Making a Security Audit a Stress-Free Experience
Have you got a cybersecurity audit approaching? Audits of your digital infrastructure and the security measures you have put in place can be stressful, though with the proper preparation – and a positive cybersecurity culture – there is no reason they shouldn’t run smoothly.
This article outlines the 7-step pre-audit process that will help you be fully prepared and deal with any shortfalls before the audit.
Step #1: Inform All Stakeholders That an Audit Is Approaching
Put your entire team and any external partners on a cybersecurity audit alert. They should be ready to provide all documentation that is requested. Get ahead of the game and ensure that all paperwork is readily available. This will make sure that auditors get the impression of the professionally managed business that you are.
(Bonus tip! Ask the auditor for a checklist of documentation they will request. A smooth audit is in their best interest, too.)
Step #2: Compile a Technology Inventory
To prepare for your audit, you must know what technology – hardware and software – you possess. The task team leads by making a list of all tech inventory they have and checking against previous technology inventories.
Step #3: Check on Your Written Security Policies and Procedures
You should have all security policies and procedures in writing, and these should be easily accessible to your staff. Conduct a quickfire survey to assess if your people know where the policies and procedures documents are kept – and send circular emails ahead of the audit to ensure that everyone knows how to locate this documentation.
Step #4: List All Your Security Measures
Make a list of all the security measures you have for each of your apps, hardware, and software. These may be technical measures or human measures. It’s essential to demonstrate that you comply with safeguarding all data you hold.
Step #5: Ensure That Remediation Steps from Your Last Audit Have Been Documented and Actioned
Refer to your last audit and ensure that all remediation points have been documented, including actions taken to mitigate all risks uncovered by the audit.
Step #6: Complete a Dry-Run Self-Audit to Identify Security Gaps and Best Practices
Carry out a dry-run audit. This will help your people be prepared and allow you to refine your preparation and is best conducted by an external company that has experience in cybersecurity audits in your industry.
You will likely discover gaps in your cybersecurity. Identify what they are, and take remedial action to correct them. Consider what is being done well across your business and create an actionable list of best practices to share with your teams and employees.
Step #7: Test Your Remedial Actions
Revisit those parts you have identified as weak spots to ensure that the fixes you have carried out have been successful.
Be Prepared to Hear Something You Weren’t Expecting
You should now be ready for a stress-free and successful audit. However, no matter how well you have prepared, your audit may still uncover findings that you are not expecting. You may even consider them to be over the top. You should be ready to receive information and action points like this and react positively toward them.
Partnering with an experienced and reputable security services company before your audit is an investment in your cybersecurity. It will help you be ahead of the game when you receive your audit report. You can then discuss and plan to prioritize remediation activities required by the audit.