The benefits of getting an IT security audit
Those who are interested in improving the security of an organisation or developing IT defences will need the help of an IT security audit. But what exactly is an IT security audit and what are the benefits of getting one?
The basics of IT security audits
An IT security audit is an evaluation of an organisation’s current level of security. The audit will help identify potential vulnerabilities in a number of areas, including technical vulnerabilities, physical vulnerabilities and administrative vulnerabilities.
There are many different approaches to IT security audits. Some auditors work with the team to outline and analyse current defensive approaches. Some work in secret to test defences without a team’s immediate knowledge – so they can see how they might respond in a realistic scenario.
In any case, the audit will conclude with a summary of findings. These summaries usually include a list of potential weak points in security systems, along with recommendations for how to make up for them.
Typically, IT security audits are carried out by third parties, including consultants and IT companies.
The benefits of IT security audits
So what are the benefits of getting an IT security audit?
1) Uncover potential vulnerabilities proactively.
The obvious benefit here is that a security audit can help find a security vulnerability before it’s too late. For example, if there’s a critical weakness in one of your platforms that can easily be exploited, it can be identified and patched before any hackers find out about it. This can save a ton of time, effort and embarrassment.
2) Evaluate your training and education efforts.
This is also an important opportunity to determine how effective training and education efforts have been. An IT security audit will typically test employees’ abilities to respond to a potential threat (or prevent one). If they’re unable to respond appropriately or if they take an action that leads to a security weakness, it means it’s time to step up education.
3) Ensure regulatory compliance.
Depending on the nature of the business, it may be legally required to follow certain standards for data privacy and security. A security audit will ensure a business remains in compliance.
4) Learn more about new technologies and processes.
If the business is experimenting with new technologies and processes, this is the perfect chance to learn more about them. It’s possible to put them to the test in a safe environment before taking them live.
5) Reduce costs.
While IT security audits cost money upfront, they tend to save the business money in the long run, since this will prevent potential hacks and breaches.
Of course, for an IT security audit to be effective, it’s important to take action after it’s complete. Typically, at the end of an audit, the business will receive a list of recommendations for how to improve security and/or adjust efforts. For example, some may receive a recommendation to update a firewall or stop using a certain piece of vulnerable software.
A company’s ability to capitalise on the benefits of a security audit is contingent on its ability to follow through on these directives. In other words, action is necessary to be successful.
Finding a partner you trust
I’t’s also important to have the audit conducted by a provider thoroughly trusted. For the audit to be successful, it needs to be executed by a team of professionals who are trained and experienced in this field. They’ll be hunting for even the smallest vulnerabilities, so their competence must be reliable. Additionally, they’ll be probing and sometimes deliberately trying to break into systems, so it’s important to know that this team is white hat.
To find a partner you trust, consider:
1) Past experience.
How long has this individual or team been in business? What was their background before becoming a security consultant? When working with a team, how many people are you going to be working with and what is their experience like?
2) Reviews and testimonials.
What kind of reviews and testimonials are for this organisation? Are there plenty of examples of customers who were satisfied with their security audits in the past?
3) Spend some time talking to this security consultant directly.
G et a feel for how easy it is to communicate with them. Are they open and honest? Do they answer all questions? Is it easy to get in touch with them? Good communication should boost confidence even further.
Assuming you’re able to find a reliable partner, an IT security audit could be one of the most important investments a business makes. It’s possible to prevent security breaches before they occur, eliminate regulatory compliance issues and save money in the long run.
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