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16 August 2018
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Three powerful arguments in favor of IT audit of your business

Our world is becoming more and more digital. More and more companies, regardless of their size and activity area, are beginning to use cutting-edge technologies. Recognizing the obvious advantages, they invest significant resources in IT systems. According to Tadviser, the total volume of digitalization in Russia amounted to about RUB 85 billion in 2017, which is 21.6% more than in 2016. And the Gartner's analysts say that global spending on information technology increased by 3.8% and exceeded USD 3.5 trillion in 2017.

After a "slow burn" in the form of active use of these technologies, top management asks a reasonable question about the return on investments and improving the efficiency of IT. And then the company takes a more important step and becomes aware of the need to ensure the reliability, security and invulnerability of its IT systems to cyber attacks.

1. Strategy is just the beginning

Business is constantly changing, so IT must provide flexible methodologies that allow the timely identification of new opportunities for growth, as well as contribute to the development and support of business. IT audit is always the cornerstone of such an effective synergy. On the one hand, the audit makes it possible to assess the condition of infrastructure and IT processes of a company, as well as the competencies of IT employees. On the other hand, it demonstrates the applicability and advantages of introducing new technologies and approaches of the modern digital worlds: digitalization, migration to cloud and hybrid environments, automation of business processes, outsourcing, and innovative management methods.

Today IT companies offer various types of audit. For example, express audit involves inspection of one area of activity, for example, the customer's IT department. And comprehensive approaches cover all areas of activity. Depending on the type of audit chosen, the business obtains different results. This can be a summary report with recommendations for optimizing the current state of IT, or a detailed step-by-step plan for IT transformation and a roadmap for creating an IT strategy for the future.

According to the results of a survey of CEOs and heads of IT departments, an appropriate and efficient IT strategy is prepared to give additional impetus to the development of the company and create a competitive advantage.

2. From IT audit to cyber security

Over the past few years, the relationship between IT auditing and cyber security has increased dramatically, as the first element lays the groundwork for the second one. In 2017, the number of companies that faced cyber attacks almost doubled: every other large organization revealed traces of intruders in its infrastructure. When assessing the effectiveness of internal control in the organization, auditors analyze the potential external risks to the business. Security audit is not a one-time procedure, it should be carried out regularly. This is a prerequisite if you want such an inspection to bring real benefits and contribute to the improvement of the company's information security.

One of the main drivers of this trend is the legal regulation aimed at tightening control over information security by the state. For example, Federal Law No. 194 criminalizes the violation of the principles of information security for mission-critical information infrastructure, and the term of imprisonment for violators is up to 5 or 8 years!

3. IT budgets ≠ pain in the neck

If IT budgets do not meet current economic conditions, even with timely strategic initiatives, it is time for business owners to look at the possibility of IT audit. Another "red flag" for seeking help from IT auditors are staffing issues that cause conflicts of interest not relevant to the strategic activity area. In addition, the constant overspending of budgets for IT projects and unjustified expectations must also be a wake-up call.

"Audit helps to identify bottlenecks in the company's IT performance, reliability and scalability. Having implemented recommendations on reorganization, optimization of business processes, and improvement of efficiency of information systems, the company's top management will be able to reduce IT costs while meeting all business needs," Azat Khakimov, Head of the Office of Strategic and Project Management, ICL Services, said.

Transition to high efficiency

Most often, auditors are perceived as "strict teachers," whose main task is to find mistakes made by employees in a particular area. However, this attitude has little to do with the real situation, because IT auditors do not just listen, observe and identify risks, they strive to make the business more efficient in general and make life easier for both IT managers and owners in particular.

Analysis and reasonable assessment of such mission-critical areas as IT infrastructure, security, corporate systems and internal assets will be the basis for a new and better version of the business that will become digital, cyber-secure, sustainable and effective.

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