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Check Your Work: How a Network Security Audit Can Keep You Prepared

07/26/2016  |  By: Frank Knobbe, QSA , Shareholder, Information Security

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When you’re faced with complex network security rules, it’s easy to make mistakes. Sometimes, the rules may be government-imposed, such as HIPAA guidelines for healthcare organizations. Sometimes, you may have to conform to an industry-adopted security standard, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards for businesses that accept credit cards.

Regardless of the source of the requirements you face, or the exact specifications of the rules in question, the costs of non-compliance can be high, including fines and an erosion of trust. But often, you may not even know that you’re out of compliance.

Outside Perspective

Well-intentioned security mistakes are dime-a-dozen. Often, organizations don’t realize that a security specification has evolved – and rendered their current measures out-of-date. All too frequently, organizations simply misunderstand the standards, apply the wrong solution, and move forward blissfully unaware that they’re out of compliance. The sad fact is that no amount of good intentions can protect vulnerable data.

In order to move forward with confidence, it’s often necessary to get expert eyes on your network. In some cases, bringing in a third-party assessor for a security audit will mean verifying that your assumptions about your security measures are correct. In an audit for PCI compliance, for example, a qualified assessor will go over all 250+ yes-or-no questions that appear on the standard’s list of requirements, providing an objective view and making certain that your answers are accurate.

Adherence to the rules isn’t always enough, though. When performing services like penetration tests, for example, third-party security experts adopt a hacker’s perspective, using their high-level knowledge to attempt a network intrusion. Beyond compliance, the real goal of testing is to expose points of vulnerability that you might not have known existed.

Finding Opportunities

Organizations find surprisingly often that a network security audit reveals opportunities for more cost-effective and tighter security. For example, you may find that your security needs can be most effectively addressed by a managed security solution. If you’ve deployed disparate solutions over time in response to threats and risks as they arise, you might be looking at both cost containment and security improvements.

At LBMC, our intrusion prevention and detection services and our Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution help keep sensitive data safe – and help ensure that you’re in continuous compliance with the relevant security standards. Around-the-clock monitoring by qualified experts ensures that you’re not falling behind, that you haven’t made any mistaken assumptions, and that would-be intruders face the toughest protection possible.

Today, robust security needs to be business as usual. Just as you go to a doctor periodically for expert insight on your health, it’s wise for organizations handling sensitive data to seek objective, expert opinions on security. 

Check out our free guide, Breach: Network Security Best Practices for Prevention, Detection, and Response, for more information on ensuring the safest network security for your firm.

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