The Keys to a Successful Audit

Creating a culture of compliance within your organization promotes your commitment to security. An auditor can be seen as a nit-picky, negative, overly involved outsider coming into your environment, asking questions and looking for any control that’s insufficient. However, this mindset causes organizations to fear auditing and auditors, when in reality, an audit is a healthy habit and auditors are trained to help you better understand and protect your assets. In this short interview with Sara Lewis from JetPay, she explains the keys to a successful audit: honesty and documentation.

Your auditor is not your enemy, so don’t try to hide controls or processes that you know don’t meet the standard. Our advice is to be honest, up-front, and involved in your audit process. Never try to hide something from your assessor because your job is to protect your assets, and their job is to verify how you’re protecting them. If you’re declaring that you do something that you’re not actually doing, you’re setting your organization up for exploitation. If you know you have an insufficient control, be up-front with your assessor and let them know you have a plan to fix the control and when you expect the modifications to be implemented.

We say it over and over and over again: if it’s not written down, it’s not happening. Documentation is one of the keys to a successful audit. You must prove that you’re actually doing what you say you’re doing as part of your due diligence. The way to prove it? Policies and procedures. A policy is an executive-level order that defines that something must be done, but a procedure defines how you do it. A policy defines a rule, and the procedure says, “This is who is expected to do it, and this is how they are expected to do it.”  Standards are the tools, means, and methods that you will use to meet policy requirements.

Our audit process takes companies from a start-up to a full-fledged business, recover after natural disasters, assure clients of their commitment to security, and so much more. Our senior-level auditors have over 400 years of combined experience in information security by performing assessments, audits, and tests which strengthen information security and compliance controls. You’ll find that their certifications give them knowledge to help you understand the requirements and teach you how to become a stronger, more mature organization. Remember, your auditor is you partner. For more information on how to prepare for an information security audit, contact us today!

Video Transcript

One of the keys in completing a successful audit is honesty. Don’t try to hide things from your assessors because they’re going to find it, and they’re going to find it in the worst possible time and the worst possible way. If you know you’re in sufficient in something, be upfront about it. Let them know that you’re working, that you have a plan, and when you intend to be done.

Make sure you have everything documented – that bites a lot of people. You have to prove that you’re doing what you know you’re doing.

Work with your auditor. Your first answer might not be sufficient, but they’ll let you know what they’re looking for, so just follow up and stick with it until it’s done.

5 Things the Grinch Teaches us about Information Security

With the holiday season always comes a rise in cyber crime and data theft. With that in mind, it’s a perfect time to remind ourselves of important information security tips to keep us safe and secure this holiday. So don’t let the Grinch ruin your holiday. Here are 5 things the Grinch can teach us about information security:

1. Beware of Social Engineering

A Lesson on Social Engineering with The Grinch
“With this coat and this hat I look just like St. Nick!” These infamous words led the Grinch straight through Whoville, sneaking into homes, successfully impersonating someone they trusted, and stealing Christmas. This popular form of hacking, known as social engineering, can be avoided by training your employees to never give out sensitive information (e.g., username and password combinations or unauthorized access to an area) without fully identifying the other person.

2. Ensure Network Security

The Grinch on how to Ensure Network Security

Don’t let the Grinch slide down your chimney unannounced. Ensure Network Security by implementing and maintaining a firewall configuration. As auditors, a common gap we see when performing audits is a poorly maintained firewall. Maintaining a secure firewall is important in order to monitor incoming and outgoing packet requests and blocking unauthorized requests. Ensure network security by having effective and fully documented policies and procedures.

3. Secure your Last Line of Defense

Train the little Cindy Lou Who’s to recognize security incidents when they happen. Regularly training your employees on security awareness and policies and procedures is a critical component of your organization’s security. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so continually train employees on logical and physical security responsibilities to ensure your employees will know how to respond in the event of a security incident.

4. Perform Annual Risk Assessments

Perform Annual Risk Assessments

Don’t let the Grinch rob you blind – Protect your assets from theft and breach. The first step in safeguarding your business from theft or a data breach is by performing an annual risk assessment. Risk assessments are a way to identify assets and prioritize risks to those assets, allowing organizations to ensure the proper controls are put in place to protect those assets from vulnerabilities and threats.

5. Test your Incident Response Plan

The Whos didn’t let the Grinch ruin their holiday. They were prepared to move forward in light of a security incident. Have a plan in place that you have tested and train employees on your incident response plan policies and procedures. Your Incident Response Plan should include policies and procedures that dictate to your organization the immediate actions that are to be taken following the detection of an incident.

Stay safe over the holidays, and don’t forget these 5 important tips to ensure the Grinch doesn’t ruin your holiday.