Top 5 Audit Challenges
IT change auditing is not a walk in the park. Every IT department responsible for change auditing struggles with a variety of issues, many of which are common across IT departments of all kinds, sizes and locations. These challenges, if not managed properly, can thwart the security and compliance efforts of even the most ambitious organizations. That is why finding a solution to these common audit challenges is an essential aspect of life as an IT professional.
5. Managing Multiple Compliance Audits: As times have changed, so too have the rules by which organizations, businesses, agencies and entire industries are expected to conform to. New regulations continue to come out of the wood work on a daily basis, and IT departments are often the ones bearing the brunt of the storm. One of the biggest challenges faced by IT departments looking to audit changes is the need to adhere to multiple compliance standards. Staying HIPAA compliant is hard enough, but many IT departments are responsible for adhering to the demands of HIPAA, SOX, FISMA and a multitude of other audit standards all at once.
4. Internal Policy: IT administrators are at the mercy of a stringent, and often strange set of internal policies handed down from HR, executive management, supervisors and so forth. More often than not, those that administer such policies have little knowledge of the impact that they might have on specific IT endeavors. Still, IT departments are expected to work around these internal regulations with efficiency and effectiveness. The lacking bridge between governing policy and the needs of an IT department can be a big challenge when it comes to auditing.
3. Lacking Budget: Cost-cutting has been a major buzzword for even the most successful of businesses during this recent economic downturn. Resources are scarce, but expenses continue to grow, and executives everywhere look to trim the fat wherever possible. Unfortunately, what most high-level executives don’t realize is that the IT department consists of more than a man with a phone telling users to reboot their computers. As a result, when it comes time to scramble for budget cuts, the IT budget is often the first to go. Many IT departments simply don’t have the budget necessary to execute efficient IT infrastructure auditing.
2. Higher Priorities: In today's world more and more new information is generated every year, which means that auditing changes to critical data becomes even more time-consuming and difficult task. According to Gartner, enterprise data growth is expected to grow up 650% by 2015. This will result in a deluge of data and require increased compliance, backup, audit, and security.
Given the low amount of resources available to most IT departments, the average IT administrator is being asked to do a lot more than ever before. IT departments spend much of their time supporting end users, managing systems, developing software, administering patches and much more, so for many, change auditing is an afterthought - until a failed compliance audit, or a breached security hole. One of the biggest challenges associated with IT infrastructure change auditing today is simple time.
1. Native Auditing Shortcomings: Although many IT managers do their best to squeeze every penny from their operating systems, the operating systems simply can't do it all. And, for example, one of Windows' most gaping shortcomings revolves around the fact that native auditing and logging mechanisms were originally and primarily designed to support troubleshooting efforts, not to meet the security auditing needs of modern businesses. According to industry expert and Microsoft MVP Don Jones, "If you're relying solely on the Windows event logs, you're missing tons of critical changes in your environment – you're flying blind."
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