IT auditors incessantly discover themselves educating the enterprise group on how their work provides worth to a corporation. Inner audit departments generally have an IT audit part which is deployed with a transparent perspective on its function in a corporation. Nonetheless, in our expertise as IT auditors, the broader enterprise group wants to grasp the IT audit operate with a purpose to understand the utmost profit. On this context, we’re publishing this transient overview of the precise advantages and added worth supplied by an IT audit.
To be particular, IT audits could cowl a variety of IT processing and communication infrastructure resembling client-server programs and networks, working programs, safety programs, software program purposes, net companies, databases, telecom infrastructure, change administration procedures and catastrophe restoration planning.
The sequence of a regular audit begins with figuring out dangers, then assessing the design of controls and eventually testing the effectiveness of the controls. Skillful auditors can add worth in every part of the audit.
Firms typically keep an IT audit operate to supply 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 massive losses are usually not possible. A company can also decide that a excessive danger of outage, safety risk or vulnerability exists. There can also be necessities for regulatory compliance such because the Sarbanes Oxley Act or necessities which are particular to an trade.
Beneath we focus on 5 key areas through which IT auditors can add worth to a corporation. After all, the standard and depth of a technical audit is a prerequisite to including worth. The deliberate scope of an audit can also be vital to the worth added. With out a 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 high 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 corporation.
IT audits often 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 scale back or mitigate the dangers by means of controls, to switch the danger by means of insurance coverage or to easily settle for the danger as a part of the working surroundings.
A vital idea right here is that IT danger is enterprise danger. Any risk to or vulnerability of vital IT operations can have a direct impact on a complete group. In brief, 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 apply for info 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 lowering danger. The COBIT framework covers all facets of data safety together with management targets, key efficiency indicators, key purpose indicators and demanding success components.
An auditor can use COBIT to evaluate the controls in a corporation and make suggestions that add actual worth to the IT surroundings and to the group as an entire.
One other management framework is the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) mannequin of inner 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 laws. The framework comprises two parts out of 5 that immediately relate to controls – management surroundings and management actions.
three. Adjust to laws. Vast ranging laws on the federal and state ranges embrace particular necessities for info safety. The IT auditor serves a vital 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 firms to make sure that inner 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 offers 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 function in making certain compliance with these necessities.
Varied industries have further necessities such because the Cost Card Trade (PCI) Information Safety Normal within the bank card trade e.g. Visa and Mastercard.
In all of those compliance and regulatory areas, the IT auditor performs a central function. A company wants assurance that every one necessities are met.
four. Facilitate communication between enterprise and know-how administration. An audit can have the optimistic impact of opening channels of communication between a corporation’s enterprise and know-how administration. Auditors interview, observe and check what is occurring in actuality and in apply. The ultimate deliverables from an audit are precious info in written reviews and oral shows. Senior administration can get direct suggestions on how their group is functioning.
Know-how professionals in a corporation additionally have to know the expectations and targets of senior administration. Auditors assist this communication from the highest down by means of participation in conferences with know-how administration and thru evaluation of the present implementations of insurance policies, requirements and tips.
You will need to perceive that IT auditing is a key aspect in administration’s oversight of know-how. A company’s know-how exists to help enterprise technique, capabilities and operations. Alignment of enterprise and supporting know-how is vital. IT auditing maintains this alignment.
5. Enhance IT Governance. The IT Governance Institute (ITGI) has printed the next definition:
‘IT Governance is the accountability of executives and board of administrators, and consists of the management, organizational buildings and processes that make sure that the enterprise’s IT sustains and extends the group’s methods and targets.’
The management, organizational buildings 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 powerful understanding of the worth, dangers and controls round a corporation’s know-how surroundings. Extra particularly, IT auditors evaluation the worth, dangers and controls in every of the important thing elements of know-how – purposes, info, infrastructure and other people.
One other perspective on IT governance consists of a framework of 4 key targets 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 sources are used responsibly *IT dangers are managed appropriately
IT auditors present assurance that every of those targets is met. Every goal is vital to a corporation and is subsequently vital within the IT audit operate.
To sum up, IT auditing provides worth by lowering dangers, bettering safety, complying with laws and facilitating communication between know-how and enterprise administration. Lastly, IT auditing improves and strengthens general IT governance.
ISACA. Management Goals for Data and associated Know-how (COBIT).
ISO/IEC 27002 Code of apply for info safety administration.
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) Framework.