Future Proofing IT Audits
Moore’s law, which essentially talks about the doubling of transistors in a circuit every two years, is colloquially applied to almost all things tech. Irrespective of whether it still holds or not, we can all agree that the pace of technological advancement continues to be dizzyingly high.
What this means is that rather than learning about a tool or process and then happily applying it throughout one’s career, we must keep learning new tools and technologies.
What makes things even more dynamic is that the marketplace is now global. So rather than competing with the business next door, you are competing with companies with vastly differing cultures, cost structures and regulatory burden (or lack thereof). Therefore, using force multiplication technologies has become extremely important for businesses. This is the topic of this post which covers how these force multiplies can be used in the field of IT audit now and in the future.
The first thing that must be embraced is that the only constant is change. Even if companies are willing to spend big on the latest tools, there will be new versions of tools coming out next year. How do you keep up?
One solution might be to use Software-as-a-Service. Rather than outright purchases, you are essentially subscribing to a service and whatever upgrades are made to that software, are delivered to you immediately via an update. The best part is that if you are not happy with the tool, you can switch over next month.
Another technology which really compliments SaaS well is cloud service as this can be used for hardware as well. Afraid of servers getting outdated? Are your hardware requirements seasonal? Don’t have the manpower to keep maintaining hardware locally and keeping up with the latest cyber threats? A cloud solution can alleviate most of that. Again, if you are not happy, switching is a lot easier.
With constant change must come constant training. It might be a good idea to dedicate a certain portion of employee time on just training. For example, 5 or 10 days a year or more based on the specifics. Complicated functions might even require 30 days or more! Some companies think of this as wasted time, but the investment is going to be peanuts compared to the potential financial and reputational loss in the event of a cyber breach or something similar.
Keeping up with the Buzzwords
Certain phrases are used so often that they begin to sound like buzzwords. AI, machine learning, cognitive intelligence, big data, advanced analytics and so on. However, there is a reason that these became buzzwords. Some of them might not be quite ready or cost-effective for small or medium businesses, but things like data analytics have repeatedly led to demonstrable improvements in efficiency especially in the audit functions where the data is voluminous.
Eventually, whichever tools are picked for use by an organisation they must meet its requirements and overall goals. Rather than going after buzzwords, it makes more sense to focus on what’s important. It would be sub-optimal to start preparing for the future without first being 100% confident of what exactly you want to achieve in terms of IT security, audit controls and so on.
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