The past, present and future of IT audit, risk, governance, security and/or privacy

IT audits are one of the most commonly used baselines for evaluating a company's security operations. As cybersecurity has continued to evolve IT audits have become more and more focused on the security aspect of the IT infrastructure. Some of this is because companies are becoming more security conscious but it’s also because they are required to do so by the government and the regulatory bodies that oversee them. In this article we’re going to highlight the modern day audit looks for when it comes to IT security and what you should be mindful of if you want to pass an audit:

Know your information assets: The first thing you need to do is to have a full account of all your important information assets. So you need to know where your servers are, where the backups are stored and so on. If you don’t know what you need to protect, you can’t evaluate if you are effectively protecting those assets or not.

Have a network diagram: You need to have a good understanding of your network topology, your network is ultimately what you are protecting from cyberattacks and you need to understand how everything is laid out within your company. You want to make sure that your network is segmented and protected by firewalls, use DMZ wherever you have web applications and so on.

Sample network diagram Source @ Have the proper security software: Next you want to evaluate if you have the proper security software in place to protect your company. Some examples of this are firewalls, antivirus, Intrusion detection & prevention systems and SIEMs. You also need to make sure that these tools are properly implemented across the company and that employees are trained on how to use them.

Have documented security policies and procedures: You need to have written a security policy that outlines that is allowed and not allowed in your company. This shows that you have direction in your security operations and many compliance regulations require you to explicitly have a security policy and make it available for your employees to read. You should also have written procedures that outline what actions will be taken when certain situations occur, for example a ransomware attack, Business Email Compromise, DDOS attack and so on. Have a penetration test done: You should be having a professional penetration test done at least once per year. This will let you know exactly where your weaknesses are and it is required if you're doing a compliance audit. Provide security awareness training: You should be providing security awareness training for your employees to make sure they know how to be safe when browsing online. They should be trained on how to avoid suspicious websites, detect phishing email, not give out personal or company information etc.

Hire a professional: The last tip here is to hire a seasoned professional. Unless you are experienced with dealing with audits you won’t know what type of questions they are likely to ask, what type of proof they need and so on. If you wait until the audit is happening then it may be too late to make those adjustments. So hire someone that is experienced in dealing with audits and preferably someone with experience in the exact type of audit that you are looking to pass.

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