What is a Network Security Assessment and the Different Types

Network Security Assessments

Cybersecurity: Security Assessment / Audits

The United States is seeing a dramatic increase in cyber threats. Most recently Walmart, Orbitz, the City of Atlanta, CDOT, various Healthcare facilities and many more have fallen victim to cyber attacks. To do business in the modern age, businesses must be connected and the speeds at which data is transferred and networks communicate have pushed limits; however, cyber security and data protection have not kept pace. This is mainly due to complexity, lack of talent, and lack of awareness. Check out 2018 biggest Data Breaches –  Hacks

Another good read is cybercrime diary – hacks by QTR-  2019 has  some High profile data breaches and new stories during the first three months of the year including compromise of Toyota, Wendy’s payoffs,  Nieman Marcus and Facebook now acknowledges it has been storing the passwords of hundreds of millions of users on the company’s servers without encryption. It adds that that no passwords were leaked and the company has found no indication the sensitive data was improperly accessed.

At the core of the issue is cyber awareness or lack thereof, and the awareness system is riddled with complacency. Businesses are slow to react and many smaller businesses opt out all together, hoping to fly under the radar. Network Security Assessment methods that once were considered best practice are now critically outdated, slow and complex, not taking into consideration that cyber security is a moving target. 3rd Party Risk Managers have the greatest challenge of ensuring their world of connected vendors/ suppliers are implementing modern, up-to-date cyber security strategies.

Step up or step aside. The IRS recently issued a warning to tax professionals to “step up” their cyber security to prevent sensitive taxpayer information from being stolen. CPA firms, large and small, are being targeted by hackers and identity thieves, especially during the high traffic tax season.

For an accounting firm or any firm for that matter to truly “step up” their cyber security, it requires 3 key components. The first and most important is becoming aware. The mentality that “we are all set” is not the right perspective in today’s world, but unfortunately prevalent. The second element is being able to identify gaps and vulnerabilities quickly. The third is the ability and the desire to fix the problems-developing ongoing management of the issues. Some of the smaller firms will no doubt opt out of cyber security awareness all together. For the companies that decide cyber security is a priority, complexity and broken legacy methods still prevail.

A network security assessment is an audit designed to review a set of cybersecurity controls measuring the effectiveness of a company’s policies, procedures safeguards that are in place.   Ultimately, the main purpose of a network security assessment is to ensure that critical data, devices and networks remain safe and secure and cannot be exploited by malicious intentions,  both internally and externally.

In addition, if your company is required to follow compliance frameworks such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and more, conducting regular  network security assessments is critical.

The typical legacy approach assessment can last 3 to 6 months until the tested environment receives any useful data. However, Modern Day Security assessments can be agile, taking into account that the threat landscape is continuously evolving and a client’s network must have real-time vulnerability information or they risk exploits of the system.

External vulnerability and comprehensive compliance checks throughout the assessment life-cycle are also important,  so companies can see results instantly, keeping pace with the current threat landscape. Compliance control frameworks that might be measured in the process could  include GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, NIST, SOX, and COBIT.

Maturity tracking, IT Security Policy Review, Critical Security Controls, Internal Active Vulnerability and Advanced Manual Penetration Testing are typically delivered in a tiered security assessment. Complete Remediation Support and Vulnerability Management, One-click Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) (such as Rubrik), are also important components of next-generation solutions  designed to protect and defend a organization’s networks, data, and clients.

Types of Network Security Assessments:

  • Enterprise Security Risk Assessment

This is a comprehensive study of the hosts, networks, applications, environmental controls, as well as policies and procedures. This service is a full engagement and is generally based on NIST 800-30 however can be tailored to any preferred methodology for risk management. The assessment normally includes techniques from the other listed assessments and is designed to be a thorough security examination of your environment. Risks are quantified and categorized based on the threat level and likelihood of occurrence. The risks are arranged in a matrix report and risk management is defined in a qualitative method. Remediation reports are developed based on these methods and include suggested paths to eliminate or reduce the risk exposure.

  • Security Gap Assessment

This is an assessment based on the SANS Institute – CIS Critical Security Controls 6.1.

These controls are a recommended set of actions for cyber defense that provide specific and actionable ways to stop today’s most pervasive and dangerous attacks. A principal benefit of the Controls is that they prioritize and focus a smaller number of actions with high pay-off results. The Controls are effective because they are derived from the most common attack patterns highlighted in the leading threat reports and vetted across a very broad community of government and industry practitioners. The assessment measures a company’s security posture against the recommended practices and provides remediation steps to achieve compliance with the controls. In addition, the security assessor will provide best practice recommendations for any security concerns discovered within the environment outside of the controls.

  • Vulnerability Assessment

The vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying possibly exploitable vulnerabilities within the network (wired and wireless), servers, web application, physical security and endpoints/workstations. Vulnerabilities are identified through the process of automated scanning, interviews, phishing attempts and on-site inspections. Vulnerability scans can be performed within the local network or externally evaluating publicly exposed systems. The vulnerability tests can be performed with or without credentials to assist in exposing potential risks from outside entities or insider threats. Any vulnerabilities identified through automated scanning are manually quantified by the security assessor. Remediation reports are provided that include suggested paths to eliminate or reduce the exposure of the vulnerabilities.

  • Penetration Testing

Penetration tests or “Ethical Hacking” use different methods in order to detect dangerous vulnerabilities within a particular application or network. During such processes a human will attempt to manually find and exploit weaknesses of a network, application or device. The penetration test aims to protect sensitive information by simulating the level of harm a bad-actor could potentially achieve, and then providing the steps to fix the issues.  A penetration test is also called a pen test.

  • Compliance Assessment

Compliance assessments will provide an audit of the IT environment against specific compliance requirements of the company. These assessments are tailored to ensure compliance with needed regulatory security requirements associated with:

HIPAA                     NERC CIP

PCI DSS                  FERPA

GLBA                       SOX

About Redbot Security

At the core, Redbot Security identifies and re-mediates threats, risks and vulnerabilities, helping our customers easily deploy and manage leading-edge technology that protects and defends data, networks and customer information. Customers can quickly gain insight into potential threats and with Redbot Solutions-as-a-Service they are able to improve their security posture, remain in compliance and grow their business with confidence.

Not only do our solutions help the smaller to mid-sized business, our solutions help enterprise mitigate risk by first providing accurate cyber risk information that simplifies the current legacy process and removes inaccurate 3rd party risk self-assessments. Secondly, we are able to help validate and remediate connected vulnerabilities, strengthening the overall security posture of the Enterprise network.

Redbot Security

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