By Bill Minahan | August 26, 2020 | 24 Comments
- What is a cyber security audit?
- What does an audit cover?
- How often do you need security audits?
- Cyber security audit checklist
- Free cyber security audit tool
What is a cyber security audit?
A cyber security audit is a systematic and independent examination of an organization’s cyber security. An audit ensures that the proper security controls, policies, and procedures are in place and working effectively.
Your organization has a number of cyber security policies in place. The purpose of a cyber security audit is to provide a ‘checklist’ in order to validate your controls are working properly. In short, it allows you to inspect what you expect from your security policies.
The objective of a cyber security audit is to provide an organization’s management, vendors, and customers, with an assessment of an organization’s security posture.
Audits play a critical role in helping organizations avoid cyber threats. They identify and test your security in order to highlight any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that could be expolited by a potential bad actor.
What does an audit cover?
A cyber security audit focuses on cyber security standards, guidelines, and policies. Furthermore, it focuses on ensuring that all security controls are optimized, and all compliance requirements are met.
Specifically, an audit evaluates:
- Operational Security (a review of policies, procedures, and security controls)
- Data Security (a review of encryption use, network access control, data security during transmission and storage)
- System Security (a review of patching processes, hardening processes, role-based access, management of privileged accounts, etc.)
- Network Security (a review of network and security controls, anti-virus configurations, SOC, security monitoring capabilities)
- Physical Security (a review of role-based access controls, disk encryption, multifactor authentication, biometric data, etc.)
Unlike a cyber security assessment, which provides a snapshot of an organization’s security posture. An audit is a 360 in-depth examination of an organization’s entire security posture.
Benefits of a cyber security audit
A cyber security audit is the highest level of assurance service that an independent cyber security company offers.
It provides an organization, as well as their business partners and customers, with confidence in the effectiveness of their cyber security controls. Unfortunately, internet threats and data breaches are more prevalent than ever before. As a result, business leaders and consumers increasingly prioritize and value cyber security compliance.
An audit adds an independent line of sight that is uniquely equipped to evaluate as well as improve your security.
Specfically the following are some benefits of performing an audit:
- Identifying gaps in security
- Highlight weaknesses
- Reputational value
- Testing controls
- Improving security posture
- Staying ahead of bad actors
- Assurance to vendors, employees, and clients
- Confidence in your security controls
- Increased performance of your technology and security
At aNetworks, we offer a 360 cyber security audit for organizations. Our audit consists of multiple compliance and vulnerability scans, security and risk assessments, and a myriad of other cyber security tools used to conduct an in-depth examination into an organization’s cyber security.
If you are interested in performing a cyber security audit for your company, then please contact us for a free quote.
How often do you need security audits?
How often you will need to perform an audit depends on what compliance or security framework your business follows.
For instance, FISMA requires federal agencies to have audits twice a year. If you work with a federal agency, then you also must comply with FISMA.
Failure to comply with laws that require cyber security audits can result in fines and penalties.
Other compliance regulations require annual audits. Some require none. How often you perform audits is entirely dependent on what type of data your company works with, what industry you are in, what legal requirements you must follow, etc.
However, even if you are not required to perform an audit, most security experts recommend you perform at least one annual audit to ensure your controls are functioning properly.
If you are unsure whether you require an audit, then contact us and we will get you squared away.
Cyber security audit checklist
Your audit checklist will depend on your industry, size, and compliance framework. Therefore, each organization’s checklist will vary.
However, there are some basic categories that every audit should include. Specifically, the following are essential categories to review:
- Inventory and control of hardware assets
- Inventory and control of software assets
- Continuous vulnerability management
- Controlled use of administrative privileges
- Secure configuration for hardware and software on mobile devices, laptops, workstations, and servers
- Maintenance, monitoring, and analysis of audit logs
- Email and web browser protection
- Malware defenses
- Limitation and control of network ports, protocols, and servers.
The above checklist is just a start. It’s a beginner’s guide to ensure basic security controls are both present and effective. If you don’t have these controls in place yet, then don’t worry. Cyber security is a marathon, not a sprint.
Something is always better than nothing.
Use our free cyber security audit tool
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to evaluate your security posture, then check out our free cyber security audit tool. Our free cyber security audit tool allows you to identify and understand weaknesses within your policies and procedures.
It also provides a list of recommendations and insights into your current security. As a result, your team can use the report to benchmark your current security posture and benefit from a list of actionable insights.
Our free audit tool is a less rigorous, affordable alternative to a comprehensive third-party cyber security audit. Nonetheless, it is still an extremely effective way for organizations to identify vulnerabilities. If you’re interested, then you can begin here.
If you are interested in a comprehensive cyber security audit from an independent third-party, then please contact us for a free consult and quote.
