By 2021, experts estimate that cybercrime could end up costing companies a staggering $6 trillion. Organizations in every industry are focused on how to improve cybersecurity, and the concern is understandable. After all, cyberattacks can significantly affect productivity, reputation and company assets, including intellectual property.
A cybersecurity audit is a systematic evaluation of your company’s information systems to make sure that they are running smoothly and efficiently. It can also save your organization money. For example, you might uncover compliance issues that can lead to fines and possibly affect client retention.
Ultimately, security audits help ensure that your company is protected and that sensitive information is stored and handled appropriately. In this blog, we’ll cover four types of security audits you should perform regularly to safeguard your business, employees and customers.
4 Types Of Security Assessments Every Business Should Conduct
There are many different types of security audits. Some audits are specifically designed to make sure your organization is legally compliant. Other audits focus on recognizing potential vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure. Here are four types of security audits you should regularly conduct to keep your business running in top shape:
1. Risk Assessment
Risk assessments help identify, estimate and prioritize risk for organizations. Security audits are a way to evaluate your company against specific security criteria. While this might not be the case for specific businesses, security audits can help with compliance issues in heavily-regulated industries.
2. Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability assessment uncovers flaws in your security procedures, design, implementation or internal controls. It identifies weaknesses that could be triggered or exploited to cause a security breach. During a vulnerability test, your IT team or an outside expert will examine and determine which system flaws are in danger of being exploited. They might run specific software to scan for vulnerabilities, test from inside the network or use approved remote access to determine what needs to be corrected to meet security standards.
3. Penetration Test
A penetration test is unique because it involves an expert acting as a “hacker” in an attempt to breach your security systems. This type of security audit leads to insight about potential loopholes in your infrastructure. Penetration testers use the latest hacking methods to expose weak points in cloud technology, mobile platforms and operating systems.
There are different kinds of penetration tests you can engage in. For example, internal penetration tests focus on internal systems, while external penetration tests focus on assets that are publicly exposed. You might also consider a hybrid penetration test (including both internal and external penetration tests) for maximum insight, as well.
4. Compliance Audit
A compliance audit is necessary for businesses that have to comply with certain regulations, such as companies in retail, finance, healthcare or government. The goal is to show whether an organization meets the laws required to do business in their industry.
A company that does not conduct compliance audits is susceptible to fines, and it might also lead to clients looking elsewhere for their needs. This type of cybersecurity audit usually examines company policies, access controls and whether regulations are being followed. An organization that does business in the European Union, for example, should run a compliance audit to make sure that they adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation.
Best Practices For Cyber Security Audits
Cybersecurity audits are critical, but there are many steps you need to take to ensure you’re conducting them properly. Here are some best practices to sure that your cybersecurity audit is as accurate as possible.
Keep Your Employees Informed: First and foremost, you should let your employees know that a company-wide audit is about to happen. This will help your organization remain as transparent as possible. Business owners may also want to announce an all-hands meeting so that all employees are aware of the audit and can offer potential insight. This is also advantageous because you can choose a time that works best for your team and avoid interfering with other company operations.
Gather as Much Information as Possible: Secondly, you should ensure that all company data is available to auditors as quickly as possible. Ask auditors what specific information they might need so that you can prepare beforehand and avoid scrambling for information at the last minute. The auditors might require a list of all company devices and applications, for example. This step is also important because you can make sure you are comfortable with the auditors, their practices and their official policies.
Hire an External Auditor: It’s smart to hire external auditors for your cybersecurity audit. The truth is that your own internal auditors might not be comfortable explaining all of your organization’s vulnerabilities. Business owners would like to believe that their own employees wouldn’t hold back concerning a security audit. But in reality, current employees may have biases with respect to company security that can lead to future issues and oversights.
Conduct Regular Audits: Lastly, you should make sure that your security audits are consistent. Your company might have detected and resolved major vulnerabilities last year and feel that it’s excessive to conduct another one this year. But the most successful organizations are proactive when it comes to holding regular cybersecurity audits. New types of cyberattacks and risks are constantly emerging.
A cyberattack can often prove catastrophic. Neglecting cybersecurity audits can allow small problems to grow into massive risks, easily putting a company out of business. It doesn’t matter if your business is large or small; you should continue to conduct audits several times per year.
Proactively Audit Your Security Posture and Stay Protected With SugarShot
The size of your business doesn’t matter when it comes to cybersecurity. In fact, 58% of cyberattack victims are small businesses.
While you might not feel like you are vulnerable to these attacks now, the truth is that it can happen to anyone. Every business owner should take steps to ensure that their assets are secure from cybercriminals and protect their reputation.
SugarShot can help your business stay protected by proactively identifying vulnerabilities before they cause damage. Our cybersecurity auditors are experts at understanding complex IT systems and providing recommendations that will drive business growth.
Contact SugarShot today to find out how we can help your business develop a concrete cybersecurity plan and combat modern security concerns.