IT Security Audits – Why Your Business Needs One?

Cybercrime seems to be evolving almost as quickly as the technology used to detect and prevent it. Hackers and other cybercriminals have become adept at pinpointing and exploiting weaknesses in a website’s security, and the results can be devastating. Cybercrime can compromise sensitive customer information, financial transaction data, emails and attachments, and even industry trade secrets.  

In response, many businesses are strengthening their security perimeters by partnering with a managed services provider. An MSP can perform a complete and thorough audit of a company’s cybersecurity profile, identifying strengths, pinpointing weaknesses, and suggesting solutions consistent with each company’s IT needs and budget.

​What Goes into an IT Security Audit?

There are three basic diagnostics that an MSP typically uses to test your system’s security: a security audit, a vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing.

Typically an IT security audit will examine your system’s physical configuration and environment, any software used, your information handling processes, and common user practices. The goal is to evaluate the overall performance of your system as measured against pre-established criteria.

A vulnerability assessment entails a complete examination of your information system with a specific focus on identifying potential entry points cybercriminals might use to gain unwanted access to your system or its files.

Penetration testing evaluates your system by having an IT security professional play the role of a malicious hacker and attempt to circumnavigate your system’s protections. By using some of the same methods hackers use, an IT consultant can often ferret out more subtle weaknesses in your security protocols.

A complete and thorough audit often makes use of all three methods to ensure the highest level of protection.

What Questions Does an IT Security Auditor Ask?

An IT auditor is going to examine any area of your system where a cybercriminal could cause harm.

An audit evaluates many factors, including:

  • How robust are network passwords and how easy are they to crack?
  • How is access to shared data controlled?
  • Are their audit logs and are they regularly reviewed?
  • Are current security systems consistent with industry best practices?
  • Is there any unwanted redundancy is systems or services?
  • Are operating systems and applications patched to current levels?
  • How are data backed up?
  • Is there a disaster recovery plan and how often is it rehearsed?
  • How robust are your business’s encryption tools?
  • What is your company’s process for tracking configuration and code changes?

The answers to these and other questions can help an MSP or cybersecurity consultant pinpoint potential vulnerabilities and take pre-emptive action to protect your system before a crime occurs.

Compliance Audits and FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requires all federal agencies and their contractors to bolster their cybersecurity protocols. The law affects not only government agencies, but also independent contractors who do business with the government. FISMA requires that businesses handling sensitive federal data be held to the same rigorous cybersecurity standards as the federal government.

If your business performs contract work for the federal government, an independent IT security audit by an MSP is a great way to ensure that your IT security protocols are in full compliance with FISMA standards. Maintaining compliance not only bolsters your firm’s security protocols, it also helps avoid any fines or penalties that might be incurred for noncompliance.

How Often Do You Need an IT Security Audit?

Cybercriminals are continually searching out new ways to beat even the most advanced security protocols. So the preventive measures you took to bolster your system security 3 years ago may already have been compromised by hackers. As an industry standard, it’s recommended that you invest in an IT security audit annually. This will not only help keep you a step ahead of cybercriminals, it will also help your business adjust its security protocols in response to any internal changes in your system architecture.

At Iconic Technologies, we understand how important it is to safeguard your business against cybercrime. Our skilled team members can help you plan and execute an IT security audit without drawing your in-house IT staff away from mission-critical tasks. And we can offer informed advice on making IT purchases that will bolster your system without breaking your budget. Contact us today and discover what Iconic Technologies can do for you.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

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