What is a Security Audit?

A security audit may include testing a computer’s software for vulnerabilities.

A security audit is an analysis of the adequacy of security in an information technology system. Types of general security audits include an IT audit for all of the company’s IT systems or a computer security audit for a partial IT system or process. These types of internal audit processes are done to ensure that security is sufficient for any type of IT system within a company.

A security audit is an analysis of the adequacy of security in an information technology system.

Those conducting a security audit can examine encryption or other security elements online or computerized. They can interview computer users to determine if the human factor is a weak link in terms of security. A security auditor may perform a penetration test, or other type of security assessment, to judge how secure an IT system can be.

As part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act enacted by Congress, security audits can be used as part of an overall business audit process.

Some types of security audits are requested by business leadership as part of protecting a company’s bottom line. Other security audits are done to provide compliance with federal, state, or local laws when corporate data includes an element of public risk. In such cases, government agencies may require periodic security audits to show that a company is protecting public data.

A security audit at a medical practice can ensure that HIPAA rules are being followed with regard to the privacy of patient files.

The legislation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA is the main driver of security audits for medical companies. HIPAA rules provide stringent security of patient data, and all medical facilities or businesses must comply with HIPAA regulations. Security audit tasks may include specific attention to ensuring that HIPAA is followed within the enterprise or network.

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Financial or other companies may conduct a security audit in accordance with regulations imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. While Sarbanes-Oxley is designed as a safeguard against corrupt accounting practices, its legislation may include elements such as security audits as part of an overall audit process. In other cases, consumer protection legislation may require a company to conduct a security audit.

Often, a company may have a security policy that dictates when and how a security audit should be done. Security auditing can also involve checking “checks and balances” on a department or business system. All this effort goes towards the general objective of protecting data and providing competent security for any type of company. Professional auditors are trained in the precise metrics that show whether a security system is reliable and reasonably protected from external attacks.

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