Auditing Role in Modern Cybersecurity Challenges
Every year businesses around the world lose billions of dollars to malicious cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity challenges no more relate to large businesses and financial institutes only. Small and medium enterprises adopting web presence and e-commerce are equally prone to the latest Cybersecurity challenges. Internal Auditing in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, UAE remains traditionally concerned with the accuracy of financial reporting and monitoring. However, the scope and challenges are increasing for internal auditors to evaluate Cybersecurity risks and report the business’s performance to mitigate such risks.
Internal Auditing departments can perform a strategic risk assessment and performance evaluation in a step-by-step approach. The general approach in assessing the Cybersecurity challenges should always remain within the framework of internal auditing scope.
Understanding Modern Cybersecurity Challenges:
Cybersecurity challenges are evolving with modernization. Cybercriminals are equipped with latest hacking and malicious tools to penetrate the safest of the company softwares. For example, in recent years businesses around the world have witnessed increased ransomware incidents.
Cybercrimes have evolved a long way from phishing and Trojan horse attacks to CryptoLocker, Emotet, and keystroke logging. The core of the deceptive cybercriminals technique remains the same though.
Modern auditors will have to familiarize themselves with the latest Cybersecurity challenges. Understanding the core business assets and the ways to protect them from suspicious attackers. Auditors are traditionally equipped with corporate governance and compliance regulation expertise. Assessing and monitoring the modern Cybersecurity challenges demand auditors to adopt a comprehensive new approach.
Review and Analyze the Existing Controls in Place:
Large firms and small businesses alike complacently ignore the cost of protecting the information technology in place for them. Even with plentiful options for protection and insurances, many businesses lack adequate controls in place against cyber-attacks.
The prime function of auditing departments would be to conduct a thorough inspection and review of existing controls in place by the company.
- Has the business allocated sufficient financial resources against cyber threats?
- Did the company undergo any staff training? Or hired specialized staff?
- Does the business have a cyber-insurance?
- Does the company have a centralized or decentralized IT department?
Most businesses face Cybersecurity challenges due to a lack of strategic planning. Internal auditors can review the strategic plan and its effectiveness to begin with. Lack of internal controls on Cybersecurity exists due to complacent intentions at the strategic level for many businesses.
Internal auditors in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, UAE would usually identify challenges with strategic plans as:
- Lack of strategic plans for mitigating Cybersecurity risks and challenges
- Inadequate financial resources and budgetary allocation
- Lack of Cybersecurity skilled staff such as ethical hackers; to look beyond conventional IT staff
- Inadequate monitoring and reporting on Cybersecurity plans
Measuring Risk and Strategy Formulation:
As with the internal auditing framework, the internal auditors would then measure the risk arising with IT security. The risks would be substantial for a business having large intangible assets such as software as a service or an IT firm. Each business requires unique risk assessment and risk management plan.
A common dilemma for most business remains to decide on arranging the IT security in-house or through a third-party service provider. Internal Auditors can help top management in deciding the critical decision.
An In-House built Cybersecurity framework would require significant financial resources and skills. However, it comes with additional benefits of privacy and enhanced security in the long run. Third-Party Cybersecurity arrangements can prove costly as well as remain a challenge to protect business privacy. The outsourcing remains critical in mitigating the Cybersecurity challenges with the adequate skill set and expertise though.
Internal Auditors in Dubai, UAE can assess the strategic plan and help the management in the formulation of an effective strategy. The core point of the internal auditing department should remain on creating increased awareness and reporting on the modern challenges of cyber issues. Thus, compelling the top management in formulating an effective strategic plan.
Auditors’ Role in Monitoring the Cybersecurity Risks:
Internal Auditors’ prime role for any type of audit remains the monitoring and reporting on the internal controls. If the business has adequate internal controls in place, the auditors would then be concerned about the effective implementation.
Internal Auditors in Dubai, UAE can monitor the existing IT controls in place such as system firewalls, password managers, data cloud backup, etc. to begin with. Auditors may also perform a comprehensive data forensic audit and penetration testing.
Finally, the internal auditors in Abu Dhabi, UAE would need to report the Cybersecurity comprehensive audit framework.
A comprehensive report would include the following key points:
- Identifying Key Risk: Such as inadequate resources, unauthorized access, data breaches, etc.
- Current Controls in place: Physical Controls, Access controls, Software, and Encryption controls, third-party licensing.
- Effectiveness of Existing Controls: Has there been any testing? Forensic data tests, audit trails, and application testing.
- Alternative Strategies: An in-depth suggestive plans on updating the existing controls to mitigate new Cyber Challenges
Reporting: Reports on losses due to Cybercrimes such as Data Theft, Financial losses, Patents and Legal issues, loss of competitive edge, loss of market share, etc.
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