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 element 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 perform as a way to notice the utmost profit. On this context, we’re publishing this temporary overview of the particular advantages and added worth offered by an IT audit.
To be particular, IT audits could cowl a variety of IT processing and communication infrastructure corresponding to client-server programs and networks, working programs, safety programs, software program purposes, internet 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 at last testing the effectiveness of the controls. Skillful auditors can add worth in every part of the audit.
Corporations typically keep an IT audit perform 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 will not be probably. A corporation may additionally decide excessive danger of outage, safety menace or vulnerability exists. There may additionally be necessities for regulatory compliance such because the Sarbanes Oxley Act or necessities which might be particular to an trade.
Beneath we focus on 5 key areas during 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 important to the worth added. With out a clear mandate on what enterprise processes and dangers can be audited, it’s onerous to make sure success or added worth.
So listed here are our high 5 ways in which an IT audit provides worth:
1. Scale back danger. 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 data know-how infrastructure and processes. Extra 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 via controls, to switch the chance via insurance coverage or to easily settle for the chance as a part of the working atmosphere.
A important idea right here is that IT danger is enterprise danger. Any menace to or vulnerability of important 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 customary ‘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 particularly helpful right here. It consists of 4 excessive stage 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 objective indicators and important success components.
An auditor can use COBIT to evaluate the controls in a corporation and make suggestions that add actual worth to the IT atmosphere 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 components out of 5 that immediately relate to controls – management atmosphere and management actions.
three. Adjust to laws. Extensive ranging laws on the federal and state ranges embrace particular necessities for data safety. The IT auditor serves a important perform 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 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 gives 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.
Varied industries have extra 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 function. A corporation wants assurance that every 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 corporation’s enterprise and know-how administration. Auditors interview, observe and check what is occurring in actuality and in observe. The ultimate deliverables from an audit are useful data in written studies and oral shows. Senior administration can get direct suggestions on how their group is functioning.
Know-how professionals in a corporation additionally must know the expectations and targets of senior administration. Auditors assist this communication from the highest down via participation in conferences with know-how administration and thru evaluation of the present implementations of insurance policies, requirements and tips.
It is very important perceive that IT auditing is a key ingredient in administration’s oversight of know-how. A corporation’s know-how exists to help enterprise technique, capabilities and operations. Alignment of enterprise and supporting know-how is important. 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 buildings and processes that be certain 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 total IT administration is a robust understanding of the worth, dangers and controls round a corporation’s know-how atmosphere. Extra particularly, IT auditors evaluation the worth, dangers and controls in every of the important thing parts of know-how – purposes, 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 assets are used responsibly *IT dangers are managed appropriately
IT auditors present assurance that every of those targets is met. Every goal is important to a corporation and is subsequently important within the IT audit perform.
To sum up, IT auditing provides worth by lowering dangers, enhancing safety, complying with laws and facilitating communication between know-how and enterprise administration. Lastly, IT auditing improves and strengthens total IT governance.
ISACA. Management Goals 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.