Why Is an Internal Network Security Audit Checklist So Important?
Any organization utilizing computers and the internet should consider the strength of their network security. In fact, the health sector took a serious hit last year with the HIPAA Breach Reporting Tool reporting the highest recorded healthcare data breaches than any other year since the establishment of the HITECH Act. Even worse, the health sector is seeing a 25% year-on-year increase in data breaches resulting in the loss of millions of medical records.
But network security isn’t just for the health sector. Malicious activities and hackers will target any industry, big or small, to get their hands on valuable data. Whether it’s through malware, phishing, or hardware theft, the threat to network security is real and detrimental to any business.
This is where a network security audit can make a difference. Checking your network systems for weaknesses can identify blind spots and eliminate or minimize potential risks. Using a network security audit checklist, you can perform a thorough sweep through servers, routers, gateways, and everything that must be checked to ensure that the data is secure and nothing is compromised.
The thing is, weak spots within network security arise regularly. So, it is important to take proactive measures to extensively protect the infrastructure and data of the network annually or as often as necessary. Security vulnerabilities occur primarily due to inadequate protection of the network. However, when audits that check network security are carried out regularly, vulnerabilities in the network can be prevented.
Testing network security is a long-term and systematic process, and it is important to stay on top of it. Using checklists is a good way for network security audits to be uncomplicated for network security. Once the weaknesses are identified, corrective actions can be initiated to increase network security.
This article covers the following topics:
Benefits of using a network secuirty assessment checklist
Network security assessments are central to enhancing an organization’s security protocols, especially that breaches to IT infrastructure don’t just result in compromised data, but also have the potential to affect critical business operations.
It goes without saying, security breaches are bad for a business. A response and retrieval plan can be costly, but adding insult to injury, large-scale breaches also tarnish your brand reputation with consumers. As you lose money, you also lose valuable consumer trust.
You simply need to run the numbers to know how much a security breach can cost you and get a glimpse of what can happen when you don’t amp up your network security. When you conduct annual network security audits, you gain an understanding of the overall strength of your current security protocols and take measures to tighten your security by purchasing essential software, updating data management software, or conducting workforce training, or even procuring IT specialists.
The regular performance of network security audits is specified in the International Security Policies. These describe the planning, documentation, and ongoing development of network security. Network security audits are performed by external IT experts and the resulting catalog of measures can then be implemented by the internal IT team.
The following are four security benefits that can be achieved with the help of a network security audit.
- 100% protection of trusted data
- Uncomplicated localization of hardware problems
- Quick identification of software problems
- Reliable documentation
Apart from security benefits, a network security audit can also help you make better decisions and improve your current processes.
- Identify areas that have bottlenecks and backlogs
- Spot hardware problems
- Pinpoint insider threats
- Streamline the IT department’s tasks
- Evaluate regulations for data access
What are the 5 Steps to maximum network security?
Performing a network security audit can be complex and challenging. There are plenty of things you would have to do and check to make sure that your network is safe from any type of data breach. However, the value of stellar network security is invaluable in protecting your business as you gear for growth.
Having a set plan to stick to can make the process easier and save you a lot of stress. A checklist to perform network security audits will help you from conducting the audit to writing the final report to follow up.
Here are five steps that can help you conduct a network security audit and take the first step to an enhanced security strategy.
1. Step: Create a Plan
The first step is to define the scope of the network security audit. Name all internal and external systems that will be audited. Set a time frame to test network security. By using a checklist, you can plan your audit flow completely dynamically.
2. Step: Perform Network Security Testing
This phase is where you do all your network security testing. First, you perform a comprehensive inventory analysis and get a picture of the current state. By performing a network analysis, you can analyze vulnerabilities in the system.
3. Step: Analyze the Results
After all areas and systems have been comprehensively tested and documented, you can now analyze the results. Have the vulnerabilities and security gaps been addressed? These findings must also be carefully documented and communicated with relevant individuals. It is essential to ensure that the words used are appropriate. Not all colleagues are familiar with all technical terminology.
4. Step: Follow-up on the Results
Now, you need to take care of fixing the security risks and named weaknesses. Create a plan for how your team can proceed with implementing the vulnerabilities in the network. For example, the task can be broken into small goals and steps. This way, the task can be completed step by step and ensure that network security can be improved.
5. Step: Educate Your Workforce
When it comes to network security, having the right software and systems in place is just half the job. People are considered one of the biggest threats to network security. All it takes is one wrong file download for your data to be subject to the mercy of hackers. So, don’t forget to include workforce training in your network vulnerability assessment checklist.
Invest in your workforce and equip them with the knowledge they need to spot malicious activity.
A digital solution for network security audits
Regularly performing routine audits to ensure network security is a top priority for IT managers and network security teams. Lumiform’s desktop software and checklist app supports you in proactively countering emerging threats.
Save time by reporting incidents and security gaps immediately with the app. Don’t waste time—immediately assign corrective actions to your teammates and share messages and screenshots about vulnerabilities directly through the app. Track troubleshooting in real time, while all actions are automatically logged in a report.
Manage network security audits digitally now with Lumiform:
- The flexible form builder helps you turn any custom paper list into digital checklists in minutes
- Using the super intuitive mobile app, you can conduct network security audits with your teammates in a foolproof and time-saving way.
- All assessment results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to stakeholders.
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