Audit is a word nobody wants to hear. Unless that is, of course, you are an IT auditor or are planning to become one. The demand for IT consulting audits has increased in recent years. No organization today can prosper, or at least survive without IT audits. But what is it really? And why is it so important?
An IT consulting audit is the process of gathering and evaluating evidence of an organization’s information technology practices, systems, and operations. IT auditors first need to understand the business and financial system before they can review the organization’s physical controls to secure the information assets. Without a doubt, keeping an organization’s data and records protected is the desired outcome of the process. The job of an IT consulting auditor, however, is not to actually implement any fixes but to independently review an organization’s IT situation. If your business relies on IT systems, chances are you need to find good IT auditors.
Here’s what to expect during an IT consulting audit.
An IT auditor first has to understand the business model and how it is connected to their computer network or IT practices. How a business is run should definitely reflect on an organization’s IT systems. Two businesses may be selling the same products to the same consumer segments, but how they interact with their systems may vary. An IT auditor can help determine which aspects to focus on.
Once managers and auditor identified which key areas to focus on during the audit, both auditor and organization need to collect data and test IT controls. Are customer data and financial records housed in an outdated computer without any backups? Are there any IT threats? Most organizations think hackers are the only threat to their network. They’re wrong. Poor internal control and non-compliance with the company’s regulations and standards are also threats.
Assessing risks and understanding what needs to be done to address vulnerabilities and deficiencies comprise the last and most crucial phase of an IT consulting audit. Only then can IT auditors recommend data-driven actions to help solve the company’s potential problems.
Once an IT auditor issues a final audit report, it is up to the organization to respond to the findings. The audit report is usually delivered to an audit committee so that the issues get the appropriate response or attention.
Your organization holds more clout when it comes to making the the IT process efficient and effective. You can begin work with an IT auditor as soon as possible to determine what to focus on and what to avoid. Also, you may want to establish automated IT controls whenever possible. Unlike manual controls, automated controls lower the cost of your organization’s audit and help auditors complete the process quickly and efficiently.