The Importance of IT Audit in an Organisation
Any company operating successfully in this day and age, no matter its capacity, needs to effectively leverage its technology systems and make effective use of data. It is inevitable now that if a company wants to progress it must make a significant investment in technology. While these technology investments and innovations are required, it comes at a cost. This increased dependence on IT by extension increases the level of technological risk that an organisation faces, which has the knock-on effect of therefore increasing the relevance of IT audit.
The necessity of conducting IT audits within an organisation comes from its role in supporting effective risk management, particularly with regards those risks posed by weak cyber security measures. Data breaches and cyber-crime have escalated in response to the world’s digitalisation, an issue not limited to the financial services industry as world leading sports technology brand, Garmin, became one of the most recent victims of hacking. Thus proving that businesses large and small are equally vulnerable to attack.
The need for a strong IT audit function, while critical to the way businesses are now utilising technology to better navigate the market, also affects the way they relate to their staff. Since our daily lives are greatly integrated into our devices, that coupled with existing technological advancements, and the current professional climate means that businesses have been forced to interact with their employees very differently. Numerous processes have been digitalised, from annual leave forms to team meetings, paper and people have been replaced with electronic alternatives. Thus as the adoption of technology adoption increases, we see a knock-on effect of introducing risk into the environment.
IT audits focus on the gamut of risks associated with a business, identifying and evaluating them with a view to implementing the proper controls needed to action them in the best way. In helping an organisation understand the potential risks it faces, IT audit gives an organisation a clear strategy on how to action those risks, whether they can be eliminated, mitigated or tempered by the use of proper controls.
The IT auditors are there to guide the ‘implementers’ of the organisation through the resulting internal and external changes effected by the increasingly technologically-driven working environment. Many companies have struggled to adjust to the changes, falling short of successful strategic execution on the big money-making projects. This is where IT audit has proven its relevance as being that objective voice in the room to play devil’s advocate and advise on where those people implementing the changes may need to refocus their attention.
Applying regular and thorough IT audits keeps the relevant systems in check by raising potential security risks and actioning any solutions. Looking at the areas of company performance, business resilience in the face of crisis planning, compliance with existing and emerging standards and regulations, and financial health; the IT audit function exists to weed out any inaccuracies or inefficiencies within both the organisation’s management and the way it’s conducting itself as a business.