The recent data breaches, personal data exposure and other software infiltration have shown us that while technology brings us convenience, it also brings along challenges for businesses.
Traditionally, protecting the company from cyber attacks has been the responsibility of the IT team. However, company management is ultimately responsible for the disclosure of sensitive information or other security breaches. This responsibility can no longer be left solely to the IT team. It is therefore by virtue of this accountability that best practices in information security are established.
As a business, what can you do to ensure that confidential information is protected?
One of the most efficient ways of measuring that is through a security audit. An audit is an initiative that helps the company assess security from different viewpoints: presence of security controls, respect of corporate procedures in daily operations or compliance to standards such as ISO 27001 or SOC2.
While it might appear as a meaningless exercise, the true essence of an audit is the ability to capture the state of security at the organizational level at a specific point in time. Another benefit from performing audits lies in the detailed action plan it generates based on the potential shortcomings identified during the audit.
« As important as audits are to the business, it is imperative to see them as an assessment of security from a governance standpoint, which means that the operational part of security needs to also be assessed. »
To perform an audit, you should prepare a detailed scope and choose the right auditor. Audits require quite an unique background that blends in IT operations experience, soft skills and information security experience. Those skills are necessary in order to ask relevant questions, in the most appropriate manner, hence the crucial importance of soft skills for an auditor.
Some key aspects to be taken into account when it comes down to audits are:
- A concise scope: a defined perimeter or technological assets to be audited.
- An independant audit team to ensure complete professionalism towards the results of the audit.
- A detailed audit report that needs to list all the findings along with the appropriate action plan.
A penetration testing exercise is one of the most efficient way to see what technical vulnerabilities are present and how can those be used to gain access to confidential information.
Going through an audit has a very simple goal: providing a detailed baseline at a specific time of the security compliance for a given organization. The audit report can be shortened into an executive summary to possibly be presented to board members and senior leadership teams if needed. As always, such an initiative brings many concerns that your trusted technology partner can ease while guiding you throughout the whole process.