Data Analytics Strategy for Internal Audits

by March 27, 2019 0 comments

Are you an evolver, a follower, or an observer? Well, the influential audit firm, Price-Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), shed some light on the difference between the three in its 2018 “State of the Internal Audit Profession Study”. Let’s look at the difference between the three according to PWC:

•  Evolvers: These are organizations that heavily rely on technology to enable their internal audit functions.

•  Followers: These are organizations that are slow at adopting technology for their internal audit functions.

•  Observers: These are organizations that do not implement technology to carry out their internal audit functions.


How Evolvers utilize collaborative tools

According to the study, Evolvers account for 14% of organizations, with 75% of Evolvers having high regard for their internal audit function. The study further reveals that 74% and 43% of Evolvers and Followers respectively presently make use of collaborative tools.

As an organization’s audit program matures, it is crucial for more stakeholders to be integrated into the audit process. Intranet sites and shared drives are tools that can allow for cross-functional correspondence among internal stakeholders.

As the number of stakeholders increases, the number of administrative follower-up tasks also increases. As a result, internal auditors are burdened and their ability to efficiently and effectively perform audit tasks is limited. Since time allocations are a key indicator of performance for many audits, workflow troubles can minimize the efficacy of the internal audit function.

Auditors tend to spend more time on supervision and gathering audit documentation. According to experts, the time management burden can be eased if there is communication between the internal auditor and the audit manager.

Audit teams that make use of dashboards that have effectual task management features are not only able to communicate effectively, but they also get to share documentation. This ensures that audits are carried out quickly.


How Evolvers utilize risk assessment and audit planning tools

Part of the enterprise risk management process involves having insight into the constantly changing risks that threaten your organization. The objectives of a primary directive of governance, risk and compliance program comprise of both moment-in-time risk evaluation and constant monitoring of the environment.

At any moment, attacks that use prior undiscovered vulnerabilities and zero-day attacks can destabilize controls. Therefore, constant monitoring is highly important as far as cybersecurity is concerned. Luckily, there are different types of OSINT services that are publicly available to help organizations better assess risks and mitigate them.

Importance of big data that evaluates threats as they manifest cannot be overlooked, especially now that cybersecurity risks tend to constantly evolve. Such big data can allow for a stronger security, compliance, and audit standpoint. We’ve had open source intelligence (OSINT) for over fifty years, but big data collection and analysis enables more organizations to integrate it.


How Evolvers utilize reporting and ongoing monitoring tools

The good thing about tools that facilitate risk management is that they can also be used to continuously monitor and report the effectiveness of an organization’s security, compliance, and auditing.

Automation and artificial intelligence are highly essential when taking a security-first approach to compliance and audit. Your internal audit department can greatly benefit from tools that can help you look at past activities, present activities, and activities that are likely to occur.

Companies that use predictive technologies to advance their analytics maturity levels are less exposed to the risk of a security breach. Even with the advent of new risks, fewer security breaches enable organizations to sustain a suitable level of security that minimizes outdated regulatory and standard required best practices.


How Evolvers retain continuous auditing potential

There are three steps that evolvers usually take in order to maintain their continuous auditing capabilities. The first step they take is to review risk. The second step involves maintaining a strong cybersecurity control system. Lastly, they prove that they have mitigated risks as part of their internal audit procedures.

Besides incorporating data analytics to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risks, evolvers also integrate dashboard and Software-as-a-Service (tools) to constantly document their compliance stance.

To prove a continuous compliance approach to data protection, you will need real-time insights. This cannot be achieved with a traditional audit approach as it focuses on a single instant glance at your IT security. So, what you need is a tool that enables continuous documentation and insight in addition to easing communication between stakeholders.


How Evolvers can benefit from Automated GRC

One of the benefits of using automated GRC is that auditing and reporting become quite easy. With a streamlined workflow, Evolvers can get rid of emails while tracing pending tasks. Furthermore, it can help organizations to easily determine whether there are any compliance gaps, thanks to the unified control management feature.

Through streamlined workflow, task managers can be able to view the specific date on which a vendor gave a response and a status. This information is very helpful as it eliminates the need for compliance managers to spend time doing follow-ups with multiple vendors.

There are many intricate tasks that usually make compliance feel like a burden. GRC automation eliminates these tedious tasks, enabling organizations to only focus on those essential issues of compliance. This not only improves the efficiency of compliance officers, but it also improves the efficiency of organizations as far as governance and continuous monitoring is concerned.

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