Performing a self-audit

Before contacting an outside company to test your security, here are some things you can check on your own.

Performing a self-audit
Adesh Rampat

With all the threat hackers and disgruntled employees pose to information security, the network/security administrator is faced with a major security dilemma.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of organizations that perform information security auditing and vulnerability reporting. Performing an information security audit can help a network/security administrator properly manage information security.

The network/security administrator can however perform their own security audit before inviting a security firm to conduct one. The following covers some important areas the network/security administrator can look at:

  • The network/security administrator should pay attention to devices that are involved in the frontline of defense in security, such as firewalls (Refer to a previous article on firewall maintenance) and antivirus applications. Regular updates of antivirus engines are necessary.

  • Educate employees about passwords and the importance of protecting them (Refer to a previous article on securing passwords).
    Make sure that employee profiles are setup so that users are prompted to change their passwords periodically.

  • Review security logs on servers periodically (refer to a previous article on audit security).

  • Use built in security features that are provided in devices such as routers, firewalls and e-mail clients.

  • There are many security agencies that offer free updates to any new security threats that may exist. Registering to receive updates is important.

  • Never take things for granted. If someone sends you an e-mail informing you of a potential virus or security threat, investigate it.

  • Access to secured locations such as server rooms should be investigated. If, for example, access is granted via key code entry then this should be changed periodically.

About the author
Adesh Rampat has 10 years of experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association of Internet Professionals, the Institute for Network Professionals and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

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Related Book

White-Hat Security Arsenal: Tackling the Threats
Author: Aviel D. Rubin
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Published: June 2001
Summary:
A leading security authority provides a fresh problem-solving approach to security. This arsenal of security techniques provides an explanation of what the real threats are. Aviel Rubin covers every day security issues that every student should know as they move onto the real world -- e.g. secure data storage, secure data transfer, protecting a network perimeter, online interaction and commerce... each of these are broken down into specific problems and their solutions.


This was first published in July 2001

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