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6 Ways to Make Your Next IT Audit a Success

by on June 21, 2011

The IT audit isn’t just a requirement—it’s a great opportunity to see your practices and procedures through fresh eyes. It’s also a chance to demonstrate how well you manage your operations, and how well your operations meet business objectives. An audit is a serious undertaking, so here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of the process.


  1. Know thy audit team.
    The audit team’s sole purpose is to help make your operations more efficient and effective. If you’re using an external team, or a combination of internal and external professionals, do some digging to guarantee that the external members have the chops. Ask about their qualifications, and gently push to get the most experienced external professionals on your team.
  2. Customize it.
    An audit is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each organization has different complexities, risk thresholds, business goals and challenges. Have a discussion with your team in advance of the audit to help properly prepare. Go over the audit’s purpose, approach, scope, standards and evaluation criteria. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations.
  3. Communicate.
    The audit team may need access to relevant management and staff. Inform these individuals in advance so they can be prepared to provide necessary support during the process.
  4. Give ‘em what they want.
    Auditors love organized, clear, comprehensive and current documentation—for example, policies, procedures, checklists, organization charts, job descriptions, accountability and responsibilities lists, and detailed tape audit reports.
  5. Neither a micromanager nor a doormat be.
    Throughout your dealings with the audit team, aim for the middle ground. Don’t try to influence them, but don’t yield too easily, either. If you disagree with some of the audit results, present solid evidence—not an argument—to support your position.
  6. No surprises.  The audit shouldn’t reveal anything you don’t already know.

No one looks forward to an audit. But thinking of it as a lifecycle event instead of a pop quiz can make it less painful.

What do you do to properly prepare for an audit? Let us know in the comments section.


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