An IT security audit is a deep assessment of your IT security systems. Conducting regular IT security audits will help you in finding weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your IT systems. It will help you in verifying your security controls. IT security audits will ensure that you are following regulatory compliance. In this article, we are going to talk about IT security audits and how they can help you in achieving your compliance and security goals.
Why your organization needs an IT security audit?
An IT security audit will help you in verifying the security state of your IT company’s infrastructure, data centers, networks, services, hardware, and software. It will help you in finding vulnerabilities and weak spots in your current IT security strategy. An IT security audit will help you in finding IT processes and tools that are not working optimally. It will help you in determining if your business can deal with IT security threats. You can also check if your business can recover from an attack by conducting an IT security audit.
A good IT security audit will help you in following the data security laws. Many international and national regulations like HIPAA and GDPR will need an IT security audit for ensuring that you are complying with their regulations. You need to follow these regulations for the collection, retention, usage, and destruction of personal data.
This audit is done by a certified IT security auditor. They can be from your organization also. However, it is always a good idea to go for external auditors. This will remove bias from your IT security audit. Your IT security professionals can also perform an internal audit first. This will help them in fixing the issues that they already know. An external auditor might help them in finding new issues in your IT infrastructure.
Steps involved in an IT security audit
You can follow these steps for performing an IT audit:
Define the aim or objective of the IT audit
You should figure out the goals and objectives that your auditing team should achieve by doing this IT security audit. Make sure that every objective is accompanied by its business value. This will help you in aligning your IT goals with your business goals.
You should first figure out the services and systems that you want to evaluate and test. This will ensure that your IT security audit team will have a list of systems that they can test. You also need to decide if you want to audit your digital IT infrastructure only. It is always a good idea to audit both your digital IT infrastructure and your physical hardware facilities.
Disaster recovery is another very important part of every business strategy. You should check the risks that can affect your business. It is important to ensure that you can properly deal with these issues. The disaster recovery plan will help you in ensuring business continuity even during disasters. You can also gear your audit towards proving compliance. If you are operating in the healthcare industry, then you need to follow HIPAA compliance. Thus, it is important to ensure that you are checking if you are HIPAA compliant during the IT security audit process.
Plan your IT security audit
A good plan will help you in ensuring that your IT security audit will be a success. You need to define the responsibilities and roles of your management team. Also, you need to determine the IT members who will be performing the auditing tasks. It is important to plan the methodology and schedule for the process. You should also identify data classification, reporting, and monitoring tools that your team can use. These tools will help you in improving your IT processes.
Make sure to document your IT security audit plan. This will help you in ensuring that everyone knows about your IT security audit plan. You should circulate the IT security audit plan to your staff members. This will ensure that your staff members will have an understanding of the entire audit process.
Create an IT asset inventory
An IT security audit will help you in securing your IT assets. Thus, it is important to create an inventory of all the IT assets first. Make sure that you have a list of all the available software and hardware resources. You should also have a list of people who have access to your systems. This can be easily done as you can create a list of login credentials. It will help you in simplifying the auditor task. You should also provide a network map to your IT auditor. This will ensure that they can easily find everything in your office.
IT procedures and policies
You should also have well-documented IT procedures and policies. A hardcopy and softcopy of these procedures and policies should be provided to your auditor. This will help your IT auditor in saving a lot of time. They don’t need to worry about wasting their time understanding your IT policies and procedures.
Prepare your Financial statements
IT audits will help you in reducing the cost of your IT infrastructure. This is generally one of the main reasons why companies go for IT audits. If you want to reduce your IT costs, then you should create a financial statement. It should cover all the IT expenditures. Your auditor should also get a complete picture of your expenditures and finances. They will help suggest you few things that you can follow for reducing your operating costs. These tips will help you in increasing the profit of your business.
Do the auditing work
Your IT security auditing team should conduct the entire IT audit according to the methodologies and plans that you have made during the planning phase. This will generally start by scanning your IT resources like database servers, SaaS applications like Office 365, sharing services, user access rights, data access levels, and system configurations. Your IT security audit team should also check if your data center is resilient to power surges, floods, and fires.
