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IT Audits evaluate the controls and systems used to protect data, the integrity of systems, and the practices and procedures in place to guide IT operations.

IT audits examine these aspects of the organization’s technology infrastructure and software development and deployment processes.

They help ensure data protection and compliance with laws, improve business efficiency, and minimize risks. 

With increasing reliance on technology and rising cyber threats, IT audits have become vital.

Serious Business

IT audits can be conducted by internal auditors (employees of the organization) or external auditors from outside firms. Some certifications, like the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation, showcase expertise in this field.  

IT auditors employ various tools and techniques to assist in their evolutions. These can range from vulnerability assessment tools and penetration testing tools to specialized audit software designed to automate processes and gather evidence. 

Key Phases and Focus Areas in IT Audits

Typical audit Phases in audits include:

  • Planning: Identifying the scope, objectives, and stakeholders.
  • Fieldwork: Gathering data, interviewing staff, and testing controls.
  • Reporting: Documenting findings, recommendations, and any non-compliance.
  • Follow-up: Evaluating corrective actions taken in response to the audit findings.  

As Auditors analyze system details, they will specifically evaluate:

  • Security: Evaluate how well IT systems are protected against unauthorized access, cyber threats, and potential breaches.
  • Viability: Check if systems are viable for the business processes as required.
  • Processing Integrity: Ensure system processing is complete, accurate, timely, and authorized.
  • Confidentiality: Validate that sensitive information is restricted only to authorized personnel.
  • Privacy: Assess how personal information is collected, used, returned, and disclosed following relevant regulations.

Key Details of IT Audits

The scope of audits depends on the purpose of the audit.

For example, an audit for cybersecurity might focus solely on firewall and access controls, while an audit for data integrity might examine duties and data processing procedures.   

IT audits can focus on different topics, from technical to strategic.

Starting with the technical evaluation, IT auditors can look at:

  • Communication and network security: All companies have numerous systems that are accessible over the internet, so network vulnerabilities are key in making sure only authorized users have access.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Managing user roles and system access is complex. IT Auditors evaluate how these are set up because any glitches would create risks.
  • Asset security: Large companies have data centers, server rooms, and similar places where physical equipment is located, and they provide users with PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. IT Auditors evaluate what risks may exist regarding people’s physical access to equipment and what they can do with end-user devices, such as the ability to install software, etc.
  • Security architecture and engineering: Companies put together complex “stacks” of technology components and use many products from vendors. IT Auditors evaluate how this architecture works and if its elements create risks.
  • Software development security: Companies can have large groups of software developers that write software. IT Auditors evaluate how the development and testing process works so that no person can introduce malicious code in production systems. Similarly, the steps by which a company moves systems from the test environment to the live production platform are also checked in detail.
  • Security assessment and testing: Over the years, an extensive knowledge base of vulnerability testing has been developed. IT Auditors will perform these tests manually and with “hacking tools” to confirm that systems work as expected or to uncover any items that need more work.

At a more strategic level, IT Auditors may also evaluate the company’s technical innovation process and how current technologies are.

In summary, IT audits provide a structured approach to review and improve the organization’s technology level, ensuring that IT assets are effectively managed, secure, and aligned with business goals and objectives. 

General discussion of IT Audit roles – 13 mins

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A discussion of IT Auditing steps – 12 mins

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