MERIT Solutions Blog

Why You Need to Audit Your Security

6-19-20

A security audit is designed to test the overall integrity of your business when it comes to its IT security. In today’s environment, businesses need to have strengthened fortifications in place to protect themselves from cyberthreats, and these fortifications need to be properly tested and reviewed over time. Let’s talk about some of the types of audits and their benefits, and how you can assess your security.

What Is Involved in a Security Audit?

The goal of a security audit is to determine that your security solutions are doing their job, but it doesn’t just stop with hardware. Some security audits can test the strength of your network policies, your overall infrastructure, and even your employees.

The point is to determine if your overall security strategy is adequate. Sometimes the end result might be decommissioning or consolidating security hardware and software, and other times it might require additional solutions to be installed, or additional configuration to your current environment. At the end of an audit, you should have a clear understanding of what vulnerabilities were detected, and how to deal with them.

Since technology changes so fast, especially in a business environment, it’s important to run regular security audits, as even process changes and software updates could result in new vulnerabilities that weren’t there before.

Documentation is key here. A proper audit will result in very extensive, very clear documentation on what was discovered, how business objectives related to security were (or were not) met, and the steps or tools required to meet those goals. Sometimes this might mean breaking down objectives to individual departments - your HR department might have more stringent requirements than your sales floor. The end result should be clear, prioritized action items to resolve issues all across the board.

Some Things an IT Security Audit Might Discover

This isn’t a comprehensive list, as there are hundreds of issues that could be flagged in a thorough audit, but these are some of the most common items that are often discovered:

  • Poor password hygiene
  • Data retention/backup policies not getting followed
  • Granting permissions to users who don’t need them
  • Misconfigured or outdated security software
  • Inconsistent access control levels on folders on the network
  • Non-compliant, unauthorized software installed on workstations
  • Sensitive data being stored incorrectly
  • Undocumented, outdated, or untested incident response plans
  • Insufficient (or non-existent) activity auditing

...and many more.

Security Audits are Required for Compliance

If your business needs to comply with one of the many types of regulatory compliance standards, you need to perform regular audits in order to stay compliant. Here are just a few of the more common types of compliance audits.

  • SOC 2 type I
  • SOC 2 type II
  • ISO 27001
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
  • SOx (Sarbanes-Oxley Act)
  • HIPAA
  • PCI-DSS
  • FINRA
  • FISMA

...and many more.

If any of these apply to your business, then regularly scheduled security audits are required in order to maintain compliance. If you aren’t sure, or you need to have your security checked, reach out to the IT security experts at MERIT Solutions. Give us a call at (757) 420-5150 to set up a consultation to discuss your cybersecurity posture.

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Tuesday, July 14 2020

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