Table of Contents Hide
- What is an IT audit?
- IT Auditor Role
- Responsibilities of an IT Auditor
- IT Audit Skills
- IT Audit Salary
- IT Audit Certification
- IT Audit Objectives
- Types of IT Audits
- #1. Technological innovation process audit
- #2. Innovative comparison audit
- #3. Technological position audit
- #4. Applications and systems
- #5. Information processing facilities
- #6. Design of systems
- #7. IT Management and Enterprise Architecture
- #8. Telecommunications, intranets and extranets, client and server
- IT Audit Methodology
- Recruiting an IT auditor
Over the last decade, businesses of all sizes have made significant investments in cloud technology. While they want to gain a competitive advantage by staying current, new technology adoptions inevitably bring with them new hazards, such as hacking and data breaches. Because such occurrences can have a negative impact on any firm, technology risk management and recognizing the value of IT audits have become increasingly critical.
Learn everything there is to know about IT audit, the function of an IT auditor, and how they may safeguard your firm from information security breaches.
What is an IT audit?
An IT audit, also known as an information technology audit, is an investigation and review of information technology systems, infrastructures, policies, and activities. IT audits allow a corporation to verify whether it’s present IT controls protect corporate assets, preserve data integrity, and are in line with the organization’s business and financial controls.
While most people are aware of financial audits, which analyze an organization’s financial situation, IT audits are still a relatively new phenomenon that is becoming more important as cloud technology advances. An IT audit checks the security policies and processes in place, as well as the overall IT governance.
An IT auditor, as an unbiased observer, ensures that these measures are correctly and effectively deployed, making the firm less vulnerable to data breaches and other security concerns. Even if proper security and compliance are supplied, a plan of action must be in place in the event of an unexpected event that threatens the health and reputation of the examined organization.
Next, discover more about the position, skills, duties, and certifications of an IT auditor.
IT Auditor Role
An IT auditor creates, implements, tests, and assesses all IT audit review procedures inside a technology-based firm. These audit methods can cover networks, software applications, communication and security systems, and any other systems that are part of an organization’s technological infrastructure.
IT auditors play a critical role in protecting a business and its sensitive data from external and internal security threats by executing IT-related audit projects and adhering to established IT auditing standards. After all, even minor technical errors can have far-reaching consequences for an entire enterprise.
Responsibilities of an IT Auditor
You now understand why IT auditors play such a crucial role in a company that relies on technology. But, in practice, what are their actual responsibilities? The most essential ones are listed here.
- Planning and developing audit test plans
- Defining the audit scope and goals
- Execution of audit activities and coordination
- Observance of the company’s auditing requirements
- Creating thorough audit reports
- Finding the best strategies for meeting audit requirements
- Updating and maintaining IT audit documents
- The dissemination of audit results and recommendations
- Making certain that earlier advice has been followed
IT Audit Skills
The skills required for an IT auditor’s employment may vary based on the industry in which they operate. However, when hiring an IT auditor, most firms look for a specific set of skills. Among these skills are:
- Formal qualifications: While not always essential, formal qualifications can assist IT auditors in taking a methodical approach to their work.
- Previous job expertise in data security and IT auditing is usually advantageous.
- Understanding essential business processes: This assists the IT auditor in connecting IT systems to the value they add to the business.
- Understanding critical IT processes enables the IT auditor to prioritize IT risks.
- IT auditors should be able to use data analysis and visualization tools and have strong analytical and logical reasoning skills.
- Strong communication skills are required when discussing complicated security issues with non-technical management teams.
IT Audit Salary
It is not surprising that with the development of new cloud technologies, the position of information technology auditor is in great demand. After all, businesses of all sizes and industries have been adopting new technology developments. So, how much does an IT auditor make?
An IT auditor’s salary can range from $44k at the entry-level to $143k for IT auditor directors or managers, depending on experience, qualifications, and location. This indicates that the average annual salary for an IT auditor in the United States is currently $93k, or $45 per hour.
