Whether it’s the ever-present threat of a cyber-attack, or the need to meet your data privacy obligations under GDPR, organizations are under growing pressure to protect their IT infrastructure and ensure that the tools they use are fit for purpose.
One of the most robust ways of achieving this is to run regular audits. These can help you to identify and address security vulnerabilities and poor coding practices, as well as ensuring you’re complying with agreed company, or industry, standards.
The instances of cyberattacks are increasing, and it’s not only large multinational corporations who are being targeted. A study by the digital association Bitkom puts the damage caused by data theft, espionage and sabotage at around 55 billion euros per year in Germany alone. For many businesses, it can be impossible to come back from this sort of financial and reputational damage.
Unfortunately, hackers are finding ever more creative ways to compromise your systems and applications, so – even if secure technologies such as end-to-end encryption are in place – you still need to be running audits.
This is especially true of your applications. While you may have run a security audit when you first procured the solution, if the vendor is releasing regular updates you need to assume that the code-base is changing (and potentially introducing new vulnerabilities).
Focus your internal teams on building a sustainable, secure IT infrastructure; but leave it to independent third-party auditors to check code and application vulnerabilities.
While you might feel you have the resource to do this yourself, the danger of “operational blindness” is great!
There are plenty of independent security auditors who can do this for you; and having independent certification in place for the tools and applications that you use across your business is a great way to demonstrate to clients and stakeholders that you take security, privacy, and the integrity of data seriously.
Don’t limit your audits to visible security vulnerabilities only. Think about quality assurance and code quality too.
From validating individual code segments, to reviewing an entire source code, this type of audit can help to identify undiscovered bugs and redundancies. In turn, this will promote the ongoing integrity and quality of software, so that future updates and enhancements can be implemented more efficiently and with less risk to your business.
Maintain security and quality over the long-term. Remember, infrastructure and code change all of the time; that’s their nature - which is why you can’t rely on an audit performed several years ago.
Nowhere is this truer than when evaluating third-party applications in use across your business – particularly those used to share confidential data or communicate with clients.
Remember, during any audit you’ll usually uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This shouldn’t be received negatively. Instead, use the findings as an opportunity to work with stakeholders both within, and outside of your business, to continually improve the robustness of your operations.
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