About the need for an internal IT audit checklist

When you create an IT audit checklist, you create a system for assessing the sustainability of your organisation’s information technology infrastructure. You are reviewing your IT policies, procedures and operational processes. It is important to understand where you are right now, what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, as this will help identify opportunities for the company to grow. An IT audit can help identify potential security risks and re-evaluate their software and hardware.

Companies are responsible for regularly reviewing their information technology procedures. This process helps protect customers, suppliers, shareholders and employees. With an IT audit checklist in place, companies can conduct a comprehensive risk assessment on a quarterly or annual basis. This assessment can be used to create an annual audit plan that covers all significant areas of a company over a period of time. Strategic, forward-looking aspects should also be included.

The IT assessment checklist can include everything from network faults to inadequate data flows, logging inaccurate information that could potentially compromise the company’s data. Another benefit of an IT audit checklist is that it provides a guideline for your employees. When employees understand what is required to protect data and what areas they need to focus on, they can proactively identify potential risks or weaknesses. Once identified, it is easier to put a plan in place to address any procedural errors. Furthermore, it is possible to prepare employees for internal or external audits with an internal IT audit checklist. This creates transparency and sets the course for a smooth audit process.

If you already have an IT audit checklist, you may wonder whether it is still effective. However, today’s technology is evolving rapidly and older audit procedures need to be updated. To keep up with this, you need to decide what your IT management priorities are. An IT audit checklist can serve as a guide. Updates are made to the checklist based on past audits, which have the potential to identify new weaknesses or new problem areas.

For example, if your company is expanding, you may be considering purchasing additional hardware and granting new employees access to confidential information. This type of expansion requires a close look at your IT operations and processes. Alongside the process, update your IT audit checklist to ensure you don’t lose sight of your new and updated procedures and processes.

Many companies are growing so fast that they can’t keep up with documenting IT processes and procedures, and there is a risk that procedures are handled differently and hide risks in them for your corporate IT audit checklists, this means that they may not reflect the IT reality of the business.

Part of updating your IT audit checklist is to identify the current risks to your business, create processes and procedures to address them, and then include all of this information in the IT audit checklist. Management may not be sure what new risks the company is exposed to. In order to minimise unidentified risks, countermeasures can be taken with the help of subject matter experts from the IT environment or IT auditors to assess the current technological situation and identify the potential risks. Because some risks are industry-independent, many companies also have similar risks.

Examples of non-industry IT risks:

  • Brand protection, compliance breaches, confidentiality breaches.
  • Information security breaches
  • Data loss due to increasing number of mobile devices
  • Data theft, productivity loss, hardware damage and costs due to increasing malware epidemics
  • Data Management Systems (DMS) and Cloud Computing
  • Data loss and compliance breaches caused by electronic archiving.

So there are several good reasons to keep an IT audit checklist up to date and to consistently review and improve IT processes and procedural documentation.

Constantly changing IT technology can be compromised for a variety of reasons. In addition, hackers and cyber security threats are constantly evolving. When you create an IT audit checklist, you proactively address the reality of today’s IT world and do your part to protect your business. The checklist highlights areas for review where documents of processes and procedures are missing or may not exist at all. The growth of your business can lead to additional IT risks that you may not have had in the past. Using your checklist, you can identify potential problems and put protection in place before a problem actually occurs. Too many businesses don’t have a regular consistent review, which means they are exposing themselves to potential cyber security risks.

Unfortunately, not every company has an IT department. This means that external support is required to effectively create an IT audit checklist. Basically, an internal audit is provided by external staff.  Even start-ups are often faced with the problem of sharpening processes and procedures to ensure compliance after some time has passed.

We at Independent Consulting + Audit Professionals GmbH have the expertise to make your company audit-proof. We help you create your IT audit checklist, prepare your staff for IT audits so that they can be carried out effectively and efficiently. We help you identify and assess IT risks so you can also proactively address them before hackers and cybersecurity threats damage your business.