An IT security audit refers to a security and risk analysis based on existing vulnerabilities and security gaps, processes or organizational measures in a company. Vulnerabilities can affect both computer systems and computer programs that are used in the respective company. Weak points or security gaps are largely based on errors in the design and implementation. They also include design and construction errors and human error (algorithms) in a programmed application (computer program / service).
The identification and exploitation of these vulnerabilities by criminals can lead to financial risks and economic damage to the company. IT vulnerability analyzes aim precisely at finding these errors systematically in order to prevent or minimize threats and possible attack scenarios before these issues are uncovered and exploited by criminals.
In most cases, the IT security audit begins as part of quality management in order to identify and evaluate the problems mentioned. It is important to set up extensive quality management, e.g. based on developed software, in order to prevent the most common errors and to guarantee a basic security of the environment and the software that will later be operated in the company. This also includes external dependencies, such as the IT infrastructure and IT environment (operating system) on which the application is operated in order to analyze, evaluate and evaluate potential impacts. These are also part of a risk and weak point analysis. IT security audits also belong to the area of information and network security, which is absolutely necessary in connection with this.
Often technical weaknesses or missing measures are the result of an incomplete IT security concept. In some cases there is no documented IT security concept from which the technical measures can be derived. Does the company have a uniform understanding of which information is more worth protecting than others and on which systems it is processed?
Are there clear guidelines on how to deal with different information?
For example, marketing catalogs can presumably be disposed of with “simple” paper waste, while specific shredders with particularly small cutting sizes may be provided for personnel documents and business figures. Such different processes and procedures must be recorded in the form of organizational instructions in order to guarantee a uniform level of security.
It is therefore important in the context of an IT security audit not only to consider the technical weak points, but also to check the organizational framework conditions.
IT security audit standards
Internationally, IT security audits are specified in the ISO / IEC 27001 standard. This usually includes international security policies that are related to planning, documentation and continuous development of the company’s information security management system (ISMS). Other national standards are based on the BSI IT Security Manual with the following distinctions based on a diagram:
Results and evaluations of IT security audits are based on a so-called catalog of measures (action plan), which forms the basis for further steps to remedy the security gaps and weak points by the IT or administrators of the company’s internal IT department. The catalog of measures also shows the exact impact on the company, a solution approach for rectification and additional data protection-related topics, i.e. whether a security gap can also affect data protection.
On the basis of this, IT has an overview of the actual and target state of the situation and can use this to estimate after a risk analysis to what extent the company needs IT security or not. Accordingly, based on the results of the catalog of measures, employees can be trained or further educated using certificates in order to ensure a better IT environment within the application area in the future.
Regular IT security audits are an essential part of the basic IT protection. Due to the rapidly growing technologies on the market, it is essential to have regular audits carried out in order to cover the current state of the art with IT security and to protect yourself against criminal intent. You can also use a penetration test to check how effective your IT security is.