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How to Do a Cyber Security Audit Like a Pro

how to do a cyber security audit data security audits cybersec auditing

Does the recent news of big data breaches have you worried about your business security online? You have reason to be concerned.

According to the FBI cybercrime report, there were an estimated $3.5 billion in damages during 2019 because of cybercrime. You can't ignore internet security today if you want to protect your business.

Any business trying to protect their data needs a regular cyber security audit. Keep reading to learn all the steps you need to take to make sure your business is secure.


1. Define Your Priorities

It's hard to conduct an audit if you don't have goals and priorities to aim for. Your first step for your review is to determine what your needs are.

The first place to start is your legal obligations to your local government.

Take a defense contractor, for instance. They have a set of DoD cybersecurity compliance regulations that they need to follow. Healthcare businesses have their own set of rules set out by HIPPA.


Once you figure out what regulations you need to follow, you need to define what data falls into that scope. You'll need to look at file storage, file access, computer equipment, building security, and communication.

This information will help you build a list of assets. This list will help you define the things you need to include in your security audit.


2. Examine Your Current Procedures

If you've been in business for a while, you've probably thought about security before. You shouldn't be going into your audit without a set of procedures that are already in place.

Your goal is to determine how effective your current procedures are for protecting your business against online threats. You want to examine what happens at every point in your company.

This means looking at your virus protection, firewall, security guards, and employees. You want to look for any weaknesses that exist.

Even if you have proper procedures for protecting your business, that doesn't mean that you will always thwart an attack. You should have developed systems to follow in cases like this. Look at them to find any weaknesses in your response plan.


3. Determine Your Threats

Once you know what your audit priorities and your current procedures are, you can start to determine what threats you need to protect your business from.

The first step is to look at an inventory of all the computer equipment your business uses. The computer equipment used by your team can be infected with viruses, malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. You'll need to add protection to these devices to protect them from attack.

If you let your employees bring their own devices and connect to your network, this is another risk you need to account for. It's hard to control what happens on external devices. You need a threat assessment and plan to keep these devices as secure as possible.


4. Prioritize Risk

Not all risk is created equal for business. The risk assessment stage is where you determine what risks you need to prioritize the most.

You want to determine which risks can cause the most damage to your business. You're more at risk when someone steals a list of your customer's social security numbers than when someone swipes a list of phone numbers.

Once you determine what your most sensitive data is, you'll need to develop procedures to protect it. This data needs to have more protections in place and is where you should focus the majority of your efforts.


5. Determine Employee Awareness

A cybersecurity plan can only get you so far. If you have employees who don't aren't aware of best security practices, an attacker will still be able to breach your company network.

Work with your employees to understand the knowledge they have of internet security. You want to gauge areas where they're weak, so you can create a training program to get everybody up to speed.

Ideally, everybody in your company will undergo this training. Your training will help your team make better decisions, so you reduce the risk of an employee exposing your business to an online attack.


6. Consider Working With an External Auditor

It's easy to miss things when you work in your own company for so long. You want your company to be the best, so it's hard to find faults when you do a deep dive into things. Unfortunately, this is a problem when it comes to security.

Consider working with an expert cyber security auditor after you conduct your internal audit. A fresh set of ideas will likely be able to find issues that you won't find yourself.

Not only that, but an external auditor will help you create your plan to get in compliance. It might cost a little more money, but the added security you receive will pay for itself in the future.


7. Create Your Solutions

Figuring out what you need to protect is only half the battle in a cyber security audit. Once you gather your information, you need to develop a plan that will keep your business safe.

Start with your more critical business data. Your systems should lock down your information to only the people who need it. You'll need to implement access control systems to make this happen.

Once your new systems are in place, you'll need to inform your employees about your new security protocols. Include this in your security training, so that old and new employees know what they need to do.

Once your systems are in place, you need a way to monitor things to make sure everybody stays compliant. Investing in network monitoring tools will help you do this. They will tell you what's happening on your network and block anything that appears malicious.


Take Your Cyber Security Audit Seriously

You can't avoid security issues in business today. Not only do you put your business data at risk when you ignore internet security, but you also put your customer's data at risk. Use your cyber security audit to figure out the best things you can do to keep your business safe online.

Do you want to learn more about how you can use tech and a cyber security audit for your business? Keep reading our blog to learn everything else you need to know about IT and data security. Visit the Tech section of the Bootstrap Business Blog for more cybersec audit advice and cyber security insights.