Most organizations (if not all) have needs related to IT audits to stay protected and compliant with industry standards. As a result, they can benefit from fit-for-purpose IT audit software.
These tools automate the auditing process, streamlining data collection, analysis, and reporting, thereby increasing efficiency and accuracy while reducing manual effort and human error.
Additionally, they help organizations to identify vulnerabilities, compliance gaps, and areas for improvement in their IT environment, enhancing their Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) strategies.
When choosing IT audit software, it’s important to focus on your objective; this can be a solution with a broader scope for more general audits, or if you have a distinct requirement you might benefit from a tool with more restricted capabilities.
Here we will explore audit solutions and what they do. You will also find a comprehensive list with the best options out in the market for 2024 to help you make an informed decision.
Table of contents
- What an IT audit entails
- Software used in IT auditing
- Must-have features of IT audit tools
- 10 best IT audit software options in 2024
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What does an IT audit entail?
An IT audit examines the management controls within an organization’s IT infrastructure and business operations. Its purpose is to assess internal control design and effectiveness by evaluating processes, systems, and technologies to ensure they operate effectively and securely in achieving an organization’s objectives. This involves ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information.
There are some common elements to IT audits that include some of the following:
- Objective and scope setting – What the audit needs to achieve and the breadth and depth of the audit.
- Risk Management – Threat analysis and control evaluation (in the context of identified risks).
- Data collection – Reviewing relevant documents such as policies, procedures, and previous audit reports and interviews and surveys with key personnel.
- Control and system testing – Ensuring that all systems are working as intended, assessing system security and performance.
- Compliance review – Checking industry compliance, regulatory compliance, such as GDPR or HIPAA, and policy and procedure compliance.
- Operational practices review – For example, assessing the Change Management strategy or backup and recovery.
- Performance review – This can be system performance or capacity planning adequacy.
- Audit reporting – Documenting the audit findings, including the areas where controls are inadequate and recommendations for improvement.
- Audit review and follow-up – Including the planned corrective actions and follow-up audits to assess the progress.
Also, as we mentioned, there are different flavors of IT audit, for example:
- General IT controls audits which focus on the overall IT control environment.
- Application controls audits related to specific applications and their data.
- Network security audits that focus on network infrastructure and security controls.
- Disaster recovery and business continuity audits that evaluate your organization’s preparedness for disruptions and disasters.
These different types should be borne in mind when conducting IT audits to ensure that the process and enabling technology are suited to your needs.
What software is used in IT auditing?
The type of IT audit software your organization needs will depend on what it’s focusing on. For example, IT general controls audits will differ from those needed for network security audits. So, when defining what solution is used in IT auditing, there’s a need to differentiate the various use cases.
Here are some tool examples involved in IT general controls audits which likely have the broadest scope:
- An ITAM tool, such as InvGate Insight, provides a more comprehensive coverage by tracking and documentation of IT assets, facilitating compliance checks, and generating reports to ensure alignment with organizational policies and regulatory requirements. These can then be integrated with other tools to incorporate specific capabilities.
- Audit Management and workflow tools such as RSA Archer and MetricStream.
- Data analytics tools such as ACL Analytics and Microsoft Power BI.
- Risk assessment tools such as SAP GRC and Spirent.
- Access and Identity Management tools such as Okta and CyberArk.
- Security and vulnerability assessment tools such as Nessus and QualysGuard.
- Log Management and monitoring tools such as SolarWinds Log & Event Manager and Splunk.
- Network security tools such as Wireshark and Cisco Security Manager.
Similarly, for network security audits, an organization can use a variety of network-focused tools, including:
- Network mapping and visualization tools.
- Network scanners and analyzers.
- Vulnerability assessment tools.
- Network performance and bandwidth monitors.
- Security and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS).
- Firewall and policy management tools.
- Wireless network analysis tools.
- Log and event management tools.
- Password and access control tools.
Must-have features in IT audit tools
This section focuses on the features to be expected in focused IT audit software tools. As we mentioned, the right solution for your needs (and therefore, functions to look for) will ultimately depend on your audit’s scope and objective.
Nevertheless, the common features to look for in IT audit software for IT general controls audits include the following:
- Audit Planning
- Audit Trail
- Change Management
- Compliance Management
- Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA)
- Document Management
- Document Storage
- Forms Management
- Incident Management
- Inspection Management
- Issue Management
- Risk Assessment
- Task Management
- Workflow Management
Also, these generic IT audit software features can be augmented with focused IT management software that facilitates audit completion, for example:
- Information Governance
- Data Access Governance
- Ransomware Protection
- Privileged Access Management
- Active Directory Security
- Identity and Access Management (IAM)
10 best IT audit software options in 2024
Now that we have explored what three tools do and how they can benefit organizations looking to up the audit game, here are our top picks for IT audit software options in 2024:
1. InvGate Insight
InvGate Insight helps you streamline your audit process by providing a comprehensive overview of your IT infrastructure, notifying you of anything that might need your attention, and generating reports to help you take action where and when needed.
