The ICO issued a record of $130 million fine over the breach, with additional compensation payouts to customers. The breach also caused the brand to suffer a negative backlash regarding its public image. That number almost doubled in 3 years to 1,579 reported breaches in 2017. Prove that the company complies with regulations, such as HIPAA, SHIELD, CCPA, GDPR, etc.

Audits are a separate concept from other practices such as tests and assessments. An audit is a way to validate that an organization is adhering to procedures and security policies set internally, as well as those that standards groups and regulatory agencies set. Organizations can conduct audits themselves or bring in third parties to do them. Security audit best practices are available from various industry organizations. An IT security audit is a systematic check on the security procedures and infrastructure that relate to a company’s IT assets. The purpose of the audit is to uncover systems or procedures that create security weaknesses.

Why Perform a Security Audit?

A security audit is a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s security posture and IT infrastructure. Conducting an IT security audit helps organizations find and assess the vulnerabilities existing within their IT networks, connected devices and applications. It gives organizations the opportunity to fix security vulnerabilities and achieve compliance. Get in the know about all things information systems and cybersecurity. When you want guidance, insight, tools and more, you’ll find them in the resources ISACA® puts at your disposal. ISACA resources are curated, written and reviewed by experts—most often, our members and ISACA certification holders.

Additional Services We are committed to offering you the right technology that works for your business. References could be a blog, a news item, a whitepaper, or any informative material that might help the company to better understand web application security practices the vulnerability and its fix. Use this list of questions as a starting point for brainstorming and refining your own list of objectives for the audit. To confirm that there are systems in place to mitigate expected risk.

  • You’ll know how your security standards will be used in the organization.
  • Internal audit supports the IT team’s efforts to get management buy-in for security policies and helps ensure that employees take their security compliance responsibilities seriously.
  • The demand for an audit should also specify the standard to be achieved.
  • This provides compliance reporting that is compatible with SOX, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FISMA, and GLBA.
  • NordPass is a tool that generates unique passwords and stores them in a personal vault which can be accessed on any device or browser.
  • Run our Information Security Checklist Template whenever you need to manage information security.

The Community Edition is free and features a manual toolkit that you can download to your computer. The Professional plan starts at $399/user/year and offers both manual and semi-automated security testing tools. The Enterprise Edition starts at $6,995/year and includes additional automated tools and collaboration with the Burp Suite AppSec team. The Free plan offers password manager service which will allow you to store any passwords inside the NordPass vault. The ManageEngine ADAudit Plus is available for Windows Server, AWS, and Azure. The three editions for ADAudit Plus are Free, Standard, and Professional.

When Is a Security Audit Needed?

In which, the auditor verifies physical hardware access for security and other administrative issues. However, this article only covers the non-physical part of an IT security audit. Information security is a process that should be prioritized to keep your company’s private information just that, private. If your company’s sensitive information isn’t properly protected, it runs the potential of being breached, damaging the privacy and future of your company and employees. If your WordPress accounts aren’t managed properly and regularly, it can leave your site vulnerable to break-ins and compromise the state of your company. Running a WordPress security audit allows you to prepare for and avoid any possible threats to your website.

They document breaches, note vulnerabilities, and identify ways to improve information safety. Security auditors carry out audits based on organizational policies and governmental regulations. They work closely with IT to assess security controls and practices. Security auditors evaluate firewalls, encryption protocols, and related security measures.

A security audit report typically lists all the audit team’s findings, which can be in the form of misconfiguration errors, vulnerabilities, or any other security defects in a system. The audit report also recommends remediation actions to the respective management to improve the security of their organization. The NIST CSF is a voluntary, risk-based approach to cybersecurity and offers flexible and repeatable processes and controls tailored to an organization’s needs.

Importance of an IT security audit

Audits are an important piece of your overall security strategy in this current “we are all hacked” business climate. If you are looking for a system to automate some of your data security audit capabilities, check out Varonis. Varonis shows you where your data is at risk and monitors your sensitive data for attacks from both inside and out. Many people immediately think of external audits, which are typically required to achieve certification for frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001, but that’s just one type.

While you’re likely already aware of which industry, accreditation, and government regulations your company must follow, security audits can reveal unintentional slips in compliance. Noncompliance can cost your business operational downtime, lost sales, and even regulatory fines that could be avoided with audits. The benefits of security audits far outweigh the costs, helping to find and diagnose security problems that would otherwise leave your people and data exposed to risk. Read on to learn what a security audit is and five ways security audits help your company understand its security vulnerabilities and address them in compliance with necessary regulations.

Full and Regular Security Audits

For example, an organization doing business in the European Union should conduct an audit of compliance to ensure that it adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation. These audits are one of three main types of security diagnostics, along with vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Security audits measure an information system's performance against a list of criteria. A vulnerability assessment is a comprehensive study of an information system, seeking potential security weaknesses. Penetration testing is a covert approach in which a security expert tests to see if a system can withstand a specific attack.

System Security

They will also check the patching processes and role-based access. Today, we are seeing thousands of businesses getting targeted with malware, DDoS attacks, and whatnot. According to a recent report by the FBI, during this COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks on businesses have increased by 300% more.

Full and Regular Security Audits

If your website retains personally identifiable information from your visitors, you have to perform regular website security audits as part of security requirements. There are laws that regulate the retention and distribution of private information. This software installs on Windows Server and it pays attention to Active Directory implementations, centralizing account management across sites and applications. It includes account analysis features that enable you to identify insecure and inactive accounts. It also includes a self-service portal to enable users to update their own accounts and it can enforce password strength and renewal policies.

Provide employees a seamless, engaging training experience

To become security auditors, individuals need 3-5 years of experience in general information technology or information technology security. Senior security auditors have more than five years of field experience. There’s no denying the fact that more people are working more from home than ever before. A recent study by Stanford News estimates that up to 42% of American workers have switched to working remotely. The challenge with working from home is that the remote work environments are not as secure as in-office settings. With corporate gadgets scattered several miles apart, it’s almost impossible to ensure they are always in the right hands.


Some useful tools to check the reputation of a domain or IP address include Spamhaus and SpamCop. Both manage lists compiled by specialist research teams who have evaluated the listed internet resources. ADAudit Plus also protects Active Directory instances because relating activity to users is meaningless if a hacker has created fake user accounts. This system includes a reporting module that scans through the logs that it created and summarizes them. This provides compliance reporting that is compatible with SOX, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FISMA, and GLBA. Papertrail is a cloud-based log management service that has great data availability management features.

Improved security, so we can sleep better

Performing regular audits allow you to be up-to-date with cybersecurity technologies. Security audits act as your business’ safety net, to prevent information breaches and the consequential financial and ethical costs. When conducting a security audit, a business can assess its activity, identify security pain-points and risks, and take a proactive approach for enhanced security. Penetration tests are commonly run by people called ethical hackers.

Strengthening Collaboration Between Internal Audit and IT

Checking boxes on a compliance form is great, but that won’t stop an attacker from stealing data. By reframing the security audit to uncover risk to your organization as a whole you will be able to tick the compliance-related boxes along the way. Your most important asset in protecting your company and customer data is your staff.

Observatory is a free online website security audit tool from Mozilla. To use it, simply input your domain name in the search bar and press the Scan Me button. The tool will process the request and display the results in four tabs – HTTP Observatory, TLS Observatory, SSH Observatory, and Third-party Tests. Each one focuses on different aspects of website security and provides recommendations based on the evaluation. Sucuri will present a report and score the site, letting you know its security risk level. The tool also provides recommendations on what you should improve and identifies potential loopholes.

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