Is Your Network Due For A Security Audit?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Businesses always face security risks from a variety of different sources.

Performing a security audit can help you to identify where you have exposures, develop a better understanding of the security policies and controls you have in place, and catalog your IT assets.

This article presents a quick and simple guide to performing a robust security audit that will help safeguard your organization against risks.

Define the physical scope of the audit
The first major task involves determining exactly what you will audit.

For example, you may wish to focus on business processes, such as financial reporting, or asset groups, such as a specific branch office.

Clearly defining the scope up front will help ensure your risk assessment methods remain focused.

Define the process scope of the audit
Determining the process scope of the audit involves achieving a fine balance between ensuring the risk assessment is not too broad yet not too narrow.

Defining what document and process areas will be included and excluded up front will, once again, help to ensure your audit is sufficiently focused.

Conduct historical due diligence
Perform pre-audit due diligence to ascertain known risks, evaluate the outcomes of previous audits, and identify previous security incidents.

Create the audit plan
To ensure your audit is successful, you will need to have a clear and detailed audit plan that contains details of the audit scope, deliverables, timescales, participants, and dependencies.

Implement the security audit plan
Begin the risk assessment according to the predefined plan. Identify any vulnerabilities and catalogue them appropriately. Identify what security controls are currently in place and calculate the risk of any threats/vulnerabilities emerging.

Document the results of the audit
Produce a detailed overview of the security risks that have been identified, the probability of them occurring, the associated cost/threats if they do become a reality, and a list of actions to address key risks.

Share this document with the decision makers who have the ability to address the risks that have been identified.

Implement new/updated controls
The ultimate objective of any security audit has to be to improve business security and to protect your company’s valuable financial and customer data.

As such, it is imperative that the actions identified in the post-audit documentation are implemented, and all identified risks are addressed, mitigated, or managed in a proactive and timely manner.