What is an IT Audit?

Just as any other type of audit functions, an IT audit includes evaluation and review of automated and non-automated processing systems and their interfaces. An IT audit gathers information about information systems and plans steps that would help auditors to understand the structure of the internal control units and processes. An IT audit puts a specific focus on items related to the control environment and procedures, risk assessment and detection, and how to equate the total risk estimate.

The objectives of an IT audit include ensuring companies and businesses meet legal and regulatory standards and requirements, and secure integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data.

Why is IT security Important for Businesses?

Business leaders may think they know everything about IT because they use laptop and tablet computers. Cyber attackers, however, use increasingly complex ways to penetrate digital security and cause harm. Recognizing these attacks requires great knowledge of computer programming that goes beyond utilizing the benefits of simple user electronics. According to the McKinsey report from 2014, cyber attacks have the potential to hurt business and technology innovations and cause a cumulative damage impact of an estimated three trillion U.S. dollars. Introducing IT governance into businesses might significantly lower the risk of a cyber attack. Ensuring security of computer systems is a complex task that requires many resources. 

What can Businesses do to Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Contemporary digital business systems are vulnerable to an increasing number of highly sophisticated cyber attacks. These attacks can be executed from any part of the world because most business use the Internet to connect with other users, vendors, or clients. There are a number of recommended cybersecurity models which help businesses create resilience to prevent or mitigate the risks of cyber attacks and their devastating impacts. Because information technology is a valuable asset in business development, there is an emerging consensus on what these cybersecurity models should look like. Recognizing potential impacts of cyber attacks on businesses is the first step in preventing those attacks. Introducing IT governance into corporate structures might be a part of the solution. Alignment of IT with business strategies and following the list of cyber security models may also help companies prevent or mitigate the risks of cyber attacks.

What is Alignment?

Some major concerns related to IT security that face executives and business leaders include integrating IT technologies in such a way that it coincides with business strategies and ensures uninterrupted business development. This integration is called alignment and it is one of the most essential components of staying competitive in the global business market. It is crucial to understand the way alignment can be integrated within business strategies.

How can Businesses implement Alignment?

An IT sector needs to meaningfully understand the exact needs of the company so that it can provide fast, reliable and secure business solutions that will operate without disruptions. There are a number of important inhibitors that need to be considered during the alignment process which include: the lack of close relations between IT and business, prioritization, commitment, understanding, senior executive support, and leadership.

One of the keys to successful alignment is good and open communication between executive and IT sectors. Communication at all levels is the key to educate personnel on recognizing and avoiding potential cyber attack hazards. IT personnel must engage in strong partnership relationship with managers in order to successfully integrate both business and technological capacities into effective business solutions at all levels.

Strategic roles and IT priorities must be defined at the highest corporative decision-making level. Companies also need to consider prioritizing their information assets by the associated risk levels and provide different levels of protection accordingly. Securing the loss of highly sensitive proprietary information by clearly defining protection criteria and setting measurable goals has to be considered a priority. Assuring security of data is essential because businesses can sometimes allocate significant resources to measure the levels of performance instead of taking action based on these measurements. It is crucial to deploy active defense systems and continuously test IT systems for security weaknesses in order to improve the incident response. Creating an environment for governing cross-functional initiatives such as establishing the architecture of new IT infrastructure may help to improve customization of defense systems and result in more effective attack responses.

Educating personnel and integrating cyber resistance into government and risk-management processes is also something to consider. A user can sometimes open hazardous files, send confidential documents via unprotected email channels, or use insecure passwords that are easily cracked. This is why it is so important for companies to educate their workers in IT.

       

References

Chinn, D., Kaplan, J., & Weinberg, A. (2014, January). Risk and responsibility in a hyperconnected world: Implications for enterprises. Retrieved March 27, 2016, from http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/risk-and-responsibility-in-a-hyperconnected-world-implications-for-enterprises

D'Onza, G., Lamboglia, R., & Verona, R. (2015). Do IT audits satisfy senior manager expectations? Managerial Auditing Journal, 30(4/5), 413. doi:10.1108/MAJ-07-2014-1051

Héroux, S., & Fortin, A. (2013). The Internal Audit Function in Information Technology Governance: A Holistic Perspective. Journal Of Information Systems, 27(1), 189. doi:10.2308/isys-50331

Lapke, M. S., & Henderson III, D. L. (2014). Integrated Activities in Information Technology Auditing and Their Area Distribution. Journal Of Contemporary Management, 3(2), 22.

Luftman, J. (2003). Assessing IT/Business Alignment. Information Strategy: The Executive's Journal, 20(1), 7.

Luftman, Jerry. 2003. "Assessing IT/Business Alignment." Information Strategy: The Executive's Journal 20, no. 1: 7.

 

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