Network Security Auditing: How to Improve Your Business’ Security Posture Without Breaking Banks in Calgary, AB
- Network security audits are crucial for a business’ seamless functioning and for spotting security issues early before they escalate.
- After an audit, businesses can implement the recommendations to protect themselves from lurking cyber threats.
- The process involves IT experts going through your IT system, cybersecurity policies, and critical assets to identify potential security loopholes that can lead to exploitation.
Many businesses think about security and risk assessment once it’s too late. Rather than being proactive and implementing informed security measures, most businesses wait until an attack or a breach occurs to deploy the necessary security measures.
Suppose every business audits its network security and implements its findings into security policies. In that case, the number of cyber incidents can significantly reduce or at least the incidents can be spotted earlier before escalating.
What is Network Security Auditing?
Network security auditing is evaluating your business’ network security configuration to spot vulnerabilities, assess the efficiency of security controls, and ensure compliance with security policies.
Security auditing includes:
- Analyzing system logs
- Examining network traffic
- Evaluating the configuration of firewalls and other network security devices
Network security auditing aims to spot weaknesses before malicious actors can exploit them.
Why Should You Run a Network Security Audit?
A network security audit is critical because it allows businesses to understand how adequate their security controls are against cyber threats. Network security auditing can help businesses gain huge benefits, including:
- Improved compliance: Auditing your network security ensures that your network meets industry security standards and regulations. The process allows you to assess your processes and policies against the required regulatory compliance standards.
- Discovery of network inefficiencies: Auditing your network security will give you detailed visibility into your network. The process will help your business identify any weak points, areas of vulnerability, security weaknesses, configuration errors, and hardware and firmware issues within your network. You can then make necessary adjustments to protect your company’s technology.
- Detection of rogue or unauthorized devices on a network: Rogue devices in your network might steal sensitive information and use it to damage your company’s reputation. Auditing will help you detect and prevent rogue devices from accessing your network. You can control which devices connect to your network to ensure the privacy and integrity of your business data and assets.
- Identification of source and extent of compromise in the event of a breach: During the investigation of security incidents, auditing your network security gives security experts clues on the attack vector to establish how a system was compromised. Pinning the source and extent of an attack is critical in preventing further or future damage to customers, business finances, and the company’s reputation.
Network Security Auditing Best Practices
Network security auditing involves a series of practices to strengthen the company’s security stance. After an audit, your business should implement the following best practices to limit and mitigate security threats:
- Identify devices and the entire network platform: The primary step in a Network Security audit is device and platform identification. Your IT team thoroughly assesses all the assets present on your network to identify and list them. Apart from devices, the experts should track details like hostnames, serial numbers, IP addresses, code versions, operating systems, and configuration settings. Thereafter, you can share the findings and recommendations with relevant organizational stakeholders to help you manage all the potential security threats and breaches.
- Evaluate internal policies and processes: Like most businesses, you have a defined security and IT process, security policies, and procedures to protect critical assets. During an audit, you’ll need to examine processes and policies such as physical access, network upgrade, configuration management, disaster recovery procedures, and incident handling to ensure they meet international security standards.
- Review firewall configurations: Examining firewall configuration might be the most critical step in any security audit because all external threats must bypass your network firewall. Your audit team should review your firewall in-depth to check its efficiency. The team can start by evaluating firewall topology, proceed to rule–based analysis, and finally examine your firewall management procedure and configuration.
- Examine network activity: Security architecture analysis is another critical Network Security Audit process. Your business should monitor your network for any suspicious or malicious activities. Examine how workers in your company implement policies and how technologies and controls are in place physically in your network system. If you spot any suspicious activity, you should investigate it promptly.
- Review access control: Your business should check access control measures to ensure that only authorized people can access sensitive data and systems. Check that user, and group access levels and permissions are appropriate. You should know who has what access privileges to which data in your company to avoid dealing with accountability problems in case of data loss or damage.
- Scrutinize your encryption practices: Evaluate your business’ encryption and password management practices. Ensure you deploy strong encryption methods to protect confidential data in transit or at rest.
- Evaluate the company’s security tools: Test your security tools, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software if they can protect your data, network, and systems. You should regularly monitor and update these tools to ensure they remain effective.
- Assess backup strategy: Review your data backup and recovery strategies. Ensure your backup and recovery system will work well in case you lose your data.
- Examine the company’s “Bring Your Own Device” policy: Ensure the personal devices your employees bring to work do not expose your network to threat actors or compromise the integrity of valuable data.
- Audit your network’s bandwidth consumption: During the audit, check the bandwidth your business consumes to understand the usage and better manage traffic flow.
- Executing regular assessments: Regular audits ensure that your system and network are up-to-date and secure from the latest cyber threats.
Be Proactive When Protecting Your Business
Unlike other cybersecurity measures, a network security audit is not expensive. Any small, medium or big business can budget for a network security audit. In return, your business will gain insights into how to protect itself better from malicious activities before hackers can cause real damage.
After the audit, implement the recommendations to seal the cybersecurity loopholes to protect your business against attacks. It’s important to note that a network security audit is not a one-and-done solution. The cybersecurity landscape changes rapidly, and to keep your business safe from threats, you need regular upgrade and update to keep up by running at least one audit on an annual basis.