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Home News What is an IT Audit? (and why you might need one…)

What is an IT Audit? (and why you might need one…)

September 16, 2021 Leo Expert advice

How long have you been running your systems? Aside from being well-connected, fast and efficient, are they safe, secure and still relevant to your business? An information technology audit takes stock of all your IT controls and processes and considers how they fit with your business activities and goals.

The IT audit is a key component of our IT strategy consultancy. Like a mechanic, we make sure everything is running properly, identify areas that need attention and build your long-term IT strategy around our findings, so you have what you need to deliver for both your business and your clients.

What does an audit look like? 

We start with a top-level summary, as below, of each quadrant of your IT environment: infrastructure, security, support and telecommunications, and use a weighted scoring system to generate an overall average audit score. This gives you a quick overview on the current level of urgency around your systems, with items summarised and colour-coded for ease of reference.

From here, we then dig deeper into the details for each item in our comprehensive report, showing where things are already doing well, and where there is room for improvement. All these factors will be related back to your base monthly expense, so you can easily compare plans.

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Types of IT Audit

As mentioned, in an audit of your IT environment we look at the four aspects of your IT processes and procedures: infrastructure, security, support and telecommunications. When all these are working together in unison, you’ll have a very strong business. If any are failing, then they risk bringing the others down with them.

 

01
Infrastructure
Your IT infrastructure is the foundation on which all of your technology rests, and it’s vital to verify its integrity before building on top of it. We’ll take a look at everything from your servers and workstations to your cabling, wireless capability, power management, backups, remote accessibility and more. Poor initial design decisions can lead to a host of problems down the line, such as downtime, lost sales, wasted staff hours and increased running costs. This detailed analysis provides summaries for each item in your Base Plan infrastructure and cumulated into a general infrastructure score.
02
Security
Digital security is a huge concern for businesses, and this section is arguably the most important in your audit report. With so much riding on the security of your infrastructure, you can’t afford to have any deficiencies. Amongst other things, we’ll look at your Internet security, your anti-virus and anti-spam measures, email encryption and your VPN (if you’re using one). Fortunately, an abundance of security solutions are available to help mitigate the risks and protect your data, and we can point out areas where you can keep both your business and your clients safe.
03
Managed Support & Services
The most effective way to minimise reactive measures and proactively manage your IT infrastructure is through Managed Support & Services. We’ll look closely at how you use, monitor and manage your hardware and software, and what resources you work with to keep systems operating at full capacity. Outsourcing your IT support can help improve operations, with the fixed monthly fee typically balanced by the reduction in your overall expenses.
04
Telecommunications
One of the fastest-evolving areas of technology, telecommunications is seeing constant innovations every year, and it will pay to stay on top of them. You may have viewed telecomms as a separate cost to IT, but the proliferation of Voice-over IP (VoIP) solutions and general integration has helped many businesses to save money while greatly improving their business continuity. We can assess how your business is making the most of transcription services, computer access/integration, transferring calls, voice messages via emails and general unified communications to help you move quickly to address customer needs, provide services and save time in all areas.

How can we support you with the audit?

There are three main ways we partner with clients to improve their IT resources during the audit phase. Which will work best for you will depend on your immediate needs and the status of your current IT provision.

  • Acting as a second pair of eyes for your existing IT support. This is particularly useful when you need specialist expertise that you don’t have in-house.
  • Working with internal IT teams. Audit and support alongside internal projects or taking control of your IT environment and support needs.
  • Taking control of managing your whole IT environment. Outsourcing in this way will save you money on salaries and, at the same time, deliver a high level of expertise from a team that becomes invested in your future success.
telecoms

What we do

Our services are always tailored to each client’s needs, so you know you are getting the attention and long-term planning that will make a difference to your business. Here’s what the practical outputs of our work typically involve:

  • Most importantly, we work to a 3-year business plan. As part of your strategy for development and growth, we review where your business is going (any plans to  expand or consolidate) and help to ensure that your IT scales as you do.
  • Looking at everything – your servers, full organisation, password management, computers, cabling, power management, security and more, as you’ve seen in the details of our audit report.
  • The audit reviews the status of your current IT support and how it is impacting your business. It might be minimal, but could equally also be crippling.
  • During the audit we’re careful to document what’s right as well as what’s wrong before we show the impact on performance.
  • Reviewing how old your hardware is. Could your equipment be out of warranty? Should we be replacing or upgrading certain machines?
  • Performing ad-hoc auditing as and when desired or required. You might be looking to move office, take on more staff or increase response times.
  • Looking at the context of your IT environment and assessing why it’s got to its current situation (for example, you could still be using old systems due to budget constraints).
  • Giving a realistic cost to fix the system and/or find new solutions. We’re sensitive to budgetary needs and work with preferred suppliers to deliver the best value.

Depending on how you work and the things that we identify, we can audit and fix as we go or present our findings to you and discuss the next steps to help you remove the vulnerabilities in your systems.

Why You need an IT Audt

There are a number of vital, basic reasons why you need an IT audit:

  • Documenting the areas of vulnerability across your site
  • Getting the data to see where you are as a business and what action you need to take (with or without using us as your long-term partner)
  • Ensuring you’re not exposing yourself to avoidable risk
  • Protecting yourself and your business
  • Enabling maintenance to be undertaken more easily
  • Aligning the devices and software across your entire organisation

What are the common things that we see from an IT audit?

One common, easily-fixable thing that leads to vulnerabilities in your IT is password management. Our audit looks at all areas around security, from server infrastructure to how you’re storing passwords.

Is an IT audit even more important now?

An audit has always been important. It’s a critical first step to finding out what needs to be focused on and taking action to bring your business up to speed. It’s common for clients to think they need IT support, but what that actually entails can vary greatly.

However, technology evolution and innovation progresses faster every year, as has the way we all work. Solutions that were put in place 18 months ago may have been secure for an office environment, but with people now connecting more frequently to/from home or public networks, your systems now face extra vulnerabilities. Apps like RingCentral and devices such as Alexa also cause a higher level of risk to your networks, so it’s worth regularly assessing what you systems are connected to.

How Comms Unite can help You

Worried about your systems and want to talk to someone about an IT audit? Give us a call on 01473 599020 or email hello@comms-unite.co.uk

It won’t hurt to find out your options, and there’s no obligation to use us on an ongoing basis.

August 16, 2021 By Richard
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