When we enter a new year, we tend to look toward the future with a renewed sense of optimism. But a new year also brings new risks, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity.
As technology advances new vulnerabilities and exploits emerge, often with dire results. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average attacked firm loses 1.1 percent of its market value and experiences a 3.2 percentage point drop in its year-on-year sales growth rate. And that’s to say nothing of the cost to consumers’ faith in a business.
It’s why a regular cybersecurity audit needs to be part of the security strategy for any small business owner. Here are the key IT auditing points that you need to know to secure your business and your customers.
Prep for Your Cybersecurity Audit
Before you can begin your audit, you need to familiarize yourself with the threats facing your organization. Otherwise, you’ll be left working in the dark and trying to guess where your vulnerabilities may lie.
Reviewing the latest Cybersecurity insights is crucial. 2021 alone saw hundreds of major attacks that cause substantial economic damage. The Colonial Pipeline hack is the most prominent.
Disruptive as these attacks were, they can provide a window into the evolving nature of cyberthreats and help us to draft new protocols to secure ourselves.
Reassess Your Risks
Once you familiarize yourself with emerging cybersecurity insights, the first step in your audit is to review any plans you have in place. Discern if these plans are current, complete, and relevant.
You then need to weigh these plans against your risks. You probably obtained new cybersecurity assets and vulnerabilities since those plans were first drafted. Adding third-party data storage, employees leaving or joining your team, or new hardware, software, and servers all have exploitable potential.
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If you find any of these vulnerabilities, as most companies will, you need to account for them in your action plan.
Assess Whether Your Plans Are Actionable
As you review your plans, there are two major concerns that you need to account for.
First, you need to weigh whether or not your plans still meet all applicable security standards. Does it adhere to not only your organization’s policies, but to regulatory rules and industry best practices as well?
Then you need to determine how effective those plans can be put into action.
If an emergency life a data breach arises, does every member of your staff know how to respond? Would the team members who found the breach know what to do? If they didn’t, would they know who to report to for more information?
Cyberattacks evolve quickly, and a speedy response is the best way to minimize damage. How quickly would it take to go from discovery to rectifying the situation?
Cybersecurity Risk Management Is a Collective Responsibility
Conducting a regular cybersecurity audit is a critical step in preventing ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cyberattacks. But it’s only one part of the equation.
Strong security protocols are something that you and your team need to practice every minute of every day. And it’s an ever-evolving challenge. To stay current with the shifting landscape of cybersecurity and the IT industry, be sure to keep up with our latest tech and smart management news and guides.