IT services

IT services

How to conduct IT audits, and why they are important

Nicola Moss

An IT audit is a comprehensive review of a company’s IT infrastructure, which includes hardware, software, data management, security protocols, and disaster recovery plans.

Managed It services provider | Wanstor

These audits are typically conducted by an independent managed service provider or an internal audit team. Their goal is to ensure everything is functioning as it should, while also identifying any potential risks or weaknesses that need addressing. They evaluate the efficiency, security, and manageability of all IT activities. Additionally, these audits provide an opportunity to assess whether the company’s IT strategy aligns with its business goals. It can also uncover opportunities for technological improvements.

Types of IT Audits

There are several types of IT audits, each with its specific focus:

General Controls Review: This audit evaluates the overall IT environment. It looks at everything from access controls, data management, and disaster recovery plans.

Application Controls Review: This audit focuses on specific software applications. It checks how secure the software applications are and how well they’re working.

Data Management Review: Assesses the accuracy, completeness, and security of data stored and managed by the organisation.

IT Security Audit: Examines the organisation's overall security posture, including network security, data encryption, and employee access.

Compliance Audit: This audit ensures that the organisation is adhering to relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards.

Each of the above audits holds a key position within the broader IT governance structure. For example, a General Controls Review could examine the approval and documentation processes for changes to IT systems.

On the other hand, an IT Security Audit might delve into the intricate details of firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The Application Controls Review is especially significant for organisations that heavily depend on software applications for their operations.

It ensures that these applications are not just secure, but also effectively meet the intended business requirements.

Why are IT Audits Important?

IT audits are essential for several reasons:

Identify Security Risks

The primary purpose is to spot any potential risks and weak spots in the IT infrastructure. Given the rise in cybersecurity threats and data leaks, it’s crucial to carry out regular threat and vulnerability checks. This helps keep both the company’s and customers’ sensitive information safe.

Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Compliance audits can help prepare an organisation for external regulatory audits by identifying any areas of non-compliance. This allows the companies to address issues before they become a legal or financial burden.

Improve IT Efficiency and Effectiveness

IT audits can identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the IT processes, allowing organisations to optimise their IT systems and improve their overall efficiency.

Protect Company Reputation

A data breach or cyber-attack can significantly damage a company's reputation and result in financial losses. By conducting regular security audits, companies can identify and address potential vulnerabilities before they are exploited by hackers, thereby protecting their reputation and maintaining the trust of their customers.

Steps to an IT Audit

Before carrying out your IT audit or before you audit software packages, you should notify all internal and external partners and all departments to ensure everyone is ready to make the process go smoothly. Next, follow the steps listed below to identify any IT audit issues and work with your auditor to set out your IT audit objectives.

Number One

Create an IT Asset inventory

Keep this list handy and create a list of login credentials for all software and hardware resources involved in the process

Number Two

Ask for a Document Checklist

Your auditor will ask for this at different stages. With a document checklist, you can save time and trouble throughout the process

Number Three

Prepare your financial statements

This can help you reduce costs related to IT. The auditor can complete a picture of your finances that may be IT audit issues

Number Four

List your IT policies and procedures

Ensure this is well-documented for the auditor to review along with the IT security plan that you currently have in place

Number Five

Perform self-assessment and gap assessment

This can assist in finding system vulnerabilities and provide an overview along with increased confidence in performance

Number Six

Make sure you schedule tests and deliverables

Ensure that you complete this before your audit so that you have access to this information when the process begins

By following the steps outlined in this article, organisations can conduct effective IT audits and ensure their IT systems are secure and compliant. Regular IT security audits are not just a regulatory requirement but a best practice that can provide a competitive advantage in an increasingly digital world.

At Wanstor, we are cyber security experts with years of experience in carrying out IT audits. We help you audit your IT infrastructure to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and protect your organisation's reputation. If you'd like to find out more about an IT security audit for your business, contact us today, and we will assist you in finding the perfect solution to safeguard your IT assets.