What is a Technology Audit, and Does Your Business Need One?

The term technology audit can also be used interchangeably with an IT audit. A technology or IT audit can be important for businesses of all sizes.

An audit might be one of the first things, for example, that a technology strategy consulting firm would do if you hired them.

It’s good, even if you’re outsourcing it, to have an idea of what this type of audit is, how it works and what the business value might be.

While every businesses’ needs are going to be unique in some ways, the following are some of the general things to know about a technology audit.

What is a Technology Audit?

First, the basics—what is a technology audit? Essentially a technology audit is an evaluation and thorough examination of your IT infrastructure, as well as:

  • Applications
  • Data use
  • Data management
  • Procedures
  • Operational policies
  • Operational processes

The very general goal of a technology audit is to make sure there are the necessary controls in place to protect your tech assets and to ensure that all of your IT infrastructures is in line with your business objectives and goals.

The categories of an IT audit can also be broken down into the following categories:

  • Systems and applications
  • Information processing facilities
  • Systems development
  • IT architecture management
  • Intranets, extranets, telecommunications, client/server

You want to ensure that, along with everything being secure and protecting your assets, you are making the best use of available assets.

An audit can look for areas of improvement in terms of security or efficiency, or perhaps both.

When an IT audit is finished, you should know how to invest most wisely regarding technology.

Areas of Focus

In a technology audit, you want to build your strategy around a few things, which include:

  • Increased productivity: If you can automate any business processes, it’s going to make your organization more productive and likely improve performance as well. Specific solutions that might fall into the category of improving productivity include collaboration and communication tools, as well as networking solutions.
  • Growth: You might be able to advance your business and set yourself apart from your competition with the right technology solutions to help facilitate said growth. When you have a modern, elevated IT infrastructure, you’re able to learn more about your customers and make better data-driven decisions.
  • Cost reduction: You might find that what’s uncovered during a technology audit is that your infrastructure is too complex, and that’s hindering your growth. You may be able to include more automation but simultaneously simplify your network, helping your employees be as productive as possible and cutting costs.
  • Continuity: There are some key elements that determine business continuity, including backup and restoration solutions and your data security tools.

Structuring an IT Audit

The specifics of an IT audit and how it’s structured can vary depending on who’s conducting it and what the goals are, but some of the things to plan ahead include:

  • You should decide on the scope of an audit before you get started. You want to involve key stakeholders as you’re planning and make sure that you know the particular risks you hope to identify.
  • Decide whether or not you’ll need outside resources to help you conduct the audit, which you likely will.
  • In the implementation of your audit, make sure that you’re ahead of any updated practices, and ensure you’re mitigating risks and securing assets.
  • If you aren’t an IT professional and you’re outsourcing your audit, make sure the report you receive is in language that you and other decision-makers can easily understand.

While the above are general protocols, the following are even more specific steps to make sure you get a complete picture of your IT infrastructure.

  • An audit should include a security check of all devices and networks. This includes making sure all security software is properly installed and working. You’ll check your firewall system and make sure that your system is physically secured.
  • Check every piece of software in use in the business. Any personal software should be removed, and you should go over all licensing agreements. Check for where gaps may exist as far as your software needs and that you’re using the most updated version.
  • Hardware should be audited.
  • Audit your backup systems.

Finally, as part of a technology audit, you should check your document management system and your printers.

From there, make sure your business has a strategic plan for technology. If any of the above sounds intimidating, you might consider working with a specialized technology consulting company that can guide you through the process.