Cyber Security Audit (2023)

By Bill Minahan | August 26, 2020 | 24 Comments

  • What is a cyber security audit?
  • What does an audit cover?
  • How often do you need security audits?
  • Cyber security audit checklist
  • Free cyber security audit tool

What is a cyber security audit?

A cyber security audit is a systematic and independent examination of an organization’s cyber security. An audit ensures that the proper security controls, policies, and procedures are in place and working effectively.

Your organization has a number of cyber security policies in place. The purpose of a cyber security audit is to provide a ‘checklist’ in order to validate your controls are working properly. In short, it allows you to inspect what you expect from your security policies.

The objective of a cyber security audit is to provide an organization’s management, vendors, and customers, with an assessment of an organization’s security posture.

Audits play a critical role in helping organizations avoid cyber threats. They identify and test your security in order to highlight any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that could be expolited by a potential bad actor.

What does an audit cover?

A cyber security audit focuses on cyber security standards, guidelines, and policies. Furthermore, it focuses on ensuring that all security controls are optimized, and all compliance requirements are met.

Specifically, an audit evaluates:

  • Operational Security (a review of policies, procedures, and security controls)
  • Data Security (a review of encryption use, network access control, data security during transmission and storage)
  • System Security (a review of patching processes, hardening processes, role-based access, management of privileged accounts, etc.)
  • Network Security (a review of network and security controls, anti-virus configurations, SOC, security monitoring capabilities)
  • Physical Security (a review of role-based access controls, disk encryption, multifactor authentication, biometric data, etc.)

Unlike a cyber security assessment, which provides a snapshot of an organization’s security posture. An audit is a 360 in-depth examination of an organization’s entire security posture.

Benefits of a cyber security audit

A cyber security audit is the highest level of assurance service that an independent cyber security company offers.

It provides an organization, as well as their business partners and customers, with confidence in the effectiveness of their cyber security controls. Unfortunately, internet threats and data breaches are more prevalent than ever before. As a result, business leaders and consumers increasingly prioritize and value cyber security compliance.

An audit adds an independent line of sight that is uniquely equipped to evaluate as well as improve your security.

Specfically the following are some benefits of performing an audit:

  • Identifying gaps in security
  • Highlight weaknesses
  • Compliance
  • Reputational value
  • Testing controls
  • Improving security posture
  • Staying ahead of bad actors
  • Assurance to vendors, employees, and clients
  • Confidence in your security controls
  • Increased performance of your technology and security

At aNetworks, we offer a 360 cyber security audit for organizations. Our audit consists of multiple compliance and vulnerability scans, security and risk assessments, and a myriad of other cyber security tools used to conduct an in-depth examination into an organization’s cyber security.

If you are interested in performing a cyber security audit for your company, then please contact us for a free quote.

How often do you need security audits?

How often you will need to perform an audit depends on what compliance or security framework your business follows.

For instance, FISMA requires federal agencies to have audits twice a year. If you work with a federal agency, then you also must comply with FISMA.

Failure to comply with laws that require cyber security audits can result in fines and penalties.

Other compliance regulations require annual audits. Some require none. How often you perform audits is entirely dependent on what type of data your company works with, what industry you are in, what legal requirements you must follow, etc.

However, even if you are not required to perform an audit, most security experts recommend you perform at least one annual audit to ensure your controls are functioning properly.

If you are unsure whether you require an audit, then contact us and we will get you squared away.

Cyber security audit checklist

Your audit checklist will depend on your industry, size, and compliance framework. Therefore, each organization’s checklist will vary.

However, there are some basic categories that every audit should include. Specifically, the following are essential categories to review:

  • Inventory and control of hardware assets
  • Inventory and control of software assets
  • Continuous vulnerability management
  • Controlled use of administrative privileges
  • Secure configuration for hardware and software on mobile devices, laptops, workstations, and servers
  • Maintenance, monitoring, and analysis of audit logs
  • Email and web browser protection
  • Malware defenses
  • Limitation and control of network ports, protocols, and servers.

