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 pass a cyber security audit? ›
- Review policies and procedures. ...
- Inventory digital assets. ...
- Conduct a risk assessment. ...
- Assign responsibility.At least one employee, if not a team, should be held responsible for maintaining the organization's cybersecurity posture. ...
- Invest in cyber insurance. ...
- Raise awareness.
A cybersecurity audit involves a comprehensive analysis and review of the IT infrastructure of your business. It detects vulnerabilities and threats, displaying weak links, and high-risk practices. It is a primary method for examining compliance. It is designed to evaluate something (a company, system, product, etc.)What is the purpose of a cyber security audit? ›
A cybersecurity audit is used to find the presence of cybersecurity controls – such as firewalls and intrusion detection services, as well as physical security controls – and validate that they are working correctly and that compliance requirements are met.What makes a good security audit? ›
Security audits will help protect critical data, identify security loopholes, create new security policies and track the effectiveness of security strategies. Regular audits can help ensure employees stick to security practices and can catch new vulnerabilities.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.Is the cyber security test hard? ›
Earning a Security+ certification is not easy, but with proper preparation, focused training, and practice, you will achieve it and deliver rewarding results in your job and career. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for and pass the Security+ exam.What are the 3 main 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 5 contents of an audit report? ›
Audit Report Contents are the basic structure of the audit report which needs to be clear, providing sufficient evidence providing the justification about the opinion of the auditors and includes Title of Report, Addressee details, Opening Paragraph, scope Paragraph, Opinion Paragraph, Signature, Place of Signature, ...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.What are the 3 main pillars of cyber security? ›
When we discuss data and information, we must consider the CIA triad. The CIA triad refers to an information security model made up of the three main components: confidentiality, integrity and availability.
What are the three major objectives of an IT audit? ›
- Achievement of operational goals and objectives.
- Reliability and integrity of information.
- Safeguarding of assets.
- Effective and efficient use of resources.
- Compliance with significant policies, procedures, laws and regulations.
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 top 3 qualities an auditor should possess? ›
- They show integrity. ...
- They are effective communicators. ...
- They are good with technology. ...
- They are good at building collaborative relationships. ...
- They are always learning. ...
- They leverage data analytics. ...
- They are innovative. ...
- They are team orientated.
These goals form the confidentiality, integrity, availability (CIA) triad, the basis of all security programs.What is the most reliable audit procedure? ›
According to this article from Chron, physical inspection, confirmation from a third party, and inspection of records and documents are considered three of the most reliable audit procedures.What is the difference between IT audit and cyber security? ›
Two Parts of the Same Cybersecurity Risk Management Process
While IT Audits examine how things are versus how things should be, internally, Security Assessments focus on how well an organization meets external regulations and requirements. Yet, they are both a part of the same risk management function.
Audit phase: 1-3 months
This report will include the auditor's decision on whether you passed the audit. The actual SOC 2 audit typically takes between five weeks and three months. This depends on factors like the scope of your audit and the number of controls involved.
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!What is the hardest cyber security exam? ›
- Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) ...
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) ...
- Licensed Penetration Tester (Master) ...
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) ...
- CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) ...
- Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI)
Is the CASP hard? The CASP+ is more difficult and than other CompTIA exams, such as the Security+ and CySA+, and it will require substantially more experience and study, however, is it generally considered easier than comparable exams from other vendors, such as the CISSP.
Why is cybersecurity so hard? ›
Some factors that make cyber security hard to learn are: Large numbers of tools. Since there are so many potential attacks, a cyber security professional must be familiar with various complex cybersecurity tools, technical skills, and software.What are the 7 steps in the audit process? ›
- Step 1: Planning. The auditor will review prior audits in your area and professional literature. ...
- Step 2: Notification. ...
- Step 3: Opening Meeting. ...
- Step 4: Fieldwork. ...
- Step 5: Report Drafting. ...
- Step 6: Management Response. ...
- Step 7: Closing Meeting. ...
- Step 8: Final Audit Report Distribution.
observe and comply with any applicable legal requirements; • demonstrate their competence while performing their work; • perform their work in an impartial manner, i.e. remain fair and unbiased in all their dealings; • be sensitive to any influences that may be exerted on their judgement while carrying out an audit.What are the 5 stages of an audit? ›
- Audit measures practice against performance.
