An information system audit or IT Audit is an analysis of the management controls, which is within the infrastructure of information technology. The assessment of the retrieved evidence will determine if the information systems are operating effectively, maintaining the integrity of data, and safeguarding the assets to achieve the company’s objectives or goals.
The following reviews may be performed in combination with the internal audit, financial statement audit, or in other forms of the attestation engagement.
What is the Purpose of IT Audits?
As information technology is increasingly used by governments, consumers, and businesses, its prominence has grown alongside our dependence on these systems. In a macro level, our international trade, national commerce, and government operations have come to depend more and more on technologies. And over the past years, government agencies such as the state, federal, and local have spent more than $100 million just for the IT systems. And if you add in the information technology expenditures and commercial enterprises, it would easily reach about $1 billion.
Given that most organizations rely on IT processes and systems, ensuring confidence in the operating systems and trusting the system’s output has become crucial. But the best way to ensure that the systems are reliable is to measure its impact, inspect on the systems, and make a report on the findings. This is the purpose of IT audits, and their reliable role will continue to grow in all companies and organizations, as the need for privacy, security, and confidentiality increases.
With an understanding of the growing importance of the technology, the federal government, as well as most states, have made positions of Chief Information Officer (CIO), which would specifically be in charge of carrying the IT strategies of the company or organization. A critical aspect of this strategy involves developing standards and requirements for the use and creation of IT systems, which serve as the guidelines for IT Audits.
How are the IT Audits Performed?
The IT audits are usually operated by a specially trained or certified personnel. For those who perform the reviews, also known as auditors, could either be external personnel who often the audits as a kind of service or as an internal staff who are called by the company to do the auditing. And as what was noted above, an IT audit could either be a part of an all-surrounding organization-wide audit or just the part of the IT systems.
Furthermore, the IT audit can also be broken down into smaller evaluations, and only specific operations or systems within the IT organization would be inspected. Regardless of the scope of the audit or the responsible party, all IT audits adhere to well-documented and stringent processes and procedures to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Using checklists and guidelines as aids, auditors evaluate the controls, processes, technology, and personnel encompassed within the audit scope. During the review, the auditors would evaluate compliance with government regulation and/or organization policies, along with the identification of the risks from non-agreements. They’ll also assess the inefficiencies in the procedures, IT systems, and processes, as well as recommend a list of steps to help minimize the risks and correct some of the sub-Par performances.
What are the Types of IT Audits?
As an information system auditor, you’ll be performing a lot of various types of audit. But the first thing that you need to do is to generally understand auditing. The following below are the three types of auditing.
Internal audit is the kind of audit where you’ll be focusing on the evaluation of the risk management process, governance processes, and control environment in an organization. And as an internal IT auditor, you would be a part of the organization. However, the structure of your reporting should mainly be up to the highest level of management, as this would ensure the objectivity and independence of the audit function.
Unlike the internal auditors, the external auditors are complete of the structure of the management, but their functions are still the same in evaluating the control structure, governance process, and risk management. The auditors enjoy their full independence as they’re not reporting to the management regarding their function. This is also mostly mandated by the law.
Third Party Audit
A third-party audit is often jointly contracted by two or more parties to ensure that common agreements or functions are being adhered to and that they function as intended.
5 Types of Information System Audits
As an information system auditor, you’ll be conducting various types of audits. Therefore, you might as well work as a company employee and implement independent audits, or work as an external auditor. It’s also possible that you’ll be committed to performing as a third party auditor.
Since the field of information systems are so vast, your work will mainly fall to some of the following sub-types of Information System Audits below:
1. General Controls Audit
Your work will mainly be reviewing the usually accepted controls on all the implementations of the information system. This could involve systems operation, application security, systems development, and maintenance systems.
2. Application Controls Audit
This is a type of auditing that is focused on a specific application. It might revolve in evaluating the processing, input, and output controls of the specific software or application.
3. Systems Development Audit
This type of auditing will usually focus on systems development or software. You’ll mostly audit the processes of the system development, which ranges from gathering the requirement for the final product in the production systems.
4. Forensic Audit
You may be asked to perform an audit for a specific system after the suspicious and unusual activity that is reported and observed.
5. Integrated Audit
This kind of audit will involve in working with other teams or auditors like performance or financial auditors.
Working as an Information Technology Auditor is a multi-dimensional and very challenging job. However, it could also be the best choice that you could ever make as computer science or IT major, as it’s one of the jobs that has a good salary and great working environment.