A computer gets attacked every 39 seconds on average. According to Fundera, 60% of small businesses that are victims of a cyberattack go out of business within six months. You’d have to be a little crazy or extremely confident in your network security not to gasp at those stats. In the new digital age, cybersecurity has never been more important. If you are worried that your IT infrastructure may be susceptible to an attack, you may want to perform a cybersecurity assessment or audit. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Set a Cybersecurity Baseline

Performing a cybersecurity audit is like roof or air conditioner maintenance; you need to do it regularly to make sure that everything is in proper working order. Every day, technology changes and hackers find new ways to penetrate network systems and software. Schedule a cybersecurity assessment at least once per year by an outside company. Once you have completed your first audit, you now have a baseline for future audits.

Step 2: Define Security Threats and List Assets

In order to perform an audit, you will first need to set the parameters and assets involved. Assets can include everything from digital equipment, sensitive customer or company information and any other aspect of your business that needs to be protected. Once you have focused your assessment on the most important items, it’s time to define potential security threats.

Here is a list of some of the more common threats a business may come across:

  • Phishing Attacks
  • Weak Passwords
  • Stolen Passwords
  • Employees Untrained in Cybersecurity Threats
  • DDos Breaches
  • Malware
  • Natural Disaster
  • Equipment Theft

With many businesses focusing on revenue right now, we don’t want any organization to face a setback due to cybercrime. To that end, we are offering a complimentary IT security assessment that includes a security risk report, consolidated security report card and an external vulnerability scan.

Step 3: Hire an Outside Auditor

The only way to truly assess your network security is through an outside IT company. Your internal team may be trustworthy and proficient, but they can sometimes miss something that an outside firm will catch.

Make sure you choose a company that has real experience assessing and protecting network security infrastructures. Be sure to provide your complete list of security procedures and system data as well as the focus you prefer for the audit. Once you have provided everything the outside firm needs, they can begin their audit.

Three Primary Assessments in a Cybersecurity Audit

Risk Report

The risk report contains issues detected during our security audit that indicates the general health of your network environment security and protocols. Based on a number of variables, we identify what vulnerabilities your network has with scores for each category. From dark web scans to internal and external vulnerabilities, the risk report will provide you with a snapshot of your security infrastructure. 

Consolidated Security Report Card

The Computer Security Report Card assesses individual computers at a high level based on various security criteria.  The report card should be viewed as a relative measure as to how well a computer complies with security best practices.  There may be specific reasons or compensating controls that may make it unnecessary to achieve an “A” in all categories to be considered secure.  

External Vulnerability Scan Detail Report

An external vulnerability scan allows us to put on the hat of a hacker. Performed outside of your network, our external scan detects potential vulnerabilities including open ports in your firewall or any other opening that could enable hackers to infiltrate your network.

Step 4: Review Audit and Make Necessary Adjustments

Once the reports have been discussed with you, your team should have a good idea of where the vulnerabilities and strengths are regarding your network security. You may need to rework processes and protocols to respond to those vulnerabilities.

Best Practices for Building Up Your Network Security

woman drawing on a clear board the elements of a fire walls from wall to servers it protects.

  • Set up a firewall to create a barrier between your data and any outside threats.
  • Backup your data as often as you can and use a separate saved location from where your data currently lives.
  • Install anti-malware and anti-virus software on all your systems.
  • Make sure your office, including home offices, connect to secure, encrypted and hidden Wi-Fi networks.
  • Regularly train and update your employees on how to identify phishing attacks and utilize safe password practices.
  • Use multifactor authentication whenever possible.
  • Document all cybersecurity policies and make them available to your employees. Make sure the plan includes all mobile devices like phones, wearable fitness trackers, smartwatches and anything else with wireless capabilities.

Concerned About Your End-to-End Security?

Next Horizon is a technology company that specializes in cybersecurity for small and mid-size businesses. With many businesses focusing on revenue right now, we don’t want any organization to face a setback due to cybercrime. To that end, we are offering a complimentary IT security assessment that includes a security risk report, consolidated security report card and an external vulnerability scan.

Sign Up for a Free Security Audit!

Next Horizon provides holistic technology solutions for businesses looking to improve sales, increase agility and optimize productivity. From deploying dedicated development teams to building bespoke business applications, Next Horizon uses its 40+ years of experience and award-winning talent to provide technical business solutions for its clients.

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