Now that your audit is over, take a minute to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Even if your audit results were less than stellar, know that audits aren’t all or none, and you do have the opportunity to correct areas needing improvement.
We’ve put together this checklist to help you get on the road to compliance by correcting your current audit deficiencies.
- Slow down
Audit deficiencies are common, and this is not the end of the world. Your organization didn’t fail the audit by having one bad day, and audit issues can’t be fixed in one day either. Noncompliant processes and procedures have evolved over time. You will have to change the way you do business to move in the right direction.
- Put together an action plan
Once you’ve received your audit results, you generally have three months to a year to remedy the areas needing improvement. Prepare an action plan to remediate and get it to senior leadership as soon as possible for approval so you can get started on the audit remediation process.
Word of caution – if you made a commitment to your auditor to correct an item, make sure you have it complete by the date promised. Nothing triggers a re-audit like a missed deadline!
- Identify resources needed to correct audit failings
Now is the time to ask for any resources you may need to bring your organization into compliance. Directly correlating people, equipment and software to audit remediation practically guarantees you will be granted those resources.
- Go after low-hanging fruit
Identify areas that can easily be fixed and take care of them right away. If you were dinged for not having current documentation of your systems to provide to the auditor, document processes now so you have time to revise, review and correct before your next audit. (Implement documentation updates as an ongoing process.)
- Correct these common areas of failure
The No. 1 error organizations make is not managing change in compliance with regulations. For instance, managing employee turnover must have a plan outlining each new employee’s network accesses, software needs and equipment requirements. And, on the other hand, ensuring that exiting employees aren’t taking valuable data and equipment with them when they leave is equally important to document and execute.
Speaking of documentation, this is the other area businesses frequently fail in. Whether it’s lack of documentation or documentation that differs from actual practices, auditors focus on documentation and often find it insufficient and/or inaccurate.
- Anticipate your next audit
Start preparing for your next audit now. Stay on top of the basics like documentation and security instead of trying to cram for your audit at the last minute. As compliance issues arise, take care of them as quickly as possible.
There’s not an “Easy button” to bring your organization into compliance so you must be prepared for the next audit. Protocol Networks has assisted financial institutions, health care practices and other regulated businesses with audits. Our team has the experience necessary to prepare you for and pass audits – give us a call now at 877.676.0146 or contact us online to start preparing for your next audit.