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IT security audits: What are they and why do they matter?

Most organisations utilise multiple IT assets for their daily operations, and as cybersecurity risks continue to evolve, it’s incredibly important for businesses to understand all of the risks associated with their IT systems. IT security audits are just one way that IT professionals can evaluate an organisation’s IT security posture and provide insights into how secure their infrastructure is. 

What is an IT security audit?

An IT security audit comprehensively assesses a business’s overall cybersecurity. As part of the evaluation process, all information systems are tested against industry standards, as well as against internal best practices. A completed IT security audit includes a report of initial observations and informed recommendations – essentially, IT security audits highlight areas of a business where cybersecurity could be improved. 

What’s included in an IT security audit? 

IT security audits evaluate the security levels of the physical components of a business’s IT system. This includes but is not limited to the on-premise IT infrastructure, company devices, software and applications, as well as any security measures that are already in place. 

As well as these physical assets, IT security audits usually assess a business’s internal human resources and wider cybersecurity strategy, such as workplace processes, data storage, security policies, cybersecurity awareness and its history of IT security risk assessments. 

Another important part of IT security audits is the assessment of an organisation’s compliance posture. Not every IT security audit will cover this, but it is an incredibly helpful addition. Cybersecurity compliance regulations vary across different industries, so it can be difficult for companies to stay aligned with security standards. Some IT security audits will cover cybersecurity compliance and identify whether all industry regulations are being met effectively. 

What’s the difference between an IT security audit and an IT security risk assessment?

Companies perform IT security audits and IT security risk assessments to identify threats to their IT systems. Both assessments provide a thorough understanding of a business’s current network setup and indicate effective ways to maximise security. However, there are a few differences between the two options. 

IT security risk assessments are a good first step for businesses to take as they provide insights into potential threats and help mitigate them. The process involves looking specifically at individual IT assets and identifying associated risks that can then be mitigated at the asset level. 

Whereas IT security audits are ideal for established businesses who are looking to qualify their IT systems and proactively safeguard their business. Rather than looking for mitigation measures, IT audits provide recommendations for improving current security measures as a whole. Plus, IT audits often consider industry standards as part of their evaluation, so are ideal for larger companies dealing with complex regulations. 

Why are IT security audits so important?

IT security audits are a crucial step for businesses looking to improve their overall security posture. By conducting an in-depth IT security audit, businesses will be able to develop effective risk assessment plans and make informed decisions around cybersecurity migration strategies. 

Many organisations fail to prioritise cybersecurity and become content with the measures they have already implemented. IT security audits go one step further and identify areas of vulnerability in current company practices, such as weak entry points, insufficient email policies or lack of cybersecurity awareness within the team. By conducting IT audits, companies can close these gaps before they are exploited – protecting them from various cyber security threats that can have severe consequences. 

How often should IT security audits be performed?

Broadly speaking, IT security audits should be conducted at least once a year, although it does depend on the individual business. For large organisations that work with multiple IT systems and complex procedures, IT security audits may be required more often. Whereas smaller businesses that rely on simpler IT infrastructure and have smaller budgets will likely be confident in relying on annual IT audits.  

In certain cases, conducting an IT security audit ahead of its scheduled time may be required, for example, if there has been a significant change in company procedures or policies, cybersecurity auditing should be a priority to ensure measures are taken to account for any changes. 

At Cheeky Munkey, we offer professional IT security audits as well as IT security consultancy for all businesses and sectors. Get in touch with our expert team to find out more about how we can help you and your business. 

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