One of the most important jobs of an IT specialist or engineer is to always be prepared for a breach or attack on their system; in a situation that may result in data loss or ceased operations, you can never be too careful. A UK government study, for instance, found that 43% of business reported cybersecurity breaches in the previous year, leaving their data and internal information at risk. In order to ensure maximum security, there’s no better way to get a clear picture of how things are running than to perform a cybersecurity audit. Whether you perform it in-house or have a third party conduct the audit, there are a number of valuable takeaways that make the whole process worthwhile.
Establish a security baseline
One of the greatest benefits to performing regular cybersecurity audits is establishing a baseline for your defences and how your system holds up to threats. Not only does it assess the system as it stands in the moment but it’ll also be useful in the years to come when needing a baseline to measure your future security performance against. Cybersecurity is ever-changing and you’ll only be able to measure improvement by comparing the results of an audit to the previous one.
Evaluate the flow of data
If data is one of your most valuable assets, a cybersecurity audit can help determine how and where it flows in and out of your organization and even who can access it. This is important to not only protect your business practices but also customer information and data that has been shared with the promise of unwavering security. In an effort to prevent data from being lost, stolen or mishandled, an audit lays the groundwork for potential improvements that can be made in this area and can end up preventing legal disputes that result from leaks.
Enforce security practices and regulations
Good data security involves many different levels and clearances to ensure not just anyone can access sensitive or valuable data. An audit has the ability to make sure those security practices and regulations are enforced and that access is controlled. Anti-spam and anti-virus protocols, a strong firewall, user action monitoring — all these things need to be running smoothly to ensure strong security and an audit can make sure they’re in place.
Determine the effectiveness of your security
At the end of the day, a cybersecurity audit is simply about finding out just how effective your security really is. An audit of your IT system can help identify vulnerable spots and problem areas but it won’t just highlight the missing things, it takes into account your existing processes and shows you how they can be improved.
Allocate your security resources
Not all businesses are the same and thus, not all businesses require the same level of security to protect their data. An audit can help you determine whether you’re underspending or overspending for the security of your system. For smaller businesses that don’t deal with that much sensitive data, you may not need to secure every server, for example, and instead, reallocate those costs somewhere they’ll be more useful.
Formulate a strategy for the future
In the same way that performing a cybersecurity audit can help set a security baseline, regular audits will help IT professionals craft a security strategy going forward. Taking cues from past audits will help fill in the gaps, so to speak, and make your system even more secure. Especially with business growth, it’s important to regularly check in to identify whether your security is performing at the level it needs to or whether it needs improvement to handle new data from customers or even new employees; since employees are one of the greatest risks to your data, instituting proper regulations and practices will ensure that the only people accessing data are the ones authorized to.
Growing reliance on technology
Before computers handled almost every task in the workplace, performing a cybersecurity audit wasn’t nearly as necessary as it is today. Gone are the days of paper documents and guest books, however, and instead, businesses and companies rely on things like cloud-sharing and automated visitor management tools. But because all this data is stored on a server and protected by a network of security protocols, they regularly need to be assessed and audited to ensure the utmost protection. As the reliance on technological advancements in the workplace and the need for protection grow, so to will the need for audits.
For the longest time, “security” and “cybersecurity” have been two separate concepts that have each required their own efforts. But as businesses and companies adapt to the ever-changing advancements made in technology, they’re beginning to be one and the same. A workplace theft or leak of information is no longer likely due to physical documents falling into the wrong hands but rather an intentional attack on your IT system. That’s why a cybersecurity audit, now more than ever, is important to ensure the security of private company data and information. Not only are they simple to conduct, but they can be done both internally and externally. The more regular your audits become, the better the chance you have of protecting your business, its data and your customer and client base.
A great way of improving your cybersecurity is to invest in a secure, cloud-based visitor management and sign-in solution. If you’re still keeping your sign-in data in paper books, you’re opening yourself up to potential security risks such as data left or data loss. Replacing your book with a cloud-based system such as VisiPoint protects and encrypts your data, so you can be sure that your valuable visitor sign-in data is safe and secure.
If you’d like to discuss your requirements for a sign-in solution, contact us on +44 (0) 191 341 0016!