File Auditing is a way of identifying and indexing the documents on your network. While you can do this manually, it can be a time-consuming process, especially if your data is stored in multiple locations. File auditing solutions not only index your files, but also log when and how the file is used, making note of which users have access to the file, and details of any changes made to the file.
Having an effective file auding solution as part of your organization’s security strategy is mandated by many regulatory bodies – depending on your sector, failure to effectively audit files can lead to penalties, fines, and even suspension of your right to operate.
Many cybersecurity insurance providers will also expect you to have an efficient file auditing solution in place before they agree to extend cover to you. Their expectations will often be in-line with the recommendations of relevant regulatory bodies.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best file auditing solutions currently available. We’ll assess each product’s key features, and note the type of organization that would benefit from their use. Not all of the solutions in this list are dedicated file auditing solutions – instead, some are comprehensive data management suites that offer file auditing as one of their features.
What Is File Auditing?
File auditing software documents and categorizes all the files on your network, then continuously logs how those files are used and which users interact with them. This helps ensure that your organization is compliant with federal and industry data protection regulation, as well as giving you oversight of your data to reduce the chance of vulnerabilities. File auditing solutions create an index of:
- The files and documents on your network
- Who should be allowed to access each file
- Who has accessed the file
- When the file was accessed
- What the changes were
This information can be passed onto regulatory bodies to prove that you take data security seriously, and that only people who should have access to files do have access.
Benefits Of File Auditing
There are two main benefits to properly managing and auditing your files:
In the unfortunate case that you do suffer a cyberattack, having an effective auditing solution in place will allow you to identify what files an attacker has gained access to. A file auditing solution can also help to identify what actions the attackers took whilst accessing your files – i.e., whether they were viewed, duplicated, or modified. If you don’t know what files you have – or the information contained in them – you have no way of appreciating the impact of a breach.
The requirements set by regulatory bodies can be very complicated but result in severe consequences should you fail to comply with them. Auditing software can make one part of this process easier by logging and keeping track of files, whilst providing proof of compliance. Many solutions are designed to align with specific regulatory frameworks, allowing you to select the relevant frameworks for your business.
Why Is Compliance So Important?
Proving compliance is particularly relevant in sectors that handle personally identifiable information (PII), as this data can be very valuable to malicious actors. PII, such as addresses and contact details, can be sold on the dark web and be used to access bank accounts, commit identity fraud, or even be sold to spam marketing organizations.
Regulatory frameworks are designed to standardize best practice and mitigate the impact that an attack can have. These frameworks can, however, be complicated to understand, and easy to fall foul of. Depending on which countries and industries you’re operating in, failure to properly comply with regulation can lead to fines and penalties. You may also lose accreditation, which can result in a loss of customer confidence and, by extension, a loss of profits.