Why continuous IT audits are crucial
Continuous IT audits are crucial for preventing cyber attacks on your business. Rather than waiting for a hacker to expose a problem in your IT network, continuously auditing your infrastructure ensures you spot it first.
What is an IT audit process?
IT auditing involves monitoring and investigating an organisation's network systems, operations and management to ensure problems are identified as early as possible. The aim is to prevent fraud and protect a company's assets.
Thorough IT audits allow businesses to identify inefficiencies and find ways of streamlining their working.
As a process, it involves evaluating the reliability of a company's IT infrastructure and ensuring it meets compliance objectives. Well-structured and thorough IT audits also allow businesses to identify inefficiencies in their IT offering and find ways of streamlining their working practices.
They typically cover both software and hardware audits, to ensure both elements of the organisation's infrastructure are working closely together. Without the high-functioning hardware, software can't work effectively.
Typically an IT audit involves several phases:
- Establishing the objectives and scope of the exercise.
- Developing a plan to achieve the goals.
- Gathering the information required to move forward.
- Performing a number of tests, such as penetration testing, firewall audits and email threat analysis.
The initial planning stages involve determining the current risks and challenges, as well as the resources required for a thorough audit. Due to the complex nature of many of the tests required for a comprehensive audit, businesses often turn to external providers. This allows for a high-level review with a thorough understanding of IT procedures, security, software and hardware.
Once the audit is complete, the team reports its findings and make recommendations about to improve the system. Depending on the expertise and knowledge of the auditing team, they may be able to implement solutions themselves.
Crucially, the outcomes of an IT audit should allow the business to better its working practices, and support ongoing growth.
Why should my business start continuous auditing?
Protection against new threats
The problem with once-a-year IT audits are that they don't deal with ever-evolving cyber threats. Just because your business is protected from the threats relevant in at the beginning of the year, doesn't mean you're still safe six months later. Continuous audits make sure your IT network is protected from threats as they develop.
In-depth investigation and monitoring
As well as keeping your business safe year round, constant auditing allows your organisation to focus on specific areas for a longer period of time, allowing for in-depth investigation. For example, your IT audit team could spend a month looking at a high value or risk area, and then continue monitoring it while they move on to another section.
They can also swap to focus on different types of technology, such as mobile devices versus work stations, or protecting against email threats versus developing robust security policies.
Not only does this allow organisations to prioritise the IT development they really need, it means that there is always someone checking in on the key areas, while improving other sections at the same time. Issues are identified immediately because an IT expert is monitoring the entire infrastructure constantly, while ensuring the most important parts of the puzzle are working optimally.
As the audit period is continuous, solutions can be developed over time, with thorough consultation and adjustment where required. There's no scramble to fix everything quickly before the deadline finish date, rather solutions are implemented continuously, as the need arises.
Year-round data generation and trends
With an IT team providing continuous audits, you build up a comprehensive set of data around performance, issues and improvements. Businesses use this data to understand process bottlenecks and fix them as soon as they're identified, and on a permanent basis.
This level of data enables businesses to identify trends early, not wait until it's too late to do anything about a problem that's been building slowly over time. It identifies what the IT priorities are, allowing companies to dedicate resource to the most important issues first.
Not only does this drive efficiencies across the business, it also means you're able to fix issues as you see them occur, rather than only identifying them in the first place after months of frustration.
Working with IT experts for a comprehensive IT audit
At Biztech we work with our clients to ensure a thorough and comprehensive IT auditing system. We offer:
- Vulnerability assessments.
- Security architecture review.
- Firewall auditing.
- Penetration testing.
- Mobile security.
- Email threat analysis.
However, we don't just stop there. We look more widely at the entire IT infrastructure to help our clients plan and prepare for future growth and development. Technology never stops changing, and we help our clients stay at the forefront. Get in touch today for more information about our IT audit services.