Your Tech Audit is More Important Than Ever in 2021

Posted on
May 12, 2021
ATSI Content Team
ATSI Content Team
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Tech audits have always been important because historically many companies play “catch up” with technology trends, adding hardware, software, and other infrastructure on the fly or in a manner that adds layers of sometimes incohesive elements.

As a result, some of your tech and tech stack over the years can become obsolete, redundant, and/or no longer a productive asset working towards your company’s goals. Even worse, without a firm grasp on your technology and data you work with, your company may be left open to cyberattacks and non-compliance issues.Enter the tech audit, which is not only a convenient method of inventorying and cataloguing all the hardware, software, applications, and infrastructure your company owns or uses, but can also give your company a snapshot of its security systems, regulatory compliance, and data integrity.

Your company should be doing a tech audit at least once a year and this tech audit is more important than ever in 2021.

Tech Audit Can Help with Digital Transformation

Technology is always evolving, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of a digital revolution that was already taking place across the globe.

“What we have witnessed over the past year is an acceleration of digitalaustin-distel-744oGeqpxPQ-unsplash transformation,” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna Krishna said in a letter to investors. “Every company in every industry wants to build a much stronger digital foundation to fundamentally change the way its business works. There is no going back. In the next two to three years, we expect to see digital transformation at a rate that, before 2020, we thought would take 5 to 10 years.”

Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and cybersecurity are just some of the transformative technologies that will require companies to either reconfigure current tech or invest in future tech.

“There’s a digital revolution underway. To stay ahead, today’s leaders need a thorough understanding of the rapid—and sometimes radical—developments that are shaping this transformation,” said MIT instructors John R. Williams and Abel Sanchez in their Digital Transformation course.

Of course, to be able to transform your technology, you must understand the current state of your tech and that is why your tech audit in 2021 is crucial.

A Tech Audit is a Tech Audit is a Tech Audit … Or is it?

Before your company can do a tech audit you have to define the goals and parameters of your tech audit. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of tech audit. A tech audit can also be called an information technology audit or IT audit.

Some IT audits have a broader focus than others. Some IT audits are more geared to risks and compliance with your company’s data.

CIO magazine says an “an IT auditor is responsible for analyzing and assessing a company’s technological infrastructure to ensure processes and systems run accurately and efficiently, while remaining secure and meeting compliance regulations.”

Another definition, courtesy of TechTarget, is that “an IT audit is the examination and evaluation of an organization's information technology infrastructure, policies and operations.”

While both of the above definitions can suffice, perhaps the best definition of tech audit we have found comes from the Risk Management and Audit Services department at Harvard University:

“An Information Technology audit is the examination and evaluation of an organization's information technology infrastructure, applications, data use and management, policies, procedures and operational processes against recognized standards or established policies. Audits evaluate if the controls to protect information technology assets ensure integrity and are aligned with organizational goals and objectives.

The Basics of a Tech Audit

The basics of a basic tech audit would include creating an accurate inventory of all your technology assets, including equipment and programs and applications owned or operated by your business.

The three broad areas to focus on would be:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Infrastructure

A tech audit that is more comprehensive would include the three broad areas above plus:

  • Data integrity
  • Security risk and systems
  • Software usage and regulatory compliance

An IT auditing team that undertakes a thorough examination of your business may also address some or all of the following:

  • Applications including cloud-based systems
  • Data use
  • Data management
  • Information processing facilities including data centers
  • Infrastructure including telecom, intranets and extranets
  • IT architectural management and procurement
  • IT procedures
  • Operational tech policies

Specifics of a Tech Audit

Each company can structure their IT audit specifically to meet their organization’s needs. One of the first choices to make is to have the tech audit done in-house, and if so, how many resources to devote to the process, or to outsource the tech audit.

Even the most cursory tech audit will identify every tech asset owned by your company, its location, operational status, current value, expected lifespan, support personnel, and security measures such as passwords and credentials associated with the hardware.

Some companies find it useful to add barcodes or RFID tags to each tech asset, saving valuable time in future tech audits.

Software and applications being used (and even those installed but not being used) including all licensing agreements. Software vendors have the right to audit companies for compliance with their licensing agreements.

Tech Audits Can Test Your Cybersecurity and Data Integrity

A tech audit may be the ideal time to do security tests of systems that handle sensitive data. Some companies will perform penetration tests of their firewalls and other network infrastructure.

Increasingly, there are regulatory compliance regulations for companies that handle customers' data to adhere to -- from the California Consumer Privacy Act to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations. Your tech audit can alert management to compliance issues that need addressing.

A tech audit should strengthen your business continuity plans as it should identify and test your backup systems in place in case of a disaster or data failure.

Contact ATSI Business Communications Systems today to find out how we can help you identify and install the right tech for your business including cloud solutions, carrier services and business phone systems.

Topics: Technology Trends