The complexity of global marketplaces increases the likelihood of several interconnected technology challenges, heightening the importance of efficient and effective auditing processes (Petros et al., 2020). An IT audit examines and assesses an organization’s IT infrastructure, applications, data use and management, policies, procedures, and operational processes against established standards and guidelines (Harvard, n.d). IT audits determine whether the controls in place to safeguard information technology assets ensure data integrity and are consistent with organizational goals and objectives. Information technology audits evaluate to ensure that IT controls protect business assets, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT resources and data stored and managed within the IT systems. It also ensures that IT policies and procedures align with the overall business and objectives of the organization. During an IT audit, the auditors do evaluate not only the physical security controls of IT systems but also the business and financial controls of IT systems as a whole.
Who Performs an IT Audit
Internal or external auditors perform an IT audit depending on the reason for the audit. The ability of a corporation to thrive in the face of intense competition depends on the regularity with which it conducts internal audits. For this purpose, internal auditors perform organizational risk monitoring, analysis, and evaluation. Analyzing the company’s adherence to local, state, and federal regulations giving guarantees and suggestions to the board of directors or shareholders of a corporation. Essentially, they compile data on a business’s operations and highlight its strengths and areas for development while advising management on how to best manage risks while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations (Jones, 2022). These internal audits could be conducted by members of the internal audit department, the cybersecurity manager, or the director.
Why Are Independent Auditors Critical to an IT Audit
Given that information technology audits are conducted to evaluate and assess the efficacy of controls and procedures in information technology systems, using an external auditor or third-party auditor with no ties to the organization is crucial to enhancing the credibility of the audit report. The key goals of an information technology audit are to determine how well the processes and technologies protect an organization’s data. Assess potential risks to a company’s assets and suggest countermeasures to mitigate the risks. Verify that all IT-related laws, regulations, and standards are followed while managing information technology assets and identify flaws in IT systems management. Therefore, having a third party or external auditor with no ties to the business conduct an IT audit is crucial to any business organization. This is because, IT audits conducted by reliable third parties, is the most reliable way to guarantee that all IT assets are functioning properly and all information assets are secured. The purpose of a shareholder’s external audit is to increase trust in the company’s reporting. External auditors are only tasked with verifying the correctness of the company’s financial statements (Jones, 2022). External auditors are responsible for reporting to shareholders who are not part of the organization’s management. As such, these audits are performed by independent contractors or third-party organizations.
How Often are IT Audits Conducted
There are no set rules about how often an organization should conduct an internal or external audit. Usually, the type of auditing procedures used will affect how often an IT audit should be done. Audits can be done monthly, three months, six months, or annually. It all depends on the reason for the audit, the procedures, and the criteria for determining how frequently an internal or external audit should be performed. However, IT audits should be scheduled at least once a year and cover the various aspects of the information technology management system.
Ethics in IT Audits
IT audits must be carried out with the highest level of ethics to affirm the security posture of information technology systems and the integrity of data processed by them. Reporting inaccurate findings directly reflects not following ethical standards when conducting an audit. To provide value and enhance a company’s operations, auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity that aids businesses in reaching their goals by introducing a systematic, disciplined strategy for assessing and enhancing the efficiency of risk management, control, and governance efficiency procedures (Auditors, 2022). For a profession built on the public’s reliance on unbiased assurance of governance, risk management, and control, such as internal auditing, ethical guidelines are essential and warranted, reflected in the ethical code of conduct. The code of ethics is intended to foster a moral and honest atmosphere within the internal auditing industry.
Auditors, T. I. o. I. (2022). Code of Ethics. The Institute of Internal Auditors. https://www.theiia.org/en/standards/what-are-the-standards/mandatory-guidance/code-of-ethics/
Harvard. (n.d). Risk management & audit services. Harvard University. https://rmas.fad.harvard.edu/faq/what-does-information-systems-audit-entail
Jones, A. (2022). How Do Internal Audits Work? Partners. https://www.ispartnersllc.com/blog/how-do-internal-audits-work/
Petros, L., Drogalas, G., Karagiorgos, A., & Tsikalakis, K. (2020). Internal audits in the digital era: opportunities risks and challenges [Internal audit in the digital era]. EuroMed Journal of Business, 15(2), 205-217. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-07-2019-0097