September 6, 2022

Cybersecurity Audit: What it is, What it Covers, and its Benefits

When was the last time you did a complete cybersecurity audit? If it has been long and you can’t remember, you are at risk of cyberattacks. Audits will solve security issues and ensure your organization complies with the laws and regulations. If your business is data-driven, you’ll need cybersecurity monitoring services. Here is everything you need to know about cybersecurity audit: what it is, what it covers, and its benefits.

What is a Cybersecurity Audit?

A cybersecurity audit is an analysis of the information technology infrastructure of your organization. The audit detects threats and vulnerabilities, and high-risk practices. It is a method used to measure your company’s compliance with security norms. An audit ensures that the policies and procedures are working effectively. 

An audit aims to identify vulnerabilities that enable malicious people to gain access to your sensitive information. It also identifies internal practices that can lead to a breach of sensitive information.

An audit highlights weak spots in your business, such as backdoors where cybercriminals perform scams. The audit is done by a qualified third party—the results of the audit act as verification for vendors, management, and other stakeholders. The third party that conducts the audit works independently to avoid conflict of interest.

Cybersecurity monitoring services are an independent examination of a company’s cybersecurity. It ensures that an organization has appropriate policies and procedures and security controls that are working effectively. An audit provides you with a checklist that you can use to validate your security policies and check that they are working correctly. An audit helps your organization to avoid threats. It will identify any weak areas that cybercriminals can exploit. The primary goals of an IT audit are:

  • To provide your customers, staff, and vendors with an in-depth assessment of the company’s security.
  • To comply with the regulatory entities and validate the standard in your industry.
magnifying-glass-on-top-of-computer-laptop-cybersecurity-audit-concept
Cybersecurity audit

What Does a Cybersecurity Audit Cover?

IT security services emphasize cybersecurity guidelines and policies. It ensures that your compliance requirements have been met. The audit covers your employees’ devices and your organization’s infrastructure. However, that is not the only aspect of information security that it covers.

 Cybersecurity audit focuses on security policies and guidelines. It ensures that your statutory regulations have been met. It does a 360-degree audit of your organization’s security. The audit evaluates the following:

Data Security

A data security audit starts with a complete review of your network access control. Auditors will also check if you use encryption and your data security during transmission and storage.

Operational Security

The IT security services look at the security policies in place. It also examines the security control, process, and procedure in your data loss strategy. 

Network Security

Auditors review your security protocols and network controls. They will check your antivirus configurations and security monitoring capabilities are functioning correctly. 

System Security

The auditor will ensure that your data hardening process is working effectively. They will also check the patching processes and role-based access. 

Physical Security

In the last stage of an audit, the auditor reviews the biometric data, role-based access controls, multifactor authentication, and disk encryption.

 Each audit aspect ensures that the necessary controls are in place and implemented following the regulatory requirements. An audit also covers training and awareness, cyber risk governance, cybersecurity risk management, and contractual requirements.

Why is an Audit Important?

If you want to protect your organization’s data, you need a cybersecurity audit. The primary purpose of an audit is to understand your data and how it is protected. The audit gives insights into the critical datasets and ways to protect them. Cybersecurity auditing is what your organization needs to avoid a data breach.

The audits ensure your organization complies with the cyber safety, regulatory, and legal requirements. After the audit has been conducted, you’ll clearly understand the risk management abilities. Through an audit, you learn more about the importance of employee training and even risk governance. Hackers will target not only system vulnerabilities but also your cybersecurity processes and procedures. It gives you a clear view of your organization’s cybersecurity threats, weaknesses, and risks. A cybersecurity audit allows you to do the following:

Set Security Standards

The audit helps you to have a clear understanding of your security principles. You’ll know how your security standards will be used in the organization. 

Adhere to the Rules and Regulations

By auditing your cybersecurity policies, you’ll determine if your solutions follow the rules and regulations set by the organization. You’ll also know if you adhere to the external regulations.

Plug Gaps

IT security services will highlight the gaps in your organization’s processes. It pinpoints the issues in your security solution. Once you know where the gap is, it becomes easy to rectify it by improving your security system.

 Make sure you conduct a full-scale cybersecurity audit at intervals every year. Performing regular audits allow you to be up-to-date with cybersecurity technologies.

What Are the Benefits of a Cybersecurity Audit?

There are benefits that you’ll get by doing a cybersecurity audit. Here are the benefits of regular security audits. IT security services will identify weak areas that have to be addressed. An audit allows you to handle vulnerabilities on time and save your business from major cybersecurity attacks.

Reduced Downtime

Long periods of downtime are not only frustrating but can affect your organization’s productivity. You can reduce downtime by conducting a security audit regularly to ensure your system is working well.

Data Protection

Most organizations always assume that their proprietary data is secure. When you audit your encryption use, transmission, and network access control, you’ll ensure that the data protection mechanisms work as required. Even if you have never been a victim of cyber fraud, it does not mean things will remain like that forever. Doing systematic audits ensures everything is in place.