IT Audit Certification
IT auditors can improve their chances of being employed and paid well by obtaining job-related certifications. The two most frequent are listed below.
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): It is intended for information security experts as well as information technology auditors. IT auditors must have at least five years of professional experience in the field of IT auditing before they may achieve this certificate.
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): This credential is geared toward information security managers and focuses on the development and upkeep of information security programs. Individuals must have at least five years of IS experience and three years of working as a security manager to obtain this certificate.
IT Audit Objectives
An auditor must identify the audit objectives and ensure that they correspond with the overall company objectives during the preparation stage of an IT audit. Typically, the principal aims are one of the following:
- Evaluation of systems and processes designed to protect firm data.
- Identifying possible threats to information assets and developing mitigation strategies.
- Verifying the information’s dependability and integrity.
- Checking information management’s compliance with data protection laws, policies, and standards.
- Creating inefficiency in IT systems or management.
Types of IT Audits
As you might expect, different authorities or entities inside or outside of a corporation might initiate various sorts of IT audits. The next sections will go over the most frequent types.
#1. Technological innovation process audit
The duration and depth of an organization’s experience with specific technologies are analyzed in this audit to produce an individual risk profile. This can be applied to new or current technology projects. It also considers the company’s presence in relevant markets.
#2. Innovative comparison audit
This IT audit compares an organization’s innovative capabilities to those of its greatest competitors. Auditors scrutinize the company’s track record in developing new products, as well as its development and research facilities.
#3. Technological position audit
This audit solely examines the technology that the organization now employs and the value they provide to the broader business aim. This aids in deciding whether new technologies are required. The latter are typically classified using terminology such as base, key, pacing, and emerging.
#4. Applications and systems
This audit is initiated to ensure that all systems and applications are working efficiently, are dependable, and are properly controlled. There are also system and process assurance audits that help financial auditors. SaaS management discipline, which may simply disclose all used applications for a software audit, benefits cloud-heavy infrastructures.
#5. Information processing facilities
In addition to the application audit, there is an audit of information processing facilities. This includes all physical IT equipment, operating systems, and the entire IT infrastructure. Auditors ensure that processing facilities operate in a timely and accurate manner, even in the face of disruption.
#6. Design of systems
IT infrastructures are continually changing as newer and better solutions are developed and implemented. Companies must ensure that systems under development satisfy their objectives and comply with their business requirements before deploying them in a fast-paced cloud environment.
#7. IT Management and Enterprise Architecture
The purpose of this audit is to determine whether IT management and employees have established an organizational structure and sound procedures for securing and controlling information processing. This includes an examination of the Enterprise Architecture as well as the tools utilized for best practices and frameworks.
#8. Telecommunications, intranets and extranets, client and server
This IT audit focuses on the client and server sides, as the title says. Auditors ensure that all telecommunications controls function properly and in a timely manner for the computer receiving the service. This includes not just the servers but also the network that connects the client to the servers.
IT Audit Methodology
Though the IT audit itself normally takes a few days, the process truly begins much earlier, when you look at your calendar and start making arrangements to schedule an audit in the future.
Step #1. Plan the audit.
The first option will be whether to undertake an internal audit or pay an outside auditor to come in and provide a third-party perspective on your IT systems. External audits are more typical in large enterprises or businesses that deal with sensitive information.
For the vast majority of businesses, an internal audit is more than adequate and much less expensive to plan. If you want to be extra cautious, set up a yearly internal audit and employ an outside auditor every few years.
You must decide the following when organizing your audit:
- Who will be your auditor. (whether you choose an independent auditor or an employee to be in charge of the audit)?
- When will your audit take place?
- What procedures must be put in place to prepare your personnel for the audit?
An auditor will most likely need to meet with several employees and team managers to learn about your company’s IT workflows, so make sure you don’t schedule your audit during a time when your personnel is overburdened with other tasks.
