Website Security Audit – What You Need to Know
A Website Security Audit is a time-consuming and expensive way to improve the security of your site. Once the Website Security Audit has been carried out, you will be provided with information to help you make an informed decision on whether the audit is being carried out successfully.
Security Audits should be carried out every two years or more frequently if there are new or potential vulnerabilities. This is because you need to assess the security of your website more thoroughly at this time, so that if something does happen you can respond to it before it gets out of control.
The purpose of a Website Security Audit is to identify any potential risks to your website and to address them immediately, if possible. If you think you are on the cusp of a breach and haven’t had a Website Security Audit yet, you should plan one as soon as possible to help reduce the damage.
In order to carry out a Website Security Audit successfully, you will first need to decide what areas of your website need to be improved in order to prevent and detect any breaches of security. This decision will determine the steps that you should take to protect your website.
Most successful website security audits involve the following basic steps: monitoring of all forms of electronic communication (email, IM, fax, chat, telephone, SMS), monitoring of all password forms and handling of access privileges, building and updating an accurate and regularly updated database of computers, accounts and passwords for your website and update the database on a regular basis, allocating specific tasks to employees, monitoring all forms of physical access to your website (for example, entry and exit of external users) and conducting a professional and impartial test of your website (this will be identified in the cost of the audit). The third step is normally referred to as ‘consulting’.
Once you have decided which areas need improvement, you will need to plan how best to implement the steps outlined in the assessment phase. These will include obtaining access to your website, performing penetration testing (you should only use this if the rules of the audit do not apply to you) and if necessary creating a report with the results of the penetration testing.
This report can be used to identify weaknesses in your website so that the next Website Security Audit can focus on those areas of weakness. For example, if you were to undertake an attack on your website and detect that it had vulnerabilities which could allow your website to be accessed by anyone who found it, then this could be exploited to steal money or other private information which could be used to perpetrate further attacks.
A Website Security Audit is not as simple as running a simple website checker. It will require extensive training and experience and will take a lot of time and effort.
It’s important to understand the purpose of a Website Security Audit before you decide to carry it out. It will involve identifying any weaknesses which can be exploited by a hacker, and when these vulnerabilities are identified, it will be necessary to correct them.
A Website Security Audit should only be carried out if your website has never been affected by security issues and you don’t have any potential for future security breaches. If you are not at risk of an ongoing security breach, then it is better to carry out a Website Security Audit periodically, rather than constantly assessing for potential problems.
It’s important to get a full understanding of how the process works before carrying it out so that you know what the required steps are and how long it will take to carry out. Most successful auditors can undertake a Website Security Audit within a matter of days, while others can complete it in a couple of weeks.
Once you have the full understanding of the process and how it can help you, it’s always preferable to ask for help. Your consultant may already have some experience in this area and this is a good way to get some quick advice without having to do a Website Security Audit yourself.