"Audit" can be a scary word, but it doesn't have to be! In fact, audits are important for your business to succeed. Cybersecurity audits, in particular, are essential for keeping your network and employees safe. 

A cybersecurity audit is used to make sure that your business complies with security regulations and requirements. It can be easy to miss certain things if you aren't well-versed, which is why it's important to have a regular cybersecurity audit done to decrease vulnerability. 

Let's look at what a cybersecurity audit is and how RiskRecon, a MasterCard company, can help you maintain compliance and risk management.

What is a cybersecurity audit?

Cybersecurity audits are a comprehensive review of a business's IT network. The audit team checks for compliance with security regulations set in place by the law and will check cybersecurity analytics. Audits also ensure that policies and procedures are implemented and working properly within the infrastructure. 

Simply put, regular cybersecurity audits are done to ensure that there's no cyber risk or potential threat to the system you have in place. An audit will also find areas where there may be a weakness that could let in a data breach. They will typically include the following:

  • An overall data security evaluation
  • Find vulnerabilities within your infrastructure
  • Find inefficiencies in software and hardware 
  • Analyze policies and procedures
  • Figure out if you're offering sufficient training
  • Determine whether you're in line with compliance and regulations 
  • Find internal and external threats
  • Vendor risk assessment

Data breaches happen for many reasons and can be internal or external. An auditor will be able to find any areas where there's potential for cybersecurity threats, and make the right changes to stop them. 

For example, there could be employees that are security risks purely by accident. An audit will assess this and other weaknesses that could result in a leak of sensitive business information. 

Ideally, before you have an internal audit done, you will have security policies and procedures in place. Cybersecurity audits are a tool to help your IT team improve network security and reduce risk.  

Who needs cybersecurity audits?

If you're asking yourself whether you need a security audit, the answer is yes. In the age of technology, everyone should be performing cybersecurity audits regularly. But, unfortunately, cyber threats are evolving just as fast as tech is, and without consistently updating your security, you'll be at risk. 

That said, organizations that handle sensitive information should focus on cybersecurity audits. If you aren't in compliance, your data is at risk, and you could also face legal trouble. 

Keep in mind that cybersecurity audits aren't always legally required, but they are important in maintaining compliance with cybersecurity policies. Depending on your industry, you may be federally required to do an audit. Consulting with an auditor can help you determine whether this is the case. 

Any business needing information security should participate in audits to identify cybersecurity risks. Even if you think your small business is safe from cyber risk, any business is vulnerable to a threat. 

Why are they important?

Audit importance boils down to compliance to security policy. It's a security assessment tool to find ways to improve weaknesses and issues in your current system. and security policy to improve them. Cybersecurity audits will help you catch a security threat before it happens. 

An audit will also give you an easy-to-digest snapshot showing you how your systems are working and what you can do to improve them. It will also mitigate the risk of data breaches and the headache that comes with them. 

Not only is a data breach going to put sensitive data into the hands of people who shouldn't have it, but it will also likely cost you a lot in legal fees. If your customers are affected, they can sue, and it can be a long and expensive process. 

Along with being costly, a data breach can put a dent in your reputation. As a result, customers and suppliers may not feel safe continuing to do business with you. This is just another reason that cybersecurity audits are extremely important, whether you're selling shoes or running a global enterprise. 

How often should a business have cybersecurity audits?

Now, keep in mind that a cybersecurity audit is not a one time thing. If you've been wondering why to perform an audit, it's recommended that they be done about once a year. However, depending on your industry and potential risk, you may need to have them done more frequently. 

If you're a smaller business with questions about cybersecurity and what to do, you must ensure it will fit into your budget. You may stick to one audit a year for a small business to be in compliance but not break the bank. 

Larger businesses with the budget and need should be performing cybersecurity audits frequently. It's important to stay on top of security measures and always have an updated report ready for executives to look over. 

Another time you should be doing an audit is if you make any big changes to your security system. This goes for hardware, software, and any policies you may change. An audit will ensure everything is going how it should and find any weak points.  

How to prepare for a cybersecurity audit

Once it's time for a security audit, you should be preparing and prioritizing. Typically, you'll use a third-party auditor to do this for you. Large organizations may have an in-house auditor with their cybersecurity team, but sometimes it's better to have an outside set of eyes take a look. 

An internal audit team may be less expensive, but external auditors will be unbiased and usually has more experience. They'll be familiar with industry standards across the board, and since they have formal training, it should be an efficient process.

When you're preparing for any cyber risk assessment, you'll need to have proper documentation available, such as:

  • Copies of security policies and procedures 
  • Your network infrastructure visual map
  • Legal compliance and industry standards documentation
  • List of employees that have access to the security network 

After your audit, you'll receive an audit report. This will be a comprehensive list of everything they found during the audit. Here you'll find the steps you need to take to fix any issues they found. Think of the audit report as a strategy guide to improve your security procedures. 

RiskRecon is here to help 

Ready to start doing cybersecurity audits? The team at RiskRecon, a Mastercard Company is here to help! Our team can assist you with improving your security measures and reducing cyber risk. Contact us today for a RiskRecon demo to get started!