Jul 28 2016

Security Assessments Offer Peace of Mind amid Growing Threats

IT departments struggling to stay on top of today's complicated cybersecurity landscape see the value of third-party threat assessments.

Whenever a data breach makes the news, organizations learn new security lessons. For instance, when T-Mobile customer data was breached in September 2015 due to a compromised system at Experian, which runs credit checks for the cellular carrier, IT departments learned that they need to worry about not only their own systems but also those of their partners.

The problem is that while enterprises are focused on their missions, attackers spend their days finding new ways to access valuable data. To stay safe, organizations need a deep understanding of emergent threats and their own security posture, but they rarely have the time or resources to keep up.

That job is made even more daunting by the breakneck pace of change in technology. Staying abreast of IT trends and their resulting new threats is a full-time job.

Further complicating matters is the growth of shadow IT, where workers and departments deploy their own technology — everything from thumb drives to cloud-based services — without the involvement of the IT department. A July 2015 study found that a typical healthcare organization runs 10 times more cloud services than are authorized by its IT department. While shadow IT is a natural extension of the consumerization of technology (workers easily finding useful tools on their own), it raises serious security implications.

As a result, IT departments struggle with a growing list of unknowns, from the stealth hardware and software running on their networks to ever-changing threat vectors. Organizations don’t achieve a truly secure state by checking off boxes from a list. Every organization has unique risks and threats that need to be understood and addressed.

These are just a few of the reasons nearly half of today’s organizations rely on threat assessments. By turning to CDW’s experienced white-hat hackers, organizations can get a third-party perspective on where their weaknesses are, how they’re changing and how to systemically address the security of their infrastructures.

They can also get help in prioritizing their risks from veteran assessment experts who offer in-depth advice customized to clients’ needs. Organizations are free to do whatever they want with this information — there’s no follow-up sales pitch. And the results are secured from attackers; even CDW employees will need permission from the client to view the results. CDW’s Comprehensive Security Assessment (CSA) can provide the necessary information to build a strong defense so organizations can focus on their missions.

Which Organizations Can Benefit from a CSA?

By uncovering vulnerabilities before they’re exploited, any organization can save money, time and its reputation, which more than makes up for the cost of a CSA. But those most likely to get them are larger organizations with established budgets and mature security programs. They rely on trusted partnerships with companies such as CDW to help them uncover difficult vulnerabilities to exploit.

CSAs also make sense for organizations subject to regulations such as HIPAA, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. A comprehensive examination of their systems can help them if they are at risk for not meeting their requirements.

Beyond testing your compliance standards, the general notion of testing your overall security protocols is good practice. The adage, “you get what you inspect, not what you expect” is especially true in the world of security. CDW will work with you to customize your security assessments, which offer value to organizations no matter where they are on spectrum of security strategy maturity. Some organizations that have recently deployed security tools and processes may want to determine if they are working as expected. More experienced security professionals may want a third party to test for vulnerabilities they are missing. CDW can work with customers to customize a layered security strategy that works for them.

Often, organizations come to CDW for specialized assessments in response to high-profile threats, such as phishing attacks. Another rationale for a specialized assessment is to test a new application, such as a website developed in-house. Even if an organization is large enough to have its own programmers, it makes sense to have a third-party assessor conduct a penetration test.

Learn more about CDW's experts and CSAs by downloading the white paper "Comprehensive Security Assessment."


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