Your audit results are in – there are 42 deficiencies and your overall grade is “F.” The report has just hit your CEO’s desk. Now what?
Now is the time to call in experts: IT consultants who have been through literally hundreds of audits themselves – successfully. Seasoned audit-experienced IT professionals will correct IT shortcomings using solid principles to build a well-documented environment that will bring your organization out successfully on the other side of an audit. Meanwhile, your in-house team continues to maintain day-to-day operations without skipping a beat.
Protocol Networks works with banks and other financial institutions before and after audits. Anticipating and planning for your audit could mean the difference between an “A” and an “F.”
Speaking of grades, you can’t cram for an audit. First, you never know exactly what the auditor is going to look for or ask about. And, second, it’s best to do the basics well and not cut corners year round. It’s also important to realize that not all audit items are equal, even if they are equally weighted on the audit.
Here are 5 actions we take to ensure your next audit goes well:
- Security takes first place among audit items that are very important. Make sure your security stack is up to par and being continually evaluated as you are never done with security. Preventing unauthorized visitors on your corporate network is imperative whether it’s hackers or your customers in the lobby. From network infrastructure to password management, security practices must be solid.
- Review your documentation to ensure that it matches what is actually happening in your organization. Documenting changes to your environment is just as important as making the change itself. When changes go undocumented, auditors see red flags.
- Protocol takes an inventory of the documentation your company has published online so you are aware of what information an auditor already has access to. Once this is done, then it is matched – or updated – to reflect your actual practices.
- Communicate to everyone in the organization what’s going on, including the scope and expectations of the audit. Protocol Networks works directly with IT leaders on how to communicate best with auditors – what to say and what not to say. Being interviewed by an auditor is somewhat similar to testifying in court. Only answer what is being asked; do not volunteer extra information.
- Protocol Networks coaches IT directors about how to strategically meet the standards required by auditors including how to include audit needs in your annual plan and budget. When IT goals align with audit outcomes, it makes sense to allocate necessary resources to make them happen. Some great companies have failed an audit. It is not a knock on your leadership or ability, in some cases it is an opportunity to hire and staff at the level you have been asking for, for years.
It’s unreasonable to expect your small, internal IT team to meet the same specifications required of larger financial institutions, but that is exactly the expectation of auditors. No matter the size of your company, you have to have the right IT infrastructure in place to serve and protect customers and to meet all of the requirements of internal and external auditors. The success or failure of the audit was determined when the four corners of the audit were initially established.
Protocol Networks has helped financial institutions, health care practices and other regulated businesses with audits for since 2000. Our team has been through hundreds of audits – give us a call now at 877.676.0146 or contact us online to prepare for your next audit.