The pandemic has forced the acceleration of digital transformation for most industries. There’s no denying that the new normal has fundamentally changed how we learn, work, communicate, shop, and transact. In today’s world, if your business is not online, you’re losing a significant market share. 

But going digital comes with its own risks. Studies have revealed that the onset of COVID-19 led to an increase in cybercrimes for which companies have never prepared. With the global health crisis showing no clear signs of ending soon, more and more brands are starting to see the value of investing in cybersecurity. But where does one start?

Our answer? A Cybersecurity Audit. 

What is a Cybersecurity Audit? 

A Cybersecurity Audit is different from a simple and straightforward scan. It is an in-depth, comprehensive examination and analysis of your organization’s digital security tools, providers, protocols, policies, and procedures.

You can look at it like a checklist that will allow you to fully understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of your existing cybersecurity efforts. Doing a cyber audit allows you to identify, test, and improve overall strategy against the most common and complex cyber threats. 

A cybersecurity audit should not only be conducted at the beginning. In fact, the Federal Information Security Management Act or FISMA requires government agencies and entities to conduct cybersecurity audits and assessments at least twice a year. In the same breath, scheduling a regular cybersecurity audit will help ensure the consistent stability of your company’s security posture, so risks are minimized.

Is a Cybersecurity Audit really important? 

Yes. In 2019, FBI’s Internet Crime Compliance Center or IC3 recorded an estimated 500,000 cases of cybercrimes that amounted to an astounding $3.5 billion in total losses. But in a more recent study done by Cybersecurity Ventures, it is expected that cybercrime costs will continue to grow by 15 percent annually over the next 5 years. This means that by the year 2025, cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion. This projection considered historical data and both nation-state-sponsored and organized cybercrime hacking activities. 

With data surpassing oil as the world’s most valuable commodity, a single cyberattack has the ability to disable not just a business operation but an entire country’s economy. 

Cybersecurity Audit versus Network Penetration Test

By now, you might be wondering whether a cybersecurity audit is the same as a penetration test. The simple answer is no. The former is an assessment conducted by your company’s IT Security Team to analyze and develop a risk management plan designed to make your internal cybersecurity frameworks as strong, sustainable, and resilient as possible. 

On the other hand, a network penetration test, or a pen test, involves an attack simulation on your company firewall. This can either be done by your team or by a contractor to test how penetrable your cyber and network security are in the event of an attack like phishing scams, malware, and data breaches. 

What Does a Cybersecurity Audit Include? 

There is no single checklist you can use as a reference to conduct a cybersecurity audit because the structure might differ based on what your business operations require. However, there are fundamental categories that you can use as a baseline to review: 

  1. Software and Hardware Assets Inventory 
  2. Vulnerability and Risk Management Plan
  3. Device and Server Security Configuration
  4. Web Browser and Email Protection
  5. Network Access Control
  6. Data Security, Encryption, and Transmission
  7. Anti-Virus and Malware Configurations
  8. Access Security and Management
  9. Compliance Frameworks
  10. Operational Security of Policies and Procedures

In addition to these, we also recommended evaluating the cybersecurity competence of your personnel, not just within your IT Security Team but your whole company. Especially in today’s more remote work structure, ensuring that everyone in the organization understands the value of cybersecurity- from something as simple as Password Reuse Policies to more complex ransomware contingency plans- might just be what will save you from a costly cyberattack. 

If you need more information or assistance on how to carry out an effective cybersecurity audit, our team here at SecureBrain would be glad to guide you. We also have products specifically engineered to monitor and manage risks round-the-clock such as our fully automated cloud-based vulnerability assessment tool or our website scanner and early monitoring system. Contact us now to strengthen your cybersecurity.