The Importance of Security Audits and Assessments

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The Importance of Security Audits and Assessments

The cyber world is ripe with risk and threats and organizations go to great lengths, and cost, to prevent these threats from becoming an attack. To prevent cybercrime, it’s imperative to have an effective cyber security strategy in place. However, to determine the best plan for your organization you have to start from the beginning. What does this mean? Performing regular security audits and assessments before you put a risk-prevention plan in place.

Start With a Security Risk Assessment

Conducting internal security audits help companies keep their compliance programs up to date and aimed in the right direction. They can also help reduce the stress of formal audits. These assessments are not only important, but they are also very effective for identifying and fixing issues within your company’s policies and procedures. Furthermore, by reviewing your policies, procedures, and standards to identify weaknesses in cybersecurity regularly, you can better prepare your organization against potential threats. An effective security risk assessment can prevent breaches, reduce the impact of realized breaches, and keep your company’s name from appearing in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Audits and Assessments Process

No two IT security risk assessments are the same – or even remotely close. Indeed, there are many ways to perform IT security risk assessments, and the results can vary widely depending on the method you use. However, they all mostly follow this same formula:

Identify and Record Asset Vulnerabilities. The first thing you should do is identify all risksthat could affect your business or industry. This requires knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply to your business. You should also understand the technologies and business processes involved in your industry, and the compliance risks each of these represent. By doing this, you can comprehend the entire range of risks your organization faces. This will also help you assess the likelihood of an attack, the reason behind it, and the possible level of impact. You should also document and track all of these vulnerabilities.

Identify and Record Both Internal and External Threats. There are hundreds of possible cyber threats that might affect your cybersecurity at any given moment. Thus, it’s important to identify which threats are most likely to affect your organization and industry, including both internal and external threats. Once you’ve identified these threats, you should also record and track them.

Obtain Vulnerability and Threat Information from External Sources. You should acquire as much information regarding threats and vulnerability from as many sources as possible, including any outside sources available to you. Outside sources can give you additional insight and information that you might not be aware of from your internal resources. By understanding the vulnerabilities and threats similar organizations in your industry are facing you can improve your ability to combat them.

Determine Potential Impact on Business and Their Likelihoods. Additionally, you must determine the likelihood of each threat and the potential impact it could have on your corporation or enterprise. You can do this by studying the number of realized attacks and the degree of impact each attack has had. By tracking how often each kind of threat occurs, and its impact, you can then focus your resources accordingly.

Review Threats, Vulnerabilities, Likelihoods and Impacts to Identify Enterprise Risk.As with any threat, you need to determine the level of risk to your enterprise. To do this, you must review all threats and vulnerabilities, the likelihood of each, and the impact it would have. You need to develop and implement a strategy and process to prepare your enterprise against the hazards that could impede your company’s progress. Each of these aspects is an important part of your security audits and risk assessments.

Pinpoint and Prioritize Risk Responses. The final step is to identify the different ways to respond to risks and then prioritize the best methods for your specific organization and industry. Because you will most likely have several response options available, it’s important to pinpoint the best way to proceed in the event you become the victim of a cybercrime. You should also focus on the threats that are more likely to affect your organization.

The Security You Need

Although the threat of cyber attacks will never go away, that doesn’t mean you have to live in fear. There are effective ways to keep your data safe. By identifying and documenting vulnerabilities with regular security audits and assessments, you can help protect yourself from a cyber attack.

Additional Resources on this Topic:
Importance of IT Security Audit
The Importance of Cyber Security Risk Assessments
Why you should perform regular security audits

Photo Credit: legasystem Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on New Era Technology

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