Cybersecurity Audit: Everything You Need to Know
Having a hard time evaluating your organization’s cybersecurity systems and meeting compliance requirements? A cybersecurity audit will give you the insights you need.
Cybersecurity audits are fundamental for maintaining the security and integrity of your key business processes and data.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand what a cybersecurity audit is and why it’s vital for your organization. We’ll also give some tips on how to prepare for and conduct a cybersecurity audit, as well as the career prospects in this field.
What is a Cybersecurity Audit?
A cybersecurity audit is a process that includes the analysis of a company’s IT infrastructure for review and improvement.
The main purpose of a cybersecurity audit is to identify possible threats and vulnerabilities, test current protection systems, examine compliance, and identify opportunities for security improvements.
How Is It Helpful for Your Business? Why Is It Important?
A cybersecurity audit offers the following benefits for your organization:
- Spots security vulnerabilities
- Analyzes internal and external security practices
- Identifies cybersecurity gaps and areas of improvement
- Provides assurance for employees, customers, and stakeholders
- Tests cybersecurity measures
- Enhances security and technology performance
What Does a Cybersecurity Audit Cover?
The scope of a cybersecurity audit typically involves:
- Consistent vulnerability management
- Malware defense mechanisms
- Web and email protection
- Controlling administrative and permission-based access
- Inventory and control of hardware and software assets
- Secure configuration of hardware and software assets based on robust security standards
- Monitoring, maintenance, and analysis of audit logs
- Controlling network ports, servers, and protocols
A cybersecurity audit inspects and analyzes a company’s IT infrastructure, the devices that employees use, and software. Here’s an exhaustive list of what’s included in a cybersecurity audit:
- System security: patching and account and access control management
- Data security: encryption, network access controls, and managing sensitive data
- Network security: antivirus configurations and network monitoring and controls
- Physical security: physical devices and premises that contain critical data
- Operational security: information security controls and policies
How often Should You Conduct a Cybersecurity Audit?
Security vulnerabilities and weak lines are discovered daily. As a general rule of thumb, you must conduct at least one cybersecurity audit per year.
You might also want to carry out multiple internal and external cybersecurity audits per year, especially if your company goes through major software or system changes and upgrades.
Of course, this largely depends on your budget and company size. For small businesses, cybersecurity audits can be costly. However, large businesses and enterprises can definitely benefit from conducting multiple audits annually.
Internal Vs External Security Audits
There are 2 types of cybersecurity audits: internal and external cybersecurity audits.
Internal cybersecurity audits are carried out by in-house security auditors. They’re faster and more efficient than external audits. They also cost less. What’s more, an internal audit can be used as a preparation step for an upcoming external audit.
On the other hand, external cybersecurity audits are conducted by third-party cybersecurity services companies and professionals. External auditors are usually more familiar with all the relevant security protocols. They also utilize best-in-industry software and tools for the audit.
Additionally, professional auditors go through extensive training to be able to detect cybersecurity loopholes and weak lines more effectively.
Both internal and external cybersecurity can be valuable for your organization. Depending on your company’s resources, it’s good practice to develop an audit strategy that contains both internal and external audits.
Internal Audit Pros and Cons
External Audit Pros and Cons
Best Practices for a Cybersecurity Audit
To conduct a successful cybersecurity audit, follow these steps:
- Define your cybersecurity Audit
- Prepare the Required Resources
- Review and Apply Relevant Compliance Standards
- Strengthen Your Network Structure
- Identify Potential Threats and Risks
- Assess Existing Cyber Risk Management Performance
- Develop a Response Strategy
- Conduct regular security audits
Cybersecurity Audit Vs Assessment: Which Does Your Program Need?
The core difference between a cybersecurity audit and a cybersecurity assessment is how detailed they are.
A cybersecurity assessment tests your current cybersecurity controls to give you an idea of how well they’re working. Per contra, the scope of a cybersecurity audit is much more detailed. It covers risk assessment, identifying weak spots, code reviews, and meeting compliance standards.
Cybersecurity Audit Tools
Some of the most popular cybersecurity audit tools include:
- Atera: A SaaS platform capable of generating auditor reports and providing real-time security monitoring.
- SolarWinds Network Configuration Management Tool: Used to standardize network device configurations.
- Intruder: A vulnerability scanner that conducts automatic system scans.
- ManageEngine Log360: A SIEM system that can be used to funnel source data to a security analyzer.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Auditor?
The job responsibilities of a cybersecurity auditor include:
- Review security controls
- Test cybersecurity defense strategies
- Ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards
- Create technical reports
- Analyze breaches for future protection
To increase your chances of landing a job as a cybersecurity auditor, you need to acquire a set of soft and hard skills that will help you perform your duties optimally. Some of the skills that hiring managers look for include:
- Up-to-date knowledge of security threats and strategies
- Critical thinking
- Knowledge of penetration testing
- Ability to identify IT security risks
- Familiarity with policy development
- Effective communication
The salary range for a cybersecurity auditor in the United States is $95,000-$105,000 per year, so the prospects in this specialization are definitely promising.
You can also consider getting certified to gain a competitive edge in job interviews. Some popular certifications for cybersecurity auditors are:
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Information Systems Certification
- IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Certification
Get a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Audit for your Company
At CyberTalents, we offer a professional cybersecurity audit for your organization that ensures compliance with the latest security standards and protocols. Contact us now to learn more!