Network security audits help organizations
identify security risks to systems and data,
meet compliance requirements, and provide peace
of mind to the organization and its customers.
The Top 10 network security
audit considerations include:
- Purpose – Identify the purpose of the
network security audit. Is it to
provide peace of mind to management?
Did a customer or client request the audit?
Has your organization experienced a security breach? Do
you need to meet compliance requirements?
- Frequency – Identify the frequency of
the security audit. Security is not a
one-time event with an on and off switch. Threats are on-going and hackers
continually find new ways to breach systems.
To ensure systems and data remain protected,
most organizations choose annual security
audits. In addition to protecting
against security breaches, annual security
audits help protect the organization's image
and reputation. One-time security
audits are typically performed immediately
after a major change (e.g. new servers,
major application release, etc.) to the
- Scope – Identify the scope of the audit.
Security audits can evaluate one or more of
- Technical Safeguards: server configurations, firewalls, Wi-Fi networks, password strength, patching, anti-virus, encryption, etc.
- Physical Safeguards: access controls to data centers, locking cages, logging, and monitoring systems
- Administrative Safeguards: policies, procedures, agreements with service providers, job descriptions, Incident Response Plans, Security Training Plans, etc.
- Budget and Timeframe – Prepare a budget and projected dates for the network security audit. Some important questions include:
- What is the time period to recover from a security breach?
- What is the financial impact on your organization if there is a breach?
- What is the damage to your image and reputation?
- Auditors – Select a Certified
Information Systems Auditor for your audit.
The Certified Information Systems Auditor
designation is a globally recognized
certification for information system audit
control, assurance, and security
professionals. Certified auditors have audit
experience, skills, knowledge, the ability
to identify and assess vulnerabilities,
report on compliance, and identify
remediation/corrective action needed. The
independent auditor's reports are impartial
ensuring a completely
unbiased approach with recommendations
that are in your best interests.
- Support – After delivery of the audit
reports does the auditor provide you with a
support period to answer any questions you
may have regarding their findings and
- Remediation – Ensure remediation is
performed in a timely manner.
Remediation includes your corrective actions
to address the vulnerabilities identified in
the security audit report. Corrective
actions may include implementing or
enhancing your Technical Safeguards,
Physical Safeguards, and Administrative
- Follow-up Audit – Many organizations
request a follow-up audit after their
remediation/corrective action. The
purpose of having a follow-up audit is to
- The issues identified in the initial audit were sufficiently addressed.
- No new vulnerabilities were created when the organization remediated systems.
- No new security issues have been identified.
- Security Awareness – Security risks can
come from a variety of sources. Be
aware of security threats such as mobile
devices connecting to corporate systems, Ransomware
attacks, and inherent risks related to the
size of the organization, culture, and type
- Risk Management – Ensure all
important assets are properly identified
preventive, detective, and corrective
security controls to reduce or eliminate
risks to systems and data.
Network security audits help your organization
identify, manage, and reduce your network
security risks. The above steps will help your
organization implement a network security audit
process that ensures your security controls are
sufficient and effective.
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