Today’s information technology industry hosts a wealth of valuable data that malicious actors attempt to steal on a daily basis. As threats to the industry constantly shift, the importance of cyber security audits and compliance cannot be stressed enough. But with a managed security service provider (MSSP), staying on the cutting edge of cybersecurity has never been easier.
Best Practices for IT Security Auditing
Cybersecurity audits are performed to ensure that a company has the proper controls in place to comply with industry regulations, customer expectations, and more. Utilizing a third-party MSSP removes possible oversights due to conflicts of interest as fresh eyes review all procedures.
The best MSSPs meet or exceed IT audit services standards, streamlining compliance and security assurance with preparation, testing, and follow-up service centered around:
- Prevention of specific cyberattacks
- Patch and update management
- Device usage monitoring and logging
- Staff-wide security training
Make sure to account for these practices in your next information technology security audit.
1. Assess Phishing and Spam Attack Prevention
One of the most direct approaches to cyberdefense is building controls for the attacks your organization is most likely to experience. Effective audits should consider the steps you’ve taken to make attacks less likely to happen and to impact your business negatively if they do happen.
A great place to start is with social engineering attacks, which are some of the most common across every industry. According to the Harvard Business Review, the role that inside actors play in vulnerability in companies of all sizes has spiked massively within the past 5 years.
And, while there are intentional malicious actors involved, over a third of the instances are a direct result of accidental compromise due to phishing and other social engineering attacks.
By utilizing an email spam and phishing filter you cut your likelihood of cyber attacks down significantly; audits can ensure these filters are up to date and working as intended, long-term.
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2. Gauge Infrastructure for Maintaining System Updates
Aside from the efficacy of specific controls, cybersecurity audits should also ensure that all systems and devices involved in or connected to sensitive data are fully patched and updated.
System updates are in place to ensure that all your infrastructure runs smoothly, including:
- Individual devices and workstations
- Network infrastructure (e.g., routers)
- Operating systems and applications
- Browsers, web apps, and the cloud
- Security architecture (e.g., firewalls)
Patch management is a critical part of cybersecurity. A critical part of what makes it work is regular auditing of both patch availability and the systems in place to ensure updates are installed in a timely manner while minimizing system downtime that interrupts workflows.
3. Account for Device Usage Monitoring Practices
Even a well-secured network is at risk for cyber attacks. The modern business model is constantly evolving, and cybercriminals are always discovering new vulnerabilities to exploit (along with ways to exploit them). That’s why you need to control and monitor device usage.
A critical consideration in any security audit is the methodology you use to limit device usage, monitor and log user behavior on sensitive devices, and report and seize suspicious activities.
You also need to account for devices that don’t belong to the organization but might nonetheless expose it to cyber risks—employees’ devices. If your organization uses a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, security audits should gauge its implementation and efficacy.
4. Take a Close Look At Security Awareness Training
Finally, staff-wide security awareness training is one of the most critical aspects of keeping your organization safe and meeting compliance criteria. As such, it should be a primary focus of all security audits. You should regularly assess training employees receive, in the form of:
- New hire and onboarding materials regarding security
- Regular training required for compliance or certification
- Special event training sessions (i.e., after a security event)
- Assessments or criteria required for access to sensitive data
When employees are frequently updated on the safest policies and procedures it gives them the tools to recognize when something goes awry. But beyond baseline security awareness and reactive capabilities, your organization should seek to cultivate a culture of cyberdefense.
Knowledgeable, confident employees proactively contribute to your organization’s security. IT and awareness training—powered by audits—helps everyone become a part of that culture.
The Benefits of Using an MSSP for Cybersecurity Audits
A cybersecurity audit can be preparatory in nature, acting as a checklist for organizations to prepare for compliance or certification. Or audits can be the final assessment that grants said certification, provided all requirements are met. In any case, working with an MSSP will provide an unbiased, objective insight into where your security stands at present and looking forward.
In many regulatory contexts, third-party audits are necessary for full compliance. And even when self-assessment is possible, working with a quality MSSP partner can streamline every element of implementation, documentation, mitigation, and reporting that may be required.
Working with an MSSP—like RSI Security—helps you rethink and optimize your audit process.
Optimize Your Cybersecurity Audits & Compliance
RSI Security works diligently to secure your organization’s valuable data from malicious actors through implementation, ongoing maintenance, and auditing for compliance or other purposes.
Our team of experts will help you assess your threat prevention, patch management, device monitoring, and training infrastructure. We’ll ensure any applicable regulatory requirements are met or exceeded, and all documentation reflects this in preparation for your next certification.
To learn more about how we can help you rethink security audits, contact RSI Security today!