Network Security Auditing: Assessing Network Infrastructure for Weaknesses

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Performing a network security audit, a vital part of a career in cyber security, involves a thorough examination of all internet-accessible network infrastructure and systems. The assessment also includes evaluating the security measures protecting the network infrastructure, including various network devices.

Businesses can integrate a network security audit into a broader system or conduct it as a standalone process, depending on the scale of security concerns.

The primary goal of a network security audit is to pinpoint and fix any weaknesses in the network, guaranteeing the security of your systems and averting potential compromises.

Why Is a Network Security Audit Important?

Conducting an audit enables businesses to gain a holistic view of their overall network security status and proactively address any cybersecurity concerns before they disrupt business operations.

Furthermore, given the prevailing flexibility in remote work arrangements and adopting BYOD (bring your own device) policies, networks are increasingly susceptible to cybersecurity threats.

If left unattended, BYOD practices can expose networks to malware, unauthorised hardware, and unfamiliar third-party applications, elevating the risk of data loss and attracting the attention of malicious actors.

Therefore, network administrators must consistently monitor their networks and comprehensively understand their network environments. This proactive approach helps identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities effectively.

Who Performs a Network Security Audit?

Businesses can carry out network security audits by either internal or external auditors, a choice contingent on a company's scale and the presence of an in-house IT team.

For more minor to medium-sized enterprises without an internal IT team, enlisting the services of an external network security auditor becomes imperative to conduct the audit effectively.

Whereas, larger corporations equipped with an internal IT staff can either engage an external network security auditor or execute the audit internally.

How Is the Network Security Audit Performed?

Network security audits follow a straightforward five-step process. Let's delve into each step in detail:

Network security audits follow a straightforward five-step process. Let's delve into each step in detail:

Step 1: Device identification

Endpoint security remains a massive concern for most organisations, given the challenge of identifying and tracking all devices on the network.

An effective network security audit is pivotal in pinpointing endpoint devices and their vulnerabilities. The audit should furnish a network diagram delineating the devices and operating systems.

With this information, auditors can locate endpoints and assess their vulnerabilities.

Step 2: Policy assessment

Before beginning a network audit, a company must clearly understand its security policies and procedures. These policies form a substantial component of the audit. They are the yardstick against which auditors gauge the company's compliance with organisational guidelines.

Additionally, security policies and procedures can unveil areas needing updates and improvements.

Step 3: Risk evaluation

Risk assessment plays a pivotal role in the audit process by identifying potential risks an organisation may encounter during its operations and assessing their potential ramifications on the organisation, its management, and its stakeholders.

Continual risk assessments serve as a means to unveil emerging risks, track fluctuations in risk levels, and establish adept control measures, solidifying its position as an indispensable component of a holistic control program.

Step 4: Network penetration testing

Network penetration testing involves probing a network to unearth vulnerabilities that malicious external entities might exploit. During this process, ample time and resources are allocated to scrutinise all facets of the network thoroughly.

Network penetration testing is a standard practice for ensuring network security. Both companies and government agencies mandate such testing before approving a system's security measures.

Step 5: Reporting

Reporting marks the final phase in the network security audit process. It empowers management to assess the risks posed by internal and external security threats to their business operations.

The auditing team compiles a comprehensive report detailing their findings. This report encompasses a thorough summary of the results and an exhaustive list of the risks associated with internal and external security threats.

What Should a Network Security Audit Report Include?

A standard network security audit encompasses the following key elements:

  • Comprehensive security analysis: A thorough evaluation of existing security measures in place.
  • Risk assessment: This involves assessing risks associated with processes, applications, and functions within the network.
  • Policy and procedure review: A meticulous examination of network security policies and procedures.
  • Controls and technology assessment: Evaluating the effectiveness of controls and technologies deployed to safeguard assets.
  • Firewall configuration inspection: This includes scrutinising firewall configurations, encompassing topology, rule-base analyses, and management processes and procedures.

What Are the Benefits of Regular Network Security Audits?

Many organisations conduct network audits regularly, and there are compelling reasons why. 

Some of the key benefits of regular network security audits include:

Comprehensive network view

Performing a network audit delivers a current inventory and visual representation of your network infrastructure. Within this assessment, you'll find information such as the quantity and technical specifications of routers, switches, physical servers, server operating systems, and virtual machines.

Additionally, it highlights equipment approaching the end of its operational life. This enhanced visibility serves as a valuable resource for guiding decision-making processes.

Risk mitigation

By offering a detailed snapshot of your network, a network audit helps mitigate risks associated with tasks like network upgrades and hardware/software deployments. It allows you to assess potential impacts on network components and prevent disruptions to business operations.

Vulnerability detection

Information from a network audit can uncover potential vulnerabilities, such as hardware or software approaching end-of-life. When a product reaches end-of-life, the vendor no longer provides support, exposing the network to security risks without updates.

Optimisation opportunities

A network audit reveals areas that require optimisation or improvement. It may involve applying patches, reconfiguring components, or undertaking more extensive overhauls or replacements as needed.

Regular network audits ensure your organisation maintains a well-informed and secure network infrastructure.


Network security audits are crucial in fortifying an organisation's defences against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. 

Businesses can protect their data, maintain customer trust, and proactively identify and mitigate vulnerabilities by conducting thorough assessments and analysis. Embracing network security audits is not just a best practice; it's an essential safeguard for a resilient and secure future.

Consider exploring Imarticus Learning’s Postgraduate Program in Cyber Security if you are aspiring for a career in Cyber Security. This comprehensive program equips you with the essential skills, including ethical hacking expertise, to thrive in the cybersecurity landscape and contribute to safeguarding digital ecosystems. 

Visit Imarticus Learning today for more information on our Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking course.


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