An IT professional, especially a cybersecurity professional at any level of an organization, knows the absolute importance of creating a system that is free from vulnerability and able to work without a cybersecurity threat looming over it. This means that you need to prepare your system against just about everything, and the only way to do that is to know every potential vulnerability.
This is why you need to do a regular (preferably quarterly) cybersecurity checkup that handles every aspect of your network and system. This isn’t necessarily an easy process and will take time and resources, but the complex requirements are well worth the efforts. After doing a checkup, you will be able to better allocate cybersecurity resources and train staff with increased efficiency. It is a vital process for the integrity of your system.
Here are some of the main tests and analyses you will want to make when you are performing a security review of systems for both yourself and your organization:
Double Checking the Basics
Any cybersecurity effort should start with the basics, regardless of the assumptions that you might have about your team or settings. While a professional may have implemented basic tools and measures as part of an initial plan or set of policies regarding the system, those guidelines may not always be followed.
Check on the following to err on the side of caution: check to see if simple firewalls and cybersecurity suites are being used on the system; make sure that the settings of those tools have not been intentionally or unintentionally tampered with; be sure that strong verification measures are being used; ensure strong password use; deploy a VPN for those seeking mobile access to your network.
Giving your system a full and professional cybersecurity checkup will involve penetrating testing. While some may associate it with software, your system needs an active test to see if hackers can get in. Your organization is much better off having a friendly hacker access your system files than a trial by fire method of learning.
How you decide to implement penetration testing will depend heavily on the size of your system and the size of your organization. If you have more time than you do resources, it is probably best if you handle it yourself, otherwise it may be best to hire a contractor or firm who specializes in penetration testing.
Web Filtering and Network Protection
A system needs to not only protect any way of getting in the front door, but also make sure that invited guests do not cause any problems. Web filtering is your blacklist, and due to the constantly changing nature of the internet with new threats popping up every day, you can never be certain about what might infect and what might be inappropriate for your system.
At roughly the same time, you should be checking on your network protection settings. As inconvenient as it may be to some, as the person responsible for the system, you cannot tolerate any lax measures. These settings are your way to affect the entire system and organizational behavior without being omnipresent. If you are going to adjust them, err on the side of caution. You can adjust for ease of use later, but if you leave yourself open by erring on the side of convenience, you can find your system under attack.
The Human Factor
When it comes to the day-to-day defense of your systems, you have a lot more to fear from other people and negligent organization members than you do hackers thousands of miles away spending night and day trying to crack your top-notch cybersecurity measures. In fact, human error accounts for the vast majority of data breaches, the numbers often ranging from 80%-90% depending on the study. Hackers know that the weakest person with access to your system is the only thing they need to target.
While a social engineering scan and test might be a part of your penetration test process, a general review of your processes is in order just as much as a review of the technical aspects of cybersecurity. Try to do a double-blind test and see how your organization reacts to a flash drive appearing in a parking lot. Get inside the head of a cyber-criminal and ask yourself how would they manipulate your organization. Every system is different, so tailor training materials and tests to your own needs.
Attack Vector Analysis
Related to the previous sections but deserving of a special mention is performing an attack vector analysis as part of your cybersecurity checkup. While a penetration test will tell you possible breach points, you need to determine where your system is weakest in general and where you need to spend your time. If you see a trend or a major vulnerability in an aspect of your plan, it might inspire you to rewrite that plan to fight against modern threats.
Are people or even specific teams or employees the weakest link in the cybersecurity of your system? As time goes on, these specific measures may change, but the principles of quality and thoroughness in your work will not. The investments of time and energy hackers make into getting the information you need to protect will only increase over time. It is only right that you match that effort with your own vigilance so that your organization does not need to concern itself with an eventual cyber-attack.