Like all security audits, an IT security audit serves to analyze an organization’s IT infrastructure in a detailed manner. It allows an organization to identify security loopholes and vulnerabilities present in their IT system. It also helps organizations to meet certain national and international compliance requirements.
Ideally, an IT security audit is conducted periodically for an overall assessment of the organization’s on-premise or cloud-based infrastructure. The infrastructure can be a whole IT network, and the integrations including network devices such as firewalls, routers, etc.
Why security audits are recommended periodically?
IT security audit involves verifying general security barricades and vulnerabilities that may be present in the hardware, software, networks, data centers, or servers. Simply put, IT security audits help organizations answer some important questions about the security of their current IT framework. Performing it periodic basis, answer the following questions:
- What are the current security risks and vulnerabilities that your system faces?
- Are your existing measures strong enough to protect the system from all kinds of cyberattacks? Are you able to quickly recover your business operations in case you face a data breach or service unavailability?
- Does your security system contain any steps or tools that don’t contribute to the process in a useful manner?
- What are the steps taken to address the issues found during the security audit? And what are the implications of such steps in terms of conducting the business?
- Are you in compliance with the necessary cybersecurity standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, ISO, etc.? Have you met all the security audit and penetration testing requirements as part of gaining their certification?
- Is your IT framework compliant with the set standards that follow the collection of sensitive data, it’s processing and retention?
Note: Certified security auditors usually conduct a compliance audit to gain certification from a regulatory agency or a reputed third-party vendor. There are always provisions for the company team in charge of the system’s security to conduct internal audits and gain a picture of the company’s security standards and compliance levels.
What are the steps to perform an IT security audit?
Whoever is in charge of the IT security audit can still confirm the process is done successfully and meets the required objectives by verifying if the following steps are taken, and the required information is derived:
1. Stating the company’s objective from the security audit
This is an important step, as it states what the organization wishes to gain from the security audit. It involves desired goals, business logic, the implication of short-term goals on the company’s larger mission, and so on.
It is important to keep few things in mind when setting up an objective for the IT security audit. Things such as the scope of the audit, assets included in the scope of testing, the timeline, compliance requirements, and ultimately an easy-to-understand final test report.
2. Planning the required steps and testing protocol
Going into the testing process and winging it may not always work out. Doing a pre-planning always makes the process smooth. You can decide the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders and testing personnel, the steps within the testing process itself, chosen tools for testing, evaluation of acquired data, possible logistics issues, etc.
It’s always best to document these decisions, which should then be shared with the participants and decision-makers of the organization.
3. Auditing the work done
Steps for the auditing process should be decided in the planning step, including the checklist, methodologies, and standards required.
Mandatory steps could involve scanning various IT resources, file-sharing services, databases, any SaaS applications being used, and even physical inspection of the data center to test its safety during a disaster.
Employees outside the testing team should also be interviewed to judge their understanding of the security standards and adherence to company policy so that these potential entry points could be covered as well.
4. Finalizing results
Compile all the information into a document accessible by the company stakeholders and the IT team for future reference. Make sure that the document is easy to understand to anyone reading it regardless of their technical knowledge. This will allow internal development or security teams to fix similar issues in the future if they occur.
Documenting the obtained test results as a report will also allow stakeholders to take important business decisions regarding the security of their customers’ information.
5. Remediation measures for discovered issues
This step involves following through with the solutions for issues mentioned in the final report document. Also, any recommended security fixes for the issues. Remediation measures include,
- Resolving issues found during the IT security testing process.
- Taking up better methods to handle sensitive data & avoid malware and phishing attacks by recognizing them immediately.
- Train employees in optimal practices to ensure overall security and other compliance measures.
- Addition of new technology to increase security and for regular supervision of any suspicious activity.
Remember, it is important that you know the difference between conducting an IT security audit as mentioned above and performing a risk assessment for your internal & external assets. An IT security audit immediately follows a risk assessment of the potential vulnerability and security risks that may be exploited, to be ideally conducted by the trained security experts or professionals to improve the overall cybersecurity posture of an organization’s internet-facing assets.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!