Businesses often identify the need to perform an IT review when they want to know how to operate their systems better, to identify or reduce risk, to reduce IT related costs, or as a result of a specific immediate business requirement or issue.
Changes to an IT environment can impact significantly an organisation and, as most businesses rely heavily on IT to function, these changes should be carefully considered in accordance with a plan rather than in an adhoc manner. This will help to ensure the desired result is achieved in the most effective path possible and will avoid unexpected obstacles in the way.
So, how does the IT audit process work and what should you expect to get out of it?
Know exactly WHY you are reviewing your IT
Before getting started, it’s important to identify why you are considering a review of your IT and have clear objectives so you know exactly what to expect as the outcome. Perhaps you are worried about the unknown and want to get a better understanding of any current risks? Perhaps you want to save on cost and have your systems working more efficiently? An IT review can also be triggered as a result of a need to make a specific change such as implementation of a new business system. Know what you want and focus on your goal.
Make the call
Typically the next step is decide if the review will be done internally or you will seek the assistance of an IT service provider. Depending on the size and scope of the review needed, it’s often better to look for an IT provider as they are the experts and can guide you through the process. We recommend evaluating two IT service provides to ensure you choose the best one for the job. Click here to see how Bremmar can help you.
The service provider should be able to quickly gain an understanding of your business position and what you are trying to achieve from the audit process. The provider should also be able to promptly explain how they can assist with this process and how it should be approached. It is very important to clearly communicate what outcomes your business would like to achieve from the audit and, if cost is an important factor, ask for a rough estimate based on what has been discussed to ensure you are both on the same page.
Evaluate the audit scope (very carefully)
- You should expect to receive a draft audit scope from the provider. This is very important as the scope serves to ensure both parties are clear about what is to be reviewed, in what detail and what outcomes are expected to be in the final report.
- You should analyse the audit scope carefully to ensure the provider intends to review the right areas of your IT and provide you with the outcomes you expect. If the scope is not quite right, you have to provide feedback to the service provider and have the audit scope adjusted BEFORE any work gets started.
- The audit scope can also be handy to discuss internally within your business and to assist with gaining buy-in to the process if required.
Provide the right information. Which is…?
If your business chooses to go ahead with the audit, the service provider will need some things from you. This can include, but is not limited to: dedicated time with you and key stakeholders, network credentials and physical access to any network equipment or servers. Even though it sounds like a long and scary process, you can expect to be guided through the process by your provider and it probably won’t take as much time as you expect. If your provider is experienced, they will do most of the work on their own.
How long does the audit process take? It depends on the size of your business and depth of the audit. If you just require a review of your servers and hardware, it should be a pretty straight forward process, so you can sit back, relax and read the report when it arrives. However, if you are looking for a more detailed review of how your business IT works, the business will need to make some time to get involved.
The audit process itself may take as little as one day to complete, or more than one week. Usually, you will only be heavily involved in the start to contribute information. The provider may then require several days to finalise and provide their audit report.
See the big picture and consider other areas as part of the audit
You should consider having the service provider interview several members of the business to ensure the needs and experiences of all departments are identified and considered. This is one of the main benefits of having an external audit completed.
*Key outcomes you should expect to receive
Depending on the scope of the audit, there are several key outcomes you should expect to receive:
- A detailed explanation of what was identified in the audit process and how that applies to the business.
- Summary of key risks identified
- Summary of potential functionality improvements identified
- Summary of cost efficiencies identified
- Indication of direction that can be taken to mitigate risks, improve functionality, and/or reduce costs.
At Bremmar, we love IT reviews and are very experienced at performing them as we think it’s the most effective way to achieve support efficiency, know of particular systems performing badly and discover minor or major holes in functionality that may cause loss in the business’ productivity.
If you are unsure about your IT environment and would like to discuss your concerns with one of our IT consultants contact us on 1300 991 351 or email us on email@example.com. Our consultants are highly experienced and can point you in the right direction of how and when to do an evaluation of your systems.
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