From productivity issues such as downtime, to more serious consequences such as data loss, it’s safe to say that IT issues are a genuine problem for all areas of the business.
An IT audit is an extremely important part of your IT toolkit, to ensure that you avoid these issues, and that you have the correct security tools in place to protect your network!
Let’s take a closer look at the main points to consider when putting together your IT audit checklist.
What is an IT security audit?
An audit is an analysis of what your company is currently doing with IT processes, and the weaknesses and strengths that this current procedure may have. Auditing and creating a checklist helps you to more effectively unpick your IT setup to ensure that it aligns with wider business goals, and allows you to identify development opportunities. It will also give you a guideline to follow to make sure you’re doing everything possible to protect your IT software, through identifying risks and necessary updates.
Why is an IT audit important?
With an IT infrastructure security audit, you can also identify areas where you may need to place more budget, but equally areas that you can cut back. You’ll ensure that your IT team has the necessary tools to protect your data and networks, and the audit itself can serve as a point of reference for employees to ensure that they are working inline with company best practice. It’s a multi-serving tool for the whole business!
For more information on IT audits, take a look at our dedicated page!
What to include in an IT system audit checklist
Sadly, there’s no concrete IT infrastructure audit checklist template that you can copy and paste, as the needs will differ from business to business. But we’ve put together an idea of what you should include.
When conducting your IT audit, you’ll need to ensure that you’re operating in line with current laws and legislation. All relevant regulations must be adhered to, and this varies depending on business and industry. The most common to be aware of is, of course, the Guide to Data Protection (GDPR). You can understand more about GDPR here.
Perhaps the greatest area to include in your IT audit, is data security. You should:
- Analyse your firewall’s integrity
- Examine the performance of software holding private data
- Identify access points for unauthorised users
- Assess the security of wireless networks
- Ensure that current systems are working efficiently to identify risks and action them
- Assess sensitive data storage
- Make sure that company best practices are well-documented
- Ensure restricted access to relevant websites is firmly established
- Dedicate a person or team who will be responsible for IT audits
- Determine whether there is enough training in place for employees
Equally as important as software, you’ll need to ensure that your hardware is both running correctly and protected. An IT audit can serve as a formalised inventory, where you can systematically assess the age and performance of your current hardware, and work out which pieces may need to be replaced.
If you do unfortunately fall victim to a cyber attack, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a robust back-up system in place. In your IT audit you need to consider the following:
- An appropriate frequency to back up your systems
- Assess how long your business can continue without access to data
- Examine the financial implications of downtime
- Assess the length of time it takes your back-up system to recover
- Explore options such as having a back-up of data offsite
Your IT audit should identify any potential problems inhibiting business operations, and provide a clear method to follow to address these issues as they arise. It’s essential to make sure that your business has procedures in place to resume normal business operations quickly after an attack on your system, or if, for any reason, you’re not able to get into the office. All employees should be aware of this business continuity plan, and know where to access it.
Cloud and mobile
Given the current circumstances, where the majority of the UK workforce are currently working from home, it’s more important than ever before to incorporate cloud computing and mobile technology into your IT audit. Ensure that you include reflections on the following:
- Procedures around stolen mobile devices and subsequent loss of data
- Providing guidelines on storing data in the cloud and on mobile devices, and the risks associated with this
- Updating your main business policies around cloud computing
- Setting up multi-factor authentication for passwords on all devices
- How your business will manage security and access with a team using the cloud
So, those are the main areas to include in your IT audit checklist! It’s important that this is updated regularly, to ensure that it doesn’t overtake or lag behind current policies. For an IT audit to function, it needs to reflect current procedures. We therefore recommend conducting an IT audit on a quarterly basis.
Feel as though you need help putting together your checklist, or you need IT audit assistance? Get in touch with a member of the Netitude team, we’re more than happy to help!