Cybersecurity is on everyone’s minds these days. With CCPA and GDPR legislation coming out in the last few years, the FTC continuing to double down on MLMs, and data breaches continuing to affect companies of all sizes, it’s important to keep yourself up to date with best practices. If you need to get a pulse on the health of your data security, conducting an audit on your internal systems is a great place to start. We’ll show you how to get it done in six easy steps.
1. Figure Out What You Need to Know
There are a lot of ways to measure your company’s security, so make sure to do your research beforehand. Are you looking to get an accreditation to signal your security aptitude to others? Is your goal to do business in a new market? Or are you trying to evaluate your entire security and risk management program? Once you know what you need to know, it’s time to find the right certification or framework.
Here are some resources to check out to help you get started:
- CIS Top 20: Created by the Center for Internet Security, this list is a great option for anyone who wants to be compliant with the most current data security best practices. Because it’s updated over time, it’s also a good one to come back to regularly.
- ISO 27001: These standards, put out by the International Organization for Standardization, are essential to follow if you’re doing business globally or want to in the future. Once certified, you can show any foreign entity that you’re secure.
- NIST 800-53: If your company is US-based, you can check your technical compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
- SOC I: This framework is a classic for making sure financial processing systems are current and safe.
- SOC II: If you manage and process customer data, SOC II certification is an industry-standard.
- PCI: If you’re dealing with a lot of payment information, most financial institutions will require that you’re compliant with Payment Card Industry standards. Essentially, it shows that you handle credit card information safely.
2. Perform a Gap Analysis
Before you can move forward with an audit, it’s important to understand where you are and where you need to go security-wise. For most companies, this means starting with a gap analysis—running through the controls of the framework you’ve chosen to figure out what parts of your system are vulnerable.
3. Choose the Scope of Your Audit
Once you’ve decided on a framework, you can figure out which of your systems you’d like to focus on. If you want to tackle the most vulnerable first, it’s best to start with production—this is where live customer data is processed, and it’s the most susceptible to cyber threats. If you’re more interested in test, preview, and sandbox environments, you can perform the audit on development systems instead. Last, but not least, you have internal office processes. This area is often overlooked, but it’s just as important to secure employee-facing controls as those for customers and distributors.
4. Pick a Start Date
You might be tempted to overlook this step, but it’s absolutely crucial to your success—if you don’t know when you’re going to start, you’ll never be able to finish. This is especially important for companies without a full auditing staff that will need to really plan and allocate resources beforehand. Without a goal to get it started, an audit can easily get lost in the rest of your to-dos.
5. Get Real Proof
Physical proof speaks much louder than verbal. High-level audits that are more general than nitpicky can get by on “yes” or “no” answers, but screenshots and documentation are much more defendable, credible to auditors, and give you better peace of mind.
It’s best to follow the Ronald Reagan’s classic advice, “Trust but verify”—it’s great to believe that your systems are working as they should, but you’ll never know for sure unless you actually check and can show it with proof.
6. Review and Repeat
Once you’re done with the audit, it’s important to take the time to analyze your results and figure out how to address any gaps in your protection. You may be surprised by what you find and knowing what’s working and what’s not is always the first step for getting to the root of a problem and fixing it before it gets out of hand.
When it comes to data security, the best practice is to be proactive. You don’t know what you don’t check, and it’s much better to monitor how things are running yourself than to be caught off your guard, lose customer data and trust, and potentially get the FTC involved. Taking these steps to keep track of your safety measures will give you the best insurance possible against future cyberattacks and data breaches.
Want to learn more about protecting MLM customer and distributor data? Read our post about 2-factor authentication here. For more about InfoTrax services and the work we do with MLM data, visit our homepage.