6 Things You Should Have On Your Network Audit Checklist
6 Things You Should Have On Your Network Audit Checklist

Network security is a big concern for many institutions in today’s world. Businesses are wary of having their systems broken into by malicious actors. So they invest a lot of money in tools and strategies meant to keep their networks safe.

The best way to take on the threat from vulnerable networks is to plug those vulnerabilities. But you won’t be able to do this unless you know how to find those loopholes. You will want a clearly defined, stepwise procedure for identifying issues with the network and fixing them quickly.   

That’s what a network audit checklist affords you. You can document the screening process for your networks, and note the steps that need to be taken. The aim here is to make sure every possible weak point is examined. The more items on that list you’re able to tick as completed, the fewer the sources of risk you don’t know about.      

Network audits aren’t just about spotting security lapses. They could also help you find out why your network is slow or coverage is patchy.

If you are drawing up a network audit checklist, you should include these five things and make sure to check on them.

1. Network Vulnerabilities

There are many possible points through which malicious actors could break into your networks. You want to fix the gaps in those points before anyone exploits them. Some of the things you should be checking are the devices on your network, third party applications, and the strength of passwords being used on the network.

Another concern will be the means of access to your private WiFi. See if external devices can get into your main WiFi networks.  Scan all possible access points, including those on bands other than what your company uses.

Penetration tests (also called ‘pen testing’) offer network engineers a way to ascertain the weak points in the network setup. Here, you make a mock attempt at hacking into your own systems and devices (ethical hacking). If they hold up against your attempts, they pass the test. If they don’t, you’ll have to fix the weaknesses exposed by the test.

Your checklist for network vulnerabilities should include a procedure for conducting penetration tests.       

2. Bandwidth Issues

If your bandwidth isn’t adequate to carry the data that your devices take in and give out, your network performance will be slower than it should be.

Know how your network is sharing your bandwidth across its various points. Find out what devices are consuming the most bandwidth. Ascertain whether users or hardware are taking up more data than they should be doing. If you find instances where resources could be used more efficiently, come up with a plan that can make this happen.

The focus here is freeing up clogged channels so that data transmission is quickened, and overall network speeds improve. 

3. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy

Perhaps your organization allows its staff to use their own devices at work. This could mean that they connect these devices to your network, to access files, and collaborate on projects. However, you can’t always be sure that their devices are as secure as you hope they would be.

If employees' systems are vulnerable, those systems could become conduits through which malware or malicious actors can get into your networks.

That’s why you should make a review of your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy part of your network audit process. And if you don’t already have a policy guiding this, be sure to draw one up. Your employees should know how to connect safely to your networks.

You probably need to track the effects of non-company devices linking to your networks. Network monitoring software could help in this regard.

4. Data and File Security

Where do you or your employees keep sensitive data? Are those storage points safe? And who you should have access to your organization’s sensitive information?

A data and file security audit should help you answer these questions. This audit should begin with a reversal of folder settings to ‘private.’ This should be followed by a review of the trustworthiness of the persons in your organization, and whether they must have access to high-value data. You can reassign access to persons who meet your trust and relevance criteria.

Ideally, only devices configured for authentication by the network security apparatus should be able to get into the company’s files. The screening post of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is also a must.

You should store sensitive data in encrypted folders, away from regular data.

5. Network Infrastructure Challenges

Audit the components of your network infrastructure: cables, switches, access points, firewalls, etc.

There are two ways to test software that deals with sensitive information: static testing and dynamic testing. Static tests examine the code of the software program while it’s not running. Active tests involve checking software code for vulnerabilities while it’s running.

Another thing you need to have is a network map. It’s a visual representation of the devices on your network and how they are connected. With it, you can tell where problems with network traffic could be coming from, and quickly act to fix them.

6. Network Activity Logging Process

Sometimes, a potential vulnerability could be missed due to an inefficient network activity logging process, or if there’s no logging process at all.

You can correct this lapse by setting up a network activity logging process. You could also outsource security incident and events management to a managed IT service firm such as Layer3.

Final Words

If you want to protect your data and files and keep your networks in the best shape, a network audit checklist is a tool you should have. With it, you can spot looming problems in your networks and fix them before they cause you to lose your data, files, and money.

Layer3 is helping companies in various industries secure their networks. Besides providing expert advice, it also manages their network infrastructure so they can devote more time to their core business.

If you would like Layer3 to help you with managing and securing your networks, click here to contact us.  

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