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What are Network Security Audits & Why They’re Important

Security breaches are extremely costly, and installing a security solution is the right step, it alone is not enough to stop such attacks.

How so?

Simply put, people, e.g., your staff are the weakest link in your information security chain.

According to Gartner’s report, “Three Critical Factors in Building a Comprehensive Security Awareness Program”, over 90 of breaches were a result of human error.

This holds true for your network security as well, and network security audits and assessments will help you identify risky behavior among your employees, technical gaps, and other problems in your IT system. In turn, you can fix those issues before cybercriminals exploit them.

More on Small Business Cyber Security:

What is a Network Security Audit?

A network security audit is an assessment of your network security systems and practices.

The goal of a network security audit is to review your system for potential gaps and, in turn, set you up for rectifying them ahead of a potential cyber attack.

To run network security audits, you must understand how to secure it in the first place:

  • Layers of Security: Your network security must have multiple layers of protection, i.e., as many obstacles as possible blocking an attack from affecting your data.
  • Next Generation Firewall (NGFW): NGFWs will provide you automated traffic filtering, monitoring, and other capabilities out of the box.
  • Document Your Security Policies: Be it your incident response plan, a map of your IT assets, or your key individuals to spearhead a response, you must document your cyber security policies. This ensures that there is always a reference point for responding to an attack as well as for review and improvement.
  • Educate Your Employees: As noted earlier, your employees are the weakest link in your network security. All it takes is someone mistakenly opening a malicious email to set-off a ransomware attack. You must train your employees to recognize such attacks and to implement best cyber practices (see next point).
  • Enforce Safe Password Practices: In terms of cyber security best practices, ensure that your employees are setting difficult passwords for each of their accounts. Not only should these be difficult, but also different from one another. You can help them in this area by providing a password manager as well as a password strength test.

Get Your Network Audited & Shut Intruders Out

  • Use Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Your passwords shouldn’t be the only line of defense towards protecting your assets. If those passwords leak, MFA will allow you to block suspicious login attempts.
  • Backup Your Data: By backing up your data in the cloud, you can readily overcome a ransomware attack by simply restoring what you had lost. It’s a contingency option that you can rely on whenever your data is compromised or corrupted.
  • Segment Your Network: By breaking your network up into smaller groups, you are mitigating the potential damage a breach can do by preventing it from gaining further access to your IT system.
  • Use the Principle of Least Access: You should ensure that employees only have access to the data, applications, and resources they need for their work.
  • Regularly Review Logs: You should also review your device and server logs for potential anomalies.

Your network security auditing process will review each of the areas above.

The goal is to ensure that your business is implementing best network security practices and, if it isn’t, that you’re made aware of your gaps and know how to close them.

However, to conduct successful network security audits and assessments, you should get cyber security experts with networking experience to implement it.

As you can see from the list above, network security is a complete field onto itself as it requires knowledge about specific technology (e.g., NGFWs, the cloud, etc), specific cyber threats, and an understanding of the weaknesses attackers are looking for.

Unfortunately, you didn’t start your business with the goal of building a network security team. It is also grossly unrealistic to expect you to build that capacity internally, at least in the short-term.

However, a network breach could occur at any time, so the need for a thorough network security audit is still there. One solution is to rely on a managed IT services provider (MSP) with a network security roster already in place. In addition to providing the professional services you need, this MSP can also offer a fresh, outside look of your business’ IT system.

There’s no point to a network security assessment if it isn’t done right. Use Power Consulting’s network security experts to find every potential gap in your network and provide the information you need to keep hackers out without wasting time, money, and patience.

Get in touch with us for a FREE consultation today.