If you’ve recently embarked on the journey of taking control of your organization’s technology, you’re in good company. More small to mid-sized businesses throughout Texas are understanding the importance of technology for propelling business growth while staying ahead of competitors. If you’re uncertain about the first step to take towards maximizing your business’s technology platform, an IT audit offers a great place to start by helping you assess your strengths, weaknesses, and needs while clarifying your goals.
In this post, we’ll outline a basic IT checklist you can use to audit your existing network, so you’re prepared to make optimal business decisions going forward.
Planning an Audit
When preparing to perform an IT audit, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) recommends that you follow these five fundamental steps.
1. Determine Your Subject
Begin by clarifying what processes, infrastructure, or policies you want to audit. The target of your audit could be as broad as IT or as specific as threat intelligence. After all, you can’t successfully perform an audit if your team doesn’t know exactly what you’re targeting to begin with.
2. Define an Objective
Once you’ve pinpointed the target of your audit, you need to next understand the driving motivator behind performing an audit in the first place. Fundamentally, what do you hope to achieve in order to make the audit worthwhile? Again, the answer to this question could be as broad as, “We want to understand where technology is slowing us down” to “We want to test our intrusion detection strategies.”
3. Establish a Scope
In order to establish the scope of your audit, create an outline of the employees, systems, functions, and policies that are relevant to gaining insight into your overarching objective. By establishing the scope of your audit beforehand, you can prevent the project from getting out of control by limiting your review to a single application, system, or a specific time period.
4. Pre-Audit Planning
If you’re conducting a risk-based audit, conducting a risk assessment is a critical piece of understanding the threats relevant to your operations. By outlining potential risks and their likelihood, your team can prioritize audit strategies accordingly.
After taking the time to understand risks, identify all relevant resources that are needed to successfully perform the audit.
5. Start Collecting Data
By now, your team should be ready to start collecting all data relevant to conducting an audit. Some key activities at this step include:
- Identifying and obtaining departmental policies, standards, and guidelines
- Identifying regulatory compliance requirements
- Identifying individuals to interview
- Identifying methods to perform the evaluation
- Developing audit tools and methods to test and verify controls
- Determining criteria for assessment
- Defining a methodology to evaluate and check the accuracy of your results
Once you’ve collected all relevant data for the scope of your audit, it’s time to turn that data into valuable insights. Fortunately, there’s plenty of industry-specific auditing software designed to help you accomplish just that. A variety of auditing software solutions offer simplified reporting tools to transform complex data into relevant information for your team.
Need help? Partnering with a managed security service provider (MSSP) like I.T. Works can make a critical difference when auditing your IT strategies. We’re committed to helping your business understand strengths and weaknesses in order to expand your technology platform.
Contact our experts today to learn more about how a comprehensive IT audit can identify potential opportunities for growth while protecting your organization from tomorrow’s threats.