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Teaming with your IT auditor for better security

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Presentation on theme: "Teaming with your IT auditor for better security"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaming with your IT auditor for better security
Patrick Dunnigan, IT audit principal, Auditor General of Alberta Moderator: Illena Armstrong, editor-in-chief, SC Magazine

2 About the presenter: Patrick Dunnigan
The materials and ideas presented verbally and in the following slides are my own. I am not here to represent the views of my employer. This presentation is based on my experience helping auditees use audits to introduce reasonable and effective IT controls and increase security.

3 Auditors prevent and cure security ills.
Avoiding an audit is like skipping checkups to avoid getting sick. Some auditees see an audit as the illness, not the cure. Auditee

4 Audit outcomes = business outcomes
The goals of an audit are similar to business goals; creating an effective and efficient organization and driving business through: more effective and efficient security for your organization more effective and efficient controls to ensure your security is operating effectively better risk management effective change management

5 Audits harness the power of teamwork
Work together to achieve desired results. Working against each other is counter productive.

6 The IT auditor’s role on the team
Help strengthen commitment to IT that meets an organization's business objectives in a secure environment. Identify threats to the IT environment. Recommend ways to use IT resources efficiently and effectively. Know and follow professional practices. Offer an independent and objective perspective.

7 Audit purpose and focus
Types of audits Regulatory: confirm compliance Value for money: measure results Fraud or criminal: prevent theft, secure data IT auditors focus on: criteria suited to the type of audit security of people, processes and technology

8 Why independence matters
An independent IT auditor offers your organization: an opportunity to look objectively at IT security controls and practices a fresh perspective from a different point of view a chance to make sure the fox is not guarding the hen house

9 Why independence matters
Objectivity: third- party point of view Perspective: focus and expertise Credibility: focus on business risk

10 Using the audit to strategic advantage
Auditors can help: improve processes change culture deflect resistance make future audits easier by improving practices today

11 Case study: findings lead to better security
We recommend that management assess their risks and use an IT control framework to develop and implement well-designed and effective controls to mitigate identified risks. - Agreed! Got resources ($$) to conduct a risk assessment. Ranked risks in conjunction with business and data owners. Identified the costs to mitigate risks. Used COBIT to identify good security controls. Business and data owners decided which risks to mitigate and fund. Moved responsibility from IT to business owners. Got needed resources to implement and manage new technology e.g. SEIM when other budgets were being cut.

12 Be prepared

13 Be prepared

14 Getting the security outcomes you need
An audit finds and makes recommendations about people, processes and technology. New technology ≠ better security! Need all three pillars to keep secure

15 Better security – People
People are the most important part of the three legged stool of security. Audits often identify the need for more or better qualified resources, e.g., recommend certifications CISSP, CISM or Security+. Can identify the need for “security” people and not just someone who can spell Nessus.

16 Better security – Processes
The IT auditor can assess security processes. This could include assessing: security incident response management internal / security control documentation security procedures / process documentation security processes for design adequacy and effectiveness

17 Better security – Documented processes
If it ain’t documented it ain’t done (well) Audit recommendations usually identify a need for more documentation. Documentation lets you: demonstrate implementation and effectiveness benchmark yourself against others demonstrate you are getting better / maturing

18 Better security – Documented processes
What if your “security guy” wins 649? Documented and well-designed processes can provide for smooth succession. Documented and effective processes help an organization to: repeat key controls or performance indicators be more efficient mature the processes and controls ensure that controls are not bypassed

19 More security – Technology
The IT auditor can independently assess your security devices / technology. Do you have enough of the right technology? Too much or the wrong security?

20 Better security – Technology
Recommend that you get more or different technology. Audit recommendations often form the basis for a business case. Technology can support your audit. help desk with automated ticketing / workflow SIM / SEM vulnerability assessment

21 Top 10 ways to add an auditor to your team
10. Get to know your auditor. Talk to him / her / them. Take them out for coffee or lunch! 9. Ask what they think are the high risk or important areas for typical audits. What are their audit plans? 8. Tell them what your security pain points are! Don’t make them guess. 7. Bring them in early: when you start a project, are considering new technology, are outsourcing work or services. 6. Make them a part of your team. Ask for input and advice – but don’t impair independence!

22 Top 10 ways to add an auditor to your team
5. Ensure that you get to review findings and recommendations. Provide feedback and comments. 4. Make them accountable. Ensure they are capable and follow ground rules, scope and reporting. Challenge them! 3. Prepare your response. Agree, then put a plan in place with required resources, timelines and responsibilities. Put onus on senior management to make it happen! 2. Thank your auditors for helping you make the organization more secure. 1. Follow up. Ask them to audit your remediation efforts to ensure they mitigate findings.

23 Add an auditor to your IT team
IT auditors want the same thing you should – an effective, efficient and secure IT environment. Bring the IT auditor in early and tell them what areas you want to focus on. Use the auditor to get what you want. Listen and provide feedback. Follow up on recommendations. Make sure the auditor is on your team. Questions?

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