IT Security Audit
A computer security audit is a manual or systematic measurable technical assessment of a system or application. Manual assessments include interviewing staff, performing security vulnerability scans, reviewing application and operating system access controls, and analyzing physical access to the systems. Automated assessments, or CAAT's, include system generated audit reports or using software to monitor and report changes to files and settings on a system. Systems can include personal computers, servers, mainframes, network routers, switches.
At its root, an IT security audit includes two different assessments. The manual assessment occurs when an internal or external IT security audit companies interview employees, reviews access controls, analyzes physical access to hardware, and performs vulnerability scans.
Audit, performed by IT security audit services or IT security audit software, analyzes individual technical infrastructure components at a detailed level, ensuring that each is functioning in a manner that reinforces appropriate information security. The stakes are made higher with a number of regulatory compliance requirements mandating that IT audits be included in organizational due diligence efforts. These reviews should occur, at a minimum, annually. Some organizations, however, prefer to do them more frequently.
Organizations should also review system-generated reports. Automated assessments not only incorporate that data, but also respond to software monitoring reports and changes to server and file settings.
Security audits, vulnerability assessments, and penetration testing are the three main types of security diagnostics. Each of the three takes a different approach and may be best suited for a particular purpose.
Security audits measure an information system's performance against a list of criteria.
A vulnerability assessment, on the other hand, involves a comprehensive study of an entire information system, seeking potential security weaknesses.
Penetration testing is a covert operation, in which a security expert tries a number of attacks to ascertain whether or not a system could withstand the same types of attacks from a malicious hacker. In penetration testing, the feigned attack can include anything a real attacker might try, such as social engineering. Each of the approaches has inherent strengths, and using two or more of them in conjunction may be the most effective approach of all.
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F.A.Q. about IT Security Audit
What is a security audit?
A Security Audit is a process or event where the IT security policy or standards are used as a basis to determine the overall state of existing protection and to verify whether existing protection is being performed properly. It aims to determine whether the current environment is securely protected in accordance with the defined IT security policy.
Before performing a security assessment or audit, the organization should define the scope of the security audit, and the budget and duration allowed for the assessment/audit.
How often should a security audit be performed?
A security audit only provides a snapshot of the vulnerabilities in a system at a particular point in time. As technology and the business environment changes, periodic and ongoing reviews will inevitably be required. Depending on the criticality of the business, a security audit might be conducted yearly, or every two years.
Who should perform a security audit?
A security audit is a complex task requiring skilled and experienced personnel; it must be planned carefully. To perform the audit an independent and trusted third party is recommended. This third party can be another group of in-house staff or an external audit team, dependent on the skills of the internal staff and the criticality/sensitivity of the information being audited.