The importance of performing regular network security audits for your business
Who likes the word audit? Trust us, we can hear you groaning already, but bear with us. Auditing your business’ IT network is massively important and it doesn’t have to be as tedious and daunting as you’d think. By making network audits a semi-annual routine, you’ll be going a long way in terms of maintaining a dynamic IT network with strong and reliable security.
First things first: let’s define what a network security audit is. A network security audit is usually performed by an external managed services organization. A network security audit focuses on analyzing and improving a business’ cybersecurity posture. The right managed IT provider will investigate every corner of your business network and cybersecurity policies to identify risk factors and vulnerabilities that increase a business’ chance of a security breach.
Depending on the managed IT provider you partner with, the exact method of a network security audit will vary. However, there are some key areas that a truly strategic network audit will cover. If you’re looking for a managed IT provider to conduct a network security audit for your business, they should – at the very least – be able to audit and provide recommendations for the most important aspects of network security.
Here are the top priorities that a strategic network audit should include:
The first critical step involved in a strategic network security audit involves taking an inventory of all the different devices and software platforms that make up your business network.
A reliable managed IT provider will start by identifying all the devices and operating systems that your team relies on before moving on to identifying problem areas or vulnerabilities. By taking a detailed inventory of all the technology involved, the entire audit process will be deployed as thoroughly as possible.
The next step in the network audit process is conducting a detailed review of all existing cybersecurity procedures and policies that your business has set up. Cybersecurity polices can include anything from access controls, user permissions, public Wi-Fi access, and more.
The right managed IT provider will review every single cybersecurity policy you have in place to ensure it matches up with the security needs associated with your network. They’ll be able to tell you which policies and procedures are sufficient and they’ll be able to recommend new and more dynamic strategies to address insufficiencies.
Once all your cybersecurity policies and procedures have been reviewed, it’s time to conduct an overview of all your actual cybersecurity mechanisms and controls. This includes all the actual tools and technologies you currently have deployed to keep your network secure.
A strategic managed IT provider will use the hardware and software inventory created in the first step to examine all the different security mechanisms that exist. They’ll be able to tell you which ones are secure and ironclad, and will also be able to identify areas where an additional layer of security would be worthwhile.
Next up is a direct effort to identify and assess various risks and vulnerabilities that exist within your network. This not only involves the identification of risks and vulnerabilities, but also an assessment of the potential impact these risks may have on your network as a whole.
A trustworthy managed IT provider will be able to identify risks and vulnerabilities and clearly explain their potential impact to you. Further, they’ll be able to strategically prioritize which security gaps pose the biggest risk and develop easy-to-implement solutions that will patch these vulnerabilities.
Your network firewall serves as the guardian of all data traffic that flows in and out of the network. That’s why, the next step in a network security audit involves examining the posture and positioning of your network’s firewall.
The right managed IT provider will review the entire configuration of your network firewall to ensure it is positioned strategically to prevent and mitigate risk. They should also be able to examine how your firewall works in relation to remote access and ensure that your company network is secure, no matter where it’s accessed from.
Finally, penetration testing helps to ensure all the other steps in the network security audit have been worthwhile. Once all the other steps have been completed, penetration tests serve as a stress-test for your network.
A thorough managed IT provider will perform mock breaches – they’ll attempt to break into your network to ensure that all security mechanisms are performing as they should. This is a very important step as it will allow your managed IT provider to identify any security vulnerabilities that may have been missed and implement additional layers of security where they’re needed.
Now that you have a solid idea of what’s involved in a network security audit, you’re probably wondering why it’s so important to conduct them more than once. You may think that a ‘one and done’ approach to network security auditing is sufficient, but the reality is, cybersecurity threats and trends change quickly these days. So, even though your network may be sufficiently secure today, things could be vastly different only a few months later.
That’s why it’s critical to make network security audits part of your regular business routine. Don’t just think or talk about it – prioritize regular network audits and make them a scheduled part of each business quarter. Determine when and how often audits should take place and be sure to account for any downtime required to conduct them.
Here’s some additional tips for making network audits a regular priority:
The great thing about prioritizing regular network security audits for your business is that you don’t have to handle it alone. In order to make sure you’re conducting sufficient and strategic network audits, it’s a great idea to call in a team of experts to help you execute each audit. When searching for a network security audit professional, start by using the information we’ve outlined as a guide. Above all, be sure to choose a provider that will do the work necessary to mitigate and prevent threats of all shapes and sizes.
If you’re already on the hunt for a managed IT provider to conduct your first network security audit, check out the cybersecurity services offered by Palindrome Consulting. Our team of network security professionals has the experience and expertise necessary to completely overhaul your business’ network security.
Our team is on standby, ready and waiting to help you lock down your business network like never before. If you’re ready to eliminate vulnerabilities and develop a plan for consistently mitigating threats, reach out to the Palindrome Consulting team at (786) 591-0631.