Why Your Company May Need an IT Audit

When was the last time your organization had an IT audit? If the answer is “more than six months ago” — or worse, “I can’t remember” — it’s time to consider assessing the security risks, technological challenges and technological opportunities your company faces.

Such an assessment is, essentially, what an IT audit is all about — an analysis of a company’s IT systems, hardware infrastructure, management, operations and IT personnel. The resulting detailed report presents a snapshot of the company’s current IT situation, including security, governance and risk issues. The audit will also result in a recommended strategy for changes and updates to the company’s IT practices and systems.

The third annual IT Audit Benchmarking Survey from Protiviti found the number of IT audits being conducted considerably lower than ideal — a worrisome trend considering the rise in IT-related risks and threats.

The same research found that many organizations are understaffed when it comes to audits. As a result, even though some firms do have internal IT auditors, external IT auditors are playing an increasingly larger role.

Does your company need an IT audit? Here are some circumstances in which it makes sense.

Old Technology, New IT Challenges

The Protiviti survey highlights a variety of IT security concerns at companies. The list includes lack of key data policies, issues with data retention and storage, and lack of preparation for IT crises, to name a few. Even if you've upgraded your technology recently, risks may still be present; organizations must protect themselves by staying on top of these issues.

New Technology, Newer IT Challenges

New technology and technological changes such as social media, cloud computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) present myriad IT challenges. An IT audit can help show how your company’s policies can take advantage of the latest technology while protecting the company from risk and security breaches.

Don’t Let Risk Obscure New Opportunities

But new technology shouldn’t be looked on as just a security risk. On the contrary, it brings opportunities. For example, social media can change the way your company handles customer service and the way it communicates with its clients and partners. Cloud computing has the potential to transform a variety of operational processes. A thorough IT audit will point out the opportunities as well as the challenges.

IT Audits Also Benefit Businesses Without IT Departments

If your company is too small to have your own IT department, that doesn’t mean you’re too small for an audit. Even the simplest electronic exchanges, such as email use, can trigger data security problems. An IT audit will address which levels of security are necessary. And an IT audit can do something else — help you decide whether your company needs additional staff.

Have you had experience with IT audits? Share your experience in the comments.

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