How Automating Audit Workflows Streamlines the Process

Every audit will involve an official inspection and thorough examination of your company: its IT systems, networks, processes and security. Whether you are having an audit to prove compliance with obligatory regulations, or whether you have chosen to comply with popular voluntary frameworks to show your commitment to an area, an audit will be the proof you need to show your customers or investors the standards you hold. No matter if you’re engaging in a control based audit or risk based audit, any audit is a monumental task that involves significant preparation and labor.

A good attitude towards an audit will go a long way. Instead of considering the audit as an external and extraneous task, look at it as an opportunity to gain insight into your organization, get organized and promote efficiency. Audits can be a great way to boost business objectives by aligning the work you do for the audit with big-picture goals. Failing that, at least make sure this involuntary undertaking is as easy and beneficial as possible!

Traditionally, audits can be time consuming and difficult to run efficiently. The goal of an audit will be to ensure that the necessary policies are being implemented, validate that specific practices are being executed, and that the security controls needed are in place to enforce them. Audit workflow management will utilize your resources to work for you in order to achieve this, taking each stage necessary for the audit and ensuring they flow efficiently and work together.

Identifying the phases of an audit and building workflow automation tools to support both implementation and tracking of the items can turn a slow and painful process into quite an efficient and easy one.

Automating Audit Workflows

Preparation for the Audit

Having everyone on board

Having everyone on board the audit will be essential. Engage cooperation from all the necessary stakeholders. Ensure that the board-level understands the benefits and goals of the audit, but also the work and resources involved. Designate a team to oversee the audit process and act as a bridge between the auditor and employees. Explain to your employees the goal of the audit and what will be required of them. Make sure to adjust the regular workload of employees who will be dealing with the audit, wherever possible. 

A company who has their audit and compliance management in place before beginning an audit will be starting with an advantage. Using a risk and compliance management platform will mean that you already have an integrated system that has all of your controls mapped, documents uploaded, risks mitigated or remediated, and tools established, ready to be applied to or used for the audit. A comprehensive risk assessment will allow you to address potential audit issues and remediate gaps and vulnerabilities. Discovering these before the actual audit will save you the pressure of trying to correct issues in time to meet audit deadlines.  

Automation Opportunity! Don’t worry if you haven’t set up your audit and compliance management in advance. Using an automated platform as you begin your audit process will quickly give you these same advantages. Risk assessments can be automated, findings prioritized automatically, and remediation steps generated to help you gain visibility over your company’s posture, with utmost efficiency. Automated remediation eliminates doubt over what needs to be done and keeps all your tasks centrally accessible and trackable.

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See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
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Taking inventory

Taking inventory is the beginning of preparation for the audit. Make sure to list all your assets, consider systems, networks, equipment. Knowing what you have will make it much easier to flow between the big-picture and the details. When you are faced with a particular task for the audit, you’ll be able to use the list to reference where it applies. Make a list of policies, technical controls and safeguards to understand well what you have.

Third-party vendor management can be a critical part of your audit, and a large volume of the work. Any third party with whom you do business and who may have access to information or systems, will need to uphold the same security standards as yourself. Assessing third parties to see if all of the security requirements are in place can be a staggering undertaking when done manually, especially for numerous vendors. Sending out hundreds of questionnaires, following up, processing results, recommending remediation and following up again… Let’s just say, it’s as exhausting as it sounds. 

Automation Opportunity! A modern risk and compliance management program will help you onboard vendors in minutes, present them with pre-loaded framework questionnaires, automate data collection and analysis, and present you with clear results. You can then empower them to improve their security posture with automated remediation steps, measure their risk scores and track their progress on your compliance platform. This will streamline a huge part of your audit preparation.

Data Collection

Data Collection makes up the bulk of preparing for your audit. Data collection can slow down the audit workflow process as it is challenging to chase up all the evidence, collate all the papers, keep them in order, and organize them efficiently for the auditor. Collecting data this way will engage a lot of employee time and effort. Another related challenge is putting together hundreds of documents in order to analyze them collectively. 

Automation Opportunity! Automated data collection is a key element of workflow automation in auditing. This tool will provide you with a centralized storage solution for easy organization and recall of documentation related to your audit, consolidate all of your necessary evidence and ensure it is securely stored. Being able to upload documents to your audit management platform will allow multiple departments to easily collaborate, and will give you full visibility into the big picture, to track what you have and see what you are missing. This tool also aids you when the auditor asks for clarification on an answer or is missing a document, and overall, will streamline the document review process.

Reporting

Reporting is the final element to prepare in the audit, although it may not signal the end just yet. There may well still be last minute additions, clarifications and requests for documentation. Writing a report takes hours of sifting through evidence, drawing conclusions, collating findings and representing their meaning by calculating charts, graphs or other visual aids. It’s important to comb through your data collection to make sure that no key points are missing and that everything has been included.

Automation Opportunity!  Let your automated platform generate your report for you. Modern automated audit tools will generate comprehensive reports, incorporating all of the necessary data from your data collection, so you won’t need to worry about leaving out any key points. It will automatically collate evidence and present it in a visually pleasing report, according to the output you need for the audit, without the worry of forgetting to include anything.

Using automated audit workflow tools boosts clear communication and task management. It enables you to assign responsibilities easily and track their progress. A visual centralized dashboard will give you full visibility into where you stand in the audit process and what remains to be done. Undertake your audit efficiently with a thorough preparation process and automated tools that eliminate the stress of oversight and organization, knowing the workflow processes are all in place.

Centraleyes provides a cutting edge risk and compliance management platform that will automate the audit workflow process every step of the way. See how our centralized dashboard gives you full visibility and control over the audit preparation and provides you with all the powerful automated tools mentioned here for optimum efficiency and results. Book a free demo today and take a great step towards a successful audit.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days