Important Reasons Why Organizations Should Undergo Routine IT Audits: The number of cybercrimes committed across various industries continues to grow nearly every day.
Although international and local regulatory and governing bodies are taking measures to prevent such incidents from happening, it is clear that no business or industry is 100% protected against these constantly evolving threats.
With this in mind, all companies have to be more proactive in protecting their information technology systems against potential cyber threats and attacks.
Conducting an IT audit routinely, or having an independent auditor handle it, is one of the best ways organizations can establish an effective defence system against cybercrime.
What Is an IT Audit?
An IT or technology audit is a comprehensive review and evaluation of a company’s IT infrastructure, policies, and operations.
A complete audit covers all types of technology used by the company, which include software programs, security systems, operating systems, and hardware.
The entire process will show whether the company’s current IT system, operations, policies, and other assets are properly utilized or secured by the organization and whether all data they receive are stored securely.
Additionally, the audit will uncover any IT security risks that exist. It will also determine if the organization follows all relevant industry-specific tech laws.
Lastly, the audit will help organizations identify areas of improvement in their current IT infrastructure that could lead to better efficiency and security.
Why Should IT Audits Be Conducted?
There are several specific reasons why organizations should conduct routine IT audits. These include the following:
- Risk assessment for vulnerabilities to cyber threats.
Nearly all organizations use online or cloud-based platforms for bookkeeping and accounting.
All information related to financial transactions and sensitive data of customers and employees is stored online or on a cloud-based platform.
Cyber threats are always present in these channels, which means the stored sensitive information is susceptible to hacking and other risks.
An IT audit includes comprehensive risk assessments. Providers of this solution can customize a framework they can use for analyzing current and potential cyber risks for a particular organization.
The risk assessment part of the audit includes evaluating the company’s IT system’s ability to maintain data confidentiality and integrity.
This process allows companies to identify the cyber risks they may face or are already threatened with and have the preventive measures in place to deal with them.
- Evaluation of the efficiency and integrity of the current IT systems.
A thorough tech audit can help organizations know if they are using the right systems or not.
Additionally, the process can check if the systems are working efficiently and still effective in helping the company achieve its business goals.
The audit will also check if the systems are still secure and if users can access the stored information.
If there are problems with the current systems, the auditor will provide recommendations to the organization regarding the fixes, changes, and improvements they can make.
With these changes in place, loss of time and money is minimized. Productivity in the workplace and the organization’s bottom line will increase as well.
- Enhanced protection against cyberattacks.
Since an IT audit gives an organization a clearer picture of the efficiency and integrity of their tech systems and data security and the risks they are now facing or will deal with in the future, they can create and implement measures to control and avoid them.
Once the audit is completed, the company’s in-house IT team can rethink or reinforce poorly designed, weak, and inefficient controls, thereby improving data security.
An IT auditor can provide resources and solutions to organizations to mitigate the risks pinpointed during the assessment. They can recommend hardware, software, and other processes and practices that will protect the company’s tech systems and data from all possible cyber risks.
The auditor can also suggest updates if complete changes are not necessary but can still boost the current systems’ security.
Aside from the improved protection, the results of the audit can help their organizations keep their operations more scalable, efficient, and profitable.
- Facilitation of necessary changes in policies and standards.
A tech audit doesn’t only uncover the vulnerabilities of a company’s IT systems; it can also pinpoint weaknesses or inadequacies in the current security policies and procedures.
Proposed solutions and feedback will guide organizations in making the necessary changes in the security system, standards, and policies.
The company’s in-house IT team can work with the auditor to fix the gaps and weaknesses in the systems. With this, they can formulate new security policies and procedures to ensure they keep up with the evolving cyber landscape.
The audit will function as a guide that can help an organization tweak and develop new strategies to implement better security controls, policies, and procedures and make informed decisions regarding updating the current security measures.
- Verification of compliance with industry standards.
Most local and international regulatory and governing bodies have established IT security standards, requirements, and practices businesses must follow to protect against various cybersecurity threats. Important Reasons Why Organizations Should Undergo Routine IT Audits.
Regular tech audits enable organizations to stay compliant at all times. The results determine whether or not they have the proper measures in place to conform to these security standards and industry best practices set by regulatory bodies.
Because of this, the audit serves as a guide for companies that helps them implement measures and allows them to achieve compliance.
The result will also determine if there is a need to update the current policies and processes to ensure the organization complies with these standards and requirements.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of security awareness training programs.
Regardless of their size, organizations should have a security awareness training program to educate employees about cyber security.
This training program helps employees be aware of cyber security threats and reduce the risks associated with cyberattacks. It emphasizes the importance of security compliance in the workplace as well.
A security awareness training program also ensures employees acquire the skills they need to identify potential cyber risks.
An IT audit uncovers the flaws in systems, processes, and even people in the workplace. Because of this, it can ascertain the effectiveness of an organization’s security training and awareness program.
Companies can then put their efforts into creating and conducting better security training and awareness programs that ensure the employees understand what is required of them. Additionally, they will know the vital role they play in keeping their company safe from cyber threats.
What’s Next for Organizations?
Whether companies have an in-house IT team or not, investing in an independent tech auditor can be a smart move.
Independent IT auditors have the experience, training, know-how, and tools to conduct a comprehensive first-class audit. With their help, organizations can prepare for and avoid catastrophic widespread and potential cyberattacks at all times.
Ratheesh C. Ravindranathan is the Managing Partner at Affility, a comprehensive advisory services firm assisting clients in the UAE and worldwide with IT, risk and management consulting solutions. Being a specialist FinTech professional with over 20 years of experience, an MBA in Information Systems Management, Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) and a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Ratheesh is an expert at guiding you through your business’s digital transformation journey, Independent ERP Advisory, and Transaction Advisory for various M&As in this region.
6 Important Reasons Why Organizations Should Undergo Routine IT Audits