How to conduct a cyber security audit for small businesses

How to conduct a cyber security audit for small businesses

What is a cyber security audit?

A cyber security audit is a comprehensive review of your business’ IT infrastructure and systems. It enables you to identify any weaknesses in your security protocols, uncover any vulnerabilities in your software, and highlight any high-risk practices in your business’ IT use.

By identifying this information clearly, you’re able to create a list of areas that need attention, and formulate a plan for how to achieve this.

A cyber security audit is crucial for small businesses to identify gaps in your business’ cyber security systems, and ensure you’re protected against cyber security threats and attacks.

Here’s how to undertake a cyber security audit for your Brisbane business

Step 1: Plan for the worst

It’s not a particularly positive sentiment, but for most Brisbane businesses a cyber security attack is an unfortunate predetermination. It’s a matter of when, not if. So to ensure you have the tightest cyber security measures in place for your business, assume that it’s going to happen, and plan to be prepared.

Step 2: Review your existing IT infrastructure and security protocols

Performing a full review of your IT network and systems gives you a complete picture of your IT architecture. This review enables you to understand the extent of your network, and the systems you have in place.

By compiling a complete list of all applications and programs you use, all user who have access to your systems, and the full suite of hardware and devices available, you map out exactly how far your network extends.

This allows you to understand every available touchpoint that can come under threat from cyber attacks.

Step 3: Perform a vulnerability assessment

A vulnerability assessment is probably the key step in undertaking a cyber security audit for your Brisbane business. When performing a vulnerability assessment, you’re:
Checking your current security practices and determining whether or not they’re up to scratch; and
Reviewing your cyber security software to ensure it’s patched with the latest security updates. This includes your critical antivirus software and firewall.

This step allows you to identify and uncover any hidden flaws or gaps in your existing security systems, and uncover any weaknesses that could be targeted and exploited by cyber criminals.

This step should always be undertaken by a cyber security professional. They have the specialised software and knowledge to scan your system and security protocols for vulnerabilities, and have the ability to test for weaknesses from both inside and externally to your business’ network.

Step 4: Identify network access points

A vulnerability assessment enables you to determine any potential access points to your business’ IT network. Once you know what’s vulnerable, and how it can be breached, you know how to address these issues.

Step 5: Network penetration testing

Network penetration testing is effectively putting your IT security systems through a trial run.

During network penetration testing, an IT cyber security expert will act as a cybercriminal and attempt to breach your business’ IT security systems. They’ll use the latest hacking methods and processes to probe your security system, and identify vulnerabilities and weak points across your whole network. This can include your operating systems, antivirus software, suite of business applications, cloud infrastructure, and any devices connected to your network.

This works to determine how easy your network’s vulnerabilities are to exploit—and you’d be surprised just how easy this is.

Step 6: Perform a risk assessment across your entire IT system and network

Once you’ve mapped out the entirety of your IT infrastructure and identified all potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses, you’re able to assess the potential risk against each discrete part of your network.

Whether it’s the risk of cyber security attacks, system or hardware failure, vulnerability to natural disaster, or simply human error, you can weigh each risk against its potential and estimate the likelihood and impact of each one. You’ll be able to determine which assets are more at risk, and which are more or a priority to safeguard.

Step 7: Recommendations

Once you’ve undertaken a cybersecurity audit of your IT infrastructure, you’ll be able to compile all the data and results and create a report of the recommendations to solve these issues within your network.

This gives you a roadmap to work towards to improve your Brisbane business’ IT security. When and how you implement these actions is up to you, but the important thing is that you’ve taken the first step to improving your business’ security posture.

Let GPK protect your Brisbane business against cyber security threats

GPK Solutions provides free IT risk assessments to review the cyber security for your Brisbane business. Get in touch with us today and we’ll ensure your business’ IT systems and network is as safe and secure as possible.