Everyone knows that the IRS audits taxpayers and businesses, but auditing is also used for other purposes. These include IT structures and systems. The latter kind of audits are quite different from a tax audit, of course, and they can be completed internally or through third party providers. Before you decide which route to choose, it makes sense to know exactly what is involved with a comprehensive IT audit.
What is an Information Technology Audit?
An IT audit examines and evaluates an individual’s, organization’s, or company’s information technology infrastructure, as well as the data use and management, applications, operational processes, policies, and procedures. All this data is then compared to established polices and recognized standards. IT auditors also determine if the proper controls to protect assets are in place, ensure their integrity, and check that they are in alignment with organizational objectives and goals.
The physical security as well as the applicable financial and business controls that are involved with IT systems are also analyzed. Some of the main purposes of these audits are to look for inefficiencies in the systems and management and to ensure that the information management process fall in line with industry regulations and standards. IT audits also evaluate processes and systems that are in place to guard company data, and they determine potential risks to company information assets and recommend methods to minimize and resolve them.
Do I Need a Network Audit?
It’s crucial to have frequent network audits for three main reasons: security, performance, and reliability. Auditors closely inspect physical infrastructures, hardware, networks, settings and configurations, and IT management policies and procedures with those in mind. Many organizations do not realize how important these audits are. Alternatively, they might use their own staff members to complete them. Others hire third-party IT management providers to conduct their audits.
Regular audits can zero in on any deficiencies that create vulnerabilities for hackers to break into, along with solutions for fixing these issues. Auditors often recommend product updates, newer networking options, and ways to manage remote workforces.
Auditors should also be up to date on the latest industry and government regulations in order to keep companies compliant. So, the answer to the question, “Do I need a security audit?” is yes, especially if you’ve never had one or have waited too long since the last time.
Internal and Third-Party Audits
The benefits of completing an internal IT audit starts with lower cost, since the employers are already on staff and no additional cost outlay is required (unless new products or services need to be purchased). This can work well for the smallest companies, but more complex systems necessitate auditors with more skills and experience. Besides that, an employee might not be as objective as a third party, because he or she might not want to put forth enough effort, might have a vested interest in the outcome (such as a relationship with an IT product supplier), might not have comprehensive knowledge or experience, or be unfamiliar with latest industry standards and updates.
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a third-party IT auditor is their access to auditing-specific tools and years of experience performing these assessments. They often have certifications as well, such as one from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. These pros partner with clients to offer deep insights into every phase of an audit. It starts with identifying relevant data assets and networks, and from there they can develop a solid IT audit plan.
The next phase involves gathering information on hardware and software performance metrics. From there, an auditor will review the organization’s management procedures, technology processes, compliance risks, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The final audit report will serve as a foundation for maintenance, improvements, and upgrades. Throughout the process, third-party auditors use powerful, specifically designed auditing tools that speed up the auditing tasks – these are generally not used by small and mid-sized companies.
To learn more about how a third-party IT audit can help your company remain compliant, increase productivity, and fight security breaches, contact TAG Solutions at 800-724-0023. We also offer a free network assessment and review your entire infrastructure using our best-in-class 500-point checklist. Want one for your business? Sign up today!