The above checklist is just a start. It’s a beginner’s guide to ensure basic security controls are both present and effective. If you don’t have these controls in place yet, then don’t worry. Cyber security is a marathon, not a sprint.

Something is always better than nothing.

Use our free cyber security audit tool

Cyber Security Audit (1)

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to evaluate your security posture, then check out our free cyber security audit tool. Our free cyber security audit tool allows you to identify and understand weaknesses within your policies and procedures.

It also provides a list of recommendations and insights into your current security. As a result, your team can use the report to benchmark your current security posture and benefit from a list of actionable insights.

Our free audit tool is a less rigorous, affordable alternative to a comprehensive third-party cyber security audit. Nonetheless, it is still an extremely effective way for organizations to identify vulnerabilities. If you’re interested, then you can begin here.

If you are interested in a comprehensive cyber security audit from an independent third-party, then please contact us for a free consult and quote.

Contact us

(Video) What is a Cyber Security Audit and why it’s important

Otherwise, you can call us directly at 855-459-6600.

Furthermore, if you are looking for more information, then please check out our resource center.

Finally, you can always find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Category: Cyber Security

Tags: Cyber Security, cyber security audit, Cyber Security Awareness, cyber security tools, IT security audit



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How do I prepare for a cyber security audit? ›

Best Practices of a cybersecurity audit
  1. Develop a security policy. ...
  2. Review and cross-check your cybersecurity policies. ...
  3. Strengthen your network structure. ...
  4. Review and apply business compliance standards. ...
  5. Review and apply employee workplace standards. ...
  6. Conduct and internal cybersecurity audit.

Is auditing part of cybersecurity? ›

Cybersecurity auditors work with companies and organizations to provide comprehensive audits of online security systems that typically includes: A detailed report about existing cybersecurity systems. Analyses of whether the systems run efficiently or effectively.

What does a security audit include? ›

Definition(s): Independent review and examination of a system's records and activities to determine the adequacy of system controls, ensure compliance with established security policy and procedures, detect breaches in security services, and recommend any changes that are indicated for countermeasures.

What are the 3 main pillars of cyber security? ›

When we discuss data and information, we must consider the CIA triad. The CIA triad refers to an information security model made up of the three main components: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

What is the role of auditor in cyber security? ›

In a readiness assessment, an auditor performs procedures to obtain an understanding of the company's cybersecurity processes and controls and to identify any gaps in those processes and controls. Often, the auditor would make high- level recommendations about ways to strengthen existing cybersecurity controls.

What are the 3 main types of audits? ›

There are three main types of audits: external audits, internal audits, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits. External audits are commonly performed by Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms and result in an auditor's opinion which is included in the audit report.

What are the 4 methods of auditing? ›

The four types of auditor opinions are:
  • Unqualified opinion-clean report.
  • Qualified opinion-qualified report.
  • Disclaimer of opinion-disclaimer report.
  • Adverse opinion-adverse audit report.
27 Apr 2022

How long does a cybersecurity audit take? ›

At a rough estimate, a SOC 2 audit typically spans four weeks up to eighteen weeks to complete. Critical factors include the following: Maturity of cybersecurity defense. Project complexity.

How much is a cybersecurity audit? ›

Generally, the cost of an IT security audit usually ranges from $700 to $2500. This might seem like a lot – but when you look at the bigger picture, these audits can save your organization from cyber attacks – dealing with which can prove to be far more expensive.

How is security audit done? ›

A security audit works by testing whether your organization's information system is adhering to a set of internal or external criteria regulating data security. Internal criteria includes your company's IT policies and procedures and security controls.

What is the first step in a security audit? ›

Step 1: The Scope of the Security Perimeter

The first step in the auditing process is to clearly define the scope of the audit. For most companies and organizations this will include both managed and unmanaged devices and machines.