Also, the tool’s integration options include directory services and IAM tools, seamlessly combining the benefits of ITAM with other auditing functions all from the same platform. You can check out the full list of InvGate Insight’s integrations here.
The specific capabilities that help with IT audits include:
- Inventory Management – The solution offers a unified IT asset inventory in just 24 hours, enabling you to overlook and monitor your complete environment and ensuring nothing is missed.
- Risk Management automation – Also, its different automation options (such as Health Rules, for different levels of risk) will alert you when something needs attention.
- Software compliance – The software compliance feature is key for the audit process, as it monitors your software assets and reports on unused or non-compliant installations.
- Reporting capabilities – Finally, reports and customizable dashboards enable you to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement. providing other data that’s useful in IT audit preparation.
2. Netrix Auditor
Netwrix Auditor is a platform for end-user behavior analysis and risk mitigation in hybrid IT environments. In the context of IT audits, Netwrix Auditor helps through:
- Change auditing – Providing detailed records of all changes, deletions, and additions.
- User behavior analysis – Tracking user activities to help identify suspicious behaviors.
- Risk assessment – Identifying and prioritizing risks, including vulnerability assessments, with insight into potential vulnerabilities and offering recommendations.
- Predefined compliance and customer reports – Helping to comply with various industry standards.
3. RSA Archer
RSA Archer offers a GRC platform for the management of enterprise risks, policies, and compliance, including IT audits. RSA Archer offers:
- Audit Management – With centralized audit planning for audit activities across the enterprise.
- Risk assessment – Automated risk assessments and a catalog of risks across the organization.
- Compliance Management – Providing a repository of regulatory content and automated compliance workflows.
- Issue Management – For tracking audit findings with notifications and alerts.
MetricStream is an enterprise GRC platform with one of its core applications Audit Management. The Audit Management solution streamlines the audit process, aiding in IT audits as follows:
- Audit planning and scheduling – With risk-based and dynamic audit planning, with standardized templates for workpapers.
- Issue Management – Automated workflows, including issue tracking to help with the remediation of issues uncovered during IT audits.
- Risk and Control Management – Control assessments to mitigate IT risks and integration with various risk frameworks.
- Reporting and dashboards – Customizable audit reports and dashboards that provide a quick snapshot of an IT audit’s status and findings.
MasterControl solutions streamline and automate the audit management process. It’s primarily utilized in regulated industries, but MasterControl also offers a solution for IT audits. The key features of the IT audit software include:
- Audit planning and scheduling – The planning and scheduling of periodic IT audits, with the ability to adapt the audit plans to respond to evolving IT risks, regulatory changes, or organizational priorities.
- Automated workflows – These guide the audit from initiation through completion, with task assignment to help ensure responsibilities are clear and deadlines met.
- Risk-based auditing – Risk assessment capabilities identify and prioritize IT risks, and mitigation practices enhance overall IT governance.
- Real-time reporting and analysis – Customizable reports meet the specific needs of IT audits, facilitating data-driven decision-making.
AuditBoard is a comprehensive Audit Management software solution that improves the efficiency and productivity of audit processes, including IT audits. Here’s how AuditBoard assists with IT audits:
- Audit workflow automation – For repetitive and time-consuming tasks with custom workflows to suit the specific requirements and complexities of IT audits.
- Risk assessment – Risk identification and analysis to help identify, assess, and prioritize risks, and dynamic risk registers that are updated in real-time to reflect the current risk landscape.
- Compliance Management – Regulatory alignment helps ensure IT audits are conducted in alignment with relevant regulations, standards, and best practices, with continuous compliance monitoring facilitating corporate readiness for external audits.
- Reporting and dashboards – Customizable reports cater to different stakeholder needs and preferences, and interactive dashboards provide real-time insights into the status and results of IT audits.
Workiva is a platform that offers a wide array of solutions focused on connected reporting, compliance, and data management, including streamlining and automating IT audit processes. The IT audit functionality in Workiva includes the following:
- Document and Workflow Management – Automation of workflows, reducing manual effort and streamlining IT audit processes, and document management features such as version control, audit trails, and secure access permissions.
- Risk and control assessment – Identifying and assessing risks associated with IT processes and systems, and facilitating the testing of IT controls.
- Compliance Management – Helping to ensure that IT audits are compliant with relevant regulations, standards, and frameworks, plus the platform supports continuous monitoring to maintain ongoing compliance and identify issues promptly.
- Reporting and dashboards – Reports can be automatically generated, and customizable dashboards provide valuable insights into IT audit progress and findings.
Hyperproof is a compliance operations platform designed to simplify the compliance process, including IT audits. Its relevant features for IT audits include:
- Pre-built frameworks – Aligned with the various compliance standards pertinent to IT, such as GDPR, HIPAA, SOC 2, and ISO 27001, organizations can also customize or build new frameworks to meet specific audit requirements or organizational preferences.
