How often should you audit your cyber security & who should do it?

Adopting cyber security measures for any business is a good thing. However, many companies assume that once these systems are in place, everything is fine. Cybersecurity isn’t a one and done deal, rather it demands consistent improvements. And one way to test the cybersecurity measures is through regular audits.

Cybersecurity audits are complex, time-consuming, and the data that stems from it needs to take form of simple steps that everyone can adopt. It’s an effort that isn’t just part of the IT department, but the entire business.

With that in mind, how often should these audits be done and who would be the best to do it?

It Depends On The Audit

While audits are indeed complicated and take a lot of time and resources, there are different types of audits that can be conducted.

First, there are routine audits. These are automatic and are used by IT teams. They cover things like control and risk assessments, and maintenance. Routine audits are done to look for certain patterns or anomalies that organizations might not be aware of.

A routine audit is required to be done twice per year at a minimum. However, owners can conduct these audits quarterly or even monthly if needed.

The other is special audits. These audits are conducted under certain circumstances and use advanced technology to focus on a particular area after a certain event. These certain events are:

  • After a security incident or breach
  • After system upgrades or new installations
  • Any changes made to comply with security laws
  • When your business grows by over five users
  • After a business merger
  • After digital transformation
  • Or after implementing a new system

Is There Any Software Available For Auditing?

Yes, there are several available and they all provide companies with a lot of valuable data. The only drawback is that the information needs to be acted upon and implemented by business owners. For small businesses that have limited resources, or other similar situations like this, it can be difficult to implement the advice.
Who Should Be Doing These Audits?

Whether it’s conducting a routine audit or a special audit, there are three options:

  • The in-house IT department,
  • A third-party source,
  • Or a combination of both

The third option is the strongest as this allows an organization to benefit from having effectively two teams working on IT problems. While the business’ IT team is handling other IT tasks, the group of expert IT auditors are testing and assessing programs and operations.

Third-party auditors will often work with in-house teams to assist with IT needs too. When looking for a quality third-party team, they should have the following core skills:

  • Internal audit experience.
  • High interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Experience in security testing within businesses
  • In-depth knowledge of IT security and infrastructure
  • Intermediate or expert knowledge on various operating system platforms.
  • Can write in-depth and clear reports.
  • Highly efficient in relevant software.
  • Have completed IT auditing certifications and qualifications, such as ISO2700

Why Do Audits Matter?

Audits do indeed take up a lot of time and resources and hiring a third-party team to help with this can be expensive as well. Conducting a cybersecurity audit can ensure that the software and practices within a business are working properly.

Just as businesses have cybersecurity software, they also have cybersecurity policies that urge staff to follow those procedures and practices. Those policies are important, but so is doing the audits to ensure these measures are being taken and benefit the businesses.

Without conducting routine audits, business owners will never know for certain whether the measures in place are protecting their company and their customer data.

What Is A Good First Step?

In terms of auditing, several steps need to be conducted to determine the effectiveness. Because an audit covers every aspect of the security measures, it can be difficult to determine what’s a good first step to take.
In general terms, the first step is doing a penetration test or a vulnerability scan. These tests help to quickly identify critical security issues so businesses can act quickly on whatever those results are.

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