Now that the threat of cyberattacks is real and imminent, we must do everything we can to protect ourselves. A Network Security Audit or analysis is recommended as the first line of protection. Unfortunately, some business owners are in denial, believing that it would never happen to them, that they are too little to be hacked, and do not have the information that hackers need. This is far from the truth and the hackers are opportunists, and they attack the weakest link. Unfortunately, we’ve seen enough victims to believe this is the case. Although audit has a negative connotation, it is merely a technique that we employ to look for vulnerabilities and red flags within your network, and you are checking your policies and procedures that put our clients in danger of cyberattacks.

The following are the primary components of a Network Security Audit:

  • Inventory –The first step of the audit is to identify all of the nodes and assets on your network.  This includes the operating systems, applications, users (in-house or remote). This is an imperative step to ensure that all dangers have been detected.
  • Infrastructure – Such as cabling, internet, switches, power, Battery backup, Temperature control, the physical location of the servers,  etc.
  • Firewall Configuration Review. In-depth review of Firewall configuration and policies. It includes the topology, rules, open ports, VPN, remote access policies. Wireless management processes/procedures and configuration. Also, check to determine if the firewall has the most recent patches installed.
  • Security Policy Review.Looking at your company’s security policies and procedures to see if they comply with government or other regulations and mandates such as HIPAA or simply if they match up to the standards required to protect your data effectively. These include access and permission (who has access to what, and do they need that access?).  Password policies, is it complex and regularly changed? Wireless policies and remote access policies.  Also, if the procedures are documented and if they fall short or anything. 
  • Employee Awareness Training- reviewing employee awareness training, if it exists or not.  How many times per year is conducted?  Are there drills or simulations?
  • Security Architecture Review. The architectural review examines the actual controls and technologies in place instead of the policy evaluation, which evaluates your published regulations. This expands on the device and platform identification process to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your cybersecurity measures.
  • Risk Assessment Following the completion and analysis of all evaluations, a report is prepared that identifies threats and calculates your risks and their possible impact.This information is then used to rank the patches in order of importance, starting with the most severe dangers and working down to the smallest. A workstation, for example, may hold a client’s social security number or open ports in your firewall.
  • Penetration Testing. Pen tests are a form of stress test for your network’s security architecture in which testers try to “break” it to find and fix previously unknown faults. We offer you a full report detailing the findings after the audit is completed. This stage is particularly significant since it assists you in identifying the risks that your firm faces so that you can prioritize the most critical remedies.

Why You Should Undergo Security Audits Regularly

Network security audits are crucial because they help you discover your company’s major security threats so you can make adjustments to safeguard them. They should be performed regularly at least once a year or more because your environment is dynamic, and things frequently change as your office grows or shrinks, and your people work from home.  You may purchase new software or add new hardware and may forget to upgrade a legacy operating system.  All these changes or lack of updating can become a security vulnerability for you.  And the more changes you have, the easier it is to lose track. 

The reality is that once the audit is done, it gets easier the next time until it becomes routine, and the prize is the peace of mind that your data and valuable and sensitive information are protected.  The cost of a proper test can start from $1500 per day, and it all depends on the complexity of the environment. Some good guidelines are provided in this article via the IRS. You can also click here for even more information regarding Network Security Audits done by CEO Computers.

At CEO, we offer a free Network Security Audit that gives you a preliminary look at your network. In addition, we have the option of performing a high-level audit that is certified for HIPAA and other regulatory agencies.  For an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with 818-501-2281 or email info@ceocomputers.com.