Step #2: Get ready for the audit.
Once you’ve established a general time period, you’ll need to collaborate with your audit team to prepare for the audit itself. A short list of things to consider at this time includes:
- Your audit’s goals
- The audit scope (what areas are being assessed, and at what level of detail will the auditor do their evaluation)
- How will the audit be documented?
A thorough audit schedule (which departments will be assessed on which days, and how much time departments should budget for the audit)
Remember that a checklist, while necessary, is not sufficient documentation for an audit. The goal of running this evaluation is to gain a thorough understanding of your infrastructure’s flaws as well as tailored, practical strategies to address them. To accomplish so, you’ll need a more sophisticated system than a piece of paper and a clipboard.
Step #3: Carry out the audit
Yes, conducting the audit is merely the third of the five steps in the audit process. This step is very self-explanatory—if you followed step two successfully, step three will just be carrying out the plan you made.
Remember that even the best-laid plans of mice and men (or, in this case, mice and keyboards) frequently go awry, so this phase may also include overcoming any last-minute roadblocks. Make sure you leave enough time so that you are not rushed—missing anything in the audit defeats the point entirely.
Step #4: Document your results.
After your audit is completed, you should have a large file of documents with your auditor’s notes, conclusions, and recommendations. The following step is to compile all of this information into an official audit report. This is the document you’ll keep on file for future reference and to help plan the audit for the following year.
Then, for each audited department, you should prepare individual reports. Summarize what was examined, list the items that do not require modifications, and highlight whatever the department does exceptionally well. Then, provide a summary of the vulnerabilities discovered by the auditor and categorize them as follows:
- Risks resulting from noncompliance with established procedures will necessitate corrective action.
- Risks posed by vulnerabilities that went undetected prior to the audit will necessitate the development of new remedies.
- Risks inherent in the department’s work are unlikely to be totally removed, but the auditor may discover measures to mitigate them.
Explain what the next measures will be to address the identified risks with each item. In cases where hazards were produced by purposeful carelessness, you should also consult with your HR department for advice on how to manage the problem.
Step #5: Maintain Contact
Let’s be honest: many (if not most) infrastructure vulnerabilities are the result of human error. Human error is just as likely to sabotage the solutions your team implements to address the audited risks.
After delivering your report results, schedule a follow-up meeting with each team to check that the corrections were successfully applied. It’s a good idea to plan a few follow-ups during the year to check in with each team and ensure that everything is running smoothly until your next audit.
Set up automatic KPI tracking and reporting as your organization begins to implement its new solutions so that you can measure the impact of each change. Pull these reports when you check in with your team in the months following your audit to analyze performance and resolve anything that isn’t performing as planned.
You can also automate these “check-ins” by doing regular vulnerability checks and monitoring system performance. Instead of overloading your calendar with individual check-in meetings, you may delegate the heavy labor to your tech and only intervene when an alarm is received.
Recruiting an IT auditor
If you don’t want to undertake an IT audit yourself, it’s advisable to employ an IT auditor. It is their responsibility to investigate not only physical security measures but also overall business and financial controls involving the complete information technology system.
When you hire an IT auditor, they must identify five items in order to collect the relevant information accurately:
- Business and industry knowledge and information
- Audit results from prior audits
- Recent financial information
- Regulatory legislation
- The outcomes of risk assessments
Once the IT auditor has identified, documented, summarized, and presented the audit findings to shareholders, they will offer suggestions based on the findings. Their responsibilities include dealing with company ethics, risk management, business procedures, and governance monitoring.
Companies are taking on greater security risks and accumulating shadow IT as they increase their use of SaaS applications and cloud-based systems. IT audits, when done effectively, generate knowledge and much-needed visibility.
They may provide companies with the information and data they require to ensure that the proper controls are in place and that risks are mitigated as effectively as possible. As a result, sensitive data is safe from hackers and other security threats.
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