It goes without saying that cyber security is now a key concern for businesses. The significance of cyber security has, at last, been fully taken on board by most businesses who are now keen to take action to defend themselves.

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The question remains, though: How?

Knowing where to begin when it comes to properly defending your organisation against cyber attacks is daunting. How effective is your current infrastructure? Are all of your legacy systems compliant? How do you know if there are any gaps in your defences?

An IT security audit can provide all the answers you’re looking for. Read on to learn more about this strategic method of IT security assessment and how it can transform your approach to cyber security.

What is an IT security audit?

An IT security audit refers to the thorough assessment of a company’s IT infrastructure to see how well it fares against cyber security threats. Audits of this style are usually conducted by experienced managed service providers like ITRM, who are proficient in assessing large and complex systems comprehensively.

Security audits differ from IT risk assessments — an effective combination of both is always a good idea.

What happens during an IT security audit?

An IT security audit aims to get a feel for the general security of an organisation’s systems — from endpoints to email and web — identifying any core points of weakness and locating vulnerabilities. Once this initial discovery phase is complete, it is then down to the work of the IT support professionals to isolate these vulnerabilities and put an IT security plan into action.

The scale of an IT security audit is customisable, but generally speaking, the more detailed, the better. Here are a few examples of some of the things included in an IT security audit:

-    Penetration testing to see how easy it would be for an outsider to gain unauthorised access to your systems.

-    Vulnerability scans of connected devices and applications to locate any weaknesses.

-    Risk assessments to get a feel for what would be damaged should the worst occur.

- Assessing the strength of networks and software.

-    Compliance testing to gauge how much a company’s systems comply with security standards.

IT security audits aren’t always confined to the digital world either. Physical hardware is also assessed. Here at ITRM, our IT support offering extends far beyond merely digital work and into network cabling solutions and relocation services.

An IT professional holding a laptop conducts an IT security audit of a controlled facility

Why are IT security audits essential for businesses?

IT security audits are a strategic tool for every business and should be conducted regularly. Aside from identifying the weaknesses in your system, here’s how they can help your organisation:

Keep sensitive information safe

Before anything else, IT security audits increase the security of systems, allowing organisations to keep their information safe. However, any client documents, employee data, or vital business details (such as addresses, passwords, or logins) can have devastating consequences if they fall into the wrong hands — not only financially, either, but a data breach wreaks havoc reputation-wise for businesses.

By facilitating things like a penetration test — essentially a ‘dry run’ cyber attack — IT security audits allow organisations to see the digital holes in the fence where this information could be accessed from and patch them up.

Improvement of IT systems and processes

While IT security audits do focus on cyber security, to risk stating the obvious, there are also a whole host of other improvements they can pick up on, for example:

- Whether you have missed a software update or two

- If your legacy systems are failing you

- Whether your staff are your weak point

- Any obvious faults in your networks

Once you have all the information in front of you, it then becomes simple to enact the changes needed to improve your IT infrastructure.

Compliance with regulations and laws

Regardless of which industry your business is in, there are multiple rules and regulations surrounding data handling, storage, and processing.

Compliance is now a massive factor for organisations, and regularly assessing your processes through audits can help you prove that you are meeting regulations (mainly thanks to the reports generated and data gathered as a result).

An IT professional uses multiple devices to conduct a penetration test

An IT security audit from ITRM

As part of our wider IT security offering, IT security audits are just one integral part of a more comprehensive approach to cyber security.

Auditing

An IT security audit is the first step towards gaining a clear understanding of the stability and strength of your IT infrastructure. We use this audit to identify any weaknesses in your systems and processes. From here, we can identify your core security focuses, approaching this in priority order from most to least severe.

Reporting

Once we have gathered our findings, we can run through our observations with you and formulate a targeted game plan tailored to the unique structure of your organisation’s IT. During this discussion, we will recommend the most effective IT services required to combat the issues identified by the audit.

Next steps

You and your team can then purchase a single service if you’re confident that your existing IT security in other areas is up to scratch. Alternatively, you can opt for the complete package to ensure maximum security.

If you require ongoing support for an upcoming project or digital transformation plan, it may be a good idea to recruit an IT consultant to help you oversee this activity while remaining safe and compliant.

You can browse through our full range of  IT security services here.

Speak to ITRM today

If you have any concerns about the security levels of your organisation’s systems, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ITRM’s friendly team of experts, who can book you in for an IT security audit today.

In the meantime, for more strategic cyber security advice, be sure to keep up with the ITRM blog.

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