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Your Cyber Security Audit Checklist 2022

3 min read

Cyber security needs are constantly evolving and changing, with new and more complex threats arising every day. To ensure your business stays protected, you must carry out regular cyber security audits.

To tick all the boxes and do what you can to prevent a threat, we have a handy list for you to follow. We’ve categorised the steps into the following sections:

 

 

Management

If you want your entire business on board with cyber security, it starts at the top. If management and senior leaders are invested, then it’s much more likely that the rest of the business will take cyber security — and the severity of the risks involved — seriously.

 

Budget

Without the necessary financial resources, all cyber security measures will be hindered from the get-go. Reasonable budgets must be allocated for cyber security so CTOs and IT teams have the funds needed to efficiently and effectively protect a business.

 

Policies and Training

The policies that underlie all procedures should be comprehensive and cover all areas of cyber security. To ensure these policies are being followed, they’ll need to go hand in hand with staff training so they’re understood and actioned daily.

 

Inventories

If you don’t fully understand the assets within your business, you can never be sufficiently protected against any cyber threats. Be aware of the hardware and tech you have and keep an inventory. This will make it much simpler to identify if anything is missing or has been compromised and make it easier to react in response to a threat.

 

Employees

When it comes to the employee part of your cyber security audit, training is critical. 

When surveyed, 30% of businesses listed employee education as the biggest security weakness potentially leading to a breach. The ability for employees to identify, address and report threats is essential for the overall protection of your business against cyber attacks.

Training on the common types of threats is the first port of call. Phishing and suspicious emails are often used to target employees. Considering that phishing is the most common cyber security threat in the UK — affecting 83% of companies — effective and regular training should be carried out.

Training on other areas for cyber protection should also be considered. Some areas to cover might include creating secure passwords, following data procedures, dealing with visitors, assessing their risk and how employees look after their hardware.

 

Risk Assessments

When conducting your audit, you should carry out a full, up to date risk assessment at the same time.

It’s as simple as this: If you haven’t identified potential risks and the measures you need to take to combat them, then it’s unlikely your business will be protected against or prepared for attacks should they occur.

To carry out a comprehensive risk assessment, you should assess your risk, identify security threats, reduce vulnerability and be prepared. Risk assessments should be constantly reviewed, updated and modified to ensure the maximum level of protection possible at all times.

 

Business Practices

No matter how prepared you may be, incidents can and will happen. In fact, 88% of UK companies were successfully hacked in 2019, so you must have the appropriate business practices in place.

Good preparation, in the form of response plans, recovery plans and disruption plans, ensure you’re covered for every eventuality. If you fail to plan effectively and an attack occurs, you could face significant disruptions to your business, its operations and eventually, your revenue and reputation.

 

IT Staff

Your IT teams might be carrying out the audit. However, this shouldn’t mean the team’s operations and processes aren’t reviewed and analysed.

For IT staff, regular training and resources should be provided to keep up with the latest developments, updates and cyber security trends. This makes sure your IT staff are proficient and experienced in all cyber security measures.

IT teams should also roll out system hardening plans, software patch management automation, antivirus software as well as carry out regular backups and audits.

 

Data Management

One of the main reasons we invest in cyber security is to ensure valuable data remains private. That’s where effective data management comes in.

At the bare minimum, you should deploy the following throughout your business:

  • Enable data encryption
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Automatically wipe lost or stolen devices
  • SSL gateways in place to ensure security

Although most of this will fall to your IT teams and CISOs, everyone within the business must be aware of these processes, so you’re protected against threats throughout all touchpoints.

 

Physical Security

Although most cyber security efforts will be concerned with virtual software and systems, physical security shouldn’t be put on the back burner.

Storage of essential hardware such as servers should be locked at all times. There should be a secure and remote backup in case of an emergency. Regular hardware audits and inspections should be conducted to ensure you have a comprehensive view of all the assets in your business. 

Security cameras might also need to be considered, as more than 34% of businesses are targeted by insider threats.

 

Partnerships

Some companies may have all their cyber security needs covered in-house. However, it’s worth working with a qualified partner so your business is as protected as possible while benefiting from continuous support.

Work with reputable partners so the investment is worthwhile. Partners should support you with the latest information, updates, software and understand your business’ needs.

 

Keep Your Cyber Security Up to Date

Once you’ve completed your audit, that doesn’t mean the job is done and you can ignore it for the next six months. You should constantly carry out audits and review them as they aren’t static documents.

It’s also important to remember that every business is different, so some areas not covered on this list will need to be a key consideration for your company.

Cyber threats are constantly evolving and adapting to infiltrate businesses, so it’s essential your cyber security measures evolve in line and don’t remain stagnant.

Information Security Investment

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