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Cybersecurity is an area that’s constantly shifting and evolving. As technology continues to move forward,  there are more advanced options for cybersecurity criminals, so companies should always be on the offensive to combat these threats. It’s essential to routinely review security policies and procedures and adopt them whenever necessary.

A cybersecurity audit is an effective way for your business to stay ahead of the curve and remain protected. When done effectively, you can better understand your business’s strengths and weaknesses and implement strategies to improve shortcomings. Just remember to be thorough throughout the process. Cutting corners can leave your business exposed and hurt you in the long run.

Below are the key areas your business should consider reviewing when conducting a cybersecurity audit.

Review Current Risk Mitigation Policies

A business can only go so far as the people who operate it. An overwhelming majority of data breaches boil down to one element: human error. Most individuals like to believe they could never fall for a cyber attack. But the truth is, it can happen to anyone at any time. It’s important to remember that it just takes one employee to cause a breach. When reviewing your cybersecurity policies, ask yourself:

  • Does my team know how to spot cyber attacks, such as phishing emails, malware attacks, watering-hole attacks, etc.?
  • Do they understand remediation steps if they realize a breach occurred?
  • Do they understand the procedures if they suspect someone is targeting them?
  • Do you think additional cybersecurity education would be beneficial?
  • Are your employees connected to a secure network while working remotely?
  • What are employees’ defined roles and how do I ensure they keep themselves and the business protected?

Every employee should have a basic competency on best cybersecurity practices and how to spot and report threats. Mandatory cybersecurity training should be an integral part of the onboarding process, and you should implement regular cybersecurity training courses to ensure your employees are up to speed on the latest threats.

Additionally, you should evaluate your current cybersecurity policies and fine-tune them to best represent your business needs and goals. These include:

  • Device Usage Policy: Employees should have a clear understanding of which devices they can use for business. For IT purposes, we recommend that your employees use business-assigned devices only and should avoid personal devices.
  • Acceptable Use Policy: An acceptable use policy specifies what is acceptable behavior while connected to a business network or using a business device. It could encompass everything from what employees post on social media to which websites they can access to how they communicate with vendors, business partners, customers, etc.
  • Remote Access Policy: With the rise of remote workforces, it’s a necessity to have clear remote access policies in place. For instance, employees should never leave business devices unattended while online. We also recommend having a VPN installed on all business devices to ensure safe connection on home or public networks.
  • Access Control Policy: These policies establish who has access to sensitive information or who can access specific parts of the business network. It should also outline the protocols for granting or provoking access privileges.
  • Incident Report Policy: These policies outline how to report or remediate security incidents. Having formal procedures in place is essential to mitigate risks and remedy damage if a data breach occurs. Cybersecurity training plays a pivotal role in your incident report policies.
  • Software Update Policy: All business devices must be up to date with the latest software to ensure the best protection. These updates could be implemented automatically or by the employee. There should be clear communications on software updates and their importance to ensure timely implementation.

Evaluate Essential Business Equipment

Every piece of equipment has a lifecycle. As hardware ages, it becomes less reliable and more prone to failure. What was once state-of-the-art eventually becomes a liability. Software updates are essential to maximizing a product’s viability. But at a certain point, all technology must be replaced with newer iterations. You should evaluate critical hardware components, such as:

  • Processors
  • Servers/ Data Centers
  • Monitors/Laptops
  • Printers
  • Smartphones/Tablets
  • Modems/Routers

Some hardware can last up to ten years, but most pieces of equipment need to be replaced every five years. However, hardware performance is not universal and can rely heavily on the industry, the product itself, and other market factors. It’s important to evaluate hardware performance at least once a year to determine any critical issues or failures.

Failure to update hardware could create serious problems for your business and employees. The five-year timeframe is a general rule of thumb. If you notice equipment issues, you want to address them quickly. You may not even notice an issue until it causes significant harm, which is why it’s important to evaluate business equipment regularly.

Assess Network Security Standards

As businesses grow and change over time, network security needs do too. The more devices connected to a network, the more bandwidth a business needs. Not enough network bandwidth will slow your entire business down. It’s vital to assess your business’s bandwidth usage during an audit to determine current and future needs.

A slow network can also make it difficult to address cybersecurity concerns. When every second counts, the last thing you want is a slow response time due to a lagging network. A cybersecurity audit can be a huge undertaking. But partnering with a cybersecurity expert can save you time and money when evaluating your current and future network security needs.

Vector Security Networks has the experience and expertise to ensure your network security never becomes a liability. We can run a full diagnostic on your network security infrastructure and provide you with key insights to move your business forward. If you like to learn more, feel free to contact us today.