audit does. It is a process conducted either by the internal IT team or an external network service provider through which the company’s resources on the network – hardware, software, firmware, services, etc. – are thoroughly reviewed to ensure that security policies are adequate. The intent of the review is to find if the network and its assets are vulnerable to any threats.
How is it conducted?
This is how a network security audit typically works.
Step 1: The first step is to identify and catalog all the assets on the network. It is crucial to understand the details of each of the resources as this forms the basis of the further steps.
Step 2: The next important step in the policy review – this is done to ensure the documented policies adhere to the industry standards.
Step 3: This step verifies that the documented policies are implemented and the necessary controls are in place.
Step 4: This is where the cyber-attacks are simulated, and the actual identification of vulnerabilities is made. This step is typically divided into various phases – external vulnerabilities scanning, internal vulnerabilities check, risk assessments, penetration testing, vulnerability verification, and analysis.
Once the audit is complete, a detailed report is created, which can then be used to prioritize and fix the security risks and vulnerabilities.
As the old saying goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and this could not be truer when it comes to network security. All businesses need to focus audits on fortifying not only their company network and resources but also the information that the customers have trusted them with! Hence it is imperative to ensure that the audits are conducted on an ongoing basis to ensure that all potential risk is identified and addressed in a timely manner.