You’ve probably experienced the trauma that comes along with an IT security audit. If you have, then you’ll agree that technical reviews involved in the process are highly complex. However, a security audit is necessary since it guarantees data security of your firm. It involves reporting on various infrastructure and technologies adopted to guarantee security. When you understand the resources and tricks for protection against attacks makes IT security friendlier thus easy to comply.
What is an IT Security Audit?
This audit is segmented into two assessments; manual and automated assessments. The manual ones occur when an auditor (internal or external) interviews the employees, conduct vulnerability tests, and reviews access controls. It is advisable that the manual reviews occur annually.
The automated reviews involve the review of the security systems as well as response to various reports such as software monitoring reports, changes to server and settings.
Importance of an IT Security Risk Assessment
It is crucial that organizations determine their risks before establishing procedures and controls revolving around the IT security. According to ISACA, there are five reasons to create an enterprise risk assessment (ERM).
Since it could be costly to comply with information security requirements, you’ll need the risk assessment to provide a justification of the high-cost implications. The assessment will impart knowledge to the internal stakeholders which will enable them to see the value of the investment thus approving financial support.
The risk assessment will be crucial in streamlining the IT department which will improve its productivity significantly. It creates more time for the employees to handle more sensitive matters on improving the information security as opposed to constant fighting of external threats.
The security risk assessment will enable the corporate management and the IT department to work jointly thus enhancing the process of decision making. The management is educated on the need to promote information security and they will support every initiative to do so.
ERMs gives an opportunity for a self-review. It enables all parties to take responsibility for information security due to their constant involvement in the risk assessment process. Also, the ERMs help in distributing information throughout all the departments. When using individualized vendors, different departments fail to know the operations of other departments. With ERM, all the departments, including the management, are involved in supporting IT security.
What is the Work of an IT Security Auditor?
These experts offer several services. They are involved in reviewing the operations, compliance, and financial reporting of an organization. The financial review should follow the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 where the section 404 requires that financial reporting systems audits comply with the company’s internal controls. In this area, IT security, compliance, and financial reporting overlap.
Also, the three overlaps in SOC reporting. Almost all the clients will require the vendors to complete SOC audit (whether SOC 1, 2, or 3). In this case, the company needs to engage an auditor to determine the data security. The use of an IT auditor will ensure that your business remains compliant in many aspects, saves cost, and offer a chance to scale up.
What to Look for in an IT Security Auditor
Not all IT security auditors qualify as Certified Public Accountants (CPA). However, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers databases to help you find a qualified CPA to help you develop your security systems.
If your company is new to IT security controls, the AICPA provides research guidelines to help you make proper decisions. However, you should never compromise on IT security compliance since it can lead to bankruptcy in a single cybercrime attack!
What is an IT Security Audit Trail?
Creation of a functional audit trail consumes a lot of your time. It consists of all the documentation given to the auditor as a proof of processes undertaken to secure the IT environment. The documents must show proof of industry knowledge, the auditor must read the previous audit report, and companies must show risk assessments, financial information, as well as compliance with various regulatory bodies.
Also, the IT department must consolidate information to show the IT structure, policies, standards, procedures, employees’ performance, internal control tests, and a personnel list.
Difference between General and Application Controls
While the general controls deal with infrastructures (including organizational, operational, and accounting), the application controls involve the transaction and data stored in computer systems.
Benefits of Automating the IT Security Process
The process of auditing IT security requirements requires the use of many documents. SaaS tools are therefore critical in simplifying this work. The tools consolidate the information fast and enhance communication among all stakeholders.
These tools offer risk assessment modules in an easy, colored format for review by management. Also, it allows the organizations to store crucial data and regulate its access which further ensures data security. The IT professionals can easily derive detailed reports from the data for easy presentation.
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Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.