What is a cybersecurity audit?
A cybersecurity audit or assessment is a comprehensive analysis and testing of an enterprises’ existing IT infrastructure, policies, and procedures. An audit ensures regulatory adherence and identifies and prevents cyber threats and policy mishaps among other things. In the process of the audit, auditors also verify access to hardware components for security and other administrative issues.
Audits are the third line of security. The first line of defense is technical, including daily cybersecurity transaction analysis by business units. The second line of defense is governance with security checks on overall strategy. An audit is an independent review of the current state of operations. Audits can be performed by both internal and external parties.
Security is, I would say, our top priority because for all the exciting things you will be able to do with computers—organizing your lives, staying in touch with people, being creative—if we don’t solve these security problems, then people will hold back.
The fact is many organizations have issues and loopholes that are not visible during daily online activities and are vulnerable to a cyberattack. This blog explains the need for the cybersecurity audit and the five secrets a cybersecurity audit can reveal.
Why is a cybersecurity audit necessary?
The evolving state of digital transformation, cloud optimization has made many enterprises vulnerable to malicious cyberattacks.
36 billion records were exposed through data breaches in the first half of 2020 in the U.S.
Cybersecurity audits provide critical analysis of the safety of the installed IT framework in an organization. This audit framework includes identification, detection, protection, response, and breach recovery checks for complete compliance in areas of risk management. These risks can be related to hardware, software, digital assets, data privacy, sharing options, data portability, payment gateway pathways, system interconnection, etc.
Thorough auditing offers a transparent security control review of the digital IT infrastructure. Additionally, it also supports new policy structuring and security strategy building to prevent attacks providing not only a sense of operational security from cyber-attacks and hackers but also ensures confident business transactions for customers.
A cybersecurity audit involves:
- Review of data policies within the company
- Centralized cybersecurity policies check
- Compliance review of network structure and its operations
- Review of hardware and software adherence to relevant standards
- Analysis of the entire digital structure to review loopholes and probability for malicious cyber fraud/attacks
- Review of IT security employees and their responsibilities
A cybersecurity audit is designed to evaluate every IT-related technical resilience and identify violations of specific validation procedures and government mandates and reveal hacker-related risks.
When performing Cybersecurity audits, there are numerous benefits to an organization. The graphic below illustrates the many benefits of a cybersecurity audit.
One benefit of a cybersecurity audit is a greater understanding of an organization’s cybersecurity maturity level. Cybersecurity maturity is an organization's ability and readiness to mitigate vulnerabilities and cyber-attacks. The more mature a company's cybersecurity, the better equipped it is at preventing threats ahead of time. Many organizations, especially local, state, and federal agencies in the U.S. government, are interested in understanding the cyber maturity of their potential partners.
Cybersecurity forms an integral part of any enterprise IT. Daily operational checks are not sufficient to mitigate higher-risk vulnerabilities in the network, IT architecture, or even human errors.
Here are the top five secrets a cybersecurity audit can detect and solve
1. Network security loopholes
As we grow our businesses, we tend to include more hardware and software solutions and, in turn, the operational requirements also grow. These additions constantly add new security endpoints and potentially introduce new security vulnerabilities. These additions are so generic and continuous that the number of software downloads (by hundreds or thousands of employees over their desktops and smartphones) is impossible to keep track of. Meanwhile, the complexity of cyberattacks is growing. Software programs often introduce an increased risk of a bot attack. A cybersecurity audit checks all the software and devices of an enterprise to avoid any potential attacks or download of risky software.
2. Regulatory or industry compliance status
Cybersecurity audits help an organization understand the exact regulations applied to its businesses, which might be a tough task in the absence of a legal team. These mandatory regulations vary in scope and by business model, operating industry, cyberthreat, and timeframe. Deploying IT security governance to address cyber threats should be prioritized within an organization’s cybersecurity plan. Cybersecurity teams can then check the existing policy status and monitor any new regulatory bindings, policies, and other government compliance that may need to be immediately implemented in the organization.
3. Education of the IT workforce
A cybersecurity audit ensures that an organization’s IT workforce understands the cyber world and the threats and vulnerabilities associated with it. It gauges employees’ understanding of phishing, scams, cyberattacks, and hacker tactics, which can reduce the risk to a great extent. Briefings related to recent scams like the Coronavirus-themed cyber/phishing attempts were effective in helping organizations escape malicious attacks and online frauds. An audit also helps ensure the efficacy of network security protocols and multi-factor authentication along with zero-trust-architecture features, especially for employees doing work from home.
According to the Bitdefender survey, 8,319 COVID-19 themed cyber threats were reported in March 2020 compared to 1,448 in February 2020.
4. The need for security patches
Tracking security patches released by providers is a hassle. It’s difficult to know which patches are appropriate to implement, but the lack of appropriate patching can be a very serious issue that paves the way for cyber havoc. A cybersecurity audit reveals an organization’s process for patching. Patch management includes the entire IT infrastructure, operating systems and email service, and other connected devices on the network.
5. Prioritization of risk responses
An audit not only outlines current and potential risks in an enterprise’s IT security domain but also helps prioritize them. This is done through weight-defined risk scores and creates a plan for risk analysis. By following a prioritized approach to addressing risks, an organization can develop a plan to mitigate and improve its cybersecurity maturity level.
Get your cybersecurity audit done today! Contact us to know more.