IT security has been a major news item over the past few years. Your company can avoid becoming one of those stories by performing regular security audits.
Whether you do them in-house or have a team of security experts perform the audit, you’ll want to be prepared by using an IT audit checklist.
Do you want to learn what you need to do to have a successful audit? Keep reading to find out.
1. List the Types and Goals of Your Audit
An IT audit can encompass many facets of security and compliance. There are several types of audits you should be aware of. That will help you plan and set goals for each audit accordingly.
A website audit can be done to improve security standards and search results. With a website audit, an auditor will look at the number of users with access to the website, how often updates are performed.
They’ll also look at opportunities to improve your site’s search results. This will include a deep-dive into your site’s on-page SEO factors (keywords, backend setup, site speed, HTML tags) and off-site SEO (backlinks, directory listings, reviews, social media accounts).
The result of this type of audit will give you the exact steps you need to maintain website security and rank higher in search results.
A website audit may also give you insights as to accessibility. Websites are increasingly under pressure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This will help protect your business from the increasing amount of lawsuits filed against companies for violating the ADA.
If you collect any type of data, you are likely to be held accountable under a number of data and privacy laws. Non-compliance can result in major fines for your business, which makes this type of audit necessary.
The regulations that you have to abide by depending on your location, where your customers are, the data you collect, and the industry you’re in.
For example, there are strict data privacy regulations that regulate the finance industry through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Healthcare providers have to comply with HIPPA regulations.
Businesses, regardless of industry, may have to comply with GDPR. That governs how data is collected and stored
These laws are always changing, which makes regular audits a necessity.
This type of audit focuses on your internal use of technology. Your networks and servers will be examined to determine if there are any security flaws.
These audits are also used to uncover inefficiencies in your business. These inefficiencies are likely to cost money.
Your employees will also be interviewed to discover how they use technology, especially email and mobile devices to conduct business.
A general IT audit may also encompass a website audit and a compliance audit. That largely depends on what you agree to with your audit team.
2. Let Employees and Vendors Know
This is critical, especially if you’re having the audit done by a third-party. Auditors will ask questions about how technology is used throughout your organization.
Your employees will be alarmed and guarded if you don’t give them a heads-up. They won’t be very willing to share critical information with auditors.
Telling vendors about the audit does two things for your business. The first is that it increases the level of trust that they have in your business. The second is that they will have an advanced warning in case auditors need to contact them.
3. Gather Documentation
Before an audit begins, you’ll want to give the auditors all of the information they need to perform an in-depth audit.
You may want to get a hold of their audit checklist in advance to know what the audit will cover. You’ll want to gather the appropriate documentation ahead of time.
Security policies and procedures are documents that the audit team will need. They’ll find out how well employees know these policies and if they’re followed.
Other documents include server logs and security logs of your networks.
4. Be Prepared to Implement Changes
IT audits are performed regularly to uncover risks to your business. These could be major security risks that can expose your entire customer database, or a compliance risk, which could result in serious fines for your business.
No matter what an IT audit uncovers, it won’t do you any good unless you’re prepared to act. You have to take the next steps to address any vulnerabilities.
Once you get the results and recommendations of an audit, you have to take immediate action. Form a committee of people within your organization.
You’ll then want to look at the recommendations from the audit and prioritize them according to severity. Assign each recommendation to someone on the committee to oversee the changes.
This will spread accountability throughout the organization and ensure that changes are implemented quickly.
5. Measure Results
In many cases, IT audits can save a lot of money for your business. Once you uncover opportunities and make changes, you need to measure results.
For example, you may measure how much money the audit saved you by making your systems more efficient.
There are also cost savings by having a more secure network and a well-trained staff.
Use an IT Audit Checklist to Keep Your Networks Secure
You have a lot of concerns when you run a business. IT security and compliance need to be at the top of your list.
Regular IT audits of your business will ensure that you minimize the risks to your business. If you don’t perform an audit, you could have a data breach or be fined for non-compliance. Both of these can result in financial losses for your business that you probably can’t afford.
You need to prepare for audits with an audit checklist, which will help you get the most out of the audit. Understand the scope of the audit, notify your employees, and be prepared to make changes when you get the results.
Your systems will be safe, secure, and within the ever-changing laws and regulations.
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