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Cyber security audits explained

Cyber security audits

Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats to businesses across all industries and having appropriate cyber security in place is vital. From cyber insurance to regular cyber security audits, there are plenty of things you can do to protect both your organisation and your customers. The National Cyber Security Centre provides guidance and advice for protecting your company online and one thing they recommend is a cyber security audit.

What is a cyber security audit?

Put simply, a cyber audit is an in-depth look into your business’ cyber security. It will check that you have the proper policies and procedures in place, and that these are working as they should. Every company should have cyber security policies to follow and a cyber security audit will validate these are working as planned. It can also highlight gaps in your current security and identify possible risks to your business. At the end of a cyber security audit you will have a complete overview of your current security position and any changes you need to make.

What is included in a cyber audit?

When you choose to have a cyber security audit and compliance review, you can expect the auditors to look at your existing processes and compare them with current standards and guidelines. A cyber audit will generally evaluate:

  • Data security, including network access control, use of encryption and data security during storage and transmission.
  • Operational security, including reviewing your current procedures, policies and controls.
  • Network security, such as your antivirus setup and online monitoring capabilities.
  • Systems security which involves a full overview of your current systems, patching processes, user access and privileged accounts.
  • Physical security, such as disk encryption, biometric data and multi-factor authentication.

What are the different types of cyber security audit?

There are three main types of cyber security audits for your business to consider:

One time assessment

As the name suggests, this is an ad hoc cyber audit. Businesses usually choose to conduct these during special events, such as when new software is being introduced.

Tollgate assessments

These kinds of cyber security audits deliver a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to help decide on new procedures and processes. Tollgate assessments aren’t used to identify risks, but instead help your company decide how to move forward.

Portfolio assessments

Portfolio assessments are generally carried out annually or bi-annually depending on the business requirements. These regular audits verify your current processes and identify areas for concern on an ongoing basis.

Why is a cyber security audit important?

A cyber security audit and compliance review brings so many benefits to businesses of all sizes. They are crucial for:

  • Highlighting areas of weakness.
  • Identifying any gaps in your cyber security.
  • Ensuring compliance.
  • Industry and geographic standards (Cyber Essentials, GDPR, PCI-DSS)
  • Testing your controls and processes.
  • Staying ahead of new cyberattacks.
  • Providing assurance for clients and vendors.
  • Increasing your overall business performance.

How can your business prepare for a cyber security audit?

Preparation is key to a successful cyber security audit. There are a few things you can do before an audit to help it go as smoothly as possible:

  • Inform all your teams and partners.
  • Have a full overview of all your technology assets and inventory, both hardware and software.
  • Keep all your documentation in a central location.
  • Provide a log of all current security procedures.
  • List all the current safeguards and controls that are in place.

Cyber insurance provides an extra layer of security for your business and leaves you safe in the knowledge that you have the appropriate insurance in place to protect yours, and your customers’, data. To discuss your cyber insurance options, contact our team on 01223 324233.

Read more: Guide to cyber security incident response planning