The multiple benefits of IT auditing

Regulatory compliance requirements provide instructions for organizations on how to protect the data of their employees, business operations, and customers that are stored on their servers. The process of satisfying compliance requirements starts with IT auditing, performed either by an internal or external professional auditor using specialized software.

IT auditing evaluates a company’s business operations, changes on the server and internal controls. Auditing is not focused only on seeing what is going on but it is also required to generate on-demand reports on the different aspects of servers, in order to satisfy the different acts of regulatory compliance.

Multiple useful reports
Ideal IT auditing software can make various types of reports, such as:

  • Comparison reports, which compare the state or properties of objects,
  • Security reports, which highlight security issues,
  • Modification reports, which highlight all changes in server configuration, and
  • State reports, which describe the state of objects on a particular date.

These reports are useful for keeping an eye on the overall server configuration.

Auditing benefits
In addition to the aforementioned reports, there are also those that show all the available equipment, installed software, and the consumption of available resources. With in-depth details showing who has made what change, when and from where, they can also alert the company about security breaches and prevent the compromise of available assets.

By monitoring resource consumption, it’s easy to pinpoint unnecessary consumption that can be cut and the budget required for the expansion of resources.

Testing environment
The best part about IT auditing is that it helps to keep an eye on the overall functioning of the organization. If anything goes wrong, IT administrators can take timely action to stop or undo that unwanted change. IT auditing also helps to set up a testing environment, where an administrator can apply the policies or make some modifications in server configuration, and evaluate the consequences of these changes. If IT auditing software has provisions, administrators can use them to restore the changes to a previous state. In the absence of a restoration feature, administrators have to revert the changes manually.

Compliance status
Without IT auditing, it’s not possible for a company to prove that it adheres to the provisions of regulatory compliance to laws and standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, GLBA, FISMA, SOX, etc. Reports generated after the auditing process will show the company exactly where they stand in regards to regulatory compliance, and will highlight the areas that need more work. Regular IT auditing saves companies from legal problems and fines.

Forensics and investigation
In case of an investigation, IT auditing is helpful for creating long audit trails of events, to specify how a change made today depends on the permissions change made by the administrator yesterday. Creating these trails and finding a correlation between events is also a part of IT auditing, and this is comes in handy in investigations. IT auditing also shows the before and the after value of every change, along with a date stamp.

Conclusion
IT auditing is not a simple process, but it shows what’s going on in the IT infrastructure of an organization. It mainly focuses on server systems, which run multiple services and store the organization’s valuable data. IT auditing helps establish a testing environment to revert unwanted changes and focuses on highlighting configuration changes with email alerts for IT security. It also shows which compliance requirements have been satisfied, and helps in conducting investigations.