How a security audit can improve your cyber posture

Most businesses know how important it is to have a strong cybersecurity posture in this era of non-stop cyberattacks. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, they’re not aware of gaps in their security measures which, left unfilled, can open their business up to damaging attacks.

As of now, it’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked but when. With the sheer volume of attackers combined with the increasing sophistication of their approaches, your business will become a target sooner or later. The question is, will cyberattackers be successful in targeting your business? The answer lies in your cybersecurity posture. If it’s strong enough, you should be safe from most attacks. If there are gaps, you run the risk of becoming a victim and the consequences range from minor inconvenience to huge financial losses and even being unable to operate.

How to find the gaps

The best way to find out whether there are gaps in your cybersecurity posture is to run a security audit.

However, just taking a quick look at the software and processes you have in place and declaring them adequate doesn’t constitute an audit.

A proper security audit is systematic, measurable, and regular. It should include a thorough review of systems, processes, and staff.

While some aspects of security auditing should be automated, such as event logging, a security audit is likely to include manual tasks such as:

  • interviewing staff to gauge their understanding of current security processes, their adherence to those processes, and whether they believe the processes are working
  • performing tests such as penetration testing and vulnerability scans to see where the network is weak
  • reviewing access controls and identity management to ensure passwords are strong and only the right people remain authorised to access the network
  • checking physical security measures such as who has swipe cards or office keys, who can access which parts of the office, and whether sensitive areas such as the data centre or server room are properly secured
  • reviewing access to your network through third-party suppliers such as cloud providers.

You should conduct a security audit regularly. For most businesses, that means annually. It’s also worth conducting a security audit during times of change, such as when implementing new systems or onboarding/offboarding staff.

The time it takes to conduct the security audit pays for itself by helping to strengthen the company against increasingly-determined cybercriminals.

Measure the risk before prioritising resources

Once the audit is complete, you should be able to clearly see where the gaps are and how cybercriminals may be able to infiltrate your organisation.

Before panicking or throwing money and resources at the problem, the next step is to decide how important it is to protect those things that are vulnerable. This means creating a risk matrix that measures potential incidents against their impact, taking into account the likelihood of the incident occurring.

Where there are low consequences of a breach, and the likelihood is also low, it doesn’t make sense to allocate resources to protecting that area. However, where the likelihood of an incident is high and the consequences are more severe, that’s where you should spend time and money making sure the holes are plugged.

Even with an unlimited budget, it’s not possible to protect against every and any eventuality. And most businesses don’t have an unlimited budget, so you have to prioritise effectively. Conducting a thorough security audit can help you direct your resources for maximum return on investment, strengthening your cybersecurity posture and protecting you from potentially devastating consequences.

You can’t measure what you can’t see, so contact Aleron today to find out how we can help you run a comprehensive security audit on your business.