security audit

A surprising 71 percent of small business owners and managers say they are at risk for a cyber attack. Among those businesses that do suffer a breach, 60 percent are at risk of folding within six months because of it.

The stakes are higher than ever before. An IBM study revealed that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million at an average cost of $148 per record. Businesses that handle large amounts of data have much more to lose.

IT and data security are now some of the most decisive factors influencing whether a business thrives or fails. In a city as competitive and innovative as New York, it’s integral for every company, large or small, to perform an information security audit and work to secure their business data from attackers.

Are you confident in the security of your business infrastructure? Find out more about security auditing and how it can help your business below.

The Three Main Types of Security Diagnostics

After several high-profile data breaches across the world, many IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) recognized the importance of adding security services to their service offerings. Since then, many have become Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), aiding businesses large and small with all their IT security needs.

MSSPs are now an essential resource for the business community. Some companies can’t afford or don’t want to manage their own IT security teams. Others use MSSPs as a cost-effective way to augment their existing security teams.

A security audit is one of three types of security diagnostics offered by MSSPs. While these diagnostics are related, each has specific objectives.

IT Security Audits

A security audit is a type of evaluation. It doesn’t directly affect or change your IT infrastructure or any of your security mechanisms. Typically, an audit does not reveal specific vulnerabilities in your system, although it can.

Instead, an IT or network security audit gives you a systematic analysis of your system by measuring how well it meets security criteria. These criteria may be established by your company, but often they’re established by third-parties or a regulatory body.

A thorough audit doesn’t just access your system at the software level. It involves an analysis of the physical configuration of your system as well as how users access your system. A security audit can also be used to determine if your company complies with applicable regulations, such as HIPAA.

For example, where your physical servers are located and how your employees access them are audited as well. Login information, password compliance, and whether your employees log into your system remotely from mobile devices are all pertinent.

Vulnerability Assessments

A vulnerability assessment is an in-depth study of your entire system to identify vulnerabilities. Unlike an audit, this assessment is meant to find security weaknesses that need to be fixed.

Vulnerabilities are typically assigned severity levels. Critical vulnerabilities are those that could lead to catastrophe if exploited. Once the vulnerabilities are documented, auditors can guide developers on how to fix them.

Vulnerability assessments can be conducted for an entire IT system. However, they are also a common practice during application development.

Penetration Tests

During a penetration test, a third-party security team recreates a cyber attack on your IT system. There are benefits and drawbacks to this approach.

For one, your business gets a pretty good idea of what would happen during a breach or cyber attack. You can get easy insight into where your system’s vulnerabilities are and how to fix them. It also allows your team to drill yourselves on how to respond to such an attack.

However, companies that do penetration testing won’t act like typical hackers. They’re subject to laws and regulations that most hackers will ignore.

For example, hackers may enter your system through a third party, but that may be off-limits for your penetration test of that third party hasn’t been looped into it.

Why Your NYC Business Needs a Security Audit

New York businesses are a prime target for hackers and other bad actors. In 2016, hackers attacked New York financial services companies and stole over 200 million financial records.

Many small-to-medium sized businesses make the mistake of assuming they’re safe because of their size. However, the best policy is to assume that you will experience some type of security breach. According to one study, the odds are as high as one in four that a business will experience a data breach.

Hackers have an increasingly automated arsenal of tools to break into systems. The image of the lone hacker in a dark room trying to guess a password is dated. Today, bots crawl websites and applications searching for vulnerabilities, exploiting them, and delivering the results to their masters.

And they do so indiscriminately. Hackers don’t care if they steal information from a hospital, a big bank, or a mom and pop store on Main Street. If there is usable data involved, they can profit from it.

Keep Your NYC Business Secure

After your security audit, you’ll need to put a new system in place if you want to stay ahead of threats. Intrusion detection, access controls, and virus and malware management will all be crucial for your future.

An MSSP can provide you with all these services, as well as training to help your employees avoid social engineering attacks like phishing emails.

However, one of the most important security tools is 24/7/365 network monitoring. After completing your network security audit, network security monitoring will keep track of all the traffic on your network. Understanding your network traffic and detecting anomalies is crucial to preventing attacks.

Auditing, vulnerability testing, and increased monitoring will transform your security posture from reactive to proactive.

Start Your Security Audit Today

If you aren’t sure how secure your system is, it’s safest to assume it isn’t secure at all. Auditing and updating your network security are ongoing processes that can ensure your business continuity.

No company is immune to a data breach. As hackers become more sophisticated and their threats intensify, every organization must adopt a zero-trust policy to stay secure.

Are you ready to start a security audit for your New York business? Contact us today or call our NYC office at 516.606.3774!