Considering a Security Assessment? Ask These Questions First.

Posted by on January 21st, 2021 in Blog Posts, Cloud Solutions, Cybersecurity

We’ve all heard the stats. Cybercriminals are working overtime to disrupt people’s lives for financial gain or other dubious reasons. Here are a few of the most alarming corporate security breach statistics we’ve seen. 

It’s numbers like this that make right now the perfect time to consider a security audit. A full security assessment or audit is a valuable tool for evaluating your organization’s current cybersecurity position. It can help you reduce your exposure to security risks and help you get a plan together for putting into place adaptive security solutions and security monitoring for hardware, software, and online systems. But where should you start? How can you make sure you’re covering all your bases, including securing sensitive customer and company data, internal documentation, and your IT infrastructure? Let’s dive into key considerations when establishing your company’s security assessment plan.  

  1. Look to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for guidance – Many industries are required to follow federal regulations when performing security risk assessments. In healthcare, for example, cybersecurity audits assessments are required under HIPAA. Whether your organization falls into that category, or it’s a voluntary exercise, remember that security should be more than checking a box. Considering following The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance. The organization maps out a security audit framework that’s effective. The organization guides the assessment process that includes: 
  • Preparing for the assessment
  • Conducting the assessment
  • Maintaining the assessment

Following recommendations from NIST will ensure that your organization can better manage IT risks across your organization. It can also help minimize exposure and security gaps from working vendors, running applications, and managing customer data.

  1. Inventory your network infrastructure devices and components – A critical part of your audit should include an account of network infrastructure devices are components. These devices transport communications needed for data, services, applications, and multimedia. These devices generally include routers, firewalls, switches, servers, load-balancers, intrusion detection systems, domain name systems, and storage areas. A detailed examination of networking equipment and system access tools should include an inventory of firewalls, virus protection, and secure login procedures. 

Depending on the audit results, network administrators may make recommendations to improve security using segmented networks, securing access to infrastructure devices, performing out-of-band (OoB) network management. OoB management can prevent compromised devices from malicious traffic from impacting network operations. Other considerations may include tips from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

  1. Pay special attention to cloud security –  Cloud computing requires heightened awareness from business leaders and IT to address the evolving set of security threats spawning from cloud infrastructures. Focusing on cloud security during an audit is critical to improving an organization’s data life cycle’s visibility. Industry best practices such as the Cloud Security Alliance, ENISA CCM, and others offer guidance on identifying deficiencies and providing appropriate remediation advice to better secure the assess the security of cloud-based business processes. 
  1. Develop and share an assessment report – After your assessment, create an IT security risk assessment report and proposals to address any identified issues. Sharing with executive management is key in implementing any necessary changes. IT teams should implement solutions on a risk-first basis – we often provide rapid blanket improvements in network security whilst more complex issues are being fully specified and planned. Staff should also monitor security levels on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in technology, the business landscape, and your business needs. 

Effective cyber risk management starts now

However, you conduct your cybersecurity assessment, and it should provide an independent and in-depth review of the company’s ability to protect data and assets against relevant threats. Taking these steps will help you identify vulnerabilities targeting your organization, uncover potential gaps, and meet compliance and corporate rules. Want to discuss a plan for your business? Call or email us.

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