Cybersecurity threats are expected to rise in 2020. It’s never been more important for companies to stay on top of their security processes.
One way to make sure your data and systems are properly protected is to carry out regular cybersecurity checks, for the purpose of making sure that everything that you think is in place is so, and is working properly.
hHow often do you need to carry out a cybersecurity audit? That depends on the size of your business and the kind of data you are storing.Why audits are an important part of safeguarding
The reason to conduct a cybersecurity audit is to make sure that the cybersecurity software and practices you have in place are all working correctly.
As well as utilizing cybersecurity software, most companies will have in place a cybersecurity policy which details methods and practices that staff should employ.
While it is important to have such a policy, it is even more important to make sure employees are adhering to it in order to adequately solidify your human firewall. With an audit, you will be able to find out how well your employees know the existing policy, and whether or not they are actioning it.
A cybersecurity audit is also useful to make sure your software is working effectively. Use an audit to check things like whether questionable emails are being put into a spam folder, and if access to dubious websites is being blocked.
Without carrying out regular audits, business-owners or board members can never been 100% certain that their cybersecurity is working at any given time.How to determine how often you should carry out an audit
It’s recommended that in-depth cybersecurity audits are carried out, at the very least, twice a year. Depending on the size of your business, you could opt to carry out audits monthly or quarterly, and possibly per department rather than the business as a whole - if the audit will severely disrupt work time. As well as business size, factors to consider include:
· The number and size of computer systems used
Businesses using just one or two applications will likely find it much easier and quicker to conduct cybersecurity audits; however those using more are probably more at risk. This is because with multiple systems, there are more opportunities for hackers to access information.
· The kind of computing you use
Choosing a cloud-based server can often be an ideal option for business owners who are looking for that added peace of mind. This is because the cloud provider becomes accountable for the security of the information being stored on it, whereas the security of on-premise servers is much more the company’s responsibility.
· The type of information stored
Businesses storing sensitive data such as customers’ personal information and bank details need to be extra-attentive to cybersecurity. It’s a good idea to put a regular cybersecurity audit in the calendar as frequently as possible; perhaps a rudimentary check once a week and a more thorough one every month.Tips for conducting a cybersecurity audit
The ideal way to make sure your cybersecurity is working at its best is to invite an external consultant or auditor in to test it. Professionals in the field will be in the know about the most recent cyber attacks, as well as common vulnerabilities among businesses when it comes to security.
As well as this, there are some auditing methods that can be undertaken internally. One effective method is to perform a vulnerability assessment which simply identifies the areas in which a cyber attacker could access your information. This should include things like home workers who use a laptop at home, any shared computers, or other devices which are being used out and about such a commuter working from a tablet on the train.
To find out how effective your employee cybersecurity policy is, spend time carrying out training at which you start by quizzing your staff on their knowledge. Ask things like:
· How often should you change your password?
· When do you need to lock your computer?
· What do you do with a suspicious email?
A good understanding of cybersecurity is a must when trying to determine how effective your defence is. Try to stay on top of recent cyber threats and hacking activity across the world so that you can identify where your business might be vulnerable. By incorporating a little cybersecurity homework into your regular audit, you should be able to stay one step ahead of the game.
It’s predicted that as technology advances during 2020, as will the sophistication of cyber hackers. This means that concern over cybersecurity should never be disregarded, but rather, these kinds of audits should be a priority in business.
Dan May is a commercial director at ramsac, which provides IT solutions and support for growing organizations.