IT auditors steadily discover themselves educating the enterprise group on how their work provides worth to a company. Inside audit departments generally have an IT audit element which is deployed with a transparent perspective on its position in a company. Nonetheless, in our expertise as IT auditors, the broader enterprise group wants to grasp the IT audit operate in an effort to notice the utmost profit. On this context, we’re publishing this temporary overview of the precise advantages and added worth offered by an IT audit.
To be particular, IT audits might cowl a variety of IT processing and communication infrastructure equivalent to client-server methods and networks, working methods, safety methods, software program functions, net providers, databases, telecom infrastructure, change administration procedures and catastrophe restoration planning.
The sequence of an ordinary audit begins with figuring out dangers, then assessing the design of controls and at last testing the effectiveness of the controls. Skillful auditors can add worth in every part of the audit.
Corporations typically preserve an IT audit operate to offer assurance on know-how controls and to make sure regulatory compliance with federal or trade particular necessities. As investments in know-how develop, IT auditing can present assurance that dangers are managed and that vast losses will not be seemingly. A company might also decide excessive danger of outage, safety risk or vulnerability exists. There might also be necessities for regulatory compliance such because the Sarbanes Oxley Act or necessities which might be particular to an trade.
Under we focus on 5 key areas by which IT auditors can add worth to a company. In fact, the standard and depth of a technical audit is a prerequisite to including worth. The deliberate scope of an audit can be essential to the worth added. With no clear mandate on what enterprise processes and dangers will likely be audited, it’s exhausting to make sure success or added worth.
So listed below are our prime 5 ways in which an IT audit provides worth:
1. Cut back danger. The planning and execution of an IT audit consists of the identification and evaluation of IT dangers in a company.
IT audits normally cowl dangers associated to confidentiality, integrity and availability of data know-how infrastructure and processes. Further dangers embrace effectiveness, effectivity and reliability of IT.
As soon as dangers are assessed, there might be clear imaginative and prescient on what course to take – to cut back or mitigate the dangers by means of controls, to switch the chance by means of insurance coverage or to easily settle for the chance as a part of the working surroundings.
A essential idea right here is that IT danger is enterprise danger. Any risk to or vulnerability of essential IT operations can have a direct impact on a whole group. Briefly, the group must know the place the dangers are after which proceed to do one thing about them.
Finest practices in IT danger utilized by auditors are ISACA COBIT and RiskIT frameworks and the ISO/IEC 27002 commonplace ‘Code of observe for data safety administration’.
2. Strengthen controls (and enhance safety). After assessing dangers as described above, controls can then be recognized and assessed. Poorly designed or ineffective controls might be redesigned and/or strengthened.
The COBIT framework of IT controls is very helpful right here. It consists of 4 excessive degree domains that cowl 32 management processes helpful in decreasing danger. The COBIT framework covers all facets of data safety together with management aims, key efficiency indicators, key aim indicators and demanding success components.
An auditor can use COBIT to evaluate the controls in a company and make suggestions that add actual worth to the IT surroundings and to the group as a complete.
One other management framework is the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) mannequin of inside controls. IT auditors can use this framework to get assurance on (1) the effectiveness and effectivity of operations, (2) the reliability of economic reporting and (three) the compliance with relevant legal guidelines and rules. The framework incorporates two components out of 5 that immediately relate to controls – management surroundings and management actions.
three. Adjust to rules. Vast ranging rules on the federal and state ranges embrace particular necessities for data safety. The IT auditor serves a essential operate in making certain that particular necessities are met, dangers are assessed and controls carried out.
Sarbanes Oxley Act (Company and Prison Fraud Accountability Act) contains necessities for all public corporations to make sure that inside controls are ample as outlined within the framework of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee’s (COSO) mentioned above. It’s the IT auditor who supplies the peace of mind that such necessities are met.
Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has three areas of IT necessities – administrative, technical and bodily. It’s the IT auditor who performs a key position in making certain compliance with these necessities.
Numerous industries have further necessities such because the Cost Card Trade (PCI) Information Safety Customary within the bank card trade e.g. Visa and Mastercard.
In all of those compliance and regulatory areas, the IT auditor performs a central position. A company wants assurance that each one necessities are met.
four. Facilitate communication between enterprise and know-how administration. An audit can have the constructive impact of opening channels of communication between a company’s enterprise and know-how administration. Auditors interview, observe and take a look at what is occurring in actuality and in observe. The ultimate deliverables from an audit are priceless data in written reviews and oral displays. Senior administration can get direct suggestions on how their group is functioning.
Know-how professionals in a company additionally must know the expectations and aims of senior administration. Auditors assist this communication from the highest down by means of participation in conferences with know-how administration and thru overview of the present implementations of insurance policies, requirements and tips.
You will need to perceive that IT auditing is a key ingredient in administration’s oversight of know-how. A company’s know-how exists to assist enterprise technique, capabilities and operations. Alignment of enterprise and supporting know-how is essential. IT auditing maintains this alignment.
5. Enhance IT Governance. The IT Governance Institute (ITGI) has revealed the next definition:
‘IT Governance is the accountability of executives and board of administrators, and consists of the management, organizational constructions and processes that be sure that the enterprise’s IT sustains and extends the group’s methods and aims.’
The management, organizational constructions and processes referred to within the definition all level to IT auditors as key gamers. Central to IT auditing and to general IT administration is a robust understanding of the worth, dangers and controls round a company’s know-how surroundings. Extra particularly, IT auditors overview the worth, dangers and controls in every of the important thing elements of know-how – functions, data, infrastructure and folks.
One other perspective on IT governance consists of a framework of 4 key aims that are additionally mentioned within the IT Governance Institute’s documentation:
*IT is aligned with the enterprise *IT permits the enterprise and maximizes advantages *IT assets are used responsibly *IT dangers are managed appropriately
IT auditors present assurance that every of those aims is met. Every goal is essential to a company and is subsequently essential within the IT audit operate.
To sum up, IT auditing provides worth by decreasing dangers, enhancing safety, complying with rules and facilitating communication between know-how and enterprise administration. Lastly, IT auditing improves and strengthens general IT governance.
ISACA. Management Targets for Data and associated Know-how (COBIT).
ISO/IEC 27002 Code of observe for data safety administration.
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) Framework.