Internal auditing is a hidden jewel that your organization should definitely associate with to strengthen the cybersecurity infrastructure.
With an increase in the number of cybersecurity breaches, it is imperative that your internal audit department uses its expertise to assess organizational risks.
This blog post will help you learn the main objectives of an internal audit program and how it can supplement cybersecurity programs. So, let’s get started!
What is Internal Auditing?
Internal auditing is not just limited to evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization in maintaining the standards framed but, it also gives you a closure on how to take necessary corrective steps.
It’s a process of continuous monitoring and once an organization gathers these aspects together, it can move towards a strong cybersecurity structure.
An internal auditor –
1. Audits and reviews the entire condition of the company
2. Understands the business objectives and strategies
3. Highlights the privacy and data security risks
4. Identifies controls and defects in business policies
Goals Of An Internal Cyber Audit Program
A rise in high-profile security breaches demands a considerable focus on cybersecurity. This challenges the internal audit departments to assess the procedural, personal, and technical controls of an organization’s security practices.
The goals and activities of an internal cyber audit program are based on three Lines of Defense:
1. First Line of Defense – Management
The first line of defense model includes business process owners and management. In cybersecurity, this line of defense is composed of business owners and employees of an organization. It also focuses on IT aspects like data infrastructure, systems, and processes that might pose a potential risk.
2. Second Line of Defense – Risk Management and Compliance
This includes implementation and execution of the risk management processes. The InfoSec department holds the responsibility to monitor controls and diagnose malicious activities or engage third-party vendors to respond effectively.
3. Third Line of Defense – Internal Audit
This verifies the cybersecurity effort in identifying risks and prescribing solutions. Then, the senior management and the auditor board are informed if the first and second lines of defense are consistent and are performing as expected. This final line of defense brings a high level of organizational independence and objectivity.
How Internal Auditing Can Add Value To Organizational Cyber Security Programs
Internal auditing can assist the cybersecurity defense through five critical elements that can support a successful response plan. These elements are as follows –
1. Internal audit helps develop a suitable IT governance framework including cybersecurity strategy and policy working together.
2. Such audits provide a holistic approach to identifying the vulnerable aspects of an organization.
3. Whether testing company policies or reviewing third-party vendor contracts, an internal audit is quite insightful to look into the protection efforts being taken.
4. Effective IT governance is crucial and an internal audit can provide assurance services for that area as well.
1. The internal audit evaluates cyber risks, security controls, and conveys to the executive management and the Audit Committee the vulnerabilities in an organization.
2. It also analyzes how effective the installed procedures and control systems are.
3. The cybersecurity measures should form a part of the internal audit plan and the organizational processes should align with the cybersecurity efforts.
4. This audit should also work around preventive measures with regards to cybersecurity, employing a trained workforce for using sophisticated cyber protocols.
5. Integrating data analysis and data mining practices into an internal audit can lead to risk monitoring and fraud detection.
1. An efficient response plan for dealing with cyber risks and implementing a business continuity program is essential to achieving cyber resilience.
2. Organizations should develop a business continuity management (BCM) blueprint listing ways to resolve different scenarios that might cause an interruption in normal business activity.
3. Business continuity adds value to organizations as the current risks tend to expand. It can also strengthen businesses to deal with unforeseeable circumstances and plan effective strategies to sail through them.
1. Internal audits will also enable you to test your organization’s preparedness during crisis situations. This positively impacts the customers and stakeholders associated with an organization.
2. The most important step here is to assess a breach and look for ways to respond to it.
3. Ensure that everyone involved in the process is aware of the crisis management program and can communicate with each other transparently.
4. An internal audit will independently help you develop a concrete plan, assess how effective it is, and offer analysis after the plans are executed.
1. Internal audit augments business growth by expressing its opinions from the extensive scope of work.
2. However, cybersecurity readiness assures surviving cyber attacks but it is of no use if the organization doesn’t evolve the strategies outlined to cope with potential threats.
3. Therefore, continuous improvement in cybersecurity strategies and procedures prepares your organization better for eventual attacks.
With cybercrime to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, it’s essential for organizations to formulate comprehensive cyber resilience plans. An internal audit, therefore, plays a critical role in creating a barrier between potential cyber threats and your organization.
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