Cybercrime is going to cost businesses roughly $10.5 trillion by 2025. There’s no doubt that cybercrime is a major concern for every business.
You shouldn’t overlook the threat of cyberattacks, especially now. It’s easy to focus attention on increased energy bills, inflation, supply chain issues, and the talk of a recession.
A cyberattack could cost just as much damage, if not more than any of those things. An attack could cost you in liability lawsuits, regulatory violations, and damage to your brand.
Instead of waiting for an attack to strike, you can take action with an IT audit. It’s an important process to help you reduce the risk of a cyberattack.
How can you make sure that you have a secure IT system and a strategy to prevent attacks? Read on to learn how to create your own IT audit.
Set the Purpose and Scope of the IT Audit
There are five types of IT audits used by the IT industry. You don’t want to have a general IT audit because it’s only a brief overview of all of your IT systems.
You give your IT audit a chance to become much more thorough because you have a clearly defined scope and purpose of the audit.
You can start with an audit of the systems and applications. You’ll check the software and apps that run your business.
Make sure they’re updated, reliable, and secure. This is the perfect opportunity to review simple things like passwords and document access.
The next type of audit is an architecture audit. You’ll check the hardware and IT systems.
If you’re like most small businesses, you probably have a patchwork of programs and devices connected to the network.
Make sure that you manage the devices that have access to the network. Each person has at least one device, but most have 2-3 devices connected to the network. You may have to restrict them if they cause a security risk.
Telecommunications is another type of audit, especially if you have Voice Over IP systems. Systems development and information processing audits are designed to review research and development projects.
If you’re a small business owner in a heavily regulated industry, such as health or finance, it’s a smart management move to have a compliance audit.
As you embark on your audit, decide the focus of the audit and what your expectations are.
Take Inventory of IT Assets
Do you know offhand how many devices your small business has? If you’re a solopreneur, you can easily keep track of your systems and inventory.
It helps to keep an inventory of hardware for insurance purposes. Putting a system in place now also helps your business prepare for growth.
Take an inventory of all of the apps you use, the costs, and the hardware you have in your business. You can use a simple spreadsheet to track and manage devices.
Check the Physical Security of the Business
Smart management usually means that small business owners delegate tasks. You might hire contractors or employees to do a lot of the work in your business.
They have to have access to your systems in order to work. That also increases the cybersecurity risk in your business.
You also want to make sure that disgruntled former employees or bad actors don’t have access to your network.
Make sure that all laptops and mobile devices are secured on-site. Have a policy to keep them secure when they’re away from the business.
Review who has access to your servers and important documents. Also, check how people enter your business. You may need to implement a keycard system to protect your business.
Everything is digital these days, and you have to ensure that your most sensitive documents can only get accessed by people who truly need them.
You might find it best to have a tiered access system. You’re the small business owner, so you should have access to everything.
A contractor may not need access to sensitive data. You can just give them access that is appropriate for their work.
You’re probably going to find a lot that needs attention. Don’t get overwhelmed by all that you need to do.
Make a list and focus on the most critical tasks first. Your IT system will never be perfect or 100% secure. Know that IT security is an ongoing process.
Training and Development
Millions of emails get sent each day. Many of these emails are spam or phishing scams. The reason why these emails are still popular with scammers is that they still work.
What may seem like a harmless email can turn out to be what brings down your business. You and your employees should have phishing training to recognize these emails and prevent attacks.
Conduct Regular IT Audits
An IT audit isn’t something that you do once and then move on. The IT security threats today won’t be the same just a few months from now.
You need to stay on top of these trends and conduct regular IT audits. How often should you conduct an IT audit?
Aim to have an IT audit every six months. If you have a large organization or deal with highly sensitive data, you should have monthly or quarterly audits.
An IT Audit Can Protect Your Business
What does it take to protect your business against cybersecurity threats? As a small business owner, you need to become aware of the vulnerabilities within your business and take action to fix them.
That’s what an IT audit does. It helps you become aware of the risks within your business so you can address them and protect your business.
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