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Internal audit effectiveness data analytics strategy

Price-Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) releases its “State of the Internal Audit Profession Study” report annually. In 2018, the study sought to highlight the differences between followers, evolvers, and observers in organizations aiming at adopting data analytics to enhance internal audit.

The findings showed that adoption of technology improved the alignment of internal audit outcomes to the organization’s plans. This link is important in meeting cybersecurity standards and thus protecting your data.

What is an evolver?

According to PwC, evolvers are the organizations that have adopted advanced technology. On the other hand, followers are slow in technology adoption while observers fail to take any initiative to use technology in their internal audit functions. What’s worrying is the fact that only 14% of organizations are evolvers. Approximately 75% of these evolvers use technology in internal audit functions

The use of collaboration tools by evolvers

Approximately 74% of evolvers and 43% of followers use collaboration tools in their auditing processes. As your organization’s systems become more complex, there is a need to incorporate more stakeholders in the auditing process thus making it more complicated thus the need for collaboration tools. For example, the use of intranet services enables communication amongst the stakeholders.

The collaboration tools require that you manage all the data involved in communication and other aspects of the audit system. The high number of stakeholders can make the process tricky but you need to use all the tools for an effective process.

Supervising and the consolidation of the audit documents is the reason why the process takes longer than anticipated.  According to the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, there should be communication between the internal manager and the audit manager to enhance time management. Also, the use of dashboards with effective workflow functionalities will equip the audit team to communicate effectively and share various documents that consume too much time in the audit process.

How Evolvers Utilize Risk Assessment and Audit Planning Tools

The evolvers are keen on developing an analytic strategy that will have a stronger risk management ability. Such a strategy will focus on prioritized risks as determined by various audit testing procedures. Your organization should be wary of the evolving risks that constitute a threat to its data. A crucial requirement of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) program is the continuous monitoring of the security environment as opposed to a one-time risk evaluation audit.

The continuous monitoring is particularly important in cybersecurity since virtually all the attacks use fresh techniques that have the potential to undermine various security controls at any time. The cybersecurity risks are dynamic and can change any time which makes it necessary to constantly develop techniques to protect your organization’s systems. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) has been in existence for more than fifty years, but your organization should incorporate it to handle big data and analysis. For example, malicious individuals will research to get the information necessary to access your systems. Public OSINT will allow you insights that will evaluate your risks thus making it possible to know which areas require strong protection during the audit.

The use of Reporting and Ongoing Monitoring Tools by the Evolvers

Tools that will allow you to initiate strong risk management strategies also enable you to have a continuous monitoring, reporting, compliance, and auditing of your security. Your organization should make security a priority to comply with the required standards. To achieve this, there is a need to use the necessary tools to ease the auditing process. Automation and the use of artificial intelligence in the process will better the audit report and offer better recommendations that will guarantee the security of your organization’s systems.

When you use analytics capabilities, you will easily integrate the predictions of risks that are likely to interfere with your data environment. For example, a report by PwC on “what to expect from artificial intelligence” shows that malicious individuals are using artificial intelligence to advance their malware. As such, there is a need that you adopt technology and tools that will enable you to intercept serious threats before they interfere with your data.

If you use similar predictive technology, your organization will experience fewer threats and security breaches which allows you to maintain the acceptable security standards.

Maintaining continuous auditing capabilities by Evolvers

The first crucial step in ensuring continuity in auditing is the risk review process. You should then maintain a sturdy cybersecurity control system that will guarantee a complete risk mitigation process. Also, the internal audit procedures should be top-notch to ensure that you’re completely covered from security breaches.

According to PwC, evolvers use both data analytics and software tools to mitigate cybersecurity threats. Unlike the traditional approach that concentrated on a single-step audit process, the software is designed to a continuous and accurate audit process. It allows you to get real-time insights into the security situation of your organization!


Editors Note: Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated by what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.


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