IT Audits: Everything You Need to Know

by Swapnil Wale

What is the Objective of IT Governance in IT Auditing?

There are five primary objectives of IT governance in IT auditing:

IT E2E Audit Plan
  • To ensure the strategic alignment of IT's goals with the business goals. It is necessary to support the business's objectives as well.
  • Assuring value delivery by ensuring the agreed benefits are delivered by IT. Focusing on optimizing as well as proving its value.
  • Managing risks by keeping the management aware of those the business faces in IT. All the legal and regulatory requirements are considered while the risks are assessed and managed
  • Resource management is another objective of IT governance in IT auditing. It ensures that IT assets are being used efficiently.
  • In addition, IT governance also manages the performance in IT. IT audits are all about keeping the management aware of how IT is doing.

What Are the 3 Types of Audits?

 Audits are usually classified into three types. Each affects a business differently, so businesses must conduct them regularly.

1. Internal Audit

 This is an assessment of an organization's internal controls and processes. This type of audit ensures that the organization complies with regulations.

An internal audit makes it easier to maintain an accurate and timely data report. It is essential to regularly schedule internal audits in a wide range of industries.

 Through these audits, organizations can figure out what is preventing efficient operations, potential problems, and other drawbacks that might show up in the external audit later.

It is also essential in risk management and guarding an organization against fraud and other threats.

2. External Audit

 An independent firm conducts this type of audit. It results in a verified certification of financial statements and reports of a business. This is required for all publicly held businesses and can be requested by shareholders, investors, and lenders if there is a suspected discrepancy in the reports.

3. IRS Audit

 Unlike the previous audits, an IRS audit is conducted by the Internal Revenue Service to confirm that the information on the organization's tax return is accurate. This audit can be set off when some unusual information is listed on the forms, or it may be entirely random. A tax return is considered for an IRS audit only six years after the initial filing.

What Should an IT Audit Include? Strategies to Remember

 No matter the nature or size of your business, the IT audit should cover the following areas.

Physical and Logical Security

 This should be included in your IT audit strategy to understand your company's physical security to protect sensitive data.

This can include checking the server rooms and providing the employees with security badges. Your network can also similarly use a checkup.

 You can eliminate security vulnerabilities by ensuring all procedures are well-documented, looking for holes in your firewall or intrusion prevention systems, scanning for unauthorized access points, and so on

Regulatory Compliance

 While conducting internal IT audits, the auditors will look for your company's compliance with laws and regulations. If you want the audit to go smoothly, you should list the rules and regulations relevant to your enterprise and the requirements to comply with them.

Data Backups

 In your IT audit strategy, there should be a review of the schedule of your organization's critical data backup. This is an essential part of your disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Including this in your strategy can ensure readiness for potential natural disasters and cyberattacks.


 Best practices suggest that IT audit strategies include a comprehensive inventory of the company's hardware. Each piece's age and overall performance demands should be noted, and the inventory should be maintained in an asset management system. Doing this every three or five years can let you know what equipment needs maintenance or replacement. 

What is the IT Audit Framework?

 An IT audit framework contains the guidance and techniques that lead to consistency and effectiveness of audits. It involves standards and best practices in line with the audit processes to ensure an enterprise's operational effectiveness and compliance.

An organization can use the audit framework as the reference for mandatory standards and recommended best practices during IT audits and assurance engagements.

What Are the 4 Phases of an Audit Process?

 Both IT and financial audits follow similar patterns. The four primary phases include:

  • Planning
  • Tests of controls
  • Substantive tests
  • Audit completion/reporting

Evidence is collected through each phase to support the auditor's conclusions. Various techniques are employed in each phase to show the fairness of the evidence provided.

What Are the 4 Types of Audit Reports?

 Audits reports give the organization a professional opinion on the company's performance, financial situation, etc. The types of audit reports are classified based on the company's compliance with a regulatory body and the accuracy of the information provided.

1. Clean Report or Unqualified Opinion

 When the auditors find no violations against compliance or discrepancies in the organization's documents, the auditors give a clean report. It is also called an unqualified opinion because auditors conclude the company does not need to adjust or correct anything to improve.

2. Qualified Report or Qualified Opinion

 Here, there are certain violations of compliance guidelines, and the auditors draft a report mentioning them. They also give their professional opinion on how to improve the company's running. Thus, it is also called a qualified opinion.

3. Disclaimer Report or Disclaimer of Opinion

 While auditing, an organization is supposed to give unrestricted access to its data to the auditors. If the auditors feel that the company has been withholding information, a disclaimer report is issued.

4. Adverse Audit Report or Adverse Opinion

 When a company is completely out of line with compliance guidelines and other regulations, auditors discover large misstatements and irregularities. In such cases, an adverse audit report is issued. It contains detailed opinions of the auditor on how the organization can improve.

What Framework Do IT Auditors Use?

COBIT from ISACA is the most popular IT control framework within the IT audit community. The most commonly used ISO control frameworks for internal auditors are ISO:9001 for quality auditing and ISO:27001 as another IT control framework example.

What is IT Governance Audit Assurance?

 This is the kind of assurance stakeholders look for concerning the work of internal auditors. It answers a few questions like the management's understanding of making IT governance effective, making the IT management competent, identifying key technology, and so on.

Summing Up

 IT audits are necessary to ensure your systems are not vulnerable to any attacks. Assessing the availability of computer systems, the security and confidentiality of the information, and if the system is accurate, reliable, and timely can be critical to any business.