What is a Cybersecurity Audit (And Three Tips for Running One)

You’re going to need more than the latest antivirus software to make sure your company’s network is secure. A cybersecurity audit helps you create a complete picture of your security strategy.

Cybercrime has grown into one of the epidemics of modern times. 

In 2018 alone, 812.67 million instances of malware infection were recorded. Meanwhile, 2020 brought with it a 600% increase in cybercrime. It’s estimated that ransomware attacks will cost companies an eye watering $6 trillion per year by 2021.

If you don’t prioritise cybersecurity, you place yourself and your company at risk of attack.

Now, it’s likely that you already have some strategies in place to combat hackers and other evil cyber criminals. However, you also need to feel sure that the measures you have in place are sufficient.

That’s where a cybersecurity audit becomes important.

In this article, we examine what a cybersecurity audit is and share some crucial tips for running one in your company.

WHAT IS A CYBERSECURITY AUDIT?

Think of an audit as a comprehensive examination of every cyber security strategy you’ve put in place. You have two goals with the audit:

  • Identify any gaps in your system so you can fill them.
  • Create an in-depth report that you can use to demonstrate your readiness to defend against cyber threats.

A typical audit contains three phases:

  1. Assessment
  2. Assignment
  3. Audit

In the assessment phase, you examine the existing system. 

This involves checking your company’s computers, servers, software, and databases. You’ll also review how you assign access rights and examine any hardware or software you currently have in place to defend against attacks.

The assessment phase will likely highlight some security gaps that you need to act on. And once that’s done, you move into the assignment. 

Here, you assign appropriate solutions to the issues identified. This may also involve assigning professionals to the task of implementing those solutions.

Finally, you conclude with an audit.  This takes place after you’ve implemented your proposed solution and is intended as a final check of your new system before you release it back into the company. This audit will primarily focus on ensuring that all installations, upgrades, and patches operate as expected.

THE THREE TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL CYBERSECURITY AUDIT

Now that you understand the basics of a cyber security audit, you need to know how to run an audit effectively so that it provides the information you need. After all, a poorly conducted audit may miss crucial security gaps, leaving your systems vulnerable to attack.

These three tips will help you conduct an effective cybersecurity audit in your company.

TIP #1 – ALWAYS CHECK FOR THE AGE OF EXISTING SECURITY SYSTEMS

There is no such thing as an evergreen security solution. Cyber threats evolve constantly, with hackers continually coming up with new ways to breach existing security protocols. Any system you’ve already implemented has an expiration date. Eventually, it will become ineffective against the new wave of cyber threats.

This means you always need to check the age of your company’s existing cyber security solutions. Make sure to update your company’s systems whenever the manufacturer releases an update. But if the manufacturer no longer supports the software you’re using, that’s your sign to make a change.

In fact this goes for ALL software not just your cyber security solutions. Unsupported, out of date software is a major security risk. You need to eradicate it from your business as soon as you can!

TIP #2 – IDENTIFY YOUR THREATS

As you conduct your company’s cyber security audit, ask yourself where you’re likely to experience the most significant threat.

For example, when auditing a system that contains a lot of customer information, data privacy is a crucial concern. In this situation, threats arise from weak passwords, phishing attacks, and malware. 

More threats can come internally, whether they come from malicious employees or giving access rights to employees who shouldn’t be able to see specific data.

And sometimes, employees can leak data unknowingly.

For example, allowing employees to connect their own devices to your company network creates risk because you have no control over the security of those external devices.

You need to understand the potential threats before you can focus on implementing any solutions.

Malware

TIP #3 – CONSIDER HOW YOU WILL EDUCATE EMPLOYEES

You’ve identified the threats and have created plans to respond.

However, those plans mean little if employees don’t know how to implement them. 

If you face an emergency, such as a data breach, and your employees don’t know how to respond, the cyber security audit is pretty useless.

To avoid this situation, educating your employees on what to look out for and how to respond to cyber security threats. This often involves a plan that incorporates the following details:

  • The various threat types you’ve identified and how to look out for them
  • Where an employee can go to access additional information about a threat
  • Who an employee should contact if they identify a threat
  • How long it should take to rectify the threat
  • Any rules you have in place about using external devices or accessing data stored on secure servers.

Remember, cyber security is not the IT department’s or support providers domain alone. It’s an ongoing concern that everybody within an organisation must be aware of. By educating employees about the possible threats, and how to respond to them, you create a more robust defence against future attacks.

How Can We Help

We offer all businesses a free Cyber Security Assessment. So get in touch and we’ll help you identify whether you have the basics in place and then offer expert advice on how to strengthen your security. All with no obligation to buy anything, ever.

The report will be yours to take away and implement yourselves. Or you can use it to hit your current IT Provider over the head!!

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Article used with permission from The Technology Press.