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

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Presentation on theme: "Teaming with your IT auditor for better security  Patrick Dunnigan, IT audit principal, Auditor General of Alberta  Moderator: Illena Armstrong, editor-in-chief,"— 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. Some auditees see an audit as the illness, not the cure. Auditee Avoiding an audit is like skipping checkups to avoid getting sick.

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

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  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 Audit purpose and focus

8 An independent IT auditor offers your organization: Why independence matters  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  Objectivity: third- party point of view  Perspective: focus and expertise  Credibility: focus on business risk Why independence matters

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

11  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. Case study: findings lead to better security

12 Be prepared

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

15  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. Better security – People

16  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 Better security – Processes

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

18  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 Better security – Documented processes

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

20  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 Better security – Technology

21 10. Get to know your auditor. Talk to him / her / them. Take them out for coffee or lunch! Top 10 ways to add an auditor to your team 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 5. Ensure that you get to review findings and recommendations. Provide feedback and comments. Top 10 ways to add an auditor to your team 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  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? Add an auditor to your IT team


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