- The audit cycle involves five stages: preparing for audit; selecting criteria; measuring performance level; making improvements; sustaining improvements.
- Step 1: Define Audit Objectives. Prior to the audit, AMAS conducts a preliminary planning and information gathering phase. ...
- Step 2: Audit Announcement. ...
- Step 3: Audit Entrance Meeting. ...
- Step 4: Fieldwork. ...
- Step 5: Reviewing and Communicating Results. ...
- Step 6: Audit Exit Meeting. ...
- Step 7: Audit Report.
An internal audit checklist is the specific instructions or guidelines used by auditors to test a company's financial information, operational information, or IT systems, applications, procedures, and security.What are key items in audit? ›
High value or key items. The auditor may decide to select specific items within a population because they are of high value, or exhibit some other characteristic, for example items that are suspicious, unusual, particularly risk-prone or that have a history of error. • All items over a certain amount.Which questions are assessed in a security audit? ›
- Do you have a documented security policy? ...
- Are access privileges in your organisation granted adequately? ...
- What methods do you use to protect your data? ...
- Do you have a disaster recovery plan? ...
- Are your employees familiar with existing security procedures and policies?
Step 1: The Scope of the Security Perimeter
The first step in the auditing process is to clearly define the scope of the audit. For most companies and organizations this will include both managed and unmanaged devices and machines.
- Stay calm. Receiving a letter from the IRS is enough to make anyone nervous. ...
- Enlist professional help. ...
- Offer only the information requested. ...
- Remember you still have rights.
What are the 7 types of cyber security? ›
- Network Security. Most attacks occur over the network, and network security solutions are designed to identify and block these attacks. ...
- Cloud Security. ...
- Endpoint Security. ...
- Mobile Security. ...
- IoT Security. ...
- Application Security. ...
- Zero Trust.
- Critical infrastructure security.
- Application security.
- Network security.
- Cloud security.
- Internet of Things (IoT) security.
Different Elements of Cybersecurity:
Information security. Disaster Recovery Planning. Network Security. End-user Security.
Firstly, this is a rewarding career with a good pay potential and a high demand for IT auditing skills. However, it is worth noting that this is also one of the most hectic and challenging professions today. One also has to constantly learn so as to keep up with the pace of evolving technology.What skills are needed for IT audit? ›
The IT auditor needs a solid base of computer skills related to hardware, software, networks, and cloud computing -- from installation to operation and repair. Programming knowledge is helpful, since IT auditing uses computer-assisted audit tools to perform many job functions.What are the 4 audit approaches? ›
Essentially there are four different audit approaches: the substantive procedures approach the balance sheet approach the systems-based approach the risk-based approach. This is also referred to as the vouching approach or the direct verification approach.Who can do cyber security audit? ›
However, a cyber security audit usually is done by independent third party organisations which are usually recognised by a government authority and their job is to find out possible threats to the client's critical data and cyber security infrastructure of the organisation.How valuable is CISA? ›
The CISA certification is highly recommended by many industry professionals as it opens several new avenues and opportunities for your career in the early stages. According to Accenture, about 68% of businesses are certain their cybersecurity risks continue to rise.How much does a full audit cost? ›
The cost of an independent audit varies by region and nonprofit size. Larger nonprofits in metropolitan areas can expect fees exceeding $20,000. Smaller nonprofits typically pay in the neighborhood $10,000.What are the weaknesses of an auditor? ›
- Preliminary analytical review. ...
- Materiality. ...
- Overall risk assessment. ...
- Management override and fraud in revenue recognition. ...
- Lack of professional scepticism. ...
- Lack of tailoring of audit programmes. ...
- And a few more. ...
- Aim higher.
What are the 2 main duties of an auditor? ›
- Prepare an Audit Report. ...
- Form a negative opinion, where necessary. ...
- Make inquiries. ...
- Lend assistance in case of a branch audit. ...
- Comply with Auditing Standards. ...
- Reporting of fraud. ...
- Adhere to the Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. ...
- Assistance in an investigation.
- collating, checking and analysing spreadsheet data.
- examining company accounts and financial control systems.
- gauging levels of financial risk within organisations.
- checking that financial reports and records are accurate and reliable.
- ensuring that assets are protected.
