One of the biggest security risks in information technology is the unknown. Most security breaches occur in the weak spots IT professionals are unaware of — after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. The best way to identify security gaps is an in-depth security assessment. Handled internally or performed by an independent security consultant or outside firm, a security assessment can move your security plan from a tactical to strategic. Over time, this can save your company significant money, as funds can be spent on prevention techniques rather than reactive fixes to security breaches.
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An effective security review should focus on these six types of threats:
1. Web Attacks
Web attacks are those scams and tricks targeted at people browsing the Internet. Web threats must be accessed and activiated by the victim, usually through a web browser. These attacks often require tricking one of your employees in order to be successful. Social media is a common target, with Twitter hacks being a prime example.
2. Network Threats
Perhaps the most commonly talked about threat in information security, network threats typically come from the internet or other untrusted networks and require control of your network traffic.
3. Application Control
Application control is also known as firewalls. It’s a system for controlling applications that may introduce vulnerabilities to your computer system. With application control, you can limit the types of appplications that are allowed to function on your network. However, security threats do arise when attackers break through.
4. Data Loss
Data loss is a company’s worst nightmare. Most system data is combination of sensitive internal information and custodial information that is being stored on behalf of clients and customers. If control over this information is lost, competitors can gain advantages or customers can leave. In worst case scenarios, there can also be hefty fines from regulatory bodies.
An abbreviated term for “malicious software,: malware is often called a "virus,” “worm,” or “bot." Malware is software that gets installed on a computer specifically to damage a computer system.
Trust is a vital part of all organizations – trust between the company and it employees, its partners, its clients, its vendors, and its software. However, it can be abused. Identify where your trust relationships exist and what could happen if they are taken advantage of. This allows you to define a detection and response process and minimize the cost of a breach of trust.
Attaining a 100% security level is nearly impossible, but identifying and resolving common security weaknesses and creating procedures is a great defense agains security attacks. With an in-depth security assessment, a company can minimize vulnerabilities and maximize protection against security breaches. A good security review will have three components: an interview or questionaire, an analysis, and a recommended strategy.
Amy Stone blogs about information technology, incuding security, software, and productivity tools. For more information about security assessments, check out the security consulting services at RJS Smart Security.