Cybercrime is becoming increasingly more frequent and with technology at the centre of our day to day lives, this poses a huge risk for businesses and individuals alike.
But how can you ensure that your business and staff are protected from malware attacks and other forms of cybercrime? The answer is by conducting a cyber security audit that evaluates the integrity of your IT infrastructure and also its ability to defend against cyber threats.
In our previous post, we discussed what a cyber security audit is but in this post we will be discussing our top three tips on how to conduct a successful cyber security audit. After all, a poorly conducted audit may miss crucial security gaps, leaving your systems vulnerable to attack, which is why it is best left for your IT department/IT Company to complete, rather than trying to navigate conducting these yourself. These three tips will give you an idea of what a successful Cyber Security Audit will include.
#1 Checking the Age of the Existing Security Systems
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an evergreen security solution. Much like everything else in technology, cyber threats are constantly evolving, with hackers continually coming up with new ways to breach existing security protocols.
Any system you’ve already implemented has an expiration date and should be updated frequently. Eventually, it will become ineffective against the new wave of cyber threats. What this means is that you will always need to check the age of your company’s existing cyber security solutions. Make sure to update your company’s systems whenever the manufacturer releases an update.
However, if the manufacturer no longer supports the software you’re using, this is a sign that you need to make a change as you are putting yourself at risk by continuously using software which no longer receives security updates. If you continue to use software that is no longer supported, hackers may be able to find a vulnerability in it and the manufactures will not release a fix for this, leaving you vulnerable to attack.
#2 Identifying Potential Threats
Before you can establish what level of security is right for your business, you will need to review the personal data you hold and assess the risks to that data. You should consider all processes involved that require you to collect, store, use and dispose of personal data.
As you conduct your company’s cyber security audit, continuously ask yourself where you’re likely to experience the most significant threats. For example, when auditing a system that contains a lot of customer information, data privacy is a crucial concern. In this situation, threats arise from weak passwords, phishing attacks, and malware.
More threats can come internally, be they malicious employees or through the mistake of the provisioning of access rights to employees who shouldn’t be able to see specific data. And sometimes, employees can leak data unknowingly. For example, allowing employees to connect their own devices to your company network creates risk because you have no control over the security of those external devices.
Consider how valuable, sensitive or confidential the information is and what damage or distress could be caused to individuals if there was a security breach. With a clear view of the risks, you can begin to choose the security measures that are appropriate for your needs. The next step is to begin putting them in place.
The point here is that you need to fully understand the potential threats you face before you can focus on implementing any solutions
#3 Consider How You Will Educate Employees
You’ve identified the threats and have created plans to respond. However, those plans mean little if employees do not know how to implement them. If you face an emergency, such as a data breach, and your employees don’t know how to respond, the cyber security audit is essentially useless.
To avoid this situation, you need to educate your employees on what to look out for and how to respond to cyber security threats. This often involves the creation of a plan that incorporates the following details:
- The various threat types you’ve identified and how to look out for them
- Where your employee can go to access additional information about a threat
- Who the employee should contact if they identify a threat
- How long it should take to rectify a threat
- Any rules you have in place about using external devices or accessing data stored on secure servers.
What you have to remember is, cyber security is not the IT department’s domain alone. It’s an ongoing concern that everybody within an organisation must remain vigilant of and by educating employees about the threats present and how to respond to them, you can create a more robust defence against future attacks.
Cyber security audits offer you an opportunity to evaluate your security protocols. They help to identify issues and ensure that your business and employees are up to date in regards to the latest cyber security threats. Without them, your business runs the risk of using outdated software to protect itself against ever-evolving attacks.
The need to stay up-to-date highlights the importance of cyber security audits. However, your security solutions are not one-and-done. They require regular updating and re-examination to ensure they’re still fit for the purposes you’re using them for. As soon as they’re not, there will be vulnerabilities to your business that others can exploit.
Audits improve cyber security and improved cyber security means you and your customers can feel more confident.
If you’d like to conduct a cyber security audit but you’re unsure about whether you have the skills required to do so correctly, we can help. Why not contact one of our team who would be more than happy to help. At Aberdeen Cyber Security we offer a wide range of cyber security services that are backed by ongoing monitoring and management.