Why Are Cybersecurity Audits Important?
The cybersecurity environment is changing. Rates of malicious email and malware continue to rise, and new threats are emerging. Meanwhile, ransomware attacks have become so common that targeted attack groups are now using them as decoys to provide cover for more serious forms of attack.
In a sea of constantly-evolving cyber threats, can your company stay afloat?
If you think a firewall is all you need to consider when assessing the cybersecurity of your digital perimeter – probably not. After all, cyber attacks are now a question of when, not if, and no one solution is going to solve all the problems. This is where having a second opinion can go a long way in understanding the contemporary cybersecurity landscape of threats, available defenses, third-party risk and new regulations.
Enter the cybersecurity audit.
Why conduct cybersecurity audits?
Cybersecurity is a complex web of systems and processes that must evolve in response to threats. And third-party cybersecurity audits help bring clarity and insight. In some organizations, there may be a lack of awareness of how often security policies should be reviewed, and why. IT departments may not have the tools they need to ensure systems are secure. Worse, they might not realize this! And even when cybersecurity is a key element of organizational culture, focus on business scorecards and metrics can keep attention on the past, on threats already faced. Instead, companies must look to the future, to anticipate the threats that have not yet emerged – taking the proactive cybersecurity measures of privacy by design.
How will cybersecurity audits help you?
There are four main reasons why your company will benefit from cybersecurity audits.
- They provide knowledge and validation. Audit providers have extensive experience and offer best practices to strengthen company programs. Auditors have training in new regulations (such as the GDPR). They can ensure systems and processes meet current regulatory standards. Auditors can also flag potential issues and suggest improvements.
- They offer neutral and objective evaluations of programs. Objective assessments also provide the best picture of how attractive a company might be to hackers.
- Third party audits can be more accurate. Because auditors are not directly associated with the company, they may have a more precise view of the entire organizational structure, including BYOD and mobile devices that might not be an official part of an organization’s workflow.
- They help validate your privacy policies to prospective third-party partners. And vice-versa.
What does a cybersecurity audit look for?
Assessment of cybersecurity requires specific technical skills. Auditors must examine server configurations, conduct penetration testing and review security event management rule sets. Not every IT department has individuals with the skills and knowledge to perform these tasks.
In addition, there are complex regulations regarding data protections and privacy, and your organization must follow these regulations in every jurisdiction in which it does business. The recently-passed GDPR, for example, requires that data breaches involving data from EU residents to be publicly disclosed within 72 hours. Will your company recognize that such a breach has occurred? How well does your company keep personally identifiable information (PII) secure? Your company collects data – is it accessible to your partners, suppliers, or customers? Do your contracts specify how vendors and distributors will handle this data? Do these organizations have systems in place to keep your data secure?
Why are cybersecurity audits important?
A recent PWC report says 87 per cent of global CEOs believe investing in cybersecurity is important for building trust with customers. Yet less than half of businesses worldwide are conducting audits of the third-parties which handle their collected personal data. In other words, there is a 54 per cent chance an organization collecting personal data is not sure whether this data is being adequately protected – despite their CEOs expressing the importance of doing so.
If a company believes in protecting personal data, or, in the very least, wants to avoid an expensive data breach, they must do their due diligence when choosing third-party providers. This is why conducting cybersecurity audits is so important. An organization needs to know where and how their data is stored because, at the end of the day, any organization which collects personal data is ultimately responsible for any data protection claims – claims which transfer to third-parties.
We practice what we preach!
At Echoworx, we breathe encryption and work every day to help enterprise organizations protect their sensitive data in transit. It only makes sense that we’d invest in the highest levels of cybersecurity. That’s why our entire organization, top to bottom, is scrutinized by third-party auditors regularly to ensure airtight data protection – and we’re proud of our SOC2 and Web Trust certifications!
By Alex Loo, VP of Operations, Echoworx