Frequency of Audits to Validate Your Security Standards

The frequency of security audits relies on the scope, and size of your company, and how often you deal with sensitive information.

The audit regularity even depends on the regulatory needs to validate security standards your company has decided to meet and as per law.

You are required to conduct and facilitate security audits at least once annually. However, many companies perform security audits following a more frequent schedule.

Security audits are significant as a data breach can have damaging penalties for your business. The damages include repute loss, legal accountability, and even illegitimate charges.


How to Streamline Your Audit Process and Frequency to Validate Your Security Standards?

Let's understand how to streamline security audits and how often you require audit assessments.

We will even discuss how to validate the standing of security benchmarks, guidelines, and regulatory frameworks.

1. Service Organisation Control 2 (SOC 2)

SOC 2 is an auditing benchmark that ensures service providers and 3rd party vendors protect sensitive information from illegitimate access.

The SOC 2 Type I reports address the company's security design at a specific point in time. Whereas, The SOC 2 Type 2 attestation report will check if your controls are designed and operating efficiently with an audit period of 6 to 12 months.

2. ISO 27001 (International Information Security Standard)

Specialists recommend carrying out an ISO 27001 internal audit once a year. This scenario won't always be likely, but you must conduct an ISO 27001 audit at least once every three years.

To sustain ISO 27001 certification, a company will undergo thorough surveillance audits. The certification body executes these audits between 12 and 24 months of the certification verdict date.

Certificate verdicts are in force for three years, and after that, a certification body will be required to perform a re-certification audit.

3. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

PCI DSS ensures all companies that process, authenticate and transmit credit card data must protect their cardholders against misuse of their personal information.

For merchants, authentication is based on the number of transactions from the payment companies they agree to purchase products and services they sell.

  • Level 1 merchants, as per Mastercard and VISA, must involve a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to execute a PCI Audit annually.

  • For a 3rd party vendor to a merchant, you must validate specifications as per customer contracts.

  • Commonly, merchants will need 3rd party vendors to be involved with a QSA to meet a ROC yearly.

4. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)

FedRAMP is a program that promotes the acceptance of secure cloud services by offering a benchmark approach to cloud technology risk assessment.

After getting authorization to operate, cloud service providers need to track your monthly susceptibility scans constantly.

Cloud service providers further submit these critical reports to authorizing officials for an assessment.

They have to leverage FedRAMP 3PAO to execute yearly assessments of significant controls and the entire assessment of all system controls within three years.

5. Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST)

HITRUST offers companies information on risk management and compliance programs.

  • The i1 Validated assessment is a specific one-year certification program, and HITRUST Authorised External Assessor Firm assesses it yearly.

  • The r2 Validated Assessment is a two-year certification program implemented and renewed by a HITRUST Authorised External Assessor Firm.

  • The r2 Interim Assessments sustain certifications on an annual basis.

6. Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

Certifying to a maturity model comes into the picture when a company has committed itself to enhancing its practices within a model domain of set benchmarked performance.

  • You will need level 1 companies and a minor division of level 2 companies to execute a yearly self-assessment.

  • The majority of level 2 companies will be required to involve a C3PAO to complete an assessment every three years.

  • You will need all Level 3 companies to have DIBCAC execute an evaluation every three years.

If you are in the DoD Supply Chain, predominantly in the UK, you should be considering CMMC at regular intervals and with extreme significance.

7. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

HIPAA protects the privacy, integrity, and accessibility of protected health information. Implementing a risk analysis by HIPAA is not a one-time event. It is subject to review when significant alterations occur and periodically every year.

8. EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR provides guidelines to companies for safeguarding the personal data of their data subjects in the European Union (EU). GDPR training requires updates every 12 months. You need this training report during a data breach inspection and ICO audit.


Moving Forward

We just discussed how many audits your company must go through for various compliance standards. But feel free to seek out your own numbers for your organization. Make sure that your compliance strategy is tailored to your needs and requirements.

Scrut Automation is a smart and radically simple Governance, Risk, and Compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, Compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and privacy laws like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.


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