Otherwise, you can call us directly at 855-459-6600.
Furthermore, if you are looking for more information, then please check out our resource center.
Finally, you can always find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Category: Cyber Security
Tags: Cyber Security, cyber security audit, Cyber Security Awareness, cyber security tools, IT security audit
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How do you conduct a cyber security audit? ›
- Review all plans. First, conduct a document-based review of the plans. ...
- Reassess your risks. ...
- Consider applicable security standards. ...
- Assess whether or not the plans are truly actionable.
Definition(s): Independent review and examination of a system's records and activities to determine the adequacy of system controls, ensure compliance with established security policy and procedures, detect breaches in security services, and recommend any changes that are indicated for countermeasures.Why is auditing important in cybersecurity? ›
The primary purpose of any security audit is to understand how much data you have and how it's protected.. It offers insights into which datasets are critical and the protocols you need to protect them. A network security audit helps you understand every cybersecurity risk threatening your company.How much is a cybersecurity audit? ›
Generally, the cost of an IT security audit usually ranges from $700 to $2500. This might seem like a lot – but when you look at the bigger picture, these audits can save your organization from cyber attacks – dealing with which can prove to be far more expensive.What are the 3 types of audits? ›
There are three main types of audits: external audits, internal audits, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits. External audits are commonly performed by Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms and result in an auditor's opinion which is included in the audit report.What are the 4 types of audit reports? ›
- Clean Report or Unqualified Opinion.
- Qualified Report or Qualified Opinion.
- Disclaimer Report or Disclaimer of Opinion.
- Adverse Audit Report or Adverse Opinion.
1. Internal Security Audit. The internal security audit is run by team members within your organization. You will have the most control over what your internal audit examines, the team members that drive it, and the resources dedicated to its process.What is a NIST audit? ›
NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is a nonregulatory agency of the US department of commerce. NIST audit refers to a security audit that follows the compliance regulations formed by NIST.How long does a cybersecurity audit take? ›
At a rough estimate, a SOC 2 audit typically spans four weeks up to eighteen weeks to complete. Critical factors include the following: Maturity of cybersecurity defense. Project complexity.What is internal audit in cyber security? ›
internal audit function will carefully assess cybersecurity plans and work on mitigating risks. data analysis in internal audit work leads to better risk monitoring and a wider control and fraud detection. plan a strategy for managing to get out of it and continue their activity without being disrupted.
What is audit and accountability in cyber security? ›
Audit - Independent review and examination of records and activities to assess the adequacy of system controls, to ensure compliance with established policies and operational procedures. Accountability - The security goal that generates the requirement for actions of an entity to be traced uniquely to that entity.How much does a NIST audit cost? ›
How much does NIST certification cost? On average, organizations pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 to be assessed for NIST compliance. If issues that need to be remediated are uncovered during the assessment, it can cost from $35,000 to $115,000 to fix them.Who is a cyber security analyst? ›
What Is a Cybersecurity Analyst? A cybersecurity analyst is a trained cyberprofessional who specializes in network and IT infrastructure security. The cybersecurity analyst thoroughly understands cyberattacks, malware, and the behavior of cybercriminals, and actively seeks to anticipate and prevent these attacks.How do I start a cyber security job with no experience? ›
- Look at your current background and job role.
- IT Training Courses and Certifications For People With No Experience.
- Network and Use LinkedIn.
- Think Outside the Box.
- Keep a Close Eye on These Technologies.
- Salaries to Expect In Entry Level Position.
There are four types of ISO audits: internal, external, certification, and surveillance.What is the purpose of an audit? ›
The purpose of an audit is to form a view on whether the information presented in the financial report, taken as a whole, reflects the financial position of the organisation at a given date, for example: Are details of what is owned and what the organisation owes properly recorded in the balance sheet?Who prepares an audit report? ›
The auditor prepares the report after taking into account the provisions of the Companies Act, the accounting standards and auditing standards. Also, he lays the report before the company in the annual general meeting.What are audit procedures? ›
Audit Procedures are a series of steps/processes/ methods applied by an auditor to obtain sufficient audit evidence for forming an opinion on financial statements, whether they reflect the true and fair view of the organization's financial position. It is mainly of two types – substantive and analytical procedures.What is audit risk? ›
04 In an audit of financial statements, audit risk is the risk that the auditor expresses an inappropriate audit opinion when the financial statements are materially misstated, i.e., the financial statements are not presented fairly in conformity with the applicable financial reporting framework.WHAT is IT security audit called? ›
An information security audit is an audit on the level of information security in an organization. It is an independent review and examination of system records, activities and related documents.