Maintain Customer Trust

It will be impossible to build customer trust if your organization keeps having cybersecurity incidents. Your clients will move to a competitor if you can’t handle their personal data. With a regular security audit, you can strengthen your IT system and maintain the confidence of your customers.

Identify Gaps in Security Protection

One of the things you should consider when evaluating your security solution is the specific issues that require protection. Uncovering such issues will help you cover any gaps in your security protection.

Be on Track With the Regulations

Regulations will always be there. You have to protect your data. If you take longer to audit your security systems, you’ll fall behind on the policies protecting your organization. You can also get compliance penalties which will reduce your profits.

How Often Do You Need to Have a Cybersecurity Audit? 

Data security management is constantly changing, and conducting regular audits will ensure that your business is always safe. According to cybersecurity statistics, in 2022, there will be ransomware attacks every 11 seconds. Now more than ever, it is crucial to be on top of your security. Conducting regular cybersecurity checks is one of the ways to ensure your data is protected. How often do you conduct a security audit? There are numerous factors that determine the number of times you need to do an audit.

Reasons to Conduct Regular Audits

There are numerous reasons for conducting regular audits. They include:

  • To inspect your security controls and organization procedures.
  • Monitor your company’s infrastructure to detect potential defects.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of operational systems.
  • To provide input for developing contingency plans to help counter vulnerabilities.
  • To confirm that there are systems in place to mitigate expected risk.

Factors that Determine How Often to Carry an Audit

It is recommended that you conduct an in-depth audit twice a year. However, you can do it monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of your business. The length of time between each security audit depends on various factors. Here are the factors to consider.

The Kind of Computing Used

If you want added peace of mind, you must go with a cloud-based server. A cloud provider is accountable for the security of the information on it.

Size of Computer Systems

If you have one or two applications, it will be easier to conduct security audits. However, if your business has more applications, you are at more risk. With multiple systems, hackers have more opportunities to access your information.

Type of Information Stored

If your business has a lot of sensitive data, such as bank details and customers’ personal information, you need to pay attention to your cybersecurity. Conduct audits as frequently as possible. You can check your security system once a week and conduct a thorough audit monthly.

Cybersecurity Audit Best Practices

professionals-having-a-meeting-in-the-boardroom-cybersecurity-audit-concept
Cybersecurity team having a meeting in the boardroom

Whether you go with an internal or external cybersecurity audit, the following steps will enable you to conduct a proper audit.

Define Your Cybersecurity Audit

The first thing you have to do is define the scope of your security audit. List down your assets like computer equipment and sensitive data. You also need to know the devices available in your organization. Once you are done with the roundup, you need to define your security perimeter. By doing that, auditors will know what to include and leave out.

Share Your Resources

Make sure your auditors know all your team members, especially the ones in sensitive areas. The assessment team needs to know the point of contact in your company. The auditor needs to know the tools your staff use, how your employees work, and how they access your network.

Review Your Compliance Standards

You should also look at the compliance requirements. The rules and regulations will differ depending on your location. If you don’t have updated compliance standards, the auditor will help you to ensure you meet the industry requirements.

Be Open About Your Network Structure

You have to give your auditors a complete view of your network structure. They should have access to your information technology team, who will support the auditing process to identify vulnerabilities. Once the auditors find gaps in your infrastructure, they can determine if you are well protected or not.

Understand the Vulnerabilities

Most business owners don’t know the risks their business is exposed to before they run an audit. An audit will ensure you see the problems with your defenses. You should also let the auditor know what areas of your network need protection.

Evaluate Your Risk Management Performance

IT security services give you a complete overview of the vulnerabilities in your system. It helps you have an updated risk management plan. If you have ineffective defense policies, you will need an update.

Prioritize the Responses

Once the security audit is complete, you must decide what to do next. The audit identifies the area of your security network that has been exposed to vulnerabilities and provides solutions to solve the problems. You need to prioritize the severe threats to ensure your data is safe.

As a business owner, you have to understand the risk and threats your business faces every day. Cybersecurity audits will help you understand the vulnerabilities in your security system. Regular audits will increase your data security and improve your reputation with your business partners and customers. Hiring an external auditor will give you an unbiased view of the security vulnerabilities in your company.

Frontline, LLC – Managed IT Services & IT Support offers IT Security services to companies in the Los Angeles area. We know how critical this is to your organization and perform regular cybersecurity audits to ensure your company and customer data remains secure.

FAQs

What is a cyber security audit?

A cyber security audit is the process of auditing a company’s IT environment for vulnerabilities and risk for potential cyber attacks. This is done with a combination of tools, software, hardware, and IT technicians to scan all of the devices and network for risk, as well as penetration testing to determine further vulnerability.

Are There Different Types of Security Audits? 

There are two main types of cybersecurity audits: internal and external.

The internal audit is done by your IT team and the external audit is performed by a third party.

How Long Does a Cybersecurity Audit Take?

The estimated time to conduct a cybersecurity audit is about 18 weeks. 

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