5 Tips for Conducting a Smooth IT Audit

If you haven’t conducted a recent IT audit, your organization could be vulnerable to costly security and legal risks. If you have determined it’s time to line up your audit, you want to get the most out of it.

Here are five tips on conducting an IT audit:

1. Get a clear scope

Extra attention on the initial scope of the audit will increase the chances the procedure will run smoothly. Remember that the audit's main goals are to assess the existing IT environment, identify risks, assess current capabilities and gauge whether adopting new technologies or processes would be useful. Involve all relevant stakeholders in the initial planning period to ensure each business unit is covered and all applicable laws and regulations are identified.

2. Determine whether you need outside resources

Do you have sufficient internal resources, or do you need to look for outside help? Using staff on hand may seem like a cost-effective approach, but unless you have a suitable audit manager or other dedicated risk management personnel on hand, it can be helpful to look for assistance beyond your organization.

For example, a consultant can come in when needed and for as long as needed to support your initiative. As an added benefit, he or she can provide guidance to your full-time staff to ensure they'll have the requisite knowledge for future audits.

3. Implement wisely

Develop a complete inventory of information systems and determine the priority of each one. Analyze current IT methods and procedures to ensure you follow industry standards. Evaluate security controls to gauge whether you have protected business assets and mitigated potential risks.

4. Give effective feedback

Because IT audits are highly technical, it’s important that the manager who commissioned the audit clearly understands the findings. If possible, deliver your complete report in-person.

The report should contain all of the details covered in the initial scope, such as applications and devices in use and security measures. Ensure that you give detailed recommendations and your solutions are feasible and costs are included. Also include a cost-benefit analysis in which you highlight the potential cost of not following the recommendation.

5. Ensure future success

Provide recommendations on how to maintain your IT resources. Most IT auditing software can perform ongoing monitoring of network users and assets. Identifying and selecting the appropriate tool to conduct the audit may aid in maintaining the solutions from the audit. Implement a plan to revisit applicable laws and regulations on a quarterly basis to stay abreast of new developments, and stay informed through key industry publications and media outlets, which should assist you in effectively reacting to changes in the business environment.

For more detailed information on conducting an IT audit, check out Protiviti’s IT audit solutions.

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