The Ultimate (Forward-Looking) Enterprise IT Security Checklist

Building a secure network for your enterprise means evaluating your vulnerabilities now — and understanding where your risks will come from in the future.

For security directors and IT professionals tasked with protecting their organizations’ proprietary information, personal data, and valuable devices, evaluating security vulnerabilities is both challenging and necessary. Given the increasing sophistication of cybercrime at a time when enterprises have more entry points to their networks than ever, the pressure is on to adapt cybersecurity strategies to the advancing pace of technological development in the workplace.

To that end, CISOs and their teams should begin putting together IT security checklists for their enterprises if they haven’t done so already. But developing a comprehensive audit of your network should do more than account for your vulnerabilities at present. Instead, protecting your organization and laying the groundwork for future growth depends on identifying where your risks will come from in one, three, five — and yes, even ten — years from now.

Creating this kind of forward-looking network security assessment checklist means that you need a clear picture of your assets today, but it also means that you need to be aware of the dominant cybersecurity trends that will transform enterprises going forward. To help you and your team get up and running, we’ve assembled the essential components to include in any organization’s cybersecurity checklist at present, as well as what innovations you should prepare for in the future.

Today’s IT Security Audit Checklist

Cloud Security

According to research from Unit 42 detailing the use of cloud infrastructure, 29% of organizations have experienced potential cloud account compromises. Given that the average enterprise uses dozens of such applications, businesses face sizeable security risks by not properly securing their cloud technology.

This ups the ante on establishing a comprehensive, effective cloud security protocol. For starters, it’s probably a good idea to establish regularly scheduled check-ins with your vendors to discuss evolving security risks and to ensure that both parties understand who’s taking point on which network protection responsibilities.

BYOD Protocol

BYOD represents structural shifts in the consumer device market that won’t change anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that this trend should be left off your IT security checklist. Research shows that 50% of companies that permit BYOD have had security breaches via employee-owned devices.

So what can enterprises do to respect the ways in which their employees actually work while balancing the necessity of watertight security protocol? The approach will need to be a multi-pronged one. Whether you start by creating IT policies based on internal needs or you survey your workers to better understand their BYOD workflows — and secure their buy-in — it’s important to start sooner rather than later.

Employee Training

While this may seem like a given in today’s technologically literate workplace, employees remain the most vulnerable part of any enterprise’s cybersecurity defense. This isn’t the result of willful negligence (in most cases), but the product of a lack of training.

Studies indicate that 45% of employees receive no cybersecurity training from their employers. However, when you consider research that shows that it’s possible for businesses to reduce the risk of breaches by 70% by investing in cybersecurity awareness, it’s clear that any IT security checklist should ensure that everyone is prepared for the risks your business faces.

Domestic and International Data Compliance

Regulatory and consumer concerns are prompting climactic changes in the data privacy space. The most far-reaching of these, including the EU’s GDPR, will require enterprises operating within certain geographic areas to comply with a bevy of regulations. Ranging from the rights of individuals to ask businesses to erase their stored personal information to the requirement that organizations report data breaches on a set timeline, it’s important that your team is up to date on the best practices wherever you do business.

Your Future Network Cybersecurity Checklist

IoT Security

IoT technology promises to reduce operational waste and create new efficiencies in industrial workflows. However, the expanding network of IoT-enabled devices, both in the home and in the workplace, means that hackers will have exponentially more entry points into your network than ever.

With 25% of cybercrime attacks expected to target IoT devices by 2020, security directors and their teams need to protect this growing area of technological development quickly. While this may not be on your radar just yet — especially if your enterprise is still understanding the ways in which investment in IoT can boost its bottom line — it’s important to factor in this trend’s security needs when preparing to deploy an IoT network of your own.

Biometric User Authentication

By using physical features and employee behavior to grant users access to your devices and your data, biometric user authentication is poised to add another layer to enterprises’ cybersecurity defense. If your organization is considering shoring up its password protection suite, you’re in good company: 62% of companies are already using this technology and 24% plan to deploy it in the near future.

Boosting ROI from biometric user authentication takes foresight, however. In order to leverage this technology in a way that truly benefits your overall data protection policies, you’ll need to maximize its benefits while accounting for its vulnerabilities. For example, while user authentication based on physical features such as fingerprints can be fooled by skilled hackers, combining that authentication with behavioral biometrics that monitors personally unique habits will make your network that much more secure.

SD-WAN

With predictions indicating that the SD-WAN infrastructure market will reach $4.5 billion by 2022, IT professionals will need to understand whether this new network paradigm is right for their enterprise. While SD-WAN makes it easier for network administrators to organize and manage bandwidth, especially with multiple branches, it does create unique vulnerabilities of its own.

For instance, SD-WAN makes use of public internet in many cases, meaning that your data may be exposed to risks that you wouldn’t face on an MPLS network. Accordingly, you will need to work with your SD-WAN vendor to ensure that your new network setup — if you choose to deploy one — insulates your network and segments risks.

Securing Your IT Checklist with an Experienced Partner

Whether you and your IT team are working to secure your current assets or you’re preparing to integrate emerging capabilities into your network protection strategy, going it alone can be challenging. By working with a managed services provider (MSP), security directors can supplement their expertise with tried-and-tested professionals who are trained on the newest trends in enterprise networking.

At Turn-Key Technologies, we have nearly three decades of experience in designing cutting-edge networks that secure your proprietary information, providing you with the confidence you need to scale. If you’re curious how to create a forward-looking enterprise IT security checklist, or you’re wondering how to secure the one you’ve already designed, reach out to our team today.

By Craig Badrick

December 19, 2018

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