First Auditing Is Over. What Is Next?
Congratulations! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Gaining control of your data flow and operations cannot be easy and achieved in one day or with a single review. Get ready for new actions! As you have just finished your first major audit, you might be wondering, "What is next?". Read this article to get some inspiration to continue moving forward towards transparency and accountability.
Do not stop auditing. First and foremost, do not stop auditing. Instead of putting the auditing program on hold until the next meeting with certified auditors, schedule regular in-house audits. On-going monitoring does not need to be as detailed as the one you perform quarterly or twice a year. There is no need to review all assets or perform access tests every day, just create a feasible monitoring plan and stick to it. Incorporating smaller but efficient audits in your day-to-day routine will help you stay on top of changes in your organization while still saving time and effort. For example, if you have a fellow internal auditing department, agree on the Cygna Auditor reports and widgets that you will review and how often, set a schedule for investigating user activity-related cases, and configure alerts to be notified on critical changes. Even being the only auditor or security officer in the company, dedicate at least thirty minutes per day to assess your environment with Cygna Auditor. Grasping control of everyday activities will save you much time during the next major audit.
Regularly review your policies and assets. As your company and its operations change over time, do not hesitate to review your current regulatory policies. Are they still relevant to your organization? Efficient? What about the assets you monitor? Have the business critical assets changed? Feel free to introduce improvements such as adding new activities to your control framework or excluding data from auditing if you no longer consider it important. Make sure to keep your auditing procedures documented and log changes. Maintaining a comprehensive description of your auditing framework is equally important as following it. Otherwise, how would you know the path you follow and goals you pursue?
Monitor your industry. Security standards continue evolving and every so often the industry adopts newer standards or best practices. Keep up to date with these changes.
Communicate. Your role of internal auditor empowers you not only to keep track of data flow and supervise your colleagues but also promote communication and spread awareness why auditing and security matters. In a company where employees are proactive and concerned about digital security, the chances of account compromise or data breach are much lower than in a company that performs audits silently and does not provide any security training for general employees.
Iterate. Move towards transparency and accountability in smaller steps, iterations. Over and over again, set new auditing goals, reevaluate your policies, check your critical assets, implement new requirements and best practices, and never ever stop auditing.
Though management is in charge of implementing and maintaining security controls, you, as an internal auditor, are given the authority to constantly validate compliance with internal and external standards and advise on possible improvements to company's operations. So take the most out the time while you are in-between major compliance audits and use it to enhance your organization's security and business efficiency.