IT auditors continuously discover themselves educating the enterprise neighborhood 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 neighborhood wants to grasp the IT audit operate with the intention to understand the utmost profit. On this context, we’re publishing this transient 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 corresponding to client-server methods and networks, working methods, safety methods, software program functions, web services, databases, telecom infrastructure, change management 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.
Corporations usually keep an IT audit operate to supply assurance on expertise controls and to make sure regulatory compliance with federal or business particular necessities. As investments in expertise develop, IT auditing can present assurance that dangers are managed and that massive losses usually are not possible. A company might also decide excessive threat of outage, safety menace or vulnerability exists. There might also be necessities for regulatory compliance such because the Sarbanes Oxley Act or necessities which are particular to an business.
Under we talk about 5 key areas by which IT auditors can add worth to a corporation. 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 might be audited, it’s laborious to make sure success or added worth.
So listed below are our prime 5 ways in which an IT audit provides worth:
1. Scale back threat. The planning and execution of an IT audit consists of the identification and evaluation of IT dangers in a corporation.
IT audits normally cowl dangers associated to confidentiality, integrity and availability of knowledge expertise infrastructure and processes. Extra dangers embody effectiveness, effectivity and reliability of IT.
As soon as dangers are assessed, there may be clear imaginative and prescient on what course to take – to cut 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 setting.
A essential idea right here is that IT threat is enterprise threat. Any menace to or vulnerability of essential IT operations can have a direct impact on a whole 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 threat utilized by auditors are ISACA COBIT and RiskIT frameworks and the ISO/IEC 27002 commonplace ‘Code of follow for data safety management’.
2. Strengthen controls (and enhance safety). After assessing dangers as described above, controls can then be recognized and assessed. Poorly designed or ineffective controls may 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 threat. The COBIT framework covers all facets of knowledge safety together with management targets, key efficiency indicators, key objective indicators and important success components.
An auditor can use COBIT to evaluate the controls in a corporation and make suggestions that add real worth to the IT setting and to the group as an entire.
One other management framework is the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) model 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 comprises two parts out of 5 that immediately relate to controls – management setting and management actions.
three. Adjust to rules. Broad ranging rules on the federal and state ranges embody particular necessities for data safety. The IT auditor serves a essential operate in guaranteeing that particular necessities are met, dangers are assessed and controls applied.
Sarbanes Oxley Act (Company and Legal Fraud Accountability Act) contains necessities for all public firms to make sure that inside controls are satisfactory 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 guaranteeing compliance with these necessities.
Numerous industries have extra necessities such because the Payment Card Trade (PCI) Information Safety Customary within the bank card business 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 expertise management. An audit can have the optimistic impact of opening channels of communication between a corporation’s enterprise and expertise management. Auditors interview, observe and check what is going on in actuality and in follow. The ultimate deliverables from an audit are beneficial data in written stories and oral displays. Senior management can get direct suggestions on how their group is functioning audit.
Expertise professionals in a corporation additionally must know the expectations and targets of senior management. Auditors assist this communication from the highest down by means of participation in conferences with expertise management and thru evaluation of the present implementations of insurance policies, requirements and pointers.
It is very important perceive that IT auditing is a key component in management’s oversight of expertise. A company’s expertise exists to help enterprise technique, features and operations. Alignment of enterprise and supporting expertise is essential. 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 constructions and processes that be certain that the enterprise’s IT sustains and extends the group’s methods and targets.’
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 total IT management is a robust understanding of the worth, dangers and controls round a corporation’s expertise setting. Extra particularly, IT auditors evaluation the worth, dangers and controls in every of the important thing parts of expertise – functions, data, 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 allows 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 essential to a corporation and is due to this fact essential within the IT audit operate.
To sum up, IT auditing provides worth by lowering dangers, bettering safety, complying with rules and facilitating communication between expertise and enterprise management. Lastly, IT auditing improves and strengthens total IT governance.
ISACA. Management Goals for Data and associated Expertise (COBIT).
ISO/IEC 27002 Code of follow for data safety management.
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Fee (COSO) Framework.