Are IT audit practices keeping pace?

IT audit

There is no disputing technology's role in business today as an enabler of virtually every process and function. With this enablement and the advantages IT brings also come global risks - security, cyberattacks, privacy issues, data breaches, governance, asset management and much more. The critical question we must ask is: Are IT audit practices keeping pace in order to assess, monitor and mitigate critical risks coupled to a technology-enabled business?

This is what ISACA and Protiviti set out to determine in conducting the fourth annual IT Audit Benchmarking Survey.

The key findings from this year's (2014) study include:

  1. Cybersecurity and privacy are primary concerns - This area is rated as the top technology challenge and also may be driving trends such as increasing involvement from audit committees in IT auditing activities.
  2. Companies face significant IT audit staffing and resource challenges - Not only is this issue ranked among the top technology challenges, but it is an undercurrent in many of the survey findings, including the use of external resources to support IT auditing effots.
  3. Audit committees, as well as organizations in general, are becoming more engaged in IT audit - More organizations have a designated IT audit leader, and over the past three years, the percentage of IT audit leaders that regularly attend audit committee meetings has doubled
  4. IT audit risk assessments are not being conducted, or updated, frequently enough - Given the dynamic nature of technology change and risk, it is surprising to find that some companies still do not conduct IT audit risk assessments. Not only must IT audit risk assessments be performed, but they also should be reviewed and, if necessary, updated on a quarterly basis or more frequently. However, a majority of companies are conducting these reviews annually or even less frequently.
  5. Room for growth in IT audit reports and reporting structures - A majority of companies do not issue enough IT audit reports, and many still have the IT auudit leader in a less-than-ideal reporting structure.

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