What Happens in an IT Security Audit?
An IT security audit, essential for secure business operations, provides a clear snapshot of company vulnerabilities, strengths, and next-step action items. This information can help guide your decision-making process, and protect your business from cybersecurity risks, data breaches, and property theft.
Cybersecurity has become a top-of-mind concern for business owners. Forbes reports that criminals can get into 93% of business networks. You can mitigate risk with a security audit.
Let’s take a look at the IT security audit checklist below and learn what goes into an IT audit. During the audit, your IT team:
- Defines the scope of the objective
- Puts a plan together
- Conducts the audit
- Reviews the results
- Takes action on next-step items
There are a few different audit methods. For one, penetration tests are used when an IT person tries to break into your infrastructure. In compliance audits, your team only checks certain parameters to ensure compliance with security standards like HIPAA. A risk assessment examines critically important resources. And this is just to name a few.
45% small- to medium-sized businesses report that their current IT security measures aren’t effective in mitigating attacks. Don’t let yourself be one of them.
An IT security risk audit can prevent disaster. Learn how and more about cybersecurity with these blogs:
Audit Checklist: Define the Objective
In the security assessment, what services need to be examined? Which systems should be included? What about digital IT infrastructure? Effective project management means company assets are secure, and that begins with an IT security risk audit.
To further protect sensitive data, you also should be asking questions about disaster recovery. What about security compliance? For example, do you deal with medical documentation and your IT security needs to be HIPAA compliant?
IT Security Audit Checklist: Put a Plan Together
Your managed service team will assign auditing responsibilities to management and IT administrators, and choose the tools for the job.
Understanding what monitoring and reporting tools are being used is also important—you’ll better understand any potential logistical problems, should they arise. Make sure the rest of your team understands the audit’s purpose and process.
Conduct the Audit
An IT security audit usually covers scanning file-sharing devices and servers, and investigating software like Microsoft 365 for appropriate configurations.
During this process, some of the IT security audit tools and techniques used might include:
- SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager: The Manager serves as network security auditing and makes configuration adjustments to devices on the network.
- ManageEngine Log360: Another of the network security auditing tools available, Log360 is a security information and event management software that uses a log manager to report data to security.
- Intruder: This security scanner provides monthly scans, operates from the cloud, and helps keep your network secure.
One important security management tool to remember is access control—how and who can access certain information. Access control can be integrated into your IT systems.
Other IT security audit tools and techniques you might be familiar with are firewalls and antivirus software. Techniques used to protect your company’s assets include backup and recovery, data encryption, and data masking, among other practices.
Review the Results
The team will give you documentation, including compliance reports if necessary, that lists any potential security problems and any recommended next steps to reduce the likelihood of future threats. Your audit reports should be shared with an IT manager or auditor, to ensure all the necessary information is present.
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IT Security Audit Checklist: Take Action
This work is defined by the documentation. Raising awareness of data security and implementing best practices are just part of the picture. Business runs much more smoothly once you’ve taken care of your IT security risk audit.
Your action plan may include implementing a series of security patches. These patches are often issued by companies in order to protect vulnerabilities in their software. Out-of-date patches, for Microsoft Office 365, for example, can be a cyber risk.
Though there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how often you should conduct an IT security audit, you should work with your IT team to establish a schedule of regular audits to catch problems before they get worse. Your team will also likely recommend using management systems in order to deal with security systematically.
If the immensity of an IT security audit is beyond the scope of your team’s capabilities, or if you don’t have a team to begin with, Attentus Tech provides IT and security services to small and medium businesses. Contact Attentus Tech to discuss an IT security audit and more.