Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming critical for any business, regardless of the niche, thanks to the rapid tech adoption. Today, enterprises conduct cybersecurity audits regularly to ascertain that their security infrastructure is robust and up-to-date. This helps reduce the chances of data breaches, malware attacks, and other cyber-crime-related incidents.
Before we get to how many times you should test your business cybersecurity system, let’s first see how the tests are done. First and foremost is finding a reputed cybersecurity company with some expertise working specifically with small businesses. The reason being the cybersecurity needs for small companies may differ from those of Fortune 500 companies.
That said, small businesses often benefit from a thorough security assessment and may not necessarily need a penetration test. Security assessment involves both internal and external vulnerability scans and audits. These tests look into the company’s cyber security infrastructure while using automated tools to uncover all the potential loopholes.
Ideally, these would be open ports within your network firewall or some missing software patches. Others could include the use of unauthorized software, poor password policies, and shadow IT practices that are likely to cause more harm than good.
The security assessment technology has got pretty sophisticated over the years, and we now have fully automated tools that do the job faster and effectively. This tool will often identify the security issues, fix those they can, and identify others that need human intervention.
After fixing all the problems, what follows is to run another test to confirm that all the identified issues have been resolved. Even then, fixing the security architecture isn’t the silver bullet to staying safe in the digital world. You also want to run some cybersecurity awareness and training programs to sensitize employees about cybersecurity threats and best practices.
The question of how many audits are enough is perhaps best when seen through the lenses of business size and niche. Not all businesses are the same, which means how they operate and interact with customers and employees vary. Some businesses are more vulnerable to security threats than others. Specific niches like financial services and retail are a big target for cyber-attackers.
Due to the vast employee or customer database, bigger businesses are also more likely to be tested by cybercriminals. They are also more likely to be well-resourced, making them a good target for specific attacks such as ransomware.
For most small businesses, a rule of thumb is to have security audits done annually. However, if the business has some industry-specific compliance requirements, the audits should be done at least twice or thrice a year. For companies with software or infrastructure that change more frequently, auditing should be done at least quarterly. And for high-risk businesses such as financial service providers, credit card companies, retail stores, etc., audits are best done monthly.
In an ideal world where hackers and bad actors do not exist, security checks would just be done for formality. However, the business world is far from ideal, and there’s an array of reasons why security checks are necessary.
The first reason regular audits are crucial is to protect consumer and employee data from unauthorized third parties. For these reasons, several businesses and industries have developed some strict compliance standards. One popular standard is the PCI DSS used by all the eCommerce sites that accept debit and credit card transactions. Several other standards exist in various industries, and the goal is to set guidelines on what businesses should prioritize as far security is concerned.
Another aspect that makes it necessary for businesses to do security audits is the rapidly evolving technology that equips cybercriminals with new and advanced capabilities to run their malicious activities. To keep up with this technology, IT teams must constantly check if their security systems are robust enough to withstand these threats.
Similarly, there’s a need to assure customers and employees that the business is doing all it can to protect their personal and sensitive information from malicious third parties.
Every business owner must keep their businesses safe from cyber-attacks. This begins with a conscious choice to prioritize regular security audits. The best way to handle cybersecurity and compliance issues is to automate sophisticated vulnerability test procedures. Certain tools in the market allow for this automation and can be pretty helpful if you operate in a niche where compliance regulations are constantly changing.
Automation for cybersecurity gets better when you can easily customize the solution to suit your business needs. Even then, automation alone isn’t going to get the job done. You still need to have a competent team of cybersecurity experts to guide you every step of the process.
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