- Interception: Data that is being transmitted over the network is vulnerable to being intercepted by an unintended third party who could put the data to harmful use.
- Availability: Networks have become wide-spanning, crossing hundreds or thousands of miles which many rely on to access company information, and lost connectivity could cause business interruption.
- Access/entry point: Networks are vulnerable to unwanted access. A weak point in the network can make that information available to intruders. It can also provide an entry point for viruses and Trojan horses.
- Interception controls: Interception can be partially deterred by physical access controls at data centers and offices, including where communication links terminate and where the network wiring and distributions are located. Encryption also helps to secure wireless networks.
- Availability controls: The best control for this is to have excellent network architecture and monitoring. The network should have redundant paths between every resource and an access point and automatic routing to switch the traffic to the available path without loss of data or time.
- Access/entry point controls: Most network controls are put at the point where the network connects with an external network. These controls limit the traffic that passes through the network. These can include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software.
The auditor should ask certain questions to better understand the network and its vulnerabilities. The auditor should first assess the extent of the network is and how it is structured. A network diagram can assist the auditor in this process. The next question an auditor should ask is what critical information this network must protect. Things such as enterprise systems, mail servers, web servers, and host applications accessed by customers are typically areas of focus. It is also important to know who has access and to what parts. Do customers and vendors have access to systems on the network? Can employees access information from home? Lastly, the auditor should assess how the network is connected to external networks and how it is protected. Most networks are at least connected to the internet, which could be a point of vulnerability. These are critical questions in protecting networks.
Segregation of duties
When you have a function that deals with money either incoming or outgoing it is very important to make sure that duties are segregated to minimize and hopefully prevent fraud. One of the key ways to ensure proper segregation of duties (SoD) from a systems perspective is to review individuals’ access authorizations. Certain systems such as SAP claim to come with the capability to perform SoD tests, but the functionality provided is elementary, requiring very time-consuming queries to be built and is limited to the transaction level only with little or no use of the object or field values assigned to the user through the transaction, which often produces misleading results. For complex systems such as SAP, it is often preferred to use tools developed specifically to assess and analyze SoD conflicts and other types of system activity. For other systems or for multiple system formats you should monitor which users may have superuser access to the system giving them unlimited access to all aspects of the system. Also, developing a matrix for all functions highlighting the points where proper segregation of duties has been breached will help identify potential material weaknesses by cross-checking each employee's available accesses. This is as important if not more so in the development function as it is in production. Ensuring that people who develop the programs are not the ones who are authorized to pull it into production is key to preventing unauthorized programs into the production environment where they can be used to perpetrate fraud.