- Evidence collection and management – Automating the process of collecting evidence and storing the collected evidence centrally.
- Risk Management – Identifying, assessing, and managing the risks associated with IT processes and systems, and the platform also assists in developing and tracking risk mitigation plans and actions.
- Continuous monitoring – Continuous monitoring of compliance status and the progress of audit-related activities, with real-time notifications about task deadlines, updates, and areas that require attention.
Pathlock is a platform that specializes in providing solutions for enterprise security, risk management, and compliance. What Pathlock offers to support IT audits includes:
- Continuous controls monitoring – Real-time monitoring of user activity and access and automated risk detection.
- Access governance – Centralizing access control information across multiple systems and applications, and assisting in managing and reviewing access based on roles and responsibilities.
- Compliance Management – Features are aligned to support compliance with various regulations like SOX, GDPR, and HIPAA, and dashboards and tools help in tracking, managing, and reporting compliance statuses and activities.
- Automated workflow and remediation – The platform allows for the customization of workflows to suit specific organizational processes and audit requirements, including automating responses to specific risk findings or control violations.
Logigate is a GRC that helps organizations automate and centralize their GRC processes and manage their IT audit programs more effectively. LogicGate’s solution for IT audits includes:
- Workflow automation and process management – LogicGate allows for the creation of custom workflows that map directly to an organization’s specific IT audit processes, and the platform can automate various audit tasks, such as sending notifications, assigning responsibilities, and setting deadlines.
- Risk and control assessment – Identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks related to IT assets, processes, and systems, and testing the effectiveness of IT controls.
- Compliance management – It helps organizations manage and demonstrate compliance with various regulatory requirements relevant to their IT environments, and the platform includes libraries of regulatory content that enhance compliance management efforts.
- Reporting and dashboards – Customizable reporting capabilities enable organizations to create reports that meet their specific audit and compliance requirements, and visual dashboards provide real-time insights into the status of audit activities, risks, and controls.
Here we have gone through a range of IT audit needs, including IT general controls, application controls, network security, and disaster recovery and business continuity.
For each one of these types, the process incorporates some common steps, such as objective and scope setting, risk assessment, data collection, Security, Compliance, and Performance Management, and audit review and follow-up.
There are many IT audit software tools available to assist and streamline these processes. The key is understanding what your objectives are to achieve and applying this knowledge to the use of a tool or tools that will help.
And, if you want to further explore how InvGate Insight can support your IT audit process (and more!) book a free trial and explore for yourself. You can book a call with our experts that will answer any other questions or doubts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of an IT audit?
A good IT audit example is an IT security audit focused on evaluating the effectiveness of corporate cybersecurity controls and practices. Its objective will likely be related to the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls, policies, and procedures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets.
The IT security audit’s scope will include:
- Reviewing cybersecurity policies and procedures.
- Evaluating access controls.
- Assessing network security controls.
- Examining the efficiency and effectiveness of incident response and disaster recovery plans.
How do you audit an IT system?
In terms of the IT security audit process, these required actions can be mapped to the four scope elements described above:
- Reviewing cybersecurity policies and procedures to determine their comprehensiveness and alignment with industry best practices. A typical audit finding could be that policies are well-documented and up-to-date but lack a formal review process.
- Evaluating access controls, including password policies, role-based access, and authentication mechanisms. A typical audit finding could be that access controls are robust, but multi-factor authentication isn’t consistently implemented across all systems.
- Assessing network security controls, including firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and network segmentation practices. A typical audit finding could be that network security controls are effective, but there’s no formal process for regularly updating firewall rules.
- Examining the efficiency and effectiveness of incident response and disaster recovery plans to assess their adequacy. A typical audit finding could be that incident response plans are well-documented, but disaster recovery plans haven’t been tested in the past year.
The IT security audit might result in recommendations for improvements such as:
- Implementing a formal review process focused on updating and maintaining cybersecurity policies and procedures.
- Adopting multi-factor authentication across all systems to enhance access control security.
- Establishing a regular review schedule for firewall rules to maintain network security.
- Conducting regular disaster recovery plan tests to ensure their effectiveness and corporate preparedness.
What are the three major objectives of an IT audit?
An IT audit that’s focused on evaluating an organization’s information technology infrastructure, processes, and operations has three major objectives:
- Evaluating system reliability and integrity – This includes ensuring that the data generated, processed, and reported by IT systems is accurate and reliable, and assessing whether data is protected against unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.
- Assessing system security and compliance – This includes evaluating the effectiveness of physical and logical security controls and ensuring that IT systems and processes comply with relevant legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements.
- Reviewing system availability and performance – This includes assessing the reliability and availability of IT systems and services and reviewing the performance of IT systems to ensure they meet organizational objectives and user needs.