The Importance of Cybersecurity and How Audits Can Help

In the modern age of computing, cybersecurity has become a critical concern for businesses of all sizes. As companies increasingly rely on technology to conduct their operations, the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches has escalated. 

The frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks have grown exponentially. Cybercriminals are employing advanced techniques such as ransomware, phishing, and zero-day exploits to breach defences and steal sensitive data. High-profile breaches affecting large corporations such as Optus, Medibank and more recently Ticketmaster have underscored the fact that Australia is certainly not immune to these evolving cyber threats. 

The post pandemic world has further fuelled and in some cases heightened these risks. Whilst businesses are now reaping the benefits of increasingly advanced digital technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), these technologies conversely introduce new vulnerabilities. The shift to remote work, has also expanded the attack surface for cybercriminals. Home networks and personal devices often lack the same level of security as corporate environments, making them prime targets.

For large companies, safeguarding sensitive financial information is paramount. In the short term, cyberattacks can lead to substantial financial losses through direct theft, business disruption, and the costs associated with incident response and recovery. In some cases, the sheer reputational damage could be enough to erode client trust and investor confidence in the medium to long term. 

Therefore, how can an audit benefit your business with respect to cybersecurity? 

Whilst the primary focus of a financial statement audit is to provide a level of assurance as to the completeness, accuracy and reliability of an entity’s financial statements, an audit also provides significant benefits related to cybersecurity:

Identifying vulnerabilities

During a financial statement audit, auditors evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls, including those related to IT and cybersecurity, which can highlight identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity framework through an independent channel. Auditors can pinpoint areas where your business may be at risk for cyberattacks, providing a basis for strengthening your cybersecurity measures.

Strengthening data integrity

Auditors review data management practices, including data protection and storage protocols, which are integral to cybersecurity such as how often data backups are performed as well as whether these backups are located off-site or on the cloud. 

Compliance and Best Practices

Audits help ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards, many of which now include cybersecurity requirements. This compliance reduces the risk of legal issues and penalties in the event that an unexpected incident occurs. 

Building Stakeholder Confidence

An audited set of financial statements provides assurance to your stakeholders that your business is financially sound and adheres to robust cybersecurity practices. Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity through regular audits enhances your business’s reputation and thus stakeholders are more likely to trust a company that prioritises data security.

The bottom line? 

By integrating the insights gained from financial audits into your cybersecurity strategy, your business can better safeguard its assets, maintain stakeholder confidence, and ensure long-term operational resilience. Accru offers external audit and a range of other audit and assurances services for a huge diversity of organisations. If you’d like to know more about how we could add value through an audit, please feel free to reach out.

About the Author
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Jordan Muddle
Jordan Muddle is an auditor in the Sydney team. Since joining Accru as a graduate four years ago, Jordan has been supporting diverse clientele including subsidiaries of foreign owned companies, hotels and not-for-profit organisations.
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