Jan 15, 2020

Proceeding Through Internal Audit with Advanced GRC Solutions

To anticipate shifting regulations and comply with changing standards, businesses need to conduct security audits. Let’s review the method of executing internal audits based on the ISO 27001, an international standard for ISMS, and how advanced GRC solutions can enhance the internal audit procedure.

The cybersecurity regulatory landscape is rather complex because it exists on different levels: local, national, and international. Moreover, due to rapid digital disruption, security and compliance regulations are constantly altered. To anticipate shifting regulations and comply against changing standards, businesses need to conduct security audits. Before carrying out external audits, organizations must perform an internal audit, which allows examining whether the security system functions efficiently.

Let’s review the method of executing internal audits based on the ISO 27001, an international standard for Information Security Management System (ISMS), and how advanced GRC solutions can enhance the internal audit procedure.

Stages of Conducting an ISO 27001 Internal Audit

An internal audit is mandatory if you want to comply with ISO 27001. Clause 9.2 of ISO 27001 specifically outlines that internal audits must be conducted periodically to check whether the organization’s ISMS is efficiently executed and maintained. An internal audit is subdivided into the following stages:

1. ISMS Documentation Review

At the first stage of an internal audit, you need to review the documentation that was created during the ISMS implementation. This includes policies, licenses, specifications, and other types of documents. The documentation review will allow setting a clear scope of what needs to be examined during the internal audit process.

2. Audit Planning Stage

This stage requires close cooperation with the company’s management. The timing and resourcing for the audit must be agreed at this stage. Most importantly, this stage needs to include audit checklists, which are used to track and monitor the internal audit’s progress. There is no universal checklist for ISO 27001 internal audit, so organizations can create their checklists. The checklist is the audit’s core, which is why it needs to cover every major aspect of how the organizations ISMS is monitored, authorized, and updated.

3. Practical Assessment and Analysis

At this stage, auditors examine how the ISMS works by interviewing the organizations’ staff and managers. After the evidence is gathered, internal auditors need to perform tests to validate it. This process also involves a precise examination of any data relevant to the ISMS functioning. Lastly, auditors accumulate the findings and compare them against the ISO 27001 standard requirements. The evidence analysis may reveal compliance gaps and identify ISMS areas that require additional tests. 

4. Internal Audit Report

The final stage is the formation of an internal audit report. It needs to include an accurate scope, timing, and the extent of the performed work. The primary part of the report must include an executive summary of the key findings, a profound analysis, audit conclusions, and recommendations for improvement.

Internal audit is a complex process that involves various stages, and the major issue is that the majority of organizations conduct it manually. Auditors need to form and manage complex spreadsheets, which is very time-consuming and may result in human errors. Implementing high-end GRC solutions can enhance the audit procedure and create additional business value.

Accelerating Internal Audit with GRC Solutions

GRC solutions are designed to automate and facilitate functions related to corporate governance, risk management, and compliance. These solutions can automate the tasks related to documentation, workflows, create checklists and reports, which significantly accelerates the internal audit procedure.

By implementing GRC solutions, users can quickly track and monitor any internal audit processes in real-time.  A complete view of the ongoing internal audit allows detecting which tasks are complete or assigning certain tasks to the responsible employee. Another important benefit of GRC solutions is that they allow keeping a full audit history. The historical data is valuable for future audits, both internal and external. 

Conclusion

GRC solutions have the potential to enhance every stage of the internal audit. They are able to automate a broad spectrum of processes, which minimizes the risk of human errors. GRC software can be implemented to form checklists during the planning stage. Moreover, GRC solutions can store the relevant data and compare it against the standard requirements during the practical assessment, and accelerate the formation of internal audit reports.

Infopulse has developed a secure by design GRC solution – Standard Compliance Manager (SCM), which enables efficient automation across every ISO 27001 internal audit stage and delivers precise audit results.

Contact our security experts to learn more about our innovative GRC solution.

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