How To Perform An IT Security Audit: A Checklist And The Best Tools Available

Welcome to the most comprehensive IT security auditing guide. We’re going to take you through our IT security audit checklist, the best tools out there for this task, and finally how to build an IT security audit report.

If you are someone who has the responsibility of ensuring the data integrity and availability for your company’s IT infrastructure – then we have some news for you: your job just got a lot more difficult. Cybercrime is on the rise and technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) make it so much easier for cybercriminals to launch crippling attacks against big corporations. However, if done right and done regularly, an IT security audit can help mitigate those risks.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • What is an IT Security Audit?

  • What should an IT Security Audit include?

  • How to perform a Network Security Audit: Our Checklist

  • The best tools for conducting an IT Security Audit

  • How to build an IT Security Audit report?

Let’s begin.

What is an IT Security Audit?

An IT security audit is the process of assessing and evaluating the security of an organisation’s information technology infrastructure. The main goal of conducting such an audit is to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by a cybercriminal and fix them before they can cause any damage.

What should an IT Security Audit include?

There are several components to an IT security audit. Let’s break them down:

Threats and vulnerabilities assessment – A threat is any potential danger that can exploit your system or data, while vulnerability refers to the weakness in your network’s defences against such threats. During an IT security audit, you have to identify all these possible dangers and find ways to patch up the vulnerabilities.

Policy and procedure review – A big part of ensuring your organisation’s security is having a set of written policies and procedures that everyone follows. During an IT security audit, you have to make sure these are up to date and effective.

Technical scan – This is where you use various tools to find all the possible vulnerabilities that are lurking in your network.

Risk assessment – You have to determine how serious a threat or vulnerability is, where it’s coming from and who could be affected by it. This part of an IT security audit helps you prioritise which ones should be fixed first.

How to perform an IT Security Audit: Our Checklist

Now that we know what goes into an IT security audit, let’s take a look at how to conduct one.

Gather all of the information you’ll need about your company’s IT infrastructure. This includes data like:

  • Which systems are in use?

  • What software is installed on each system?

  • What are the credentials to access all these systems?

  • What are the network configurations?

With this data in hand, we begin the IT security audit process.

The checklist:

  1. To start, have a clear idea of your company’s security policies and regulations.

  2. Reduce room for human error by training employees with the best IT security practises.

  3. Assess log-in credentials and harden them if necessary.

  4. Identify the devices and operating systems dealing with sensitive data.

  5. Check that all devices are updated and have an antivirus installed.

  6. Review your network infrastructure and check if network penetration testing is required..

  7. Assess what’s at risk.

  8. Limit access to sensitive data.

  9. Use an updated firewall.

  10. Scan for vulnerabilities and malware.

  11. Conduct penetration tests.

  12. Monitor your traffic and user activity logs.

The best tools for conducting an IT Security Audit

There are many tools out there that can help you with this, but some of our favourites include:

  1. Nessus – This free tool scans for vulnerabilities in your network and gives you a full report on what they are. It also offers a way to patch these up.

  2. Nmap – This is a free network scanner that can detect vulnerabilities and malware on your system. It also shows you the open ports, which systems are connected, and more.

  3. Nikto – Nikto cross checks your website against a database of recognized vulnerabilities with this tool. It also lets you know if there is any outdated software that needs to be updated.

  4. Metasploit This tool is a hacker’s dream, but you can also use it for good. It lets you simulate actual attacks on your system to see how it would hold up.

  5. Burp Suite – This is a comprehensive tool that helps you test the security of your web applications. It’s possible to examine all of the traffic that passes between your browser and the web server using it. This is great for debugging and finding vulnerabilities.

There are many other great tools out there, but these should get you started. Perform an IT security audit today.

How to build an IT Security Audit report?

Now that you’ve completed your technical scan and identified all the threats, it’s time to put them together in a report for senior management.

Consider all the potential threats and vulnerabilities you just found and assess the risks each one could pose. You have to determine how severe each of these threats and vulnerabilities are, who could be affected by them and what is the likelihood of an attack. You can break down your findings into these four categories:

Critical issues: These are the vulnerabilities that are most likely to be exploited first to cause serious damage and should be fixed immediately.

High-risk issues: These are more serious vulnerabilities and weak spots that can be exploited leading to a data breach or some other security incident if left unchecked.

Medium risk issues: These are less severe vulnerabilities that can still pose a threat if not dealt with.

Low-risk issues: Minor vulnerabilities which can be fixed at a later date.

Once you’ve categorised your findings, you need to provide a detailed description of each one and explain the potential risks they pose to the organisation. You should also suggest concrete steps that should be taken to resolve them.

The final section of your report should outline your recommendations for improving the overall security posture of your organisation. You should talk about how you can improve existing policies, procedures, and systems to make them more effective against cyber threats.

Key Components of an IT Security Audit Report

In short, include these in your report:

  1. Scope of the Audit: What was included and how was it carried out.

  2. Details of the risks: Here you’ll explain all essential details of each risk and vulnerability found.

  3. Suggestions: What measures can be taken to fix the loopholes found.

Conclusion

Without regular evaluations and essential security measures, IT infrastructures may be compromised. An IT security audit when performed regularly ensures that your business is secure and that your data is kept out of harm’s way.

With that, we conclude our post on IT security audits. We hope it has helped you understand what an IT security audit is all about as well as the tools that are available out there to perform one effectively.

yoast seo premium free