8 Important Ways Information Security Assessments Help SMBs: Part 2

This is the second part of our 2 part post on how security assessments can save SMBs from cyber criminals by addressing their IT security weaknesses.

In the first installment, we looked at how security assessments help your business by:

  1. Assessing how easily your employees fall for phishing schemes
  2. Pinpointing weak & unsafe password practices
  3. Identifying faults in handling physical data & devices
  4. Identifying which software & hardware need updates or patches

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The next 4 points will continue to build on how information security assessments find ways to improve your company’s security when they:

  • Test your employees’ knowledge on IT security threats
  • Audit your technology to ensure it can to fend off cyber attacks

Here are reasons 5 to 8 how IT security assessments help your company:

5. Increase security of physical data centers

There are many types of security threats to physical data centers

Through a  security assessment, an MSSP can find areas of improvement for your SMB’s physical data centers. Data centers are prone to security threats somewhat different than your typical cyber attack, such as physical break-ins.

But there are several elaborate attacks that cyber criminals can launch to attack your physical data center from computers. These increasingly popular attacks usually take the angle of:

  • Accessing your data by disrupting your servers
  • Slipping by your security with encrypted or hidden attacks
  • Unleash massive data breaching onslaughts by using bots

Shield your data center from threats in your physical & cyber environment

Scanning your data center location for security flaws will shed light on building adjustments and data backup resources your company needs. Combined with high-grade encryption the MSSP may suggest, these measures will protect your company data from storm-related power outages to full-scale cyber attacks, such as:

  • Redundant utilities
  • Two-factor authorization
  • Secure ventilation
  • Limited entry points
  • Security cameras

6. Examine employee internet behavior & shadow-IT practices

Your employees risk your data’s safety by using undocumented tools

Since worldwide cloud spending has nearly doubled in the last 4 years, it’s frightening to see that about 40% of all IT spending occurs outside of the IT department. That means SMB’s employees are purchasing software or hardware not authorized by IT or documented in their IT plans.

Though your employees may be incorporating new software applications in their day-to-day that boost productivity, any applications under IT’s radar invite data breaches. There’s no way of monitoring when security patches are needed or detecting data breaches when the software tools are undocumented.

Audit your company’s software tools & establish rules for usage

The MSSP’s information security assessment should examine the tools your employees use every day and address:

  • Are employees following best practices when using the authorized software?
  • Are employees able to access only the data they’re allowed?
  • Are they using unauthorized software tools that could compromise your company data?

By pinpointing applications used without IT’s consent, you can prevent data from slipping onto unmonitored, and therefore, unsecured software. Software authorized by IT departments will be protected by security protocols to ensure it’s safe in the hands of your employees.

7. Check HR’s procedures for account accesses

Lacking onboarding & offboarding procedures put data in the wrong hands

Onboarding, updating, and terminating employee account accesses need to be carefully documented. Otherwise, current employees or past employees can access company information they shouldn’t be authorized to see.

Connect with human resources to see if there’s a side to their onboarding and offboarding processes that address account accesses. If there’s none in place, it could mean employees could have been fired without having their data access disabled. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to use unauthorized accesses to harm your company.

Create employee access protocols with HR & IT input

A security assessment will help gauge if your company’s HR procedures need more feedback from IT to better consider IT security best practices.

Having HR protocols that consider data security will ensure no ex-employees can come back and harm company data or use it for other malicious purposes. It will also keep current access grants in check, so you know current employees can only see the appropriate company data.

8. Assess need for Security Event Tracking

Cyber attacks can sneak under the radar

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a holistic dashboard of your company data that filters potential incoming security threats that can easily slip under the radar before they blow up on the forefront.

Consider the following scenario:

Your company’s SIEM system finds you successfully logged into your email at 10:00 AM from Philadelphia, but then it finds another successful login at 10:03 AM from Los Angeles. There haven’t been any suspicious, failed login attempts. There’s no objective way of detecting whether your mailbox is under attack in this situation, but it’s obvious something isn’t right. The SIEM software will provide a real-time security analysis of security alerts set off by suspicious situations, such as successful logins from 2 places across the country.

Catch sneaky cyber attacks with SIEM

With the help of an MSSP’s security assessment, you can analyze the suspicious account activity and decide if the number of questionable incidence call for SIEM implementation. Events are tracked and handled on the back end in SIEM without you or your employees having to worry about it. With this tracking, you can make informed decisions on how to distribute your IT security budget to protect your company data.

Security assessments strengthen your company’s IT security

The odds are your company’s IT security has vulnerable areas you would want to be patched if you knew what they are, where they are, and how to fix them. An MSSP will be able to advise where to invest in IT security fixes after they perform an information security assessment of your company.

Don’t treat the information security assessment as a one time deal that will forever rid your company of all its cyber security problems: it isn’t. It should become a regular practice as technology evolves more and more. You will reap the benefits of having employees who can alert the company of attempted cyber attacks, having regimented technology updates, and realizing that strengthening cyber security is now inseparable from running a business that thrives.