What to Expect from an IT Security Audit

Like all security audits, an IT security audit is used to analyze an organization’s IT infrastructure in detail. It enables an organization to identify security loopholes and vulnerabilities present in its IT system. It also helps organizations meet certain national and international compliance requirements.

Ideally, an IT security audit is conducted periodically for a general assessment of the organization’s on-premises or cloud-based infrastructure. The infrastructure can be a complete IT network and the integrations include network devices such as firewalls, routers, etc.

Why are security audits recommended periodically?

IT security auditing involves checking for general security barriers and vulnerabilities that may be present in hardware, software, networks, data centers, or servers. Simply put, IT security audits help organizations answer some important questions about the security of their current IT framework. Performing this periodically, answer the following questions:

  • What are the current security risks and vulnerabilities facing your system?
  • Are your existing measures strong enough to protect the system from all kinds of cyberattacks? Can you quickly recover your business operations in the event you face a data breach or service is unavailable?
  • Does your security system contain steps or tools that do not contribute to the process in a useful way?
  • What are the steps taken to address the issues found during the security audit? And what are the implications of such steps in terms of running the business?
  • Does it comply with the necessary cybersecurity standards like GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, ISO, etc.? Have you met all security auditing and penetration testing requirements as part of earning your certification?
  • Does your IT framework meet established standards that follow sensitive data collection, processing, and retention?

Note: Certified security auditors typically conduct a compliance audit to obtain certification from a reputable regulatory agency or third-party vendor. There are always provisions for the company team in charge of system security to carry out internal audits and get a picture of the company’s security standards and compliance levels.

What are the steps to perform an IT security audit?

Whoever is in charge of the IT security audit can still confirm that the process was successful and meets the required objectives by verifying if the following steps are taken and the required information is derived:

1. Declare the objective of the company based on the security audit.

This is an important step as it establishes what the organization wants to get out of the security audit. It involves the desired objectives, business logic, the implication of short-term objectives in the broader mission of the company, etc.

There are a few things to keep in mind when setting a goal for your IT security audit. Things like the scope of the audit, the assets included in the scope of the tests, the schedule, the compliance requirements, and ultimately an easy-to-understand final test report.

2. Planning the necessary steps and the test protocol

Getting into the testing process and flying it doesn’t always work. Pre-planning always makes the process easier. You can decide the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders and testing personnel, the steps within the testing process itself, the tools chosen for testing, the evaluation of the acquired data, potential logistics issues, etc.

It is always best to document these decisions, which should then be shared with the organization’s participants and decision makers.

3. Auditing the work done

The steps for the audit process should be decided in the planning step, including the required checklist, methodologies and standards.

Mandatory steps could include scanning various IT resources, file sharing services, databases, whatever SaaS applications are in use, and even a physical inspection of the data center to test its security during a disaster.

Employees outside of the test team should also be interviewed to judge their understanding of security standards and compliance with company policy, so that these potential entry points can also be covered.

4. Finalization of the results

Collect all the information in one document accessible to business stakeholders and the IT team for future reference. Make sure the document is easy to understand for anyone who reads it, regardless of technical knowledge. This will allow internal development or security teams to troubleshoot similar issues in the future if they occur.

Documenting the test results obtained as a report will also allow stakeholders to make important business decisions regarding the security of their customers’ information.

5. Remedial measures for discovered problems

This step involves moving forward with solutions for the problems mentioned in the final report document. Also, the recommended security fixes for the issues. Remediation measures include,

  • Resolution of problems found during the IT security testing process.
  • Adopt better methods to handle sensitive data and avoid malware and phishing attacks by recognizing them immediately.
  • Train employees on best practices to ensure general security and other compliance measures.
  • Incorporation of new technology to increase security and for the periodic supervision of any suspicious activity.

Remember, it is important that you know the difference between conducting an IT security audit as mentioned above and conducting a risk assessment for your internal and external assets. An IT security audit immediately follows a risk assessment of the potential vulnerability and security risks that can be exploited, which ideally should be performed by experts or trained security professionals to improve the overall cybersecurity posture of the company’s assets. an organization in front of the Internet.

Kanishk Tagade

Cybersecurity Enthusiast

Kanishk is a marketing manager for Astra Security and editor-in-chief of Quickcyber.news. His work has been featured on Business Insider, Mashable, INC42., Bleeping Computer, and many other news sites and digital publications.


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