In 2017, ransomware attacks known as NotPetya and WannaCry turned the cyber security game forever. WannaCry was a first worldwide multi-vectored cyber attack as its kind that rapidly corrupted more than 200,000 machines over 150 nations, causing plunder and billions of dollars in losses.
The primary shift here is the point that bad characters are now applying (leaked) military-grade hacking tools developed by the National Security Agency to aim just about everyone. For tiny and medium-sized businesses, the results are important, as the average value of a single data breach can be as large as $117,000.
The heritage of these cyber crimes is resonating yet and confirms the reality that we need to take bold steps to defend ourselves strongly. This process begins with a security audit, and here’s we are explaining what you should understand and acknowledge about it.
What Is a Security Audit?
A security audit is the first step toward your IT infrastructure security and it can be defined as a methodical evaluation of your business IT infrastructure protection. Through the process of this testing, security specialists will scale how strongly your security protocols go along with a catalog of established criteria to verify their security aspect.
IT infrastructure security audits should be thoroughgoing and organized on a routine to secure your data and IT assets. If you are in an extremely regulated industry, participating in this activity will also benefit your business to make sure compliance (like GDPR, HIPPA, SOX, PCI-DSS etc.).
Before you proceed with a security audit, the security unit will have to judge on the scope of the examination.
A standard security audit will evaluate the following:
- Information handling processes
- Hardware configurations
- Data and access-related details (like cards, tokens, password and )
- User practices
- The physical configuration of the system and setting
- Software configurations
- Smart devices
The audit should assess any of the above against past and possible future challenges. This implies that your security team should be updated on the newest security tendency and the steps taken by other organizations to answer to them.
At the conclusion of the security audit, an in-depth summary will be put collectively reporting the strengths and flaws of your current security arrangements. Whenever a vulnerability is identified, the cost of ensuring it should be assessed against the cost of a breach.
Whenever your security rules come short (when equal to the newest hacking trends), it’s necessary to act quick, as a particular vulnerability could drive to a vital data breach.
Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, it might be attractive to neglect this because of a shortage of dedicated staff or sizable resources to cybersecurity. But, this is exactly what makes these companies a prime target.
What’s extra, when companies don’t take a proactive strategy to cybersecurity, poor leads can penetrate your system and go unidentified for a long period of time.
Despite how much you spend to secure your business systems, the truth is that there isn’t an all circumstances, dependable solution. As a consequence, there should be an organized robust policy and controls to manage and maintain the business continuity in the case of an aggressive security event.
Security Audit vs. Vulnerability Assessment
As described earlier, a security audit assesses your organization’s security stance against an organized listing of security protocols, strategies, and procedures.
on the other hand, a vulnerability assessment resembles at the vulnerabilities in the information system but doesn’t give any sign of whether the vulnerabilities can be exploited or how much a strong breach or cyber attack could cost the company.
This procedure comes with a lot of restrictions, as vulnerability scanning software only resembles your system based on prior general vulnerabilities. So if you’re managing a vulnerability evaluation, it’s important that the software is updated. However, this performs the vulnerability assessment only as efficient as the support performed by the software vendor.
The software itself isn’t immune to a breach and has the potential of happening with software engineering defects. The methodology used to identify vulnerabilities can also have an important influence on the outcomes, so it goes without stating that security audits override vulnerability assessments.
What Is a Penetration Test?
Penetration tests go ahead security audits and vulnerability assessments by attempting to breach your system like a hacker. In this situation, a security specialist will attempt to replicate the same processes applied by a hacker to determine if your IT infrastructure could face a similar attack.
Usually, penetration testing will include using various methods in combination to attempt and breach the system. This does it extremely efficient as you’re assuming the same techniques applied by a hacker in the real world.
When you join in penetration testing, you’ll benefit from in-depth penetrations into the vulnerabilities and also acquire skill in how these vulnerabilities can be exploited.
Penetration tests practice both commercial and open source tools to know loopholes in security standards. They also include targeted attacks on particular systems employing both automated and standard methods to make sure that vulnerabilities haven’t gone undetected.
There are various kinds of penetration tests, but more usually than not they’re separated into three contrasts.
External Penetration Tests
As the title hints, external penetration tests concentrate on your publicly opened systems. These tests will be conducted from the viewpoint of a hacker to reveal vulnerabilities that can possibly present internal systems.
Internal Penetration Tests
Again, as the title hints, internal penetration tests concentrate on all your internally connected systems. In this situation, penetration tests will be conducted on inside systems that can be entered and managed remotely by a bad character.
By joining in this exercise, you’ll be capable to determine if hackers can compromise your in-house systems and get past your internal security protocols.
Hybrid Penetration Tests
Hybrid penetration tests strength both external and internal attacks to discover if a combination of both approaches can lead to a data breach. In fact, it’s a genuine way to calculate if your security aspect can protect against both local and remote interventions.
To execute these kinds of penetration tests, cybersecurity experts apply three approaches to attack and breach the system.
Black Box Tests
Black box penetration testing includes external penetration tests where the pen tester has no earlier information of your system. They will hit your network like any bad character would to attempt and get entrance to your internal network.
This procedure resembles real-world attacks and progresses a long way toward decreasing false positives. It’s also an excellent approach to evaluate the actions taken by your IT security team to counter an active breach.
White Box Tests
White box penetration testing is the reverse of black box penetration testing, as both pen testers and security examiners will have absolute knowledge of your company’s IT infrastructure and existing security aspect.
This indicates that security experts will have deep knowledge about the following:
- IP addresses
- Application source code
- Operating system (including the current version)
- Network environmentWhite box tests will have to be organized between your internal IT security team and the audit team. When you join in this action, it will assume an insider attack with endless access and full rights to the hit the system.
Gray Box Tests
The gray box testing method determines stability between both white box and black box tests. In this situation, penetration testers will have some information about your internal and external IT infrastructure.
This model mimics those attacks where bad characters (either insider or outsider) breach the system with limited access rights. This method will reveal vulnerabilities and recognize flaws in both your inside and outside systems.
Key Benefits of Security Audits and Penetration Tests
Regular security audits and penetration tests play a crucial role in improving the security of enterprise systems and networks. It’s a proactive approach to remain one move ahead of cybercriminals because you’re constantly conducting a thorough risk assessment of your IT infrastructure.
Security audits and penetration tests also allow security teams to concentrate on high-severity vulnerabilities and verify the security tools applied by the organization. This method also features application-level security concerns to both development and administration teams.
Conducting both security audits and penetration tests can improve your organization to save money while assuring business continuity.
In fact, it’s a sensible approach to handle and respond to vulnerabilities to make sure compliance while managing brand value, brand fame, and consumer loyalty.