Cybersecurity blog header

Tips for measuring the level of IT security in your company

Measuring a company’s IT security level is critical to detect and address weaknesses before criminals exploit them

In early April, it became public knowledge that the US hotel and resort chain Omni had suffered a cyber-attack. The incident paralysed basic business processes, such as the reservation system’s downtime or the inability to charge customers.

At the same time, on the other side of the world, the Japanese company Hoya, one of the largest global manufacturers of eyeglasses, contact lenses and ophthalmic medical devices, was the victim of a cyber-attack that affected production processes in its factories and its product ordering system.

None of these cases is extraordinary. Attacks occur daily that jeopardise companies’ day-to-day operations and have serious economic, reputational and legal consequences. Therefore, companies must measure their IT security level to prevent attacks and respond effectively to incidents.

Company managers must be aware of the importance of cybersecurity and include measuring their company’s level of IT security in their corporate strategy.

In the following, we will explain how to measure a company’s IT security and what advice companies and their professionals should consider to ensure a robust level of IT security that prevents malicious actors from threatening business continuity and significant financial losses.

What steps are involved in assessing a company’s IT security level?

Assessing a company’s level of IT security is critical for protecting digital assets and ensuring business continuity. The assessment must include all the processes and assets of the technological infrastructure, but it is also crucial to consider the behavior of the company’s professionals.

To audit a company’s IT security level, it is essential to have professionals specialised in cybersecurity and with experience in conducting security audits. These professionals will carry out their work in six main phases:

1. Review the IT infrastructure

Firstly, the company’s entire technological infrastructure must be thoroughly reviewed:

  • Operating systems of your equipment.
  • Corporate networks.
  • Firewalls.
  • Antivirus and EDR/XDR solutions.
  • Malicious activity detection mechanisms.
  • Configuration of corporate systems and servers.
  • Security patches of the software used.

This initial review should provide the necessary information to optimise system configuration, ensure that software is correctly updated with all necessary security patches, and detect and prioritise vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure.

2. Analyse user behaviour

As mentioned above, when measuring the security level of a company, it is not only the technology that matters but also the human factor. Cybersecurity professionals should check the following:

  • The password policy.
  • How remote access to corporate systems is carried out.
  • How mobile devices are used for business purposes.
  • The level of awareness and training of professionals.

During this phase, it is essential to implement a social engineering test to assess the ability of professionals to detect phishing campaigns and the company’s capacity to respond to them.

3. Evaluate security incident management

A key aspect of measuring a company’s IT security level is how well its processes, procedures and security mechanisms work in the event of an incident. Cybersecurity experts must, therefore, evaluate the following:

  • The effectiveness of risk and threat management.
  • The response to security incidents.
  • The ability to protect business continuity.
  • The efficiency of disaster recovery mechanisms.

4. Audit suppliers

Supply chain attacks are one of the biggest threats to businesses today. Therefore, when measuring an organisation’s IT security level, supply chain security risks should be assessed, the agreements signed between the company and its suppliers should be reviewed and the suppliers should be checked for compliance with the relevant security requirements.

5. Analyse the physical security of the company

The level of protection of a company’s premises is critical to prevent unauthorised access and internal attacks and protect the company’s physical assets. In this regard, it is essential to assess the security of:

  • Equipment and devices.
  • Data, taking into account data protection regulations.
  • Access control procedures.

6. Provide a report with the results of the assessment

The cybersecurity experts must produce a detailed report containing all the actions, tests, and trials carried out, as well as a series of recommendations that will help the audited company solve the vulnerabilities discovered and improve its level of IT security. Managers should study this report to approve the necessary measures to minimise risks and mitigate vulnerabilities.

When should an IT security audit be performed?

Assessment of a company’s IT security level should be performed on an ongoing basis, or at least on a regular basis, as the threat landscape is constantly changing and new vulnerabilities can emerge at any time. In addition, security audits allow us to check whether the measures are working and effective in increasing a company’s IT security level.

Larger companies operating in critical sectors subject to more stringent regulations or handling susceptible data need to assess their security at a higher level and shorter intervals. Beyond this, it is recommended that all companies undergo security audits at least once a year.

Essential tips for companies to follow to maintain an optimal level of IT security

What measures can companies implement to ensure their IT security level is robust?

  • Have clear and specific security policies in place for all employees, including:
    • Password management.
    • The use of personal devices at work.
    • Remote access to a corporate network.
  • Updating software and operating systems continuously and installing all security patches.
  • Use security tools such as antivirus, firewalls and threat detection systems.
  • Perform regular backups to protect critical data and ensure it is stored securely.
  • Have physical security mechanisms in place, such as smart locks, access controls and video surveillance systems.
  • Conduct regular audits of web security, mobile applications, internal infrastructure, cloud environments and IoT devices to detect vulnerabilities in corporate assets and prioritise their mitigation.
  • Raise awareness and train professionals to prevent social engineering attacks.

Best practices to be followed by a company’s professionals to reduce the risk of attack

Beyond the measures approved by company managers, all employees can develop good practices in cybersecurity:

  • Use strong passwords that are not based on patterns, do not share them with colleagues and change them regularly.
  • Do not open suspicious emails or click on links that are not 100% secure.
  • Do not download software or files from untrusted sources.
  • Report any incidents or indications of dangerous activity to cybersecurity officers.
  • Exercise caution when providing information to others, both personal and corporate.

In short, improving a company’s IT security level is a choral task involving management and the entire workforce. Furthermore, to increase organisations’ resilience and protect business continuity in the face of attacks, cybersecurity experts who carry out regular audits to detect vulnerabilities and propose recommendations to strengthen incident prevention, detection and response mechanisms are essential.