Experts estimate that cybercrime might end up costing businesses a staggering $6 trillion by 2021. Organizations are focusing on how to strengthen cybersecurity in any sector, and the concern is understandable. After all, cyber attacks, including intellectual property, can dramatically affect efficiency, credibility, and company property.
A cybersecurity audit is a comprehensive review of your organization’s information systems to ensure they are operating smoothly and efficiently. It can also save your organization money. For example, you may discover enforcement problems that can lead to fines and potentially impact customer retention.
Security audits ultimately help ensure that the business is secure and that confidential information is appropriately maintained and managed. We’ll cover four types of security audits in this blog that you should regularly conduct to protect your business, employees, and customers.
What is a security audit?
A security audit (check) is a systematic review of the safety of the information system of an organization by measuring how well it meets a set of criteria. The security of the physical configuration and environment, software, information management processes, and user practices is usually evaluated by a complete examination to avoid risks
Safety audits often used to determine the application of rules, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Law, and the Law on the Breaches of California Security that prescribe the treatment of information by enterprises.
These audits are one of three basic safety-diagnostic types, as well as vulnerability and penetration tests. Security audits analyze the performance and risks of an information system against the criteria list. An extensive analysis of an information system to identify potential security vulnerabilities is a vulnerability evaluation. Penetration testing is a clandestine way in which a security professional tests if a certain attack can be resisted by a system. Each strategy has intrinsic characteristics and the most effective approach can be using two or more in conjunction.
Organizations should build a repeatable and updated security audit plan. For the optimal outcome, stakeholders must be involved in the process.
Types of security audits
There are two sorts of safety audits, internal and external, using the following procedures:
Internal audits. The company employs its own resources and its internal audit staff in these audits. Internal audits are utilized when the business processes for compliance with policies and procedures are validated by an organization.
Foreign audits. These audits lead to an audit performed by an external organization. External audits are also carried out if a company has to prove that it complies with industry norms or legislation.
External audits have two sub-categories: secondary and third-party audits. A supplier of the firm being audited shall carry out second-party audits. An independent, neutral body conducts third-party audits and the auditors participating are without any partnership with the organization audited.
Why are security audits essential?
When you keep track of even a little bit of cybersecurity news, you should have an intuitive understanding of why audits are essential. Daily audits can identify new vulnerabilities and unintended effects of organizational change, and specific sectors, mainly medical and financial ones, are mandated by law.
Some more specific advantages for running security audits are listed here.
- Verify whether or not your existing security strategy is adequate.
- Check that the needle is passed from one audit to the next by your security training efforts.
- Reduce costs by shutting down international hardware and applications you find during the audit or repurposing them.
- Security audits reveal bugs that new technologies or procedures have implemented into the company.
- Prove that the company complies with regulations, such as HIPAA, SHIELD, CCPA, GDPR, etc.
4 Forms of Security Assessments every Organization Must Perform
Security audits are of several different kinds. Some audits are structured primarily to ensure that the company is legally compliant. Other evaluations concentrate on finding the IT infrastructure’s potential weaknesses. Here are four kinds of security audits that you can perform periodically to keep your company running in top shape:
1. Assessment Over Risk
Risk assessments help organizations identify, estimate, and prioritize risk. Security audits are a way to test the organization against unique criteria for security. Although this may not be the case for individual businesses, security audits may assist with compliance issues in highly regulated industries.
2. Assessment Over Weakness
A vulnerability evaluation uncovers flaws in the security protocols, architecture, execution, or internal controls. This identifies vulnerabilities that initiate a security breach that could be triggered or exploited. During a vulnerability test, the IT team or an independent expert will evaluate and determine which system vulnerabilities are in danger of being used. They can run specific software to check for bugs, test from inside the network, or use allowed remote access in order to determine what needs to be corrected to meet security requirements.
