Over the past decade, companies across all industries have been heavily investing in cloud technology. While they’re hoping to gain a competitive edge by staying up to date, new technology adoptions always come with new risks in the form of hacks and data breaches. Since such incidents could be detrimental to any organization, technology risk management and understanding the importance of IT audits have become increasingly important.
Learn all about IT audits, the role of an IT auditor, and how they can protect your company from information security incidents.
An IT audit or information technology audit is an investigation and evaluation of IT systems, infrastructures, policies, and operations. Through IT audits, a company can determine if the existing IT controls protect corporate assets, ensure data integrity and align with the organization’s business and financial controls.
While most people are familiar with financial audits that evaluate an organization’s financial position, IT audits are still a fairly new phenomenon that is now gaining more importance due to the rise of cloud technology. The purpose of an IT audit is to check on security protocols and processes in place and IT governance as a whole.
As an unbiased observer, an IT auditor makes sure that these controls are properly and effectively installed, so the company is less vulnerable to data breaches and other security risks. However, even if adequate security and compliance are provided, there has to be a line of action in case of an unlikely event that would threaten the health and reputation of the examined business.
Next, learn more about an IT auditor’s role, skills, responsibilities, and certifications.
An IT auditor develops, implements, tests, and evaluates all IT audit review procedures within a company that relies on technology. These audit procedures can extend to networks, software applications, communication and security systems as well as any other systems that are part of the organization’s technological infrastructure.
By conducting IT-related audit projects and following established IT auditing standards, IT auditors have an essential role in ensuring that an organization and its sensitive data are protected from external or internal security threats. After all, just a small technical error can have a devastating impact on the entire organization.
Now you know why IT auditors have such an important role within a company relying on technology. But what do their actual responsibilities look like in practice? Below, we’ve outlined the most important ones.
The skills required for the job of an IT auditor may differ depending on which industry they work in. However, there is a general set of skills that most companies are looking for when hiring an IT auditor. These skills include:
With the adoption of new cloud technologies, it does not come as a surprise that the position of an information technology auditor is in high demand. After all, companies of all sizes and across all industries have been leaning into new technology trends. So, what does an IT auditor actually earn?
Depending on experience, qualifications, and location, an IT auditor’s salary can range from $44k at the lower level to $143k for IT auditor directors or managers. This means that the average annual pay for an IT auditor working in the United States is currently at $93k per year or $45 per hour.
IT auditors can increase their chances of getting hired and being paid well if they acquire job-related certifications. Below are the two most common ones.
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During the planning stage of an IT audit, an auditor needs to define the audit objectives and make sure that they align with the overall business objectives. Usually, the primary objectives fall into one of the following:
As you can imagine, there are various types of IT audits that can be initiated by different authorities or entities within or outside of a company. In the following, we’ll cover the most common type
In this audit, the length and depth of an organization’s experience in using certain technologies are assessed to create an individual risk profile. This can apply to new or already existing technology projects. It also takes the company’s presence in relevant markets into account.
Apart from the application's audit, there is also an audit for information processing facilities. These include all physical IT equipment, operating systems but also the IT infrastructure as a whole. Auditors verify that processing facilities work timely and accurately even under disruptive conditions.
As the title suggests, this IT audit is all about the client and server-side. Auditors verify if all telecommunications controls work efficiently and timely for the computer receiving the service. This not only covers the servers but also covers the network that is connecting the client to the servers.
The actual IT audit process can differentiate from organization to organization. However, there are usually four stages that IT auditors go through to complete a successful audit:
With the increasing adoption of SaaS applications and cloud-based systems, companies take on more security risks and accumulate shadow IT. If performed correctly, IT audits create knowledge and much-needed visibility. They can give organizations the information and data they need to make sure that the right controls are in place and that risks are being mitigated in the best way possible. Thus, sensitive data is protected from hackers and other security threats.
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What is the purpose of an IT audit?
What does an IT auditor do?