How does an IT audit differ from a security assessment? ›
A Security Assessment is a preparatory exercise or a proactive evaluation, while an Information Technology (IT) Audit is an externally-reviewed appraisal of how well an organization is meeting a set of legal standards or required guidelines.Which is the standard for security auditing? ›
The ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards are some of the most relevant to system administrators, as these standards focus on keeping information assets secure. The ISO/IEC 27001 is known for its information security management system requirements.What can I expect from a security audit? ›
While conducting a security audit, auditors will assess many critical vulnerabilities: Team members: training, ability to spot suspicious activity, do they follow security policies, possible insider threats, password management.How do I audit AWS? ›
- Generate and maintain a complete list of assets.
- Secure IAM.
- Find public resources.
- Use AWS Organizations.
- Ensure audit logs are enabled.
- Turn on security controls.
- Build data flow diagrams and network maps if none exist.
- Pick a standard.
Security information and event management (SIEM) technology supports threat detection, compliance and security incident management through the collection and analysis (both near real time and historical) of security events, as well as a wide variety of other event and contextual data sources.How long does a NIST audit take? ›
The process can take from several weeks to 18 months or more. And, if you don't have good security protocols already in place, a NIST 800-171 implementation will change everything!Is SOC 2 a security framework? ›
SOC 2 is a security framework that specifies how organizations should protect customer data from unauthorized access, security incidents, and other vulnerabilities.What is NIST compliance? ›
NIST compliance is complying with the requirements of one or more NIST standards. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is a non-regulatory agency under the US Department of Commerce. Its primary role is to develop standards (particularly for security controls) that apply to various industries.How do you prepare for an information security audit? ›
- Create a Diagram of Your Network Assets. ...
- Ask the Auditor Who They Need to Talk to. ...
- Review Your Information Security Policy. ...
- Organize Your Cybersecurity Policies into a Single, Easy-to-Read Resource. ...
- Review All Applicable Compliance Standards Prior to the Audit.
The CAT provides a measurable process for your financial institution to determine cybersecurity preparedness over time. The CAT uses the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and tailors its guidance for banks and credit unions. The CAT consists of two parts: Inherent Risk Profile and Cybersecurity Maturity.
What items should be reviewed during a cybersecurity compliance audit? ›
- Update the Operating System. ...
- Assess the Cybersecurity Protocols of Your Provider. ...
- Check the Accessibility of Your System. ...
- Update Antivirus and Antimalware Software. ...
- Provide Email Awareness Training. ...
- Secure Communications. ...
- Review the Data Loss Prevention Policies.
A Security Assessment is a preparatory exercise or a proactive evaluation, while an Information Technology (IT) Audit is an externally-reviewed appraisal of how well an organization is meeting a set of legal standards or required guidelines.What tools would you need to perform a security access audit? ›
- A mix of automated vulnerability assessors and penetration testing tools.
- Full activity logging for data protection standards compliance.
- Automated asset discovery a software inventory.
- Logfile and device configuration tamper protection.
Cyber risk is calculated by considering the identified security threat, its degree of vulnerability, and the likelihood of exploitation. At a high level, this can be quantified as follows: Cyber risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Information Value.What is risk matrix in cyber security? ›
A cyber security risk assessment matrix is a tool that provides a graphical depiction of areas of risk within an organization's digital ecosystem or vendor network.What is risk analysis in cyber security? ›
A risk analysis is one step in the overall cybersecurity risk management and risk assessment process. The analysis entails examining each risk to the security of your organization's information systems, devices, and data and prioritizing the potential threats.What is the vulnerability assessment methodology? ›
Vulnerability assessment (VA) is a methodology for determining the vulnerability of an asset or assets at risk of being lost, taken, damaged, or destroyed. As such, the VA can be used as a tool for managing threats, or if you prefer, managing the risk that accompanies threats.What is Fisma stand for? ›
The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 amends the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).What is inherent risk profile? ›
The Inherent Risk Profile identifies the institution's inherent risk before implementing controls. The Cybersecurity Maturity includes domains, assessment factors, components, and individual declarative statements across five maturity levels to identify specific controls and practices that are in place.What documents do you create in SOC? ›
- Diagram of your physical office.
- Corporate governance manual.
- Company Code of Conduct.
- Risk Management Plan.
- Compliance program budget.
- Vendor agreements.
- Business continuity and incident response plans.
What is security risk assessment checklist? ›
An application security risk assessment is a process of identifying, assessing, and managing the potential risks to an application. Not only does this help prevent the exposure of security defects and vulnerabilities, but it also helps you see your app through the eyes of cyber criminals and attackers.How many types of compliance are there? ›
There are two main types of compliance that denote where the framework is coming from: corporate and regulatory. Both corporate and regulatory compliance consist of a framework of rules, regulations and practices to follow.