Why Cybersecurity Audits are Important

by | Oct 14, 2021

With the growing number of cyberthreats, it is becoming increasingly important for every organization’s audit plan to include cybersecurity. As a result, auditors are increasingly asked to examine cybersecurity procedures, policies, and tools to ensure adequate security controls are in place. Cybersecurity flaws can put the entire organization at risk, so these audits are more important than ever.

Organizations should perform frequent cybersecurity audits to determine how effective their security is and guarantee compliance with IT security guidelines and regulations. These audits are distinct from risk assessments, which look into an organization’s IT security safeguards and its ability to address issues. Instead, cybersecurity audits function as a checklist that enterprises may use to assess their security policies and procedures.

Cybersecurity audits enable companies to take a proactive approach when creating cybersecurity policies, resulting in more dynamic threat management.

Third-party suppliers do cybersecurity audits to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. An in-house team can also administer them if they act independently of their parent organization.

The cybersecurity audit universe includes all control sets, management practices, and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) rules in force at the enterprise level. An extended audit universe may even include third parties bound by a contract incorporating audit rights in some cases.”

Best Practices for a Cybersecurity Audit

Before beginning an audit, cybersecurity auditors should establish the audit subject and purpose according to the organization’s boundaries and constraints, including whether personal devices and external apps should be evaluated. Another factor that may limit the scope of the audit is whether the audit will focus on internal or external IT infrastructure.

In most cases, IT use extends beyond the internal organizational network, such as traveling, home-use settings, or cloud adoption. While this may increase cybersecurity risk, it is now standard practice in most businesses, especially given the large number of federal employees who continue to work from home.

It is a good practice to adopt a risk-based view and establish the objectives accordingly. Audit objectives should be limited to a reasonable scope and match the organization’s cybersecurity and protection goals. Also, look over the organization’s data security policies. Make sure you check the policy about data confidentiality, integrity, and availability before the audit begins.

Auditors can classify data and decide how many degrees are required to secure it, so it’s recommended to compile all cybersecurity and compliance policies into a single document, allowing auditors to better grasp the organization’s procedures.

As a result, the auditor will have an easier time identifying deficiencies. Network access control, disaster recovery and business continuity, remote work, and permissible use are some of the policies we suggest implementing.

Organizations should also disclose their network structure. One of the objectives of cybersecurity audits is to identify potential security gaps on company networks. Providing your auditor with a network diagram allows them to understand your IT infrastructure thoroughly, which speeds up the evaluation process, according to the firm. To make a network diagram, put out your network assets and explain how they interact. Auditors can more quickly spot potential flaws and edges with a top-down view of your network.

Before the audit begins, some of the organization’s IT and cybersecurity officials should review key compliance standards and criteria. Then, communicate them to the audit team to tailor the audit to the organization’s needs.

Finally, SecurityScorecard suggests that organizations compile a list of security employees and their tasks. Employee interviews are a crucial component of any cybersecurity audit. To acquire a better understanding of an organization’s security architecture, auditors frequently interview various security personnel.

How Often Should Organizations Audit Their Cybersecurity?

A cybersecurity audit is supposed to serve as a ‘checklist’ that validates the rules a cybersecurity team said are actually in place and that there are control mechanisms to enforce them.

Furthermore, a cyber security audit provides a snapshot of your network’s health. While an audit can give you a detailed look at your cyber-health at a single point in time, it can’t give you an insight into your ongoing cyber management.

Cybersecurity audits should be performed at least once a year.

Other experts advocate for auditing more frequently, although a number of factors influence how often an agency should audit its cybersecurity, including a budget, current system or software upgrades, and compliance criteria.

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