These days you need more than the latest antivirus software to ensure 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. Especially now, with everything happening with Russia, locking down your business is more important than ever.
American corporations have taken to blocking access to services in Russia entirely, including banking, App Stores, and social networking access. As a response to being cut off from western technology, Russia is stating that it will decriminalize various forms of online piracy.
We, here at Hermetic Networks, would not be surprised to hear the same about cyber attacks and corporate espionage as the situation worsens. It has never been more important to securely protect digital business interests within our lifetime.
In 2018 alone, we saw 812.67 million instances of malware infection. Meanwhile, 2020 brought with it a 600% increase in cybercrime. And estimates state that ransomware attacks will cost companies over $6 trillion per year by the end of 2022 before the most recent conflict broke out.
If you don’t prioritize cybersecurity, you place yourself and your company at risk of attack, now more than ever. Don’t worry, though. Hermetic Networks is here to help you through the process.
Now, it’s likely that you already have some strategies in place to combat hackers and other malicious actors. However, you also need to feel positive that the measures you have in place are sufficient and are working.
That’s where cybersecurity audits become important.
In this article, we examine what cybersecurity audits are 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 security strategy you’ve put in place. You have two goals with the audit:
- Identify gaps in your systems so you can fill them appropriately.
- Create an in-depth report that you can use to demonstrate your security readiness to business leaders.
A typical audit contains three phases:
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 apply 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 upon. Once that’s done, you move into the assignment.
Here, you assign appropriate solutions to the issues identified – often called remediation. This may also involve assigning internal professionals to the task of implementing those solutions. However, you may also find that you need to bring external contractors on board to help with implementation.
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.
3 Tips for a Successful Cybersecurity Audit
Now that you understand the phases of a cybersecurity 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 for your business.
1) Always Check the Age of Existing Systems
There is no such thing as an evergreen security solution.
Cyber threats evolve constantly, with hackers and the like 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 cybersecurity solutions.
Make sure to update your company’s systems whenever the manufacturer releases an update. But if the manufacturer no longer supports the hardware or software you’re using, it’s a sign that it’s time to make a change.
2) Identify Your Threats
As you conduct your company’s cybersecurity audit, continuously ask yourself from where you’re likely to experience the most significant threats.
For example, when auditing a system that contains a lot of customer information, privacy is a crucial concern. In this situation, many threats arise from human weak points. Passwords, phishing attacks, and malware.
Other threats can come from internal sources, be they malicious employees or the improper provision of access rights to employees who shouldn’t be able to see specific data.
Sometimes, though, employees can leak data unknowingly.
For example, allowing employees to connect their own devices to company WiFi networks can create a risk because you have no control over the security of those personally-owned devices.
The point is that you need to understand the potential threats you face before you can focus on implementing more advanced solutions.
3) Consider the Best Way to Educate Employees
You’ve identified the threats and have created plans to respond.
However, those plans mean little if employees do not 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 cybersecurity audit is essentially useless.
To avoid this situation, you need to educate your employees on what to look out for and how to respond to cybersecurity threats. This often involves the creation of a plan that incorporates the following details:
- The various threats facing your business and how to identify them
- Where they can go to access additional information about a threat
- Who they should contact if they identify a threat
- How long it should take to remediate the threat
- Any rules you have in place about using external devices or accessing data stored on secure servers.
Remember, cybersecurity is not the IT department’s domain alone. It’s an ongoing concern that everybody within an organization must remain vigilant of.
By educating employees about the threats present, and how to respond to them, you create a more robust defense against future attacks.
Audits Improve Security
Cybersecurity audits offer you a chance to evaluate your security protocols.
They help you to identify issues and ensure that you’re up-to-date in regards to the latest cybersecurity threats. And without them, a business runs the risk of using outdated software to protect itself against ever-evolving attacks.
The need to stay up-to-date highlights the importance of cybersecurity audits.
However, your security solutions are not one-and-done. They require regular updating and re-examination to ensure they’re still fit for the purposes you’re using them for. As soon as they’re not, there will be vulnerabilities to your business that others can exploit.
Audits improve cybersecurity.
And improved cybersecurity means you and your customers can feel more confident engaging in commerce with you.
If you’d like to conduct a cybersecurity audit but you’re unsure about whether you have the skills required to do so correctly, we can help. We’d love to have a quick 15-minute no-obligation chat to discuss your existing systems and how we may be able to help you to improve them.