The IT Audit Program key elements documented here comes from an audit compliance, or auditors perspective. If you implement an IT Audit Program, you will enable great results that follow with fewer (maybe zero) information security incidents, and fewer (maybe zero) audit comments written during an external IT audit.
An effective Information Security Program includes awareness, education, training, policies, procedures, controls, reviews, and especially, separation of responsibilities. However, good Information Security Practices require more than correct practices to be effective. They must have real and continued management backing and involvement.
Management must be pro-active regarding Information Security Practices. They must let their people know it's important through example. They must take pride in their program. They must help bring about attitudinal changes in their people through;
strongly administered security awareness programs
bringing about a clear understanding of the reasoning behind Information Security Practices;
instilling real concern about Information Security
instilling dissatisfaction with anything less than great Information Security.
Executive management must apprised newly appointed management detail of the company's information security practices, and annually refresh existing management too.
In addition, to be successful with Information Security Practices and pass an IT Audit Program, management must also organize their team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, with no conflicts of interest. Separation of responsibilities must be an integral part of Information Security. Training must be provided as required.
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Note: Proof must be produced during an IT Audit Program to substantiate ones practices. Archive audit documentation a minimum of six-months.
Further, management must also learn to manage "smarter". The multitude of information security practices required to address the major concerns and issues, and the associated workload to do so, mandates that management be imaginative in administering the responsibilities to put these practices initially in place, and keep them in place on an ongoing basis.
IT Audit Program Current Situation Assessment
IT Audit Program consistently turn up fundamental Information Security violations.
Managers do not consistently promote or enforce good Information Security practices in their work groups.
Employees do not view software copyright violations as serious offenses.
Employees are not aware of the Information Security issues related to networks.
Viruses are an increasing threat to company computing systems.
Employees do not consistently backup and place offsite their work to facilitate recovery in the event of a disaster.
Crisis and Contingency Management plans are not consistently in place across the entire company.
Employees do not view telecommunication fraud or misuse as serious offenses.
Distributed processing lacks the same level of controls that exist in mainframe environments.
Increased theft of laptops.
Increase of widespread disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires.
No consistency of Contingency Management plans across all platforms.
No consistent Information Security Awareness Program across the Company's Business Entities.
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A robust Information Security Awareness Program will always support Corporate IT Policy and organizational goals and objectives:
Corporate IT Policy will state the need for Information Security Awareness, and if it doesn't, it should.
In general, most IT Audit Program looks at an Information Security Awareness Program as being visible with surface proof that management is concerned, the business is controlled, information is adequately protected, and laws are not being violated.
The value can be articulated to leadership in terms of their objectives.
The results can anticipate and satisfy company and customer unspoken needs.
Organizational Needs Identification
Personal Computer User Issues:
Software usage / licensing concerns
CD / USB / SD and other media security
Practice and risks of exchanging media between work and home
Business / non-business use
Failing to logoff
Risks to system
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The IT Audit Program identifies potential risks to your business and your customers' business exist if no formal Information Security Awareness Program exists. You may not know about or be able to comply with corporate policies, procedures, and sound business practices, potentially resulting in the following:
Poor audit compliance reports; in addition to loose security, this is usually a career limiting event
Loss of customer confidence in your business
Increased risk of loss of customer information
Risk to information integrity
Risk to information confidentiality
Risk to information availability
Increased vulnerability to theft
Increased vulnerability to unauthorized access
Increased risk to personal / physical safety
Unpreparedness for a disaster
Some areas of vulnerability or risk associated with Information Security are:
Handling of sensitive information
PC security practices
Leadership example / practices
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responsibility for the protection and integrity of assets under their control
responsibility to promote Information Security Awareness
obligation to see that unauthorized access violation reports are reviewed and resolved
obligation to investigate and correct known exposures
responsibility to ensure that information security personnel are expeditiously informed of all personnel transfers and terminations in order to remove system access privileges
responsibility to ensure that material is disposed of properly
responsibility to incorporate the segregation of duties concept where it makes good business sense
responsibility to ensure that the overall work environment is secure, and that information is protected during all phases of testing, and that the test and production environments are kept separate
perform periodic random reviews of employee activities and datasets to act as a deterrent against non-business use of company resources
responsible for compliance with all corporate policy, especially Information Security and Business Continuity
Employees need to know:
Sensitive information handling practices
Severe weather actions
Off-site usage of computer resources
Proper PC backup procedures
Voice mail protection
Employees must be aware of customer policies and requirements for handling of customer data.
Employees must be aware of and exercise proper information handling procedures.
Your company can address all of the issues surfaced during an IT Audit Program through a robust Information Security Awareness Program. These are all real business issues that any legitimate business would take action to address - action begins with AWARENESS.