Oftentimes “the 3 Cs” – collaboration, cooperation, and coordination - are believed to be the focus for a strong cybersecurity solution. Arguably, the most important one is missing or simply assumed and not discussed: communication. Without communication, the other Cs become impossible.What are the six pillars of security? ›
- Secure Access Controls. ...
- Zero-Trust Network Security Controls. ...
- Change Management. ...
- Web Application Firewall. ...
- Data Protection. ...
- Continuous Monitoring.
- Confidentiality: The degree of confidentiality determines the secrecy of the information. ...
- Authentication: Authentication is the mechanism to identify the user or system or the entity. ...
- Integrity: ...
- Non-Repudiation: ...
- Access control: ...
However, inquiry is considered the weakest form of audit evidence, and under many compliance frameworks, isn't alone sufficient. Without proof, we will assume that process is either not operating or being performed inconsistently.What is sufficient audit evidence? ›
Sufficiency is the measure of the quantity of audit evidence. The quantity of audit evidence needed is affected by the following: Risk of material misstatement (in the audit of financial statements) or the risk associated with the control (in the audit of internal control over financial reporting).What makes an audit successful? ›
What is a successful audit? A successful audit starts with adequate preparation and a focus on making things easier for all involved, has continuous support from management, and leads to a change in course or other corrective action.What are the 5 major elements of a cyber investigation? ›
It relies on five major elements: confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, and non-repudiation.How do you prepare for a cyber security assessment? ›
- Step 1: Evaluate the Scope of the Overall Cybersecurity Assessment. ...
- Step 2: Determine the Value of Your Data. ...
- Step 3: Identify and Prioritize Your Assets. ...
- Step 4: Identify Threats. ...
- Step 5: Identify Vulnerabilities.
What are 3 skills you must have for cyber security? ›
- Problem-Solving Skills. ...
- Technical Aptitude. ...
- Knowledge of Security Across Various Platforms. ...
- Attention to Detail. ...
- Communication Skills. ...
- Fundamental Computer Forensics Skills. ...
- A Desire to Learn. ...
- An Understanding of Hacking.
- Posting room and tax charges.
- Assembling guest charges and payments.
- Reconciling departmental financial activities.
- Reconciling the accounts receivable.
- Running the trial balance.
- Preparing the night audit report.
- Mission-Critical Assets. This is data that is absolutely critical to protect. ...
- Data Security. ...
- Endpoint Security. ...
- Application Security. ...
- Network Security. ...
- Perimeter Security. ...
- The Human Layer.
- Govern: Identifying and managing security risks.
- Protect: Implementing controls to reduce security risks.
- Detect: Detecting and understanding cyber security events to identify cyber security incidents.
- Respond: Responding to and recovering from cyber security incidents.
- 10 Steps to Cyber Security.
- Risk management.
- Engagement and training.
- Asset management.
- Architecture and configuration.
- Vulnerability management.
- Identity and access management.
- Data security.
Additional courses or certifications in computer and information systems technology are desirable. Any network or computing commercial certification is desirable. ASVAB score of 64 on General or 54 on General and 60 on Cyber Test. Eligibility for Top Secret security clearance.Is Cyber security hard for beginners? ›
It's beginner friendly.
Unlike many other programs that require its students to have a foundation of the course they are planning to pursue a degree in, cyber security doesn't require you to have technical knowledge from the get-go. Being a beginner is perfectly okay; you will learn as you begin the program.
The official Cybersecurity Fundamentals exam has 75 questions.Is cyber security harder than coding? ›
Cybersecurity is often simpler to enter; you don't need very technical and complex skills to start your career. On the other hand, it is harder to get entry into coding. You require technical skills to learn actual coding; hence you have to be an expert to a particular level to start your career.Do you have to be smart for cyber security? ›
The truth is far from this exaggerated perception. Anyone can learn to become a cyber security expert with a basic level of intelligence and plenty of hard work. Let's take a look at some of the ways to learn cyber security.
What are the 5 best methods used for cyber security? ›
- Risk management regime. ...
- Secure configuration. ...
- Network security. ...
- Managing user privileges. ...
- User education and awareness. ...
- Incident management. ...
- Malware prevention. ...
Although every audit process is unique, the audit process is similar for most engagements and normally consists of four stages: Planning (sometimes called Survey or Preliminary Review), Fieldwork, Audit Report and Follow-up Review.