3. Test Penetration
A penetration test is unique because it requires an expert posing as a “hacker” to penetrate your security networks. This type of safety audit provides insight into potential infrastructure loopholes. Penetration testers use the latest hacking techniques to uncover weak points in cloud infrastructure, mobile platforms, and operating systems.
There are various kinds of penetration tests in which you can participate. Internal penetration tests, for instance, concentrate on internal networks, while external penetration tests focus on publicly exposed properties. For a full perspective, you might also recommend a hybrid penetration test (including both internal and external penetration tests) as well.
4. Audit of Compliance
For businesses that have to comply with specific legislation, such as retail, banking, healthcare, or government, a compliance audit is essential. The aim is to demonstrate whether a company complies with the laws needed in their industry to do business.
A business that does not conduct compliance audits is prone to fines, and it could also lead to customers searching for their needs elsewhere. Usually, this cybersecurity audit investigates business practices, access controls, and whether regulations are being implemented. For example, an organization doing business in the European Union should conduct an audit of compliance to ensure that it adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation.
Best Cyber Security Audit Practices
Cybersecurity audits are essential, but to ensure that you perform them correctly, there are several precautions you need to take. To make sure your cybersecurity audit is as accurate as possible, here are some best practices.
Keep your employees informed: First and foremost, you should let your staff know that there is about to be a company-wide audit. This will help you be as open as possible with your organization. Company owners will also want to schedule an all-hands meeting so that the audit is known to all staff and can provide future input. This is also helpful because you can pick a time that fits best for your team and avoid interfering with the organization’s other activities.
Collect as much information as possible: Second, you can ensure that auditors have access to all company data as soon as possible. Ask auditors what exact details they may need to plan to stop scrambling at the last minute for more information. For instance, the auditors might request a list of all company devices and applications. This step is also crucial because you can make sure that the auditors, their practices, and their official policies are comfortable with you.
Hire an External Auditor: For your cybersecurity audit, hiring external auditors is wise. The fact is that your internal auditors might not be comfortable describing all the flaws of your company. Company owners would like to think that a security audit wouldn’t hold back their staff. But in fact, current employees can have prejudices that can lead to potential problems and oversights concerning company protection.
Perform regular audits: Finally, you should ensure that your safety audits are consistent. Last year, the business may have found and fixed major vulnerabilities and feel that it is unnecessary to undertake another one this year. Yet when it comes to holding routine cybersecurity audits, the most influential companies are proactive. There are continually evolving new kinds of cyberattacks and threats.
Sometimes, a cyber attack can be devastating. Neglecting cybersecurity audits can make it possible for tiny problems to transform into big threats, putting a company out of business rapidly. If your business is big or small, it doesn’t matter; you can continue to perform audits multiple times a year.
Proactively audit your security posture and stay protected.
The size of the firm doesn’t matter when it comes to cybersecurity. In reality, small businesses are 58 percent of the victims of cyberattacks.
Although you may not feel like you are prone to these attacks now, the fact is that it can happen to anyone. Every business owner should ensure that their assets are safe from cybercriminals and protect their profile.
By proactively detecting vulnerabilities before they cause harm, SugarShot can help your organization remain safe. Our cybersecurity auditors are experts in understanding and making recommendations for complex IT systems that will drive business growth.
To find out how we can help develop a consistent cybersecurity plan for your company and combat modern security challenges.
Security Audit FAQ
How often should an audit of security be carried out?
For the three main types of security audits that we have mentioned, undertake one-time audits once you introduce a specific change threshold, duty audits before new software or services are introduced and portfolio audits at least every year. A.
By monitoring the state of your safety risk profile over time, it is easier to manage the annual audits if you can automate some of this job.
How much is the cost of an IT security audit?
I saw anywhere from $1500 to $50,000 quoted for a safety audit from one Google search. It’s therefore up to us. A daily auditor fee of $1500 appears to be roughly $30,000 a month of their time. The cost would be increased by penetration tests and other services.