By Sarah Morris
At KirkpatrickPrice, we strive to provide the proper assurance and resources to help our clients maintain security within their organization. Recently, we held a client webinar focused on the “Top Ten Security Risks” that your auditor finds during your auditing process. Below is a summary of the most common risks that we find.
1. No Formal Policies and Procedures
Formal guidelines of policies and procedures help provide your employees with clarity of what’s expected of them. They define the accountability for each employee and also establish necessary training. Information security policies are mandated by the FTC Safeguards Rule, PCI Data Security Standards, and the HIPAA Security Rule. This means they are mandatory.
Standards need to be applied consistently. Organizations should utilize benchmark configuration standards from a recognized entity such as: Center for Internet Security (CIS), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), SysAdmin Audit Network Security (SANS) Institute, and the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST).
3. No Formal Risk Assessment
Assessment should cover assets that are critical to your enterprise to continue business operations for the following: hardware, software, human resources, and processes (automated or manual). Some important things to consider when thinking about risk assessment are the threats to your assets as well as the likelihood of vulnerability being compromised. Threats can be both internal (employees or third party contractors or partners) as well as external (natural events or social engineering). Developing a proper risk assessment can help to mitigate potential risks that you face.
4. Undefined Incident Response
It is always important to have clear instructions on reporting procedures when determining incident response. It is suggested to build a culture within your work environment that encourages reporting of all incidents the moment they present themselves.
5. Lack of Disaster Planning
Disaster planning is important in a situation where written plans were available for others to follow in the event that key personnel are not available. A business impact analysis can help quantify what level of redundancy is required for disaster planning. Proactive arrangements should be made to care for the staff and to communicate with third parties. Walkthroughs and training scenarios can benefit organizations so employees are properly prepared in the event of a disaster.
6. Lack of Testing
The concept of testing applies to all areas of your security. If your security is not tested, there is no way to determine whether or not vulnerabilities are present.
7. Insecure Code
Developing secure coding is something we find lots of companies struggling with. To develop secure coding, training must be implemented as well as specific development standards and quality assurance.
8. Lack of Monitoring/Audit Trails
Log Harvesting, parsing, and alerting methods must be determined to efficiently deal with massive event logs. The responsibility for review must be formally assigned as part of daily operations. Audit trails should be stored in such a way that system administrators cannot modify without alerting someone with and oversight role.
9. Data Leakage
Some things we often forget are where the data is located and how long should it be retained? How is encryption implemented and verified? How is access to data granted and audited? These things are all very important, and if not corrected, can keep you from complying with federal and industry standards and regulations.
10. Lack of Training
A lack of training can prove to be a striking blow to the security of your organization. Employers should recognize the importance of properly training all employees on safety and security best practices. Standards and guidelines should be clearly set and determined in each organization. Several training opportunities are offered through KirkpatrickPrice to properly train you and your company on the basics of security awareness, awareness for managers, awareness for IT professionals, and awareness for credit card handling.
Determining your individual risks is the first step toward the mitigation process. Maximum security of your sensitive information is KirkpatrickPrice’s number one priority.
If you’re ready to get started with your assurance process, you’ve come to the right place. We’re ready to help. Let’s work together.
Sarah Morris is a technical writer for KirkpatrickPrice, a provider of world-class audit services. Visit www.kirkpatrickprice.com.