Our comprehensive guide to an IT Audit
IT is constantly changing and evolving and businesses are regularly adding to their IT to support their business objectives. For almost all businesses, aspects of their IT will become obsolete. Does anyone remember Palm Pilots, how many of us regularly use a fax machine, when was the last time you reviewed your software versions and upgrade options?
To complicate matters further staff are now adding their own devices (including the associated software), to company networks which can compromise network security and performance.
A regular and comprehensive IT or network audit will reduce risks to your IT and ensure that your IT is performing optimally, as well as improve your productivity and help you achieve your business goals.
The main goals of an IT or network audit is to:
- Build a comprehensive picture of all your IT assets and their suitability for your business.
- Identify any threats or vulnerabilities to your IT.
- Define the measures needed to protect your business against threats.
- Identify opportunities for performance improvement, enhancement and even cost savings.
An IT audit is an important investment in protecting one of the most valuable business assets.
An IT audit helps you:
- Manage your IT assets more efficiently and reduce IT costs.
- Increase network security against threats both inside and outside the organisation.
- Track software licenses and ensure compliance.
- Align IT with business goals to support decisions such as purchasing or renewals.
- Monitors and regulates devices being used in the workplace.
- Detects unauthorised and illegal software and software usage policy deviations.
Whether it’s your internal IT department who’s doing the IT audit or an independent IT consultant, it’s important to be thorough, objective and well informed. A successful IT audit will drive good business decisions as a result.
Tips for conducting a successful IT audit:
Make sure your auditor has the right skills
Whoever is conducting your IT audit should have a good understanding of the latest technology and be qualified across as many platforms as possible. They should have specific knowledge of your protocols and the network devices and software deployed in your business. If you don’t have the necessary skills in-house, consider getting external IT auditors to do the task.
Be sure to do a background check of the provider before you give them access to your IT infrastructure and access client references.
Implement a system for regular auditing
IT auditing is no longer simply the domain of big business. SME’s are regularly reviewing their IT infrastructure. It’s best practice to have a formal process for conducting audits to ensure they are comprehensive and conducted regularly. Make sure timings of IT audits are not shared with staff so you get an accurate snapshot of how IT resources are being used.
Make sure all aspects of your network are covered
Some basic questions your IT Audit should answer (of course an actual audit is a lot more comprehensive, but this is a snippet of what to expect):
How are servers set-up, managed and scaled?
- What type of hardware is in use?
- What version of the operating system is installed?
- Do any security patches need to be installed?
- Are there any suspicious or unexpected entries in the system logs?
- Is there sufficient storage space?
Are the workstations adequate and are they configured correctly for security and productivity?
- How many workstations are onsite? Are they properly configured? Are there unnecessary programs running?
- Is anti-virus protection installed and scanning at the workstation level?
- Is there spyware detection and removal software installed and being run weekly?
- Is there a spam filter in place?
Is your network structured securely and for the best performance?
- What type of network is in place?
- What type of remote access is provided to company staff?
- Is there an active firewall in place?
- Are there multiple layers of security?
- What type of internet connection is in place?
Are your backups being handled to ensure business continuity?
- Are all necessary files being backed up?
- What is the frequency of backups?
- Are the backups being verified in some way?
- Is there an offsite backup for disaster recovery purposes?
IT auditing is a critical aspect of your network management. With the right approach and people overseeing your IT, you can rest assured that you have an effective and high performing IT system.
If you would like more information on IT Audits, or would like Centrix to undertake an IT Audit of your network, please contact us for comprehensive IT services in Sydney.