Cyberattacks have been on the rise for a number of years, with the pandemic bringing a sharp rise in incidents since 2020.
Because of this, many organizations find themselves asking if they need a network security audit in order to get a full understanding of their risks and vulnerabilities, or whether investing in cybersecurity software is enough in itself.
Today, we’re going to be looking at whether SMBs truly need to have a network security audit performed on their business.
What Is a Network Security Audit?
The purpose of a network security audit is to establish two things crucial to building a cybersecurity strategy: your vulnerabilities and your risks.
Both of these can be determined through vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, which are the backbone of a typical cybersecurity risk audit performed by a managed security service provider.
Related Post: What Happens During a Cybersecurity Risk Audit?
By getting an MSSP to conduct a cybersecurity audit of a network, businesses are able to get a clear breakdown of what is needed to protect it and what solutions they need.
What About SMBs?
It’s often the case that small- and medium-sized businesses neglect their cybersecurity; regularly for no other reason that they don’t think they are at risk or they think their current setup is adequate for today’s threats.
Both of these couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not only are SMBs uniquely vulnerable to attack compared to larger enterprise organizations, but they are additionally often lacking the tools to counter threats and breaches when they occur.
96% of SMBs believe their organizations are susceptible to attack and 71% say they are not prepared to cope with them.
When you consider that 43% of all cyberattacks target SMBs, it’s clear that unprepared companies need to do more to safeguard their networks.
What Are the Consequences of Being Breached?
When businesses do fall victim to cyberattacks, the effects can be devastating.
The costs of a data breach can often be insurmountable for organizations, with 93% of businesses who suffer a major data disaster going out of business within one year.
Then there’s the additional reputational harm.
To put it simply, consumers don’t like doing business with organizations that don’t appear to take their data security seriously, and this is quickly becoming a point of contention and a key competitive differentiator between companies.
Those businesses that can show that they take strong precautions with their customers’ sensitive information will be trusted a lot more than those that don’t.
Research suggests that 70% of consumers would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach, while 27% feel that businesses take their data security seriously.
This may seem obvious, but the fact remains that almost half of businesses prior to the pandemic had no cybersecurity defense plan in place at all, and one in five used no endpoint protection whatsoever.
What About Businesses That Already Have a Measure of Cybersecurity In Place?
Now that we’ve established the risks of what incurring a breach can be to a business, we should consider whether businesses today typically have a cybersecurity software stack capable of fending of attacks that cause them.
This is really what matters when it comes to determining whether a company needs a network security audit or not.
First of all, we should take a moment to lay out what will be covered by a quality cybersecurity program—in short; not just an antivirus solution.
Components of a Modern Cybersecurity Solution
The point of this section is to illustrate all the varying moving parts that make up a modern cybersecurity strategy.
Many businesses might install a next-gen antivirus solution and call it a day, but to counter the threats of today a more comprehensive approach is necessary.
- Perimeter security: These solutions act as a shield between your network and Internet. Solutions can include antivirus; firewall; intrusion detection; spam filtering; and VPN support.
- Endpoint protection: This stops devices connected to your network from becoming compromised and allowing attackers to gain entry to your wider systems.
- Information security: This prevents inadvertent data loss. An example of this would be data loss prevention (DLP) software, which determines where information is stored, who has access to it, and where it can be shared (if at all).
- Authentication protocols: These standards ensure that the people accessing your business data are who they say they are, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.
- Backup and disaster recovery (BDR): BDR makes sure you can retrieve lost data ASAP in the event of a breach so businesses can make a full recovery.
- Monitoring: These tools allow internal IT (or an MSSP) to monitor the network, providing visibility and looking out for any signs of suspicious activity.
Okay, So Do You Need a Network Security Audit or Not?
By demonstrating what makes up a quality cybersecurity program, you can get a sense of all the solutions that will cover your network security.
The question businesses should be asking themselves is; “To what extent do I need these solutions?”
The answer is impossible to guess, and an in-depth network security audit is the best way to uncover risks and vulnerabilities in order to understand what your cybersecurity plan should be focusing on and what solutions are necessary to fully protect the organization.
Not all businesses are the same: some may have a large remote workforce where it’s common for devices outside the office to be accessing company data or just simply having many endpoints connected to the network—for these companies it’s crucial that endpoint protection is deployed.
For other organizations, like those in the healthcare or financial industries, they will likely have to abide by strict data protection laws and regulations like HIPAA, in which case information security and authentication protocols will be top of the agenda.
Every business is different, and that’s the point of a network security audit—to uncover the unique risks and needs of an individual company.
Why Can’t Businesses Perform a Network Security Audit Themselves?
While many enterprise organizations have an internal IT team that covers their own cybersecurity, this is simply not a feasible option for the majority of SMBs.
Consider the positions you should expect from a cybersecurity team:
- Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA)
- Execute assessment tasks and curate/analyze resulting data
- Perform daily monitoring tasks for deployed cybersecurity solutions
- Cybersecurity Engineer (CSE)
- Responsible for final assessment solution implementation
- Cybersecurity Developer (CSD)
- Develop and maintain custom managed IT security (MITSec) assessment and pricing tools
- Work with the organization to improve and automate the MITSec process
- Compliance Manager
- Develop solutions and strategies to incorporate compliance into MITSec
- Define team members and services to address client compliance concerns
Hiring an in-house dedicated cybersecurity expert is not cheap, with salaries ranging upwards of $80,000. And that’s just one additional staff member—hiring an entire team can set back a small business several times that sum annually year.
It’s for this reason that so many businesses opt to use an MSSP.
Managed security service providers have the tools and expertise to carry out a full network security audit and recommend the necessary programs for your specific business needs.
The Bottom Line
If a business is uncertain about where they stand with their cybersecurity, it’s highly recommended for them to have a network security audit performed.
Having an audit will tell them what their primary risks and vulnerabilities are and which solutions should be deployed in order to address them.
What is needed in a cybersecurity stack varies from business to business, depending on their size, the makeup of their workforce, their industry, and a myriad of additional factors.
The only way to get a full understanding of an organization’s cybersecurity profile is by investing in a network security audit.
If you need cybersecurity but are unsure where to start, consider having a risk audit done by Impact. Get in touch today to get the ball rolling on securing your future.