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Businesses: Neglect Сybersecurity Audits at Your Peril

Cybersecurity audits are crucial for identifying any vulnerabilities, weaknesses in an organisation’s security posture and ensuring regulatory compliance. They help to protect sensitive data, prevent cyber attacks, and remain compliant in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment. Importantly, they enable continuous improvement and highlight the company’s commitment to protecting customer data.


A cybersecurity audit entails a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of all cybersecurity aspects that pertain to the company's IT infrastructure. This includes reviewing policies, procedures, security controls, and action plans. The primary objective of these assessments is to identify vulnerabilities that pose a risk to your business.


However, complex IT environments, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and limited resources present challenges when it comes to conducting comprehensive security audits.



Data protection, risk awareness


The main objectives of a security audit are data protection and risk awareness. Audits help IT leaders understand the extent of their data and how it is currently protected, and by identifying critical datasets and the necessary protocols to secure them, audits assist in mitigating risks. In addition, through a network security audit, entities gain critical insights into a wide range of cybersecurity risks they face.


Audits also help to enhance the expertise of the IT team when it comes to dealing with potential cyberattacks and ensure uninterrupted operations while optimising crisis management protocols within the business.


“It’s important to understand that bad actors don’t only exploit system vulnerabilities, they target cybersecurity processes, procedures, and employees too,” says Olmo Rayón, Co-Founder and CEO at Qalea Cybersecurity. “A good cybersecurity audit will provide a detailed and thorough overview of the organisations weaknesses, the threats and risks in the cybersecurity landscape, as well as the potential impact of all of these."



Where to begin?


To avoid pitfalls brought about by the above-mentioned factors, the first step when conducting a cybersecurity audit is to establish the scope. Start by clearly defining the scope of the cybersecurity audit, then identify and categorise the business’s assets, including sensitive data, and take stock of all hardware inventory. By establishing the security perimeter, auditors will know which areas to include in the audit process.

Next, share relevant resources. Provide auditors with comprehensive information about the team, particularly those that handle sensitive data. This includes understanding their responsibilities, the tools they employ, and how much access they have to the network. These insights allow auditors to gain a thorough understanding of the company’s cybersecurity policies.

Also, before conducting the cybersecurity audit, assess the organisation’s compliance requirements. These regulations will vary depending on the location of the business. Ensure that auditors have access to all compliance details, and if any updates are needed, auditors can help to align the business with industry requirements.



Understanding vulnerabilities

Full disclosure of the company’s network's structure is also crucial during a security audit. Auditors must have access to the IT team to help with vulnerability identification procedures. This enables them to pinpoint any backdoors or gaps in infrastructure and assess the level of protection against them.


A cybersecurity audit should serve as an eye-opener, revealing the risks the business is exposed to. It helps IT heads understand where the chinks in the security armour are, the risks the entity faces, and the relevant laws and regulations that apply.


These assessments should also provide a full overview of vulnerabilities within the business’s systems and how they can be exploited by hackers. If current defence policies are lacking, auditors can suggest the implementation of improved scanning tools and a new data loss prevention (DLP) strategy and can help to update the cyber risk management plan.

Prioritising response


Once the cybersecurity audit is complete, the findings can be used to determine the next steps, which can be prioritised based on the identified risks. These audits help to identify the most exposed areas of the business’s network and offer solutions to address these issues.


By sorting out the most critical threats first, IT teams can safeguard their company's data and mitigate the majority of cyberattacks.


 

ICS (Industrial Control Systems), OT (Operational Technology) and PCS (Process Control Systems) are all areas where security was traditionally underrated. The appearance of Stuxnet in 2010 was the tipping point in changing the perception of the industry, traditionally slow in implementing changes.


This training provides all the pillars for ICS/OT/PCS security.


The goal of the training is obtaining a solid understanding of ICS/OT/PCS security, being able to assess the security level of setups in their working environments and to detect and mitigate any potential weak spots that an attacker might abuse.


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