Securing a corporate network usually requires hiring outside experts to perform a comprehensive network audit, but this initial outlay is more than worth it.
The Equifax data breach may have compromised the confidential information of nearly half of all US residents. But while the scope of this particular security incident may be exceptional, the truth is that the crime itself is all too common.
Serious data breaches have essentially become an unfortunate cost of doing business in the modern world. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, the odds of an organization suffering some sort of data breach are higher than one in four. Experts believe that the annual global cost of cybercrime will double from $3 trillion in 2016 to $6 trillion in 2021, suggesting that the Equifax breach will be a sign of things to come rather than an historical outlier.
For companies that hope to avoid Equifax’s fate, it’s more critical than ever that they take substantial steps to ensure their network infrastructure is as secure as possible. Most companies lack both the time and expertise to conduct a robust security audit on their own, but with the proper external guidance, they can rest assured that their network security will be strong enough to repel online intruders.
What Does a Network Security Audit Entail?
A comprehensive network security audit is typically composed of several independent evaluations of distinct network aspects. First, an auditor will assess a network’s external vulnerabilities to determine how easily a cybercriminal could penetrate the network from an outside access point. This usually involves in-depth system scans and “white hat” hacking, whereby the auditor attempts to compromise the network as if they were a bad actor in order to test its vulnerabilities.
Next, the auditor will investigate the network’s internal mechanisms and protocols in order to pinpoint any inherent vulnerabilities in the network’s design. This step ensures that a company’s password standards, user account permissions, and so on are properly configured. Relatedly, security experts will often interface with a company’s employees themselves, as staving off the risk of phishing attacks and other security risks is as much about building an informed workforce as it is about constructing a secure network.
Depending on a company’s particular directives, a network security auditor will perform a number of supplementary tests as well. In order to prepare for the worst case scenario, companies usually create backup and disaster recovery systems capable of helping them bounce back from a cyberattack. An auditor can assess how effectively backup data is being stored and make suggestions as to how a company can streamline its recovery protocols.
Other common tests include physical security assessments — which evaluate how easily an intruder can gain access to a company’s office or server room — and, if a network is subject to regulation by bodies like the PCI, HIPAA, or Sarbanes-Oxley, compliance assessments.
The Benefits Far Outweigh the Costs
The cost of a thorough network security assessment depends in large part on the size and complexity of the company and its existing network infrastructure and the defined scope of the audit itself. A fullnetwork audit, which, in addition to security, will also address network performance and things like BYOD policy — will naturally be more expensive. But generally speaking, a comprehensive network security audit will cost anywhere from several thousand dollars to $20,000. Though this level of initial outlay represents a not insignificant investment, it pales in comparison to the potential costs of a serious security breach.
According to the Ponemon study, the average cost of a corporate data breach in 2017 is $3.62 million. In some circumstances, these costs can be much higher. Target’s 2013 data breach, for instance, cost the company nearly $150 million, and even put a dent in the company’s stock price.
Recent cyberattacks have been even more costly — and the methods used by cybercriminals have become even more advanced. As such, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to partner with cybersecurity organizations in order to prevent a blow to their bottom line.
At Turn-key Technologies, we have decades of experience protecting corporate networks from the full spectrum of cybersecurity threats. As Certified Wireless Security Professionals, we have the expertise necessary to closely inspect all of a company’s network traffic, educate the company’s employees on cybersecurity best practices, and implement additional layers of security where appropriate.