What can I expect from a security audit? ›

While conducting a security audit, auditors will assess many critical vulnerabilities: Team members: training, ability to spot suspicious activity, do they follow security policies, possible insider threats, password management.

What are the 7 types of cyber security? ›

The Different Types of Cybersecurity
  • Network Security. Most attacks occur over the network, and network security solutions are designed to identify and block these attacks. ...
  • Cloud Security. ...
  • Endpoint Security. ...
  • Mobile Security. ...
  • IoT Security. ...
  • Application Security. ...
  • Zero Trust.

What are the 5 types of cyber security? ›

Cybersecurity can be categorized into five distinct types:
  • Critical infrastructure security.
  • Application security.
  • Network security.
  • Cloud security.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) security.

What are the 5 essential elements of cyber security? ›

Different Elements of Cybersecurity:

Information security. Disaster Recovery Planning. Network Security. End-user Security.

Is security auditing a good career? ›

IT Auditing is an extremely fulfilling career path , it brings out a bridge between both worlds, of business and IT .

What skills does an IT auditor need? ›

6 Skills You Need to be a Successful IT Auditor
  • Skill #1: Data Analysis.
  • Skill #2: Be Inquisitive/Ask Questions.
  • Skill #3: Project Management.
  • Skill #4: People Skills.
  • Skill #5: Verbal Communication Skills.
  • Skill #6: Written Communication Skills.
8 Jan 2021

What are the 2 main duties of an auditor? ›

Duties of the Auditor
  • Prepare an Audit Report. ...
  • Form a negative opinion, where necessary. ...
  • Make inquiries. ...
  • Lend assistance in case of a branch audit. ...
  • Comply with Auditing Standards. ...
  • Reporting of fraud. ...
  • Adhere to the Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. ...
  • Assistance in an investigation.
2 May 2022

What are the 7 audit principles? ›

observe and comply with any applicable legal requirements; • demonstrate their competence while performing their work; • perform their work in an impartial manner, i.e. remain fair and unbiased in all their dealings; • be sensitive to any influences that may be exerted on their judgement while carrying out an audit.

What are the 7 steps in the audit process? ›

Audit Process
  1. Step 1: Planning. The auditor will review prior audits in your area and professional literature. ...
  2. Step 2: Notification. ...
  3. Step 3: Opening Meeting. ...
  4. Step 4: Fieldwork. ...
  5. Step 5: Report Drafting. ...
  6. Step 6: Management Response. ...
  7. Step 7: Closing Meeting. ...
  8. Step 8: Final Audit Report Distribution.

What are the 5 stages of an audit? ›

Key points
  • Audit measures practice against performance.
  • The audit cycle involves five stages: preparing for audit; selecting criteria; measuring performance level; making improvements; sustaining improvements.

What are the 10 forms of cyber security? ›

Top 10 common types of cyber security attacks
  • Malware.
  • Phishing.
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks.
  • Denial-of-Service (DOS) Attack.
  • SQL Injections.
  • Zero-day Exploit.
  • Password Attack.
  • Cross-site Scripting.
31 Jan 2022

What is the big 4 in cyber security? ›

According to Coats, “our adversaries and strategic competitors will increasingly use cyber capabilities—including cyber espionage, attack, and influence—to seek political, economic, and military advantage over the United States and its allies and partners.” The “big 4” adversaries China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea ...

What is the difference between IT audit and cyber security? ›

Two Parts of the Same Cybersecurity Risk Management Process

While IT Audits examine how things are versus how things should be, internally, Security Assessments focus on how well an organization meets external regulations and requirements. Yet, they are both a part of the same risk management function.

Are cyber security exams hard? ›

No, cybersecurity isn't hard. Although there may be difficult concepts, like cryptography or areas that require more technical knowledge, cybersecurity is one of the few fields in the tech world that doesn't require a strong technical background.

Who does cyber security audits? ›

Cybersecurity audits are performed by third-party vendors to eliminate any conflicts of interest, according to SecurityScorecard. However, “they can also be administered by an in-house team as long as they act independently of their parent organization.”

