What is an IT Audit?

An information technology audit, or information systems audit, is an examination of the management controls within an Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. The evaluation of obtained evidence determines if the information systems are safeguarding assets, maintaining data integrity, and operating effectively to achieve the organisation’s goals or objectives. These reviews may be performed in conjunction with a financial statement audit, internal audit, or other form of attestation engagement.

IT audits are also known as “automated data processing (ADP) audits” and “computer audits”. They were formerly called “electronic data processing (EDP) audits”.

An IT audit is different from a financial statement audit. While a financial audit’s purpose is to evaluate whether an organization is adhering to standard accounting practices, the purpose of an IT audit is to evaluate the system’s internal control design and effectiveness. This includes, but is not limited to, efficiency and security protocols, development processes, and IT governance or oversight.

Installing controls are necessary but not sufficient to provide adequate security. People responsible for security must consider if the controls are installed as intended, if they are effective in case any breach in security has occurred and, if so, what actions can be done to prevent future breaches. These enquiries must be answered by independent and unbiased observers. These observers are performing the task of information systems auditing. In an Information Systems (IS) environment, an audit is an examination of information systems, their inputs, outputs, and processing.

The primary function of an IT audit is to evaluate the systems that are in place to guard an organization’s information. Specifically, information technology audits are used to evaluate the organization’s ability to protect its information assets and properly dispense information to authorized parties.