IT audit services and why you may need them
The role of your existing IT infrastructure, including all networks, systems, and apps, in your business success can’t be underestimated. The higher the stability of their functioning is, the better results you can achieve in your core business activities. But how is it possible to make sure that all the solutions and systems demonstrate the best productivity, are not vulnerable to external attacks, and are fully compliant with all the relevant regulations and laws? Here is when an IT audit should come to the arena.
Over the years of our work in the software development industry, we have noticed that a lot of business owners and managers have practically no understanding of its value for companies. That’s why we’ve decided to prepare this article where we are going to explain the key goals of conducting an IT audit. Also, we will pay attention to the main advantages that you can leverage if you hire a team that will provide such services.
What are IT audit services?
Let’s start with some general information. IT audit can be defined as a process of examination of a company’s IT infrastructure by independent experts. This process is aimed at assessing the effectiveness, compliance, and security of this IT ecosystem, addressing the existing risks, and providing recommendations on how to deal with the existing issues.
The scope of work that an IT audit team will perform depends on your particular objectives and can be different in each particular case. But as a rule, it will cover either all or some of the areas mentioned below:
- Key applications and their performance;
- Networks and data communication;
- Compliance with regulations and laws;
- System security;
- Company’s control over the IT infrastructure, as well as its related procedures and policies.
Our company has rich expertise in providing IT audit services to businesses and organizations that work in absolutely different industries. But what is common to all of them is that major IT audit concerns are typically related to cybersecurity issues, risks, and consequences of possible breaches. And this situation has a very clear explanation. Any issues linked to cybersecurity can lead to serious financial losses, reputation damage, loss of clients, as well as regulatory scrutiny.
Some other aspects that are usually targeted during IT auditing are data governance, stability of systems, as well as their integrity.
One of the main questions for business owners is when it may be required to conduct audits.
It is recommended to conduct regular audits at least once a year. But if any serious changes are introduced into your IT infrastructure (for example, if you have migrated your software into the cloud or if you have added servers to your network), it is necessary to conduct an additional audit to make sure that such changes haven’t affected the security of your systems.
Moreover, IT audit services may be required in those cases when you notice a serious decline in your app’s performance and it is necessary to find out the reasons for it.
There are also cases when authorities request businesses to conduct mandatory IT audits if there are doubts regarding software regulatory compliance.
What are the benefits of IT audit services for businesses?
To make a decision about the necessity to conduct an IT audit, every manager should understand what outcomes or value this process can bring to the company. And here are the benefits that our customers usually notice.
- Optimization of IT costs. The better the constraints and needs of your IT ecosystem are known, the more opportunities you will have to reduce your maintenance and operational expenses.
- Higher control of your spending and investments in IT. Thanks to an IT audit, you will see how your IT budget is allocated for different components and parts of IT systems. Moreover, it will be possible to better analyze the returns on the made investments.
- Better performance and efficiency of existing solutions. The team that will audit your IT systems will define and explain how you can maximize the capability of these solutions. Very often it is required to introduce very slight changes to get great results in the long run.
- Improved risk management. IT audits are traditionally focused on system security. It means that while auditing IT infrastructure, experts will identify possible vulnerabilities, evaluate security controls, and help to introduce the right policies to ensure the required protection of IT assets.
- Regulatory compliance. IT audit services can help to efficiently deal with all the gaps that exist in compliance of your solutions and systems with all the applicable regulations like privacy, data security, and others. If you work in an industry that has a lot of specific rules and policies (like healthcare), a professional audit team will always pay great attention to this aspect.
- Enhanced strategy development. For businesses, it is vital to timely implement new solutions, adjust processes, and stop supporting those apps that have proven their inefficiency. And professional IT audit services can highlight the existing needs and issues of your IT ecosystems, which will help you to analyze the feasibility of any planned updates. Based on the results of an audit, you will be able to make better-informed decisions.
IT audit: How this process is organized
Every IT audit, regardless of its exact goals, requires good preparation and planning which will allow the team to deeply study and analyze a company’s IT ecosystem. It is a complex process that usually includes 5 stages.
- Stage 1. Preparation. First of all, the external team needs to get acquainted with the company’s activities, structure, and operation environment, as well as the hardware and software that it uses in its work. It is also required to analyze the IT infrastructure in order to understand the scope of work and any restrictions and limits if they exist. If the company has turned to the team after a particular incident, it will be necessary to study its history and specificity.
- Stage 2. Planning. Based on the gathered information, the team should set clear goals for the upcoming audit, identify potential challenges, pitfalls, and risks of this process, create a plan for an audit, and estimate timeframes that typically depend on the volume of work to be done.
- Stage 3. Audit. That’s a core stage of the entire process which is aimed at detecting and analyzing problem points, vulnerabilities, gaps, and threats in the IT infrastructure. It is also necessary to find good evidence of such issues and to elaborate the most appropriate approaches to addressing and eliminating them.
- Stage 4. Documenting and reporting. It is vital to present all the findings in a convenient format, and clearly highlight the priorities for solving issues and eliminating risks based on their scale and severity. At this step, the audit team should also clearly explain to the company what measures and in what way should be implemented to address problem areas.
- Stage 5. Follow-up review. This step is required to make sure that all the recommendations have been fully understood and that all the updates and action plans have been introduced in the right way.
Our experience in IT auditing
In our practice, we have a lot of bright examples of how audit services can help companies to enhance their IT infrastructures, optimize their costs, and increase the efficiency of their existing software.
One of our clients turned to us when users started noticing some issues in the app’s functioning under high loads. It happened after the migration of the app from Delphi 2007 to Delphi 10.3. The GDI resources utilized by the application could reach the highest level of 10 000 GDI resources for one process which led to abnormal app crashes.
To understand the reasons for that situation, it was decided to conduct a review of the source code, measure the use of the app GDI resources in different conditions, and conduct the preliminary evaluation and analysis of both software versions for identifying general memory leaks.
During an IT audit, we managed to detect several problems that helped us to understand that for solving them, code refactoring and optimization were required. The main benefit of the conducted audit was the possibility to precisely identify the factors that could lead to the described issues and find a good solution for their elimination.
Do you also need to find out the reasons for your software’s poor performance or do you want to assess the current state of your IT infrastructure? IT audit services will help to fulfill these tasks and our team will be always ready to provide our assistance.