How often do security audits happen? ›

It is recommended to do it at least 2 times a year. In general, How often should a regular security audit depends on the size of the organization, What type of data you are dealing with, etc. If you are your organization is large and dealing with sensitive data or confidential data.

How much does a NIST audit cost? ›

How much does NIST certification cost? On average, organizations pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 to be assessed for NIST compliance. If issues that need to be remediated are uncovered during the assessment, it can cost from $35,000 to $115,000 to fix them.

What are the 3 steps of security risk assessment? ›

A successful data security risk assessment usually can be broken down into three steps: Identify what the risks are to your critical systems and sensitive data. Identify and organize your data by the weight of the risk associated with it. Take action to mitigate the risks.

What is security checklist? ›

A checklist developed by security experts using questions dealing with a number of security issues.

What are common cyber security tools? ›

Enlisted below are the top Cyber Security tools for 2022.
  • Wireshark.
  • Kali Linux.
  • John the Ripper.
  • Metasploit.
  • Cain and Abel.
  • Tcpdump.
  • Nikto.
  • Forcepoint.
27 Sept 2022

What is security audit and its types? ›

An IT 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.

Which questions are assessed in a security audit? ›

Top 5 IT Security Audit Questions
  • Do you have a documented security policy? ...
  • Are access privileges in your organisation granted adequately? ...
  • What methods do you use to protect your data? ...
  • Do you have a disaster recovery plan? ...
  • Are your employees familiar with existing security procedures and policies?

How do you pass a security audit? ›

How to Pass An Audit
  1. Start with an internal self-assessment. ...
  2. Run an access check. ...
  3. Keep thorough records. ...
  4. Track the latest regulations. ...
  5. Implement training for everyone associated with your company.
14 Jul 2021

What are the 5 major elements of a cyber investigation? ›

It relies on five major elements: confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, and non-repudiation.

What is the best way to prepare for an audit? ›

Our top tips on how to prepare for an upcoming audit fall into five broad categories: Get acquainted with the auditor; Clean up records; Keep up with internal changes; Keep abreast of external changes; and Prepare thoughtfully for the actual audit. . Open a line of communication before the audit start date.

How long does a cyber security audit take? ›

At a rough estimate, a SOC 2 audit typically spans four weeks up to eighteen weeks to complete. Critical factors include the following: Maturity of cybersecurity defense. Project complexity.

Can you fail an ISO 27001 audit? ›

If you fail an ISO audit, you may face the risk of certified status removal. External audits reveal major non-conformances that the organisation needs to address. Sometimes it may detect issues with the quality management system you were unaware of.

What are the 7 layers of cyber security? ›

The Seven Layers Of Cybersecurity
  • Mission-Critical Assets. This is data that is absolutely critical to protect. ...
  • Data Security. ...
  • Endpoint Security. ...
  • Application Security. ...
  • Network Security. ...
  • Perimeter Security. ...
  • The Human Layer.

What are the 4 principles of cybersecurity? ›

The cyber security principles
  • Govern: Identifying and managing security risks.
  • Protect: Implementing controls to reduce security risks.
  • Detect: Detecting and understanding cyber security events to identify cyber security incidents.
  • Respond: Responding to and recovering from cyber security incidents.
16 Jun 2022

What are the 10 principles of cybersecurity? ›

10 Steps to Cyber Security
  • 10 Steps to Cyber Security.
  • Risk management.
  • Engagement and training.
  • Asset management.
  • Architecture and configuration.
  • Vulnerability management.
  • Identity and access management.
  • Data security.

What are the top 3 qualities an auditor should possess? ›

What are the qualities of a good auditor?
  • They show integrity. ...
  • They are effective communicators. ...
  • They are good with technology. ...
  • They are good at building collaborative relationships. ...
  • They are always learning. ...
  • They leverage data analytics. ...
  • They are innovative. ...
  • They are team orientated.
9 May 2022


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