What is an information technology audit?
An information technology audit takes a look at your existing technology infrastructure and systems, seeing what you have, what you lack, and what needs to be put in place to continue to serve your business in a safe and efficient way.
A complete information technology audit includes a review of all IT systems, related training, staff policies, operations, and plans to expand, and gives you a path to follow to fill any gaps or implement technologies or training that will help your business grow.
How do I get started with an information technology audit?
You may be overwhelmed at the idea of conducting an elaborate technology audit on your own. Most business owners and in fact, even IT personnel are not trained to look at technological systems as a whole, and carefully evaluate and future-proof plans for the organization.
Luckily, there are many companies that provide information technology audits as a service, providing consultants that will evaluate your systems, test your protocols, and provide a full report including recommendations.
What does an information technology audit include?
An information technology audit takes a look at every part of your IT structure. This includes the systems in place, as well as the policies and operations governing them. The goal of an audit is to discover whether the software, hardware, and operations in place are secure enough to protect a company’s valuable informational assets and that the right tools are in place to support growth.
When your business undergoes an information technology audit, your operations, organization management, security protocols, personnel training, data security, software support, IT structure, and business continuity will all be evaluated as part of the overall health of your IT audit. Though some of these are not directly part of your IT system, key indicators like business continuity can point out critical flaws in your information technology systems.
What will an information technology audit teach me about my business?
At the end of an information technology audit, you’ll have a map that guides the changes you’ll need to make to your business, and plan accordingly. Some of these recommendations may be urgent; for example, if there is potential for a security breach, you may have to immediately address the issue.
Other recommendations will recommend services that improve training, efficiency, and operations. Though daunting, following the recommendations that are made as the result of your audit will help your business be more secure, more efficient, and prepared for growth in the future.
How do I employ the results of an information technology audit?
At the end of an information technology audit, you may be left with a list of tasks that you need to accomplish, and no idea how to do any of them. Luckily, services exist that can help you to implement many features to help your business. Cloud managed services, security services, and many programs can easily be integrated into your existing business with the help of a professional.
Financial planning is one of the main benefits of an information technology audit. Once you know where your company stands, you’ll be able to plan financially to bring in the staff, or the managed services of a team that can help you update your systems to the level your business requires.
Does every business need to undergo information technology audits?
Unless your business is conducted entirely offline, it is important to audit your IT systems regularly. In truth, some businesses will have much smaller requirements than others, and an IT audit in micro-businesses may simply take a day or two with the work of a professional. That said, no matter how big or small your business, it is crucial that you take your IT systems seriously, and evaluate them regularly.
Part of what allows your customers, clients, employees, and partners to trust you and work with your business on an ongoing basis is an inherent trust that you take their business seriously. This requires diligent effort to be sure you protect your client’s data in the most informed way possible, and that you make it as easy as possible to serve your customers.
How often should I conduct an information technology audit?
Unfortunately, an information technology audit isn’t something you can do once and forget about it. With the ever-changing world of digital technology come security issues, industry changes, and continual competition for every business. Staying on top of these challenges requires a regular look at your IT systems, and how your team makes use of them.
Your own staff should be consistently monitoring your systems for emerging needs and potential breaches. But even if you have an IT staff on hand to take care of these matters, it is wise to bring in a professional every 1-2 years to ensure your systems are still where they need to be.