Cyber security audits are an important tool for organisations to assess the effectiveness of their cyber security measures and identify any vulnerabilities that may exist in their systems. This is especially critical for organisations that operate critical infrastructure, such as power plants, water treatment facilities, and transportation systems, as the consequences of a cyber-attack on these systems can be severe.
A cyber security audit within an Operational Technology (OT) environment, such as those found in industrial control systems (ICS) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), typically includes several key steps:
- Asset Inventory: The first step in a cyber security audit is to conduct an inventory of all the assets that are part of the OT environment. This includes identifying all devices, systems, and networks that are connected to the environment, as well as the software and firmware that is running on these devices.
- Vulnerability Assessment: Once the assets have been identified, the next step is to conduct a vulnerability assessment. This involves identifying any known vulnerabilities in the systems and devices that make up the environment, as well as any potential vulnerabilities that may exist due to misconfigurations or other issues.
- Risk Assessment: After the vulnerabilities have been identified, the next step is to conduct a risk assessment. This involves evaluating the potential impact of each vulnerability, as well as the likelihood of it being exploited by an attacker. This information is used to prioritise the vulnerabilities that need to be addressed first.
- Compliance Check: Many organisations that operate critical infrastructure are subject to regulations and standards that they must comply with. For example, organisations in the energy sector may be subject to standards such as NERC CIP, while organisations in the healthcare sector may be subject to HIPAA. During a cyber security audit, compliance with these regulations and standards should be checked.
- Recommendations: Once the audit is complete, the auditor will provide recommendations for how to address any vulnerabilities or issues that were identified. This may include implementing new security controls, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems, or updating software and firmware to address known vulnerabilities.
It is important to note that cyber security audit is not a one-time event, but rather a continuous process. As new threats and vulnerabilities are discovered, the audit process should be repeated to ensure that the organisation’s cyber security measures remain effective.
In conclusion, cyber security audits are an important tool for organisations that operate critical infrastructure to assess the effectiveness of their cyber security measures and identify any vulnerabilities that may exist in their systems. A cyber security audit within an OT environment typically includes an asset inventory, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, compliance check and recommendations to address any vulnerabilities or issues that were identified. It is crucial for the organisations to conduct regular cyber security audits in order to maintain the safety and reliability of their industrial processes and prevent costly downtime and breaches.
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