In the current digital era, organizations must embrace Information Technology (IT) to be able to compete successfully in the current global scenario. Because of this, numerous organizations, both small and established, have invested in information systems since they've come to realize the numerous benefits IT can bring to their day-to-day operations. IT streamlines an organization's operation and processes ensuring data integrity, availability and confidentiality.
With the continued increase in organizations’ reliance on IT systems, these systems are coming under a variety of both internal and external threats, even becoming part of business risk. IT risk in an organization encompasses cyber-attacks and other information technology risks at the organizational level, general control, and business process level.
The increased exposure of businesses to potential IT risks has seen most organizations turn to IT auditing services to secure their IT infrastructures. IT audits are necessary to ensure there are no vulnerabilities within an organization's IT system, potentially making it vulnerable to a cyber-attack. The value delivered by an IT audit to an organization cannot be overlooked. Here's an in-depth analysis of this subject of growing importance in the global business environment.
What is an IT Audit?
According to the Institute of Internal Auditors, internal auditing is an; ‘independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.’ IT audit is, therefore, a form of internal audit concerned with an organization's IT systems, operations and related control process.
In earlier years where Information Technology was still new, IT auditing was referred to as electronic data processing (EDP), computer information systems (CIS), and IS auditing. IT auditing has since evolved and is currently conducted in connection with a financial statements audit, selective audit or thematic audit.
IT audits assess an entity's information systems and report on the procedures and control environment around the IT systems to enhance management of the risks to which the systems are exposed. These audits cover a wide range of IT processing and communication infrastructure encompassing web services, software applications, security systems, operating systems, client-server networks, and systems.
Objectives of an IT Audit?
An IT audit's overall goal is to enable the organization's information technology managers to effectively fulfill their responsibilities to achieve the organization's information technology management goals. The specific objectives of an IT audit are:
To evaluate the reliability of data from IT systems that have an impact on the financial statement.
To evaluate the effectiveness of IT controls to ensure systems are functioning as intended.
To ascertain compliance with applicable laws, policies and standards.
To enable organizations to identify and prevent risks in the IT systems that support the business and enable companies to audit IT systems and avoid possible external compliance risks.
The Importance of IT Auditing
As mentioned earlier, IT auditing is divided into two categories: performance audits and compliance to applicable standards, laws and policies standards. The primary importance of these audits is to establish whether they're any inefficiencies and accuracies in the management and the use of an organization's IT system. Some of the importance of IT auditing include:
An IT audit ascertains whether IT systems are adequately protected.
IT audits evaluate the risk of data tampering and/or data loss, ensuring that the data stored within the system is reliable and secure.
IT auditing goes a long way in establishing whether IT systems are managed to achieve their set goals.
In summary, IT auditing is vital for companies and enterprises looking to protect their IT system as well as valuable data and information.
Value Offered by an IT Audit to an Organization
It is no brainer that IT auditing delivers value to an organization. This auditing first establishes information technology risks in an organization then evaluates them using advanced design controls. This enables the organization to develop suitable solutions to tackle those risks before it's too late. IT auditing is therefore mandatory for businesses looking to protect their valuable information and data and the IT systems as a whole.
Value offered by an IT audit to an organization are:
Reduces IT Risks
IT auditing's biggest value is that it significantly reduces risks associated with the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of information technology processes and infrastructure. IT auditing enhances the reliability, effectiveness and efficiency of IT systems by establishing threats and assessing risks in an organization.
By establishing and evaluating risks in an organization through an IT audit, the organization's IT team gets a clear vision of the course of action to eliminate, reduce or adopt towards those risks using IT audit controls.
Improve IT Governance
IT auditing delivers value to an organization by ensuring an organization’s business’ laws, regulations and compliances are met by all employees as well as the IT department. This, in turn, enhances IT governance considering that the IT team has a clear picture of the controls, IT risk and value of an organization's technological environment.
Enhances Security of Data
Data privacy and security have now more than ever become a critical component of any organization. Through IT auditing, organizations can identify and assess IT audit control. In doing this, organizations get the opportunity to enhance IT data security by reinforcing poorly designed or ineffective controls. Current IT auditing frameworks leverage a more advanced set of technologies and tools, enabling enterprises to detect internal and external threats immediately and take appropriate action automatically.
The importance of IT auditing for any organization should not be over-emphasized. To say the least, an information systems audit is vital for organizations since it gives assurance that the IT systems are adequately protected, offers reliable info to users and that the systems are properly managed to achieve their set goals. Besides, IT audits significantly reduce the risk of data tampering, data loss or leakage, and inefficiencies of IT systems. At House of I.T, we offer exceptional IT services that will professionally address all of your IT needs, from design, implementation and management of IT infrastructure. Consider our comprehensive IT auditing services tailored according to your business’ needs and requirements.