Does your business have cybersecurity measures in place? If so, when were they deployed, and how long has it been since they (the measures, not your antivirus software) have been updated? Have they ever been put to the test, or have you been fortunate to avoid an attack up until today?
IT security is never a set and forget deal – as threats evolve, it’s important to periodically review and test the measures your organization has put into place to protect your networks, data, and daily operability.
Why Test at All?
It’s common practice to test designs to ensure they will work as intended in the real world – it provides the opportunity to discover faults and address them in a safe environment.
We get it, testing can be a bit of a hassle. It takes time, money, and a degree of expertise you might not have in house. But like a house inspection, it’s an expense that allows you to catch and deal with issues before they can develop into a nightmare.
And while a data breach is one possible consequence, don’t forget that many industries are governed by regulations and subject to audits that, if failed, may incur significant financial penalties and loss of reputation.
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Getting Started with a Network Assessment.
A security architecture review (network audit) is a necessary first step for your business to be able to get a handle on the current state of your security measures. Of course, if you don’t have any measures in place, a review will provide you with an understanding of what you need to protect, and how to do so. Otherwise, a review will provide some of the necessary information required to make recommendations to assist in improving your security goals.
One thing to consider when reviewing your security plan is if there have been any new compliance changes that need to be incorporated, such as PIPEDA. Are you up to speed on industry best practices?
Vulnerability Assessments are also necessary step in any security program. Systems must be assessed from an external and internal perspective on an on-going basis to ensure that only the necessary services are being permitted and that appropriate steps are being taken to confirm that these services are not vulnerable to exploits.
With this information, you will be better equipped to address any new and existing gaps in your security designs and implementations.
Don’t be Afraid to be a Guinea Pig – in a Controlled Setting, of Course.
Penetration tests take a vulnerability assessment to the next level. With granted permission, a penetration test will go beyond traditional vulnerability testing to confirm exploitation.
Basically, this kind of test is an attempt to simulate the actions of an attacker and put your cybersecurity systems to a real-world test. It’s an excellent way to ensure your security measures are performing as promised, and that something hasn’t been overlooked.
How Often Should You Audit your IT Security?
It’s a fact that in today’s IT landscape, threats are evolving faster than requirements. The size and nature of your business, regulatory requirements, and amount of data your clients entrust you with are all factors that may influence the decision.
Some businesses may see fit to perform quarterly assessments and testing, while others may weigh the costs and benefits and settle on an annual schedule. But the reality is that too many organizations adopt an irregular schedule, or are spurred into action after something goes terribly wrong.
There are some solid guidelines on how to manage a successful security audit, including:
- Establish a security baseline through annual audits.
- Spell out your objectives.
- Choose auditors with "real" security experience.
- Involve business unit managers early.
- Make sure auditors rely on experience, not just checklists.
- Insist that the auditor's report reflects your organization's risks.
The team at Discovernet has spent over 20 years providing audits and assessments for organizations of all sizes. Our experienced engineers can assist in pointing out design flaws and vulnerabilities in your network and systems, while leveraging and redesigning your current infrastructure to ensure a sound security landscape.