You should interview people that are not part of your IT team. It is a good idea to ask them about their security concerns. You can also check if they are following the security policies. Your IT security audit team should document everything that they have uncovered during the audit process.
Report and document the results
You should compile everything you have found into a formal report. This report should be given to the regulatory agency or the management stakeholders. Your IT security audit report will contain a list of security vulnerabilities and risks that your auditor has detected in your systems. They should also recommend some actions that your IT team can take to mitigate them. Your IT team can follow these actions for dealing with vulnerabilities.
Take necessary action
You should try to follow the recommendations that your IT auditor has outlined in their report. Your IT audit report will contain actions that will help you in improving your IT security.
If an IT auditor has found some bug in your IT security system, then they will mention remediation procedures in the report. You can follow these procedures for fixing a weak spot or security flaw in your system. It is also a good idea to train your employees about data security compliance. If your employees are following the best data security practices, then your business will stay secure.
You should adopt best security practices for protecting and handling your important data. This will help you in finding signs of phishing and malware attacks. You can acquire new IT security technologies for hardening your existing systems. All these tips will be mentioned in the audit report. Thus, you can follow these tips for improving your IT security plan.
Difference Between a Risk Assessment and a Security audit
Both a risk assessment and security audit will involve the process of finding and evaluating your security risks. The main difference is in their scope, aim, and timing.
You will perform a risk assessment when you are creating your IT infrastructure. It is done when your technologies and tools are not deployed. A risk assessment is also performed once the external or internal threat landscape changes. For example, you might see that the number of ransomware attacks is increasing in your industry. Remote working is another landscape change that can affect your security processes. Organizations that have good security processes will regularly perform a risk assessment. This will help them in finding new risks in their organization. Also, it will help them in re-evaluating the old risks. The main aim of risk assessment is to check the risks that your business is facing. This activity is mainly focused on the outside factors.
A security audit is done on the existing IT infrastructure. The main aim of an IT security audit is to evaluate and test the security of current operations and systems. It is a good idea to conduct security audits at regular intervals. This will help you in evaluating your security posture.
How to ensure a Successful IT security audit?
It is important to ensure that your security audit is effective. You can follow the below steps to improve the efficiency of your IT security audit:
Establish clear goals and objectives
You should first define your scope and goals. This will help you in keeping your IT security audit on track. You can easily measure the progress of your IT security audit. Your auditing team members will also stick to the defined goals and objectives. They will stay focused on the important tasks and won’t waste their time and resources on checking unnecessary issues.
Get support from your key stakeholders
If you want your IT security audit to be successful, then you will need support from the key stakeholders of your organization. This will include the Chief Information officer and chief security officer of your organization. If your management is serious, then it will ensure that your audit will be done on time. You will also get access to the resources and time you need for conducting audits.
Define action items
You can’t improve your IT security systems by publishing the audit report only. Your IT security audit should also help you in improving the security of your business network. It should provide practical and clear guidelines for your organization. You should follow the action items mentioned in your IT security audit report for improving your IT security. If there is some security vulnerability in your system, then you should create a plan for remediating it. Make sure that your IT systems are always compliant with the security regulations.
IT security audits are very effective and useful if you are conducting them regularly. You should create a schedule for regularly auditing your IT systems. IT security audits will help you in assessing your compliance with security regulations. It will help you in maintaining your operational readiness for IT attacks. The easiest way to improve your IT security is by conducting regular IT security audits. It will help you in finding vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your system. Thus, you can focus on fixing vulnerabilities that are present in your system.
You can work with experienced MSPs like Bleuwire for improving your IT security. They will also help you in conducting external IT audits. Thus, you will get to know about the vulnerabilities that are present in your network. If you don’t have a big IT security team, then you can partner up with Bleuwire. Bleuwire will help you in creating comprehensive monitoring and IT security strategy for your business. They will monitor your system events for anomalies. This will ensure that your network will always stay protected. You will also get access to the best IT security tools and security professionals. They will help you in improving your IT security processes. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.