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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

How to run an effective cybersecurity audit for your business

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Does your business need a cybersecurity audit? The answer is always “yes”!

In this blog post, we will take you through what an audit looks like, how to plan one and give you our top tips from years of helping clients handle their business data better.

IT professional reading laptop in front of a bank of business servers

What is a cybersecurity audit?

During a cybersecurity audit, an auditor will typically review the organisation's network infrastructure, software applications, hardware systems, and other IT resources to identify vulnerabilities or weaknesses. They will also assess the organisation's security policies, procedures, and training programs to ensure they are comprehensive and up-to-date.

The primary goal of a cybersecurity audit is to assess the effectiveness of an organisation's security controls and measures to protect against cyber threats, including hacking, malware, data breaches, and other cyber attacks. As these are ever-evolving, you must audit your business on multiple occasions.

The audit process may involve various techniques and tools, such as penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and compliance checks. The audit findings and recommendations are typically documented in a report that outlines areas of improvement and provides guidance on addressing identified risks and vulnerabilities.

How often should you run a cybersecurity audit in your business?

The frequency of cybersecurity audits for a business will depend on various factors, such as the size of the organisation, the industry it operates in, the type of data it handles, the complexity of its IT infrastructure, and the regulatory requirements it must comply with. However, as a general guideline, cybersecurity audits should be conducted at least once a year, if not more frequently.

In addition to annual audits, it's also essential to conduct more frequent assessments whenever there are significant changes to the business, such as introducing new systems or applications, mergers or acquisitions, or changes to the regulatory landscape. By doing so, companies can quickly identify and address any security gaps or weaknesses before attackers can exploit them.

How you run a cybersecurity audit for your business

Here are the basic steps to run a cybersecurity audit:

  • Define the scope and objectives of the audit - Determine the areas of the organisation's IT infrastructure and data that will be assessed, such as network security, software applications, hardware systems, cloud services, or data centres. Define the audit objectives, such as identifying vulnerabilities, assessing compliance with regulations, or evaluating the effectiveness of security controls.

  • Prepare the audit plan - Develop an outline of the process, timelines, resources, and responsibilities. The audit plan should also define the methodology, tools, and techniques.

  • Conduct a risk assessment - Identify the potential risks to the organisation's IT infrastructure and data, including external threats such as hackers and malware and internal risks such as employee errors and data leaks. Prioritise the risks based on their potential impact and likelihood of occurrence.

  • Collect data and evidence - Gather information about the organisation's security measures, policies, and procedures through interviews with stakeholders, review of documents, and technical assessments of the IT infrastructure.

  • Analyse the data - Evaluate the effectiveness of the organisation's security measures against industry standards, best practices, and regulatory requirements. Identify weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and gaps in the organisation's security posture.

  • Develop recommendations - Based on audit findings, provide recommendations to improve the organisation's security. These recommendations should be prioritised based on their potential impact and feasibility of implementation.

  • Report and communicate the results - Prepare a report of the audit findings and recommendations, including a summary of the audit process, scope, and methodology. Communicate the results to key stakeholders, such as senior management and compliance officers.

  • Follow up and monitor progress - Follow up with management to ensure that the recommendations are implemented and monitor progress over time. Conduct regular audits to ensure the organisation's security posture continues improving and adapting to changing threats and risks.

Our top tips for running a successful cybersecurity audit

There are a few things we have learnt over the many years we have been conducting cybersecurity audits for our clients;

  1. Remember to check the age of your existing security systems - as software ages, it’s important to understand when you need to invest in new versions to keep your business secure.

  2. Ensure you educate employees on cybersecurity - Keeping your staff up-to-date on the latest threats and business protocol means they are a little bit safer while using your tech, resulting in threat reduction before it gets to a source of damage.

  3. Know when to involve your IT support - As a business, you can’t do everything yourself. Save yourself some time and money and get the experts in.

If you need a reliable team to handle your cybersecurity audits and day-to-day IT support, contact Eric today!



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