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3 tips to help you prepare for an IT Audit

This can be a challenging area to consider. How do you prepare for an event where there may be a number of unknown variables you can’t control?

Namely, where the auditor will ask to look, who they may ask to talk to (interview) and how long they will spend on a particular process?

You could almost take the approach Monty Python took when they posed the question “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

 

Work with the auditor before they visit

Surprisingly you can actually retain some control as long as you work with the auditor before they come on site.

Auditors will tend to focus on a specific date window such as the previous 9-12 months. Auditors prefer to agree, in advance, which processes they will review. Typically, a one-day audit will focus on four or five core processes. This means you can ensure that the relevant evidence for these is easily available (reports, meeting minutes, records in your ITSM tool). You can have the process owners available for interviews during the day.

 

Inform the business

You can inform the business that the audit is taking place. Awareness around the business that an audit is taking place, at all levels, demonstrates to an auditor that the business has embraced a standard or definitive set of processes. The more knowledge that individuals can show they have about the Standard, the greater the belief the auditor will have that he is working with a company that is living and breathing the Standard.

Don’t underestimate how much influence non-process owners can have with an auditor. At the very least everyone should know what the Standard is that you are all working to demonstrate control over, where the document set (Policies and Processes) is stored and why the business sees value in achieving and retaining the Standard.

 

Be prepared

It should go without saying that on the day of the audit itself, be prepared. The room you will be working in should be set up before the auditor arrives. Don’t be seen to be running around setting up laptops and projectors whilst the auditor is signing in at reception. Nothing will raise an auditor’s inquisitive antenna more than if you look like you forgot they were coming or you left it to the last minute to prepare. Auditors are looking for control.  Control and accountability are their watchwords. In fact, control underpins your adherence to a set of processes or a Standard. Give them that confidence from the moment they arrive to when they have delivered their findings and left.

 

By the way it tuns out the Romans did quite a lot; the aqueduct, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine and peace to name a few.

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