Why Network and Application Security Assessments Are Important

Why Your Network and Application Security Should Be Assessed

Understanding the potential vulnerabilities in your organization is critical for building a risk management program.

Mitigating security threats and utilizing preventative measures should be done in order to ensure that your network and applications are hardened and regularly assessed, which will allow you to identify risks and threats to your infrastructure before they become sources of attacks. The information gained from security assessments can be used to determine incident response protocols and to reveal how your business will hold up to an actual cyber-attack. By assessing and prioritizing the highest risks for remediation, you can ensure that the risk level of your organization is lowered and that your systems are hardened against potential threats.Security assessments are also important for any provider of goods or services in the IT industry, which often requires code review scans, penetration test reports and security assessments.  These are instrumental in proving that the company has gone through thorough security testing to ensure potential clients and partners that their systems and software are secure and safe to use. Without such security assessments, vendors will often have difficulty operating in the industry or find clients willing to work with them. A prime example is when Yahoo was breached due to not acting with due diligence to prevent cyber-attacks, resulting in Verizon Communications considering whether they should withdraw from a lucrative business deal with Yahoo.
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Why Do I Need An Assessment?

Security assessments provide critical details about vulnerabilities that exist in networks and applications that companies depend on to successfully operate. Assessment results can be used to:
  • Improve the security of your network
  • Improve the quality of your applications
  • Protect your sensitive data from being leaked
  • Prevent a breach from damaging the reputation of your company.

Software Security Assessments Catch Vulnerabilities Before Attackers Exploit Them

Potential vulnerabilities and security holes in corporate systems can remain unseen for years without being aware of them.

If malicious cyber-attackers discover these security holes before your business does they can surreptitiously create exploits, post-exploitation payloads, and even design backdoors and malware to completely cripple your systems, acquire long-term root access, bypass authentication, and break encryption. This can also result in data exfiltration, completely compromised systems, and damage to your reputation as a whole.Security assessments should be an integral part of any organization as they arm you with the important knowledge of potential security holes in your business systems. Once identified these holes can be patched, potential risks can be decreased, threats can be mitigated, and your business can rest assured that cyber-criminals will be unable to exploit the vulnerabilities that you already discovered and fixed.Security assessments are necessary as a measure to prevent cyber-attacks and as a set of practices that help to create a better foundation for all of your systems. However, it is not just the security of your business infrastructure that is at stake, but the data therein that can compromise the privacy of your customers and of your business. The ensuing data leaks that can result from systems that have not been properly assessed can amount to significant lost revenue and dissatisfied customers. Identity theft is another significant concern that can affect your customers in the event of a data breach, which can cost significant amounts of money to repair.

Problems Such as Leaking Sensitive Data or Accidentally Spamming Your Contacts Can Be Prevented

In order for your company to operate as a professional entity within the ecosystem of your business industry - and in order to maintain good public relations - you must take steps to ensure that your company is protected with professional-grade security systems to negate data leakage and data breaches.Spam emails are another security issue that must be dealt with in order to ensure that your business operates professionally and in a way that keeps the trust of its customers. This can affect both current customers and future prospective customers who may be unwilling to do business with a firm that has gained a negative reputation. Despite the difficulties with fixing a data breach, it is more difficult to fix a damaged reputation. Hence, prevention of data leaks is always better than attempting to repair it after it has occurred. Security assessments are a major preventative measure that can keep your business safe and your systems hardened against future attacks.

The Public Relations and Legal Nightmare of a Data Leak is Preventable

The damage done to your reputation in the event of a data leak - and the ensuing legal crisis that you might face - is completely preventable. Problems relating to your public relations image, privacy laws that may affect your company in a court of law, and lawsuits that can result in loss of company revenue, are all issues that can result from a preventable cyber-attack.There are many legislative bodies that help to protect customer interactions with businesses, as well as privacy laws and federal guidelines that could impact your business in the event of a data breach. Certain laws and standards that may affect you in the event of a data breach, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS), Federal Sentencing Guidelines (that can fine firms up to $290 million if they do not take necessary steps to ensure the protection of their systems and the security training of their personnel), and laws in 47 states that require firms to notify individuals that have been affected by a company data breach. This requires expensive communication channels to be utilized to contact all of your customers. Thus, how a data breach is handled after the event can be just as pivotal as the data breach itself.To avoid the legal, PR, monetary and security nightmare that follows a breach, it is important for you to prevent data leakages, which can only be done when your systems are properly assessed and you are aware of all possible threats, risks and vulnerabilities

Once Data is Leaked it is Out, Nothing Will Recover the Information

Data breaches can be prevented by utilizing comprehensive security assessments. These assessments can save you from legal nightmares, damage to your reputation, and monetary loss. Building a reputation can take years for some firms, yet that work can be undone in a moment if due diligence is not done to prevent costly, damaging data breaches.The significant data breaches of many Fortune 500 systems offers more insights on how to prevent cyber-attacks by implementing better risk management protocols. Determining IT corporate assets in your company is a primary step in the efficient operation of a risk management program. After that, it is important to determine what risks and vulnerabilities could potentially threaten those corporate assets. Then determining - and implementing - security controls that can prevent cyber-attacks against those assets is the next step. This is the mitigation step to decrease the risks and threats against your IT assets. These steps can help to prevent a data breach by covering all attack surfaces while reducing risks to your corporate systems, which can prevent costly damage to your company in the form of a data leak.By hardening your corporate systems, even if a data breach does occur, you are generally protected from the legal ramifications through proof of due diligence which can help to keep your reputation intact and assist with rebuilding your company's image for the future.

Regulatory and Compliance

Annual application security assessments can satisfy a number of regulatory and compliance laws:The Sarbanes - Oxley Act (SOX) requires every publicly traded company to annually assess the controls around its information security, including application development and maintenance.Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) - Require web applications to be both securely developed and maintained. Annual application security assessments must be performed by an outside organization which specializes in application security.Financial Regulations - Mandate that information security policies and risk management programs be implemented. Security training must also be provided to all employees. (e.g. Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, New Basel Capital Accord (Basel II) – Quantitative Standards, etc.)Federal Sentencing Guidelines - Small businesses and organizations are regulated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which hold senior executives accountable for failing to use due diligence with their information security responsibilities. Corporate wide security policies and providing proof of due diligence and due care, which includes application security assessments, can avoid fines up to $290 million.

What Do I Need?

We provide a full range of services:

Source Code Security Assessment

Secure source code reviews are a critical checkpoint in the secure software development life cycle. Secure source code reviews are the first line of defense against deploying vulnerabilities into your development and production environments. They should be performed on a regular basis by application security experts.Source code reviews are capable of identifying vulnerabilities not found in other types of assessments, such as:
  • Insecure password storage
  • Poor cryptography practices
  • Hard-coded credentials.
Our source code reviews use a variety of tools and techniques to discover vulnerabilities within your applications including Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and manual source code review. Our experts can support many different languages and platforms including Java EE, ASP.NET, MVC, C#, VB.NET, Spring, HTML5, AJAX, Python, PHP, Classic ASP,VB 6, and Cold Fusion.
METHODOLOGY
Static Application Security Testing
Manual Code Review
Results Validation
Application Security Assessment Report