Security audits can save your business

Cyber security

That might sound like a sensational headline, but it’s true. A security audit can, in fact, save your business. 

According to a report from Verizon, 58% of malware attack victims are categorized as small businesses. And according to a 2017 report by Ponemon, cyber attacks cost small and medium-sized businesses an average of more than $2 million. Some small businesses don’t survive the negative impact of a security issue, either due to cost alone or damage to their reputation.

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats to small businesses. It’s no longer a question of if a small business will be subject to a cyber attack, but rather a question of when. 

Conducting regular security audits can help reduce the risk of a crippling issue. Let’s take a look at what you should consider when conducting a security audit.

Know your risks 

What security risks exist for your business, both routine and unexpected? This list should include everything from malware to hackers to an employee who leaves their laptop or company-issued cell phone at a coffee shop or on a plane. 

What are the internal threats? What are the external threats? What’s at stake if any of those threats were to occur? A company that stores social security numbers and date of birth for all clients is going to have different areas of risk than one with a significant amount of intellectual property, but both areas of risk are important for those individual companies. 

Document who can access what 

During a security audit, it’s important to document the various permissions and levels of access that exist. Can every employee access every file on the server? What options do employees have for accessing work files remotely if they’re traveling or are home sick for a few days? If something goes wrong on the network or an individual computer, who has access to fix it and minimize the threat? 

Review your policies and procedures 

What policies and procedures do you have in place for your employees as related to IT resources and security? If your employees do a lot of online research, they’re eventually going to encounter a hacked website or potential malware. What’s the protocol when they do? 

What if they accidentally open an attachment from an unknown sender via email? How often are employees required to change their passwords? Can an employee access the internet through a free (unprotected) wifi network on their company computer? All of these potential risks should be addressed in your policies and procedures. 

Prioritize your risks and your response

Based on the information you’ve gathered, prioritize how you’ll respond to reduce risk in key areas. Look at two areas: those that represent significant risk for your business and those that are relatively easy to fix overall. You’ll certainly want to close any gaps that present a significant risk, but don’t overlook something that seems small but yet would be easy to fix. 

The world of cybersecurity is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay aware of evolving threats over time and adjust as needed. Investing in regular security audits can help, and it might save your business one day.