Running regular security audits with Netitude

David West 16-Dec-2022 13:05:59
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At Netitude, it’s my job to keep our clients aligned with the latest technology and security standards. In this blog, I explain how running regular security audits help protect your network from vulnerabilities.

IT and Cyber Security is constantly changing - new technologies, new threats, and new risks for businesses. As such, you can’t stand still.

What is the main purpose of a security audit?

It’s not enough to implement security controls or software and sit back. Your IT and Cyber Security systems should be regularly reviewed to ensure any potential risks are detected and mitigated and improvements can be made.

Alongside alerting for security events and unplanned changes, regular security audits should be carried out to catch what may fall through the gaps. For example, things like unused but active user accounts and excessive administrator accounts or privileges increase the risk of unauthorised access to systems or sensitive data by a third party or bad actor.

How often should a security audit be performed?

The frequency of security auditing can depend on regulatory requirements of your business, but a good starting point is quarterly. At Netitude, we feel this is the sweet spot. Our Technical Alignment Managers and SOC team work together to conduct quarterly IT and security audits and vulnerability assessments for our clients.

How does Netitude conduct security audits?

The first key step in planning your security audit and assessments is to build a solid process and stick to it. Our security audit is based on the latest guidance from the National Centre for Cyber Security (NCSC), the Cyber Essentials Plus certification and over a decade of experience in helping SMEs with their IT and Cyber Security.

The criteria may change slightly depending on the nature of the organisation being audited – they may have certain regulatory requirements, for example – and your audit needs to cater to this.

Check against best practices

The core task of our Security Audits is the Security Audit Template, which contains over 150 best practices, standards or requirements across everything from Networking to Windows Server to Office 365 and Azure to Backup and Disaster Recovery. We look at everything with a fine-toothed comb every quarter to ensure best practices are adhered to and to catch and remediate the inevitable consequences of organisational change.

Just like Cyber Security itself, our Security Audit checklist is constantly evolving. Our teams get together every month to review the template, suggest improvements and additions, and ensure we’re capturing everything we can during our audit process.

Use a selection of carefully selected audit tools

Tools play an important role in carrying out an effective security audit. When configured optimally, the correct tools should be running 24 hours a day to ensure your IT department is aware of any developing security risks, allowing risks to be mitigated before they become a problem.

A review of your toolset should be included in your quarterly Security Audit. Ensure everything is performing as you intended, and review any potential upgrades or improvements the vendor may have introduced since your last audit. You should also review the tickets, alerts and trends from the previous quarter to identify any patterns, allowing you to implement proactive solutions.

What happens next?

Carrying out a security audit is essential, but you need to ensure the data collected is then digested and turned into actions and recommendations. Findings should be documented in a report detailing the organisation’s security posture during the audit.

This report can then be used to prioritise action points to ensure that critical vulnerabilities are addressed, and future improvements are planned. When the next quarterly audit comes around, you should review the findings of the previous audit and ensure any risks have been mitigated.

With so many elements in play when it comes to Cyber Security, the idea of developing a regular audit or review can seem daunting. But take it from us; once you start doing your first audits, you’ll quickly and naturally develop new ideas for improvements every week. Before long, you’ll have an established process that effectively identifies and remediates Cyber Security risks, keeping you compliant with regulatory or insurance requirements and keeping your data and employees safe.

Don't know where to start? Check out our blog on How to perform a cyber security audit at your business.

That being said, if you don’t have the capacity to run regular audits, trust in Netitude’s expertise. Our security audit is a comprehensive review of your entire technology and information systems. We constantly improve our best practices for security and threat aversion, identify weaknesses and implement new security standards to keep your business safe. If you're interested in learning more, why not speak to an expert to see how we can help you?

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