(also IT security audit)
Security audit definition
In cybersecurity, a security audit is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization’s computer systems, networks, policies, and procedures. The goal of a security audit is to identify vulnerabilities, assess the effectiveness of the organization’s protocols in the event of an emergency, and recommend concrete steps to improve overall security.
Security audits may be carried out by the organization’s own employees, but they are often performed by reputable external auditors. New security audits must be carried out periodically — new threats are discovered every day and existing cybersecurity mechanisms can deteriorate over time.
See also: data audit
How security audits work
- Defining the scope: Outlining the objectives of the audit, identifying the systems to be audited, setting a timeline, and allocating a budget.
- Gathering information: Reviewing documentation, conducting interviews with key stakeholders, and performing technical assessments of systems and networks.
- Assessing risks: Identifying potential security risks and evaluating their severity. Possible risks include weak system configuration, inadequate access controls, or insufficient patch management practices.
- Reporting: Once the risks have been identified and analyzed, the auditors prepare a report with their findings and recommendations for improving security, including a plan of action to put the recommendations into practice.
- Follow-up: Periodically checking how well the security audit’s recommendations are being implemented and working to improve the organization’s security posture over time.