Cyber security audits validate the security policies and procedures. Cyber security audit assess whether or if their system is well protected or not in compliance with relevant regulations. This helps businesses organizations or individuals to take measures while designing cyber security policies, so that they can have more dynamic threat management. These are generally performed by third-party vendors to eliminate conflicts of interest. With the adoption of new digital technologies in the organizations, the risk of being attacked by cyber criminals grows. The growing network connection with inflow of information creates many loopholes in the network for cyber criminals to exploit. These should be removed to secure the organizational sensitive data. That is why it is critical for the businesses to have effective cyber security programs .The key to success of these programs is the administration of cyber security audits. Administering regular cyber security audits helps organizations identify the loopholes in the network.
Cyber security is not actually about IT or non-IT security, but about data and information Security. Unfortunately, most of the times companies do not understand the concept and fall prey to the information breach due to the implementation of wrong security system. Here this audit helps the businesses to verify what needs to be done to protect their network, by identifying the loopholes in their existing protections.
Internal audit: Audit process that has been done with the organization’s own resources is called internal audit. This process is easier to manage and can offer an opportunity to gather data and set one’s own benchmarks.
External Audit: Audit process that has been done with external professional is called internal external audit. External auditors are consummate professionals. They use a wide-range of cyber security software, to detect vulnerability detectors and are able to bring a huge amount of knowledge about the gaps and security flaws in the system. But they are very expensive and sometimes finding a professional with the necessary qualifications and is a challenge.
A good cyber security system should take care of the following points:
- Data security
- Risk management
- Cyber risk governance
- Legal and regulatory requirements
- Business continuity
- Incident management
- Training and security awareness
- Security controls
Step to preparing for an audit:
These following few steps should be ensured before an audit of the security infrastructure.
Review the data security policy:
Generally all organizations have an information security policy for the establishment of rules for handling sensitive information. One should make sure to review this policy with regard to data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
This also ensures the steps one should take to make sure the IT systems are still operational while under attack. It ensures the conditions under which data can be accessed by authorized users.
Centralize and review the cyber security policies:
Consolidation of cyber security policies helps to increase the efficiency of the audit process. It provides the auditors with the security and compliance policies which in turn helps them to gain complete understanding about the security practices that makes it easier for them to identify loopholes. The information security policy must be available to all employees to understand their ethical and legal obligations while managing data in the course of their work.
Key aspects of data management:
This defines the privacy rules of surrounding data, identifying the authority to access information and accessible data.
It describes the controlling factors to keep data intact, complete, and accurate.
Defines policies of the process and condition of data access by authorized users.
These policies break down all data stored in the network to determine the level of security to safeguard it. The data generally falls under three categories.
High risk data:
The information that comes under legal restrictions, like financial or personal health information, is considered as high risk data. Failing to protect these data comes with consequence such as fines or legal action.
These data is to be protected from unauthorized access or disclosure. These are data such as proprietary data or knowledge that could cause harm to an organization.
This information is to be freely distributed in an organization or can be shared publicly.
Network access control (NAC)
Disaster recovery and business continuity plans
Remote work policies
Acceptable use policy
Detail the network structure:
A detailed network diagram helps the auditor to gain a comprehensive view of the IT infrastructure, expediting the assessment process. A network diagram is a layout of the network assets and detail about how each of them works together.
Review relevant compliance standards:
Review of the requirements of the compliance standards that apply to your business that should be shared to the cyber security audit team. The list of compliance regulations that is applicable to the business helps the audit teams to align their assessments with the needs of the organization.
List of security personnel and their responsibilities:
Understanding of an organization’s security architecture is crucial. It helps optimizing the process by providing the auditing team with the list of the individual responsibilities of different members of the security staff.
Key points to be taken care in an audit:
Careless employees :
Any weak link in employee chain enough to undermine the whole security process.
Cyber criminals use the phishing attacks to get hold of sensitive information.
Hackers gain access to networks by weak or stolen passwords.
Anyone who is member of the business organization can hurt maliciously or accidentally.
DDoS breaches :
Multiple systems flood a target (usually a web server) to overload it and render it useless.
Employee’s smart phones or USB stick sometimes can substantially weakens the security position.
These threats are such as worms, Trojan horses, spyware and the persistent and increasingly prevalent ransom ware.
Physical theft or natural disaster:
Not being prepared for this can cost one organization a massive sum of money.