Remember: High-level checklist audits, which so many people look up to, are not enough. You've got to dig in -- way in -- and test everything using both automated tools and manual techniques from the bad guys' perspective to see what's really at risk. Look for both technical and operational security weaknesses. Never assume that all's well. Even if it appears to be, odds are a hole somewhere on your network can and will be exploited by someone with malicious intent.
Security assessments and five mistakes to avoid
Step 1: Relying on audit checklists and automated tools
Step 2: Not considering the side effects of your tests
Step 3: Not looking at the whole picture
Step 4: Spending too much time trying to fix everything
Step 5: Assuming testing once is enough
About the author: Kevin Beaver is an independent information security consultant, speaker and expert witness with Atlanta-based Principle Logic LLC. He has more than 19 years of experience in IT and specializes in performing information security assessments revolving around compliance and IT governance. Kevin has authored/co-authored six books on information security including Hacking For Dummies and Hacking Wireless Networks For Dummies (Wiley) as well asThe Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (Auerbach). He's also the creator of the Security On Wheels audiobook series. You can reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org>.