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How To Perform a Cyber Security Audit 

3 minute read
Cybersecurity audits form a very crucial component of any organisation's defence against privacy violations and data breaches. By regularly performing cybersecurity audits, you can identify security weaknesses in your system and determine whether your organisation complies with the relevant data laws, like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
By, Jonathan Mack

What is a cybersecurity audit?

A cybersecurity audit refers to a very comprehensive review of the IT systems and infrastructure of your organisation. These audits ensure that the appropriate procedures and policies are in place, properly implemented, and working as they should.

The goal of any cybersecurity audit is to identify possible security vulnerabilities that may result in a security or data breach.

These vulnerabilities include those that can allow malicious software or attackers to gain unauthorised access to sensitive data. It also identifies poor internal practices that could lead to employees accidentally breaching sensitive company or client information.

How to do a cybersecurity audit

A cybersecurity audit can involve many aspects and it depends on your organisation's goals and specific needs. They can include vulnerability scanning, penetration tests, and network forensic assessments.

However, all cybersecurity audits typically include a few phases: scope definition, the audit itself, review, and remediation. Let's quickly look at each.

1. Scope definition

This is typically the first step in a security audit. It includes determining the expectations of the audit, and guidelines can also be created to show what should be included in the audit.

2. Audit process

This is the actual cybersecurity audit. The time it takes can vary - from a few hours for a small company, to a few days for larger organisations.

It will likely include a review and a thorough check of your company's databases, devices, software, and servers.

Here are some things an audit can typically cover:

  • Data security. Covers the encryption used, data security controls during storage and transmission, and network access control.
  • System security. Covers role-based access, hardening processes, patching processes, and privileged account management.
  • Network security. Reviewing your organisation's antivirus configuration, security and network controls, and monitoring capabilities.
  • Operational security. A review of the procedures, policies, and security controls.
  • Physical security. Covers multifactor authentication, role-based access controls, disk encryption, biometric data security, and more.

This step also reviews how you assign access rights and examine the software and hardware our system currently has. Since it should effectively protect your data against attacks, it's important that the security team highlights any possible vulnerabilities or security gaps that you need to act on. 

This is typically done with comprehensive vulnerability scanning.

3. Review

Once the audit process is done, you can move on to the review and report phase.

Here, your IT team will gather all the data and submit a report to key stakeholders. This is also where you can have a discussion to review all the important findings and determine what additional security practices should be implemented.

4. Remediation

Although this stage isn't always required, it may be required. Here you'll set up and implement solutions for specific problems that were identified during the cybersecurity audit.

Why are cybersecurity audits important?

Cybersecurity audits use a variety of processes, solutions, and safeguards to prevent attacks on your networks, data, and devices.

Unauthorised access to your company's data can allow hackers to get access to your financial information, personally identifiable information (PII), and personal health information (PHI).

Not to mention the fact that companies in the UK can be severely fined if they're found to be in breach of data protection and this is something any organisation wants to avoid.


What is included in a cyber security audit?

Cybersecurity audits can take many forms and will include a range of processes, depending on your organisation's needs. They are likely to include a thorough review of your databases, devices, software, and servers.

Who needs a cyber security audit?

Any organisation that works with sensitive data or needs to ensure that its systems are protected against data breaches and malicious attacks.

How often should you do a cybersecurity audit?

It is recommended that most organisations do a cybersecurity audit at least once a year. But audits may be needed more often, depending on factors like your company's size and resources.


A cybersecurity audit can take many forms and this is why it's important to work with a professional team that can handle your organization's security audit needs. Your security team can identify vulnerabilities and implement safeguards to prevent damage before it happens. 

If you're looking to conduct a thorough and professional cybersecurity audit, Swiftcomm can help. You’ll receive your own cybersecurity account manager, and our support is available 24/7.

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