Will your network pass a security audit?

Dec 6


Michael Bruck

Michael Bruck

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

It is a ... fact that in the ... world ... ... do exist that allow ... ... to networks and provide the ability to disrupt business


It is a well-known fact that in the Internet-connected world network
perimeter vulnerabilities do exist that allow unauthorized individuals
access to networks and provide the ability to disrupt business continuance.
Well-prepared companies do know about many of these vulnerabilities and
they correct them whenever appropriate. However,Will your network pass a security audit? Articles there are a large number
of new, as well as older vulnerabilities that the average company is just
not aware of. If these vulnerabilities are known, companies usually, and I
emphasize usually, allocate resources to them. Unfortunately, too many
companies either do not have the resources to track such security-related
matters or do not have the trained internal personnel to allocate towards
identifying and remediating the vulnerabilities. Obviously knowing about
or being able to detect the vulnerabilities is half the battle, but not
acting on the known issues for any reason is almost a guarantee to lose the

An alarming fact is that many companies do not prioritize information
security because it does not generate revenue for the company. However, as
we have seen in the headlines and trade journals, the lack of a proper
security program can and does affect the bottom line. Some organizations
are now investing larger budget dollars and resources into information
security, and they’re starting by assessing their present level of risk
with an audit. If your company relies on the Internet and was one of vast
number that missed the vulnerability used by the Code Red virus, you know
how the lack of an active security program can affect the bottom line. In
addition to unknown vulnerabilities, there are many stories of technicians
performing routine network maintenance and unintentionally leaving credit
card database or other proprietary information open for would be hackers.
Finding the vulnerabilities in your environment is vital to the success of
your security program, but knowing how to prioritize and perform proper
remediation is often impossible without properly trained personnel. Lets
concentrate on the value of the audit process and deliverables for a

Whenever we think of audits, the first thing that comes to mind is the
financially related IRS visit. They are looking for holes in the integrity
of income and expense reporting for individuals and companies. These
audits are required because if the system, in this case the tax system, has
enough vulnerabilities, then the whole system fails. The audit acts as the
police to either deter the vulnerabilities or find them so they can be
eventually removed. Removing vulnerabilities in your information network is
just as key, but can you find them, which are important, and how do you
remove them efficiently. Much like the IRS audits, finding information
network security vulnerabilities requires a trained professional. Most
commonly, the security professionals trained in auditing are full time
in-house employees of only the largest companies. For the majority of
companies who want thorough periodic audits, this requires the use of
outside security experts as the most cost-effective choice. Outsourcing to
security professionals offers many advantages over in-house testing, such
as having a team of experts dedicated to current security matters, armed
with proven best practices or entire methodologies, and equipped with a
suite of security auditing products instead of a single commercial tool.

Companies must also consider the value of the audits deliverables/results.
Deliverables must not only detail all of the current vulnerabilities, but
also prioritize what issues are important, document proven methodologies
for remediating the vulnerabilities, and provide cost-effective methods to
mitigate the risk. The majority of companies cannot afford to maintain the
staff and application software necessary to conduct an audit at this level.
Even those companies that do have such a significant security budget often
use an outsourced firm to validate their own efforts.

Some additional benefits of a professional outsourced audit are: recording
an objective baseline and changes on a periodic basis, having a trusted
security partner to turn to as issues arise, and the ability to meet
industry requirements for objective third-party auditing. For those
companies outsourcing audits as a secondary check, it also assists in
justifying security budgets, by validating the current security-related

Although it was mentioned that companies are sometimes challenged with
prioritizing security matters, based on our own experience there is a trend
with technology executives, to place a higher priority on network security.
The newfound emphasis applies to both internal and external audits and
really comes into play with those companies that have a great reliance on
the Internet and business continuance.

Finding all of your vulnerabilities is increasingly difficult without a
full suite of auditing tools, but remember, finding the vulnerabilities is
only half the battle. In order for audit deliverables to be truly
effective they have to include professional feedback on what issues are
important, remediation efforts detailed and prioritized, as well as
describe how all of the effort and expense will affect the level of risk.

If you feel your systems environment could pass a security audit, but haven
’t had one, our experience shows you might be surprised by a failing grade.
If you have had an audit and the vulnerabilities were exposed, hopefully
you have an action plan you are utilizing to eliminate the vulnerabilities.
Once the action plans are complete, you might consider outsourcing your
next audit to validate your efforts.

Article "tagged" as: