IT systems lie at the heart of modern organisations. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the majority of businesses being able to function at all without effective IT systems in place. From solopreneurs to large multinational corporations, and everything in between, IT has undoubtedly become an essential component to business.
Consequently, ensuring these systems are operating to their highest standard, void of any threats or risks, and evaluating how they can be improved, helps businesses navigate informational technology threats and opportunities with success.
In this article, we delve into everything you need to know about IT system audits and highlight some common issues audits often reveal. If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your business software and hardware, simply get in touch with our expert team here at Three Cherries.
What is an IT Audit?
An IT audit is a thorough review and evaluation of a business’s information technology infrastructure, software and hardware, identifying any areas that need addressing. The aim is to navigate potential threats, small and big, that could impact the organisation. By identifying these as soon as possible, damage can be mitigated, and downtime reduced. As well as closely examining hardware and software, an audit can also include a review of internal processes and procedures that may influence IT security.
Effective audits will also take into account the organisation’s overall vision and objectives, as well as regulatory standards and compliance. A fintech company, for example, may face more scrutiny over user data and the impact a potential data breach would have for end users. Organisations collecting sensitive data are also likely to be a target for hackers.
GDPR and other privacy regulations highlight the responsibility businesses have towards customer and employee data. Breaches and security leaks resulting from poor IT infrastructure could lead to legal ramifications in many instances.
Benefits of IT Audits
IT audits are a key component to business continuity and avoiding damaging downtime or breaches in the future. As technology advances, so too do the threats to IT systems. A preventative approach is always better than a reactive approach when it comes to something as important as the software and hardware that powers your organisation.
At the very least, audits can identify inefficiencies and help to improve the operational output of informational technology within a business.
Using a specialist IT consultancy to conduct the audit removes any risk of internal bias and can also provide industry benchmarks to help evaluate overall performance.
Revealing Potential IT Threats
The benefit of an audit is that it is tailored to a specific business.
As an overview, we outline a few common things that an audit can often reveal.
Growth is something all organisations aspire towards, but “growing pains” can not only limit future expansion but also pose serious present-day risks. IT is an area often put under uncomfortable pressure during organisational growth.
New systems are introduced without adequate diligence, old systems are pushed beyond their limit, and managers become too busy to evaluate how IT infrastructure is performing. This all adds up to IT infrastructure that becomes a praying target for hackers and malware.
As organisations grow, IT needs to be a priority to mitigate such challenges. Specialist IT consultancy and strategy can ensure IT systems reflect the overall business vision and mission, helping to streamline efficiencies and avoid unnecessary downtime. It can also help train leadership teams in dealing with information technology and creating a culture that priorities such systems.
IT spans across numerous areas and unfortunately, all it takes is an insecurity in one area to pose significant risks to an entire system.
Our in-house CherryAid software helps to identify any risks with software or hardware, so it can be rectified as soon as possible.
A common threat to IT systems and businesses is user access. Unauthorised users gaining access to the important systems could be a recipe for disaster.
Something as innocent as forgetting to change old employees’ access or failing to remove them from the system could be enough to create significant security risks.
Similarly, new issues and challenges can arise due to changes in circumstances. Something like remote working has brought with it new security risks. For example, allowing employees to use their own hardware such as laptops without adequate firewall/anti-malware, could be enough for hackers to extract data from a business.
This highlights the need for organisations to prioritise security and ensure all employees take it seriously. Processes must be created to safeguard against human error that may lead to threats to the business.
Software updates often include security bugs that if left unresolved, could put IT systems at risk. This illustrates the importance of updating software when required and ensuring all software is monitored closely.
As organisations grow, so too does the amount of software it uses, often requested by all sorts of teams.
Get Started with a Three Cherries IT Audit
Here at Three Cherries, we take the gamble out of business technology. For over 20 years we’ve helped businesses around Bristol and the South West improve IT performance and reduce downtime. Our proactive approach helps mitigate the risks of modern business and allows organisations to benefit from our expertise, support and knowledge. Our tech services also help you leverage the very best in IT infrastructure, helping to boost productivity.
An IT audit is a great place to start and helps to identify specific risks and threats to your business. Our IT audits include services such as:
- Analysis of Firewall Security
- Highlight Old/Out of date Hardware/Software
- Internal user access/denial issues
- IT system valuation/asset report
- Provide “at a glance” Network Inventory report
- Rate Online Vulnerability
- Review security protocols
- Software Inventory management
- Website Performance, SEO and Security grading
Get in touch with our expert team to learn more.