Auditors in the realm of cybersecurity play a pivotal role, albeit different from their technologist counterparts. They focus on policy, compliance, and management aspects of cybersecurity, ensuring that organizations meet required standards and regulations. Understanding what to look for in a cybersecurity auditor is essential for ensuring effective oversight and alignment with industry best practices.
Effective cybersecurity auditors often have a strong background in management. This includes experience in overseeing cybersecurity initiatives, managing teams, and aligning cybersecurity policies with business objectives.
Policy and Compliance Knowledge:
Auditors should be well-versed in cybersecurity policies and compliance requirements. Experience in adjacent fields like accounting can be a valuable asset, as it often involves a deep understanding of regulatory and compliance issues.
Accounting and Finance:
Professionals with a background in accounting or finance may bring a unique perspective to cybersecurity auditing, particularly in understanding the financial implications of cybersecurity risks and compliance. CPAs have become increasingly fascinated with the Cyber Security market, many of them moving into it as auditors.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance:
Knowledge in legal aspects and regulatory requirements can be crucial, especially in industries subject to specific cybersecurity regulations.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP):
Often regarded as the “Gold Standard” in cybersecurity for auditing or management, the CISSP certification is highly sought after for auditors. While it doesn’t focus on practical skills, it covers extensive ground in management and policy aspects of cybersecurity. This certification is a testament to an auditor’s knowledge and understanding of a broad range of cybersecurity principles.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA):
This certification, offered by ISACA, is highly recognized in the field of IT audit. It demonstrates an individual’s ability to assess an organization’s information systems and ensure compliance with established standards. The CISA certification is particularly relevant for auditors focusing on IT governance, control, and assurance.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC):
Also offered by ISACA, the CRISC certification is designed for IT professionals, risk professionals, and auditors. It focuses on identifying and managing risks through the development, implementation, and maintenance of information systems controls. This certification is particularly valuable for auditors who specialize in managing risks associated with IT and cybersecurity.
When assessing a cybersecurity auditor, consider these key factors:
- Management Experience: Evaluate their experience in managing cybersecurity policies and teams.
- Policy and Compliance Expertise: Assess their comfort and proficiency in cybersecurity policies and regulatory compliance, including any relevant experience in fields like accounting or legal compliance.
- CISSP Certification: Look for the CISSP certification as a benchmark of their knowledge and commitment to the field. Other certifications are also extremely helpful and shouldn’t be discounted either.
- Cross-Disciplinary Knowledge: Consider their experience and knowledge in adjacent fields that can enrich their auditing capabilities.
- Communication Skills: Effective auditors should possess strong communication skills, as they often need to bridge the gap between technical teams and management.
A competent cybersecurity auditor brings a blend of management experience, policy knowledge, and cross-disciplinary understanding to the table. Certifications like CISSP serve as indicators of their expertise and dedication to the field. By carefully evaluating these aspects, organizations can ensure they engage auditors who can effectively navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity compliance and policy management.