Organizations face increasing threats and strict regulatory requirements in today’s digital landscape. A thorough cyber security audit helps uncover potential weaknesses and associated risks to ensure your organization meets all necessary protocols.
So what do you need to know when preparing for cyber security audits? There are three crucial things to know before getting a professional audit or doing an audit yourself.
Having this insight into potential system vulnerabilities can help you better mitigate the risks associated with them, so read on to discover the top three things to know when you’re getting ready for a cyber security audit.
1. Gather Your Security Policies & IT Procedures
Security policies are essential for organizations to protect their IT infrastructure. To prepare for a cyber security audit, you must have all your documents accessible during the audit process so they can be reviewed. These include:
- Acceptable use policies
- Access control policies
- Change management policies
- Incident response plans
- Employee email usage guidelines
- Internet usage guidelines
To ensure a smooth cyber security audit experience, gather all relevant security policy documents in one location. This helps auditors review them efficiently and makes it easier for employees to find and adhere to these security policies. Consider using an intranet or document management system to securely store and organize these important files.
You’ll also want to identify and organize IT-related rules and procedures. These include policies pertaining to:
- Data protection: Review your data protection measures, such as encryption methods for sensitive information like customer credit card details or confidential trade secrets. Ensure compliance with regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Risk assessments: Have documentation for your network infrastructure identifying potential vulnerabilities that could lead to unauthorized access by cybercriminals.
- User training: Locate any documentation related to user education programs focusing on safe online practices to minimize human error that can lead to a security breach.
Taking these steps will help you maintain robust cyber security policies and be well-prepared for your next audit.
2. Understand Your Network Infrastructure
To effectively prepare for a cyber security audit, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of your network infrastructure. This involves creating an inventory of every element within your network, such as wireless devices connected via Wi-Fi, external storage devices used by employees, and third parties accessing company data remotely on personal computers or mobile phones.
Inventory All Elements in the Network Infrastructure
Maintaining a current record of all hardware and software elements can help you detect possible security flaws and unapproved access points when auditing. Be sure to include information about each device’s make, model, serial number, operating system version, installed patches or updates, and other relevant details.
Categorize Sensitive Information According to Risk Levels
Once you have compiled a comprehensive inventory of your network infrastructure components, classify this information based on sensitivity level. For example:
- High-risk data: Customer credit card details or personally identifiable information (PII) subject to regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Confidential data: Trade secrets or proprietary business processes that must be protected from competitors.
- Public data: Information that can be freely shared without posing significant risks to the organization.
In addition to categorizing sensitive data types based on risk levels, provide auditors with detailed network diagrams explaining how different components connect and any relevant privacy laws applicable depending on the jurisdiction where your business operates.
3. Engage Subject Matter Experts
Successful cyber security audits require expertise across domains such as technology platforms being used internally and externally, industry-specific regulations governing the handling of sensitive user information, and best practices followed globally when designing secure systems. To ensure a thorough audit process, it is essential to engage internal resources and external consultants specializing in specific areas.
Collaborate with Internal Resources for Domain Knowledge
- Leverage your organization’s existing knowledge by involving key personnel like the chief information security officer (CISO), IT department staff, or any other employees responsible for implementing and maintaining cybersecurity policies.
- Ensure that these individuals are available during the audit process to provide insights into your company’s unique challenges related to data protection and unauthorized access prevention measures.
Hire External Consultants Specializing in Specific Areas
- If you need more expertise or assistance navigating complex compliance standards like the GDPR, consider hiring external experts to guide you through these requirements.
- A well-rounded team comprising internal stakeholders and specialized consultants will help identify potential weaknesses and implement corrective actions based on their findings from risk assessments, vulnerability scans, and penetration testing exercises to bolster cyber protection efforts throughout your organization.
Be Prepared for Your Next Audit
Preparing for cyber security audits requires careful planning and attention to detail. Reviewing your security protocols, understanding your network setup, and involving experts are essential for a successful audit.
If you need help preparing for a cyber security audit or implementing best practices to protect your organization’s data from potential threats like ransomware attacks or phishing scams, contact neteffect technologies today.