Website Security Audits - When Do I Need One?

Website Secutiry Audit

Most people in the business will recommend a third partyaudit on an annual basis, and in many instances, this is more than adequate. It represents just a periodic check to ensure that nothing significant has changed between this audit and the last, and will reveal any security holes that may have opened up in the intervening time interval.

It could be as simple as revealing that the security patches aren't up to date on the various pieces of software you use. It may reveal that certain network settings have been changed (sometimes accidentally, and sometimes on purpose), that make it easier for a would-be hacker to get inside. Or, if you're very lucky, it may reveal that you're rock solid and have nothing to worry about, though this is rarely the case because where website security in particular, and network security in general is concerned, there's usually room for improvement.

Of course, there are some instances where you may want to consider more frequent audits. Chief among these is if you have been hacked. In this instance, just plugging the hole (assuming you can find it) and barring the door that the hackers gained entry through is not enough, because while they were "inside," they may have left some means of gaining entry again later. Not only that, but in most cases, an internet security consultant can help you get back on your feet again after a data loss, so they're valuable for both their ability to help you stay safe and for their ability to help you recover from the attack itself.

The second most common reason you may wish to have more than just the standard annual audit would be if you've had a piece of custom code written for your company, and this is fairly common. Sadly, cookie cutter, off the shelf pieces of software are often insufficient for a particular company's needs, and when this happens, most companies will go out and hire someone to develop a custom application for them that does what they need it to do.

Unfortunately, what can happen in these instances is that some of the lines of code in the custom application may inadvertently open up a security hole in your otherwise solid system. In these cases, having the code audited with an eye toward security can help ensure that the new software does what it's supposed to do, and nothing more. This is an excellent way to avoid a nasty surprise down the line!

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