IT Audit Checklist for Business in Australia
Long gone are the times when a business audit meant checking financial accounts for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Today, an audit covers Information Technology. The idea behind conducting an IT audit is to evaluate the performance of the systems in place to protect an organisation's data.
Explicitly, it is used to determine the company’s capability in safeguarding its information assets and to effectively bestow information to the authorised personnel. In this post, we shall tell you more about IT audits and the boxes that you need to put a tick against in the IT audit checklist.
Why Are IT Audits Necessary?
Cyber threats are not only evolving but also becoming complex and hard to detect. It is to your advantage to conduct an IT audit regularly to stay one step ahead of the potential threats. IT audits are necessary in order to discover the flaws that exist in the system for protecting data. Surprisingly, most data breaches are unintentional and occur within the organisation itself. Sometimes employees share confidential client data with the third party out of sheer ignorance or view classified data on public computers. Cases of mistakenly deleting files are also not unheard of. What all these actions do is leave you open for exploitation. Hackers and data thieves are on the lookout for such erroneous activities for making good on a threat.
Primary Goals Of An IT Audit
IT audit performs three main functions. These are:
- To determine if the company data is appropriately protected.
- The organisation has the proper hardware to do the job effectively.
- All the supervisors and the IT staff are equipped with the requisite cybersecurity tools.
IT Audit Checklist
Having an IT audit checklist will make your work easier. You will not only know what exactly to do, but also the sequence in which it needs to be done.
1. Identify Threats - First and foremost, make a list of all the probable threats that could adversely impact your organisation. This could be a threat to your data, IT infrastructure, users and customers. The most common forms of threats are:
- An attack by computer viruses, ransomware, spyware, and Trojans broadly categorised as malware.
- Denial of service by overwhelming your system with commands so that it goes offline.
- Unauthorised access to data causing data leaks.
- Infiltration of your network or systems by hackers causing a physical breach.
- Phishing and smishing.
- Account hijacking by changing passwords.
2. Test the Security Measures - Now that you are aware of the threats that chase at your heels you need to know how well you are prepared to defend against them. This is where you put your entire IT setup through a series of tests to judge its level of preparedness.
- Begin by reviewing your IT security framework. This involves identifying all those measures, like antivirus software and firewalls, that you have in place for cybersecurity. In addition to that, you also have to find out which specific areas like network, devices, software, and email they protect.
- Now test your system by simulating attacks just like an actual hacker would. This is also called Penetration Testing. It would bring to light the vulnerabilities that exist in your IT security framework.
- Similarly, simulate a phishing attack and see how well the employees respond to it. This is a test of employees general security awareness. You can also stage other tests that are deemed appropriate for the purpose.
- Most importantly check whether employees are using strong passwords throughout the length and breadth of the organisation. The aim behind password testing is to make sure that everybody understands that one small mistake can make you fall prey to hacking.
3. Assess the Likelihood of Threat Occurrence - Analyze the test results to see how likely your business is to fall prey to the identified threats. Take into account other important aspects like
- Previous breaches in the organization if any.
- Industry-wide trends in successful and unsuccessful hacking attempts.
- Current cybersecurity news.
Once you have the complete data, you can rate your business on a scale of 1 to 10 with the number representing the likeliness of occurrence. The higher the number the worse for you. This will also tell you which threat you are least prepared to handle.
4. Upgrade Defense Strategy - You now have a complete sense of where your business stands in protecting its interests. Based on the results of the final assessment you know your weaknesses. It’s time to upgrade your cybersecurity strategy or the IT strategy to strengthen your weak points and make them sound. The solution might be something as simple as a robust security awareness training, or more complex as continuous monitoring of the systems, better security solutions or a combination of all. Whatever be the solution, you have to do the needful to maintain your status quo security wise.
Common Problems Uncovered During IT Audit
Some of the most common problems that are uncovered during an IT audit are:
- Not having a proper cybersecurity policy.
- Outdated policy.
- Not having 2-factor authentication for remote access.
- Inadequate disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
- Failure to upgrade networks and operating systems.
- The absence of centralised log management.
- Insufficient network documentation.
Stay Ahead Stay Safe
Every business bears a responsibility towards its customers to keep their personal data safe. To do so, IT audit cannot be done sporadically. It has to be conducted regularly, preferably every quarter. The purpose of these audits is to ensure that your organisation is ready to handle all cybersecurity risks. If need be you may require more up-to-date security solutions. Audits can seem like a daunting task, but they are your only hope in maintaining the integrity of your IT assets.
Today, getting a third-party to do a thorough and objective assessment of your IT is not impossible. In fact, they also provide unique technology solutions along with empowering you with better security. Dorks Delivered is an Australia based company that makes it easier for you to concentrate more on running your business. We can help you stay ahead in the game by keeping you cyber secure. No business is too big or too small for us to handle. Contact us today to schedule an independent, objective and thorough IT audit.