What can a company do to ensure the security and performance of its information systems, while gaining a better understanding of its operations? It needs to perform an audit.
If the approach is unpopular, it has many advantages.
The advantages of a network audit
In addition to the increase of the performances of your network, the audit must also optimize the security of your IT system in identifying possible weak points in your network architecture.
A analysis of the impact on your production in case of an incident will also be conducted, and a action plan will improve your network not only in the immediate future, but also in the medium and long term.
The Possible security holes will be detected and then corrected and the updates required will be made. Eventually the management of your system will be less time consuming, making you gain in productivity. Finally, an audit will allow you to put yourself in compliance with the legislation in force.
Why do an information systems audit?
The purpose of the audit of your information systems is to analyze the functioning of your installation and its management mode. It is preferable to rely on professionals who will accompany you throughout the process.
1. A preventive measure
Prevention is better than cure: an audit should be done when everything is going well, not when problems start to appear.
It is a preventive measure, yet companies wait until a problem appears to perform an audit. An information systems audit is there to avoid data loss, prevent hacker attacks or prevent a breakdown.
The professionals of the audit will flush out the faults and problems, and will be able to indicate to you how to set up procedures of troubleshooting and maintenance.
2. To increase security
The security of your information system is essential if only to comply with current regulations and laws.
You are also required to respect the commitment made to your customers, employees and partners regarding the protection of their personal data: by conducting an audit, you will be able to implement best practices, after reviewing the security of your network and the data it contains.
3. The starting point for improving your information systems
Do you want to adapt your information systems to fit your company’s needs? You need an audit in order to better define your objectives, and to identify which new tools you will have to install.
Without an audit, you won’t know what changes to make so that your system adapts to the requirements of the market and your business.
The steps of an information systems audit
Now that we have defined the importance of an audit of your information systems we will list the steps.
1. Provide a framework for the audit
First, you need to determine the needs of your company. To begin with, an interview with the employee(s) responsible for the company’s IS management will serve to identify the needs and to list the different uses you have of the information systems.
It will then be necessary to discuss the possible problems that the company is facing.
2. Analyze the company’s network infrastructure
The IT expert in charge of detecting weaknesses in your system needs a picture of it. It is therefore necessary to carry out an inventory of fixtures which will be used as a starting point for the improvement of your infrastructure.
It is only then that the expert will identify areas for improvement and actions to be implemented to obtain a system more efficient, more secure and finally, more economical.
3. Test your computer system
The IS expert will need to test your system if he wants to identify security and performance problems. Different aspects of your system can be scrutinized:
- a security test
- an intrusion attempt
- a load test
- a failure simulation
4. Write a report
The outcome of an audit takes the form of a report containing the various analyses and findings that emerged during the audit.
First of all, the report must list all the problems found. It will then present a series of recommendations to improve the network. A specification with concrete projects to implement the recommendations can also be written.
These actions should be ranked according to performance and safety gain. The overall action plan should evaluate the financial and human resources required to implement all these improvements.
An audit is useful to verify and improve what already exists. An audit allows you to highlight what is not working but also what is working in your company. You should not be afraid to do an audit because it is the best way to know where you stand.
If you notice an unexplained drop in your productivity, the audit allows you to understand what is going on and gives you the keys to remedy it.