(also data assessment)
Data audit definition
In cybersecurity, a data audit refers to the systematic review and analysis of an organization’s data assets to assess their security and privacy risks. Its goal is to detect software vulnerabilities or breaches that hackers may exploit. It also tests the security package to see how effectively it protects users’ data and helps the company identify non-compliance with relevant regulations or policies. For instance, a data audit helps security experts develop preventive measures to save costs because they can identify and prevent a data breach and other risks that threaten data early. Ultimately, data audits improve the overall security and integrity of an organization’s data.
Risks to data security
- Data theft. Organizations that store data in an insecure location or don’t protect it adequately while they share it can make it easier for hackers to cause a data breach and steal sensitive data, such as login credentials.
- Data tampering. Hackers can change the data by adding or deleting it if they discover that an organization doesn’t secure it with robust security features. For example, if the organization performs a transaction, hackers can attack the data while it is being transported and increase the price, which can cause financial harm to the company.
- Falsification. By stealing data, hackers can falsify data to impersonate users and gain unauthorized access.
- Unauthorized access. Cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access and inject malicious code into the system that is not protected with strong and unique passwords, two-factor authentication, or other robust security features, such as data encryption.
Advantages of data audits
- Better security practices. By auditing data, security experts can detect potential data breaches and system vulnerabilities, which will help them implement proper protection and prevent hacker attacks.
- Increased compliance. Data auditing helps organizations ensure compliance with relevant regulations and policies, reducing the risk of legal or financial penalties.
- Improved data accuracy. Data audits identify inaccuracies and provide recommendations for improving data quality and usefulness.
- Better decision-making. Organizations can make smarter decisions with accurate and reliable information on hand.
- Cost savings. A data audit can help reduce costs associated with data errors or inefficiencies, or cyberattacks.