Small businesses have seen themselves become increasingly targeted by cyber criminals and cyber attacks in recent years. What was once seen as a problem faced only by larger organizations has become something small business owners are forced to deal with on a daily basis, to keep their business and their customers safe.
Hackers and other cyber criminals tend to actually prefer small businesses because they’re seen as more vulnerable to threats.
It’s important for these small organizations to remain ahead of potential threats and proactive in their IT security strategies. The first place to start is with a complete security audit.
The following are some small business-specific tips to get started before an IT security audit.
Know What Needs To Be Checked and Tested
First, you need to know the parameters of your audit. This requires outlining exactly what your assets are. This includes your hardware assets, such as your actual computer equipment, as well as your intangible assets, which in today’s cloud-based environment can be the majority of what you’ll be looking at during your audit.
A lot of IT security professionals recommend that businesses define what’s called a security perimeter, which is the smallest possible boundary in most cases, which has the assets you need to take a look at for your business.
An example of some of the assets to take into consideration include not just computers but routers, networking equipment, printers, cameras email, VoIP systems, websites, security cameras, and data, but this just a short list.
How Do You Want to Conduct an Audit?
There are a few different options regarding how you can conduct an IT security audit. First, you could handle it internally, but this isn’t usually recommended. You can also use an outside auditor, or you can use virtual security consultant tools and software that will perform network scanning, and identify potential vulnerabilities.
The option you choose will depend on a variety of factors including budget and objectives.
When you’re a small business, you’re likely going to have to prioritize which assets are most important to you during your audit, and priority is typically defined by looking at the threats that are likely to be the most significant threat to you. This can be based on other businesses’ threats or your own past experience with various threats.
For example, it’s more likely that you’re going to have your customer data information hacked than a natural disaster wiping out your data, so that’s how your audit should be guided.
Finally, when you’re preparing for a security audit, create what’s called a control list. This refers to a list of the people that have access to information. It’s important always to be aware of who can access what during a security audit and to mitigate potential risks from having too many people with too much access.
Once you’ve taken the steps above, you’re ready for your actual audit to begin, whether it’s being done internally or by a third party.