Last year revealed the importance of independent security protocols. From massive breaches at Equifax, to instances of corporations like Uber failing to disclose the leak of personally identifiable information (PII), 2017 showed us that any organization’s security is only as good as its extended network.
This year, consumers will be more careful about who they do business with and who they give their PII to. So how can you present yourself as a trusted organization that will protect this private information? An IT security audit is a good way to ensure consumers know you’re taking security seriously.
Running an IT security audit now will benefit your business twofold:
- You can take the opportunity to assess risk and patch vulnerabilities, preparing yourself for a prosperous new year.
- By emphasizing your appreciation for security, you earn trust from customers who are jaded by corporate error. We hope this is the year that companies will drive for stronger authentication protocols, but you can do more than hope!
More than a simple scan of your systems, an actual in-depth audit can find previously undetected security vulnerabilities that are putting your business at risk. It’s easy to get caught up in the headlines and focus all your attention on combatting malware and viruses, but a secure IT infrastructure needs to cover everything from your hardware, to equipping your employees with knowledge and best practices.
Some things an IT security audit will take a look at include:
Out-of-date tech unequipped for new challenges
Organizations often face issues building a comprehensive IT security apparatus due to a reliance on older technologies. Whether it’s hardware or software, outdated services and policies can leave you open to new threats. Even if you’re regularly updating your mission-critical components, you could still be leaving your new tech vulnerable. Hard drives, motherboards, servers, software and memory disks don’t last forever; when any of them break or crash you’ll likely face lowered productivity, wasted time and potentially lost clients.
New technology isn’t without security risks
Introducing a new system or device to your network can contribute to the need for a security audit to make sure employees are adhering to best practices. Are your employees bringing their own devices to work and accessing your VPN? Do you require two-factor authentication? These are important questions to answer so you can ensure that sensitive PII isn’t being accessed on unencrypted employee devices.
Beyond simply having a general firewall in place, you need one tailored to your specific needs that is capable of withstanding modern threats. If you don’t have a business-grade hardware firewall, consult an expert and acquire one immediately (a software firewall provided by your internet provider will not do the trick). Failing to properly adjust your firewall can leave you with unnecessarily strict limitations, strangling the effectiveness of your workforce, or too little protection, exposing your business to threats.
Speaking of hardware
Think of your business technology as an ecosystem. Every piece needs to be fully operational to maintain balance. The best anti-virus software available can’t save you if your computers, routers, modems, servers and surge protectors aren’t up-to-snuff. Hardware needs to be maintained and updated — just like software.
Note: manufacturers eventually stop offering security updates for hardware after a certain period of time and older computers aren’t equipped to manage the energy intake from newer technology, which drains their processing power. Have your hardware checked out before it becomes a problem.
Accessible data backups
Complete data backups are a cornerstone of modern IT practices. From cyberattacks to natural disasters and faulty surge protectors, being separated from your data will have dire consequences for your business and will cost you exponentially in downtime. A routine security audit will include an analysis of your backup methods along with an evaluation determining how effectively you can access that information in the event of an emergency.
Successful backups have two main factors. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recover Time Objective (RTO). Your RTO is the past point in time which you want to have recoverable data from, i.e. two days ago, two weeks ago or two months ago. RTO refers to the amount of time it will take to fully restore your data after initiating a backup. This can range from 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days as required to meet your RPO.”
Try our Recovery Time Calculator to evaluate how much downtime will cost you.
Think of ongoing security audits as a selling point for your customers.
Many experts believe the amount of phishing schemes, state-sponsored attacks and ransomware threats will increase in 2018. Take this opportunity to get ahead of the curve and do your customers and clients a favor by evaluating your current practices. At the very least, a security audit will give you some peace of mind and assure your customers that you’re managing their PII carefully. More than likely, you’ll find opportunities to strengthen your business practices and supercharge your business’ confidence for the upcoming year.A reminder, Switchfast Technologies offers free security audits for all new clients. Contact us to learn how to schedule your in-depth security analysis.