What is a Cybersecurity Audit & Why is it Important?

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With the number of cyberattacks spiking since the COVID-19 virus, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that all agencies must adopt multi-factor authentication (MFA) by mid-November, 2021. As the deadline approaches and new regulations will be enforced, companies are struggling to meet the laws of compliance. It’s not adequate staying up to speed with the ever-evolving compliance requirements; but it has become critical that cybersecurity is included in an audit plan for every organization.

What is a Cybersecurity Audit?

The purpose of cybersecurity audits is to assess compliance and identify vulnerabilities and other problem areas across digital infrastructures. An audit not only helps an organization stay ahead of cyber criminals, but it also helps avoid fines. An on-site audit includes an auditor, usually a third-party vendor, checking your software’s configuration; they also may run tests to analyze your network and identify any gaps. A network security audit is great in highlighting potential solutions for bolstering your security practices, controls and mitigating risk. In short, having a second set of eyes might be the difference between being protected and being the next cyberattack victim.


Benefits of a Cybersecurity Audit

Benefits of conducting a cybersecurity audit include: an in-depth analysis of your current IT practices, a detailed report of your internal and external security systems; audits typically will highlight weak areas coupled with proposed solutions. The following threats are commonly found during the auditing process: careless employees, phishing attacks, insider threats, Distributed denial of service (DDoS) breaches, IoT devices, and forms of malware.

An auditor will help your company understand which tools you need to meet compliance standards by taking detailed notes regarding the safety and effectiveness of your current IT tools. After the security audit is complete, you should be able to address concerns found by the auditor, determine whether changes need to be made in order to meet compliance regulations, know which solutions and tools to implement in your new and improved defense plan, and take action.


Internal vs. External Auditing: What’s the Difference?

External auditors use a wide range of software tools to find gaps within your security systems. External auditors are highly skilled professionals and don’t come cheap; in addition, it can be difficult to find a professional who meets the necessary qualifications. On the other hand, internal audits are less expensive, easier to manage, and allow companies to gather data and set their own benchmarks in the auditing process. However, an internal audit can lead to bias in the auditing process; thus, many audit committees and boards have set expectations for internal audit to understand and assess potential risks. To learn how to conduct an internal audit in 5 steps, click here.

For best practices, an external audit should be conducted once a year, while internal audits should be conducted quarterly. There is no guarantee your company will avoid an attack however, having an auditor analyze your IT practices and tools could be the difference between your organization being the next victim or staying secure.

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