When you regularly handle confidential documents, it’s an excellent idea to conduct information security audits. An information security audit is a great way to measure and assess the effectiveness of your security policies. An audit is an opportunity to ensure that your well thought out plans are technically sound.
But there’s one problem.
An audit is a snapshot. It captures no more than the precise moment the information security audit was conducted. There’s nothing to prevent a security breach from occurring a minute, a day, or a few months later. You would never know that there’s been a data breach if you’re relying solely on those audits to put your mind at ease.
Types of Security Audits
There is a great variety of security auditing tools and protocols for information systems. Here are five areas that are typically scrutinized:
- Vulnerability tests find weaknesses in design, procedure, and implementation
- Penetration tests discover opportunities for attacks to your digital resources
- Risk Assessment allows management to decide which risks it is willing to take
- Compliance tests assess how well the organization is adhering to agreed upon rules
- Due Diligence Questionnaires determine how well partners comply
Data Breaches Despite Security Protocols
While this set of evaluations appears to provide an exhaustive, 360 degree view of a system’s information security, it’s not enough to prevent major damage. Take, for example, some recent high profile data breaches. It seems that every time you look, another well known organization falls victim to hackers and identity thieves. Surely, Macy’s had security protocols in place in October 2019 when malware installed on its e-commerce site went undetected for an entire week, according to Fast Company.
During that time, sensitive customer data, such as credit card numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, was stolen. The same malware that affected Ticketmaster and Newegg.
Equifax is another example of a serious data breach at a business that should have had ironclad security protocols in place. And yet, in 2017, the sensitive information of 145 million consumers was exposed. The ripple effect of this information security breach is still being felt to the tune of $650 million. The company is subject to a class action suit, and may have to pay out up to $20,000 per customer.
Error, Negligence, and Bad Behavior
Audits are only a small part of an overall information security strategy. An audit occurs at a point in time. The instant that moment passes, your organization is vulnerable again.
Even though major corporations have infosec protocols in place and undergo regular audits, there’s a high risk for human error, negligence and bad behavior.
While it’s probably impossible to entirely eliminate risk, there is a way to greatly reduce risk. You should reasonably expect that your documents will be secure throughout the system. The secret to infosec success is layers.
Risk Reduction Through a Layered Approach
By all means, continue to conduct security audits. And consider adding a layer of security that continues to work for you all day, everyday, around the office and around the globe.
As good as a security audit can be, it just takes one person to break the system once the audit is complete. Don’t play a cat and mouse game with hackers. When you truly protect your documents, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you have an impenetrable information security wall.