10 Aug 5 Key Steps of an IT Security Audit: What To Expect
Wondering if your IT infrastructure is secure? You may need to consider an IT security audit, which can provide invaluable information about your security controls. Risk management audits force us to be vulnerable, exposing all our systems and strategies. They’re uncomfortable, but they’re undeniably worth it. They help us stay ahead of insider threats, security breaches, and other cyberattacks that put our company’s security, reputation, and finances on the line. So, rather than live in fear of audits, let’s get comfortable with them. We have outlined everything you need to know about security control audits—what they are, how they work, and more.
Define the Objectives
Our team will work with your organization to carefully outline the goals for the IT audit. We will also articulate together the business value of each objective so that the specific goals of the audit align with the larger goals of your company. Use this list of questions as a starting point for brainstorming and refining your own list of objectives for the audit.
- Which systems and services do you want to test and evaluate?
- Do you want to audit your digital IT infrastructure, your physical equipment and facilities, or both?
- Is disaster recovery on your list of concerns? What specific risks are involved?
- Does the audit need to be geared towards proving compliance with a particular regulation?
Our Audit Planning Process
A thoughtful and well-organized plan is crucial to success in an IT security audit. You’ll want to define the roles and responsibilities of the management team and the IT system administrators assigned to perform the auditing tasks, as well as the schedule and methodology for the process. Identify any monitoring, reporting and data classification tools that the team will use and any logistical issues they may face, like taking equipment offline for evaluation. Once you’ve decided on all the details, document and circulate the plan to ensure that all staff members have a common understanding of the process before the audit begins.
Performing the Auditing Work
The auditing team should conduct the audit according to the plan and methodologies agreed upon during the planning phase. This will typically include running scans on IT resources like file-sharing services, database servers, and SaaS applications like Office 365 to assess network security, data access levels, user access rights, and other system configurations. We’ll also physically inspect the data center for resilience to fires, floods, and power surges as part of a disaster recovery evaluation. During this process, we may interview employees outside of your IT team to assess their knowledge of security concerns and adherence to company security policy, so any holes in your company’s security procedures can be addressed moving forward.
Reporting the Results
We will compile all your audit-related documentation into a formal report that will be provided to management stakeholders or the pertinent regulatory agency. The report will include a list of any security risks and vulnerabilities detected in your systems, as well as actions that IT staff should take to mitigate them.
Implementation and Follow Up
Finally, follow through with the recommendations outlined in your audit report. Examples of security-enhancement actions can include:
- Performing remediation procedures to fix a specific security flaw or weak spot.
- Training employees in data security compliance and security awareness.
- Adopting additional best practices for handling sensitive data and recognizing signs of malware and phishing attacks.
- Acquiring new technologies to harden existing systems and regularly monitor your infrastructure for security risk
This process is integral to protect and safeguard critical data and keep your business running smoothly. Is your business in need of an IT Audit? Trust your team of IT experts at FPVG to ensure the highest level of service and stay informed, efficient, and compliant. CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE.
About the author: Wilfredo Vera Pujols, CISA, CDPSE
A skilled consultant in the areas of Internal Audits and Compliance, Vera holds a BBA in Information Services from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and a Master’s in Computer Sciences from the illustrious Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. He has used his excellent preparation in the last 3 years of his specialty in Auditing and Consulting, Internal Controls, and SOX for our diverse clientele. Among some of his major clients are Evertec, Triple S of Puerto Rico, and Banco Popular, to name a few. We are sure that this ISACA member, along with the expertise of FPV & Galíndez’s skilled Consulting Department will provide strategic solutions for any IT and Cybersecurity needs your organization may have.