Just a cursory look at the cybersecurity statistics will show that data breaches are sky-rocketing year on year. Even organizations that have made investments in website security and follow all the security best practices face a certain amount of risk. This is because attackers are becoming more sophisticated and attacks more lethal. Unless the organization is proactively working to tighten and toughen up security, their investments in security will not pay off. This is where website security audits play a critical role.
Reliable web application security audits are imperative for organizations to effectively assess their overall security structure. In this article, we dig deeper into why you should conduct web security audits.
What is a Website Security Audit?
A website security audit is the systematic evaluation of an organization’s security measures and protocols used to protect its IT infrastructure. It assesses the performance of the security systems and protocols employed by the organization against a set of established criteria. It validates the security posture and tells the organization if the security measures conform to the pre-established criteria. Security audits must be conducted on a regular basis for the continued protection of data and mission-critical assets.
A thorough application security audit typically tests the security of the web system’s entire infrastructure. It looks for security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, loopholes, and misconfigurations using a combination of static and dynamic code analysis, business logical flaw testing, configuration tests, and so on.
What Does Website Security Audit Assess?
Typically, web application security audits assess the following:
- Server settings
- User practices
- Data and access related items
- Information handling processes
- Hardware and software configurations
- SSL connections
- Third-party components
- Email, etc.
The audit tests each of the above against past and potential future risks. For this to be done effectively, the security team conducting the audit must be well-versed and updated on the latest security trends and measures taken by other organizations to respond to threats.
Steps in Web Security Audits
- An automated scan of all the above-mentioned parts of the IT infrastructure to list all vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and loopholes present in the website and the security infrastructure. Intelligent vulnerability scanners such as Indusface WAS are extremely useful.
- Based on the threats identified through step 1 and the website’s complexity, penetration testing is conducted. The exploitability and severity of the vulnerabilities are assessed. Penetration testing must be done manually by trusted security experts.
Why Should You Conduct Web Application Security Audits?
Saves Financial Resources and The Brand Image
Data breaches and cyber-attacks cause massive financial and reputational damage. They even lead to the shutting down of organizations. Web application security audits enable businesses to proactively identify security weaknesses and resolve them.
Validate the Security Posture
These audits provide the best way to validate the security systems used by the organization. It verifies all security strategies and methods used by the organization and gives a clear picture of whether they are working or not.
Gain the First Mover Advantage Against Hackers
Reliable web security audits list out all known vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, loopholes, security weaknesses, and gaps present in the IT infrastructure. They also detect malware and website defacements. Further, they throw light on business logic flaws and other unknown vulnerabilities. By identifying these proactively, organizations can take steps to fix or secure them before the attackers find and exploit them.
Uncover Threats Facing Your Website
Website security audits go beyond scanning. They also equip organizations with insights on the exploitability and severity of each of the vulnerabilities, as well as the potential consequences of a successful exploit. Further, these audits enable organizations to prioritize and focus on high-risk, high-severity issues. This is critical for both development and management teams.
If the organization belongs to a highly regulated industry, then engaging in application security audits is also a matter of compliance. Frameworks such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOX, etc. require regular security audits.
Identify and Resolves Issues in Security Policies and Protocols
Auditors identify issues in the organization’s security policies, protocols, and standards through the audit process. They inform about issues affecting the security and effectiveness of the IT system. This way, organizations make necessary changes to policies and practices, thus fortifying their security posture.
Examine the Flow of Data within the Organization
Security audits map out data flow within the organization and review technology and processes related to anti-data breach measures. This enables organizations to ensure that no data is lost, stolen or tampered with.
The Way Forward
Cyber-attacks are costly and delays in identifying security weaknesses only increase the costs. Employ regular and reliable web security audits to proactively protect your website, save precious resources and ensure business continuity.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Indusface authored by Ritika Singh. Read the original post at: https://www.indusface.com/blog/why-should-you-audit-your-website-for-security/