A looooooong time ago, Leeann asked me to write a post about blogging about internal audit, so here goes. Most of this post applies to blogging on any subject, too.
First of all, there is a dearth of good internal audit blogs, and even less good IT audit blogs. So if you’re thinking about, we sure could use you in the blogsphere!
Writing a blog is hard work, and you often get tired of it. Life finds a way to get in the way. This is my 11th year of the blog (see the first post here), which, ironically, was written by skyyler. Fortunately, we’ve gotten better since that first year.
Blogging about internal audit is like a moon shining in a dark place… here’s my 10 tips…
Filed under Audit, Blogging
This is the second of 3 posts; this post describes the audit, some speed bumps, and the audit results.
Read the first post here, which provides the background on the audit and the audit’s scope.
Usually, I’m the one doing the auditing, but this time, I (Mack) was the one who was audited.
It was a great experience for me.
Well, sort of. No one likes being audited (ahem). But it gave me a fresh perspective of how others feel when I audit them.
This is the first of 3 posts; this post contains some background info on the project that was audited, and the second one discusses the audit and the results, and in the third post, I describe my perspective on the whole thing, and some takeaways.
This is Part 4 of a Case File series that describes how real auditors tried to apply questionable methods to auditing and data profiling. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Does the Process X team provide metrics around their process?” I asked.
“Yes,” the most senior auditor replied, showing me the web page where the Process X metrics were displayed.
After reviewing the page briefly, I said, “I see they do metrics by month. You have a year’s data; are you planning to understand how they prepare their metrics and re-calculate them to see if you get the same numbers?”
This is Part 3 of a Case File series that describes how real auditors tried to apply questionable methods to auditing and data profiling. See Part 1 and Part 2.
I looked at the third page of the handout and asked, “What is this?”
“A list of Active Directory (AD) groups and the user IDs in each group. I searched AD for any group containing the system name,” the junior auditor said, “and identified these 6 groups. I then downloaded all the members of these groups from AD into Excel.”
Some auditors struggle with basic auditing. So when these auditors try to data analysis, well you can imagines how that goes.
I recently met with a team of auditors to give them input on what data profiling would be appropriate to perform. And what analytics might be insightful.
This is Part 1 of a 4-part Case File series that describes how real auditors tried to apply questionable methods to auditing and data profiling. Do not try these methods at home or work. Don’t even dream about them, awake or asleep.
Test how much you know about automation technologies by taking the job automation quiz at Financial Management magazine.
To increase the amount and depth of the analytics performed, steal some agile methods, and apply them to your audits.
If you’re not familiar with agile methods, check out the first 5 topics listed here (just click Next at the bottom of each page; the topics are quick to the point and full of pictures).
Briefly, agile projects are performed in cycles, or iterations, rather than in a long, linear-waterfall fashion, which is: do all planning, then field work, then reporting. Each iteration of the project creates some value and includes feedback, which is used in the next iteration to increase the value of the project.
In the previous post, Create a Team for Audit Analytics? Part 2, I explored the pros and cons of expecting all auditors to develop a level of data and analytic proficiency.
These auditors would continue to do audit testing that involves analytics as well as testing that does not involve analytics. In addition to keeping up their business skills, they would be learning and upgrading their data analytic skills.
In the first post of this series, I reviewed some of the pluses and minuses of creating a dedicated analytics team.
However, a third option exists, which is sort of a hybrid between having dedicated analytic auditors doing all the analytic work and requiring everyone to increase and develop their data and analytic skills.
Let’s explore the hybrid method in this post, and wrap up the series with a few final thoughts.
This is the third post of a 3-part series…
In the previous post, Create a Team for Audit Analytics? Part 1, I explored the pros and cons of developing an analytics team.
This team consists of analytic auditors who are dedicated to analytic projects; they would NOT typically manage audits or testing that did not include analytics.
In this post, let’s explore another option for managing and growing analytics in an audit department — expecting all auditors to develop a level of data and analytic proficiency.
This is the second post of a 3-part series…
Once your audit team has proven the value of doing analytics consistently, the next question is: Do we create an analytics team and have the team do all (or the majority) of the analytics?
Or should we expect all auditors to develop some levels of analytics proficiency?
Of course, this question often comes a bit further down the trail on the analytics journey, but I think the sooner it is decided, the better.
This is the first post of a 3-part series…
Here’s the 5 things I’m hoping will change in 2018 regarding ACL.
They are all related to each other and feed off each other…
A recent IIA article on building an analytics function in internal audit is dead wrong.
At least on one major point, anyway. And it’s a big one.
As the tombstone reads, this point is D.O.A (dead on arrival, or more specifically, dead on analytics).
The article, Building a data analytics program, requires IIA membership to view, and is located at https://iaonline.theiia.org/2017/Pages/Building-a-Data-Analytics-Program.aspx (that’s actually good, as it means a lot fewer people will ever read it).
If YOUR audit department doesn’t embrace data, analytics, and automation eventually, your audit department will NOT exist.
No data, no analytics. No analytics, no automation. Eventually, no audit department.
Editor Note: This post really applies to all departments in a company, but mainly I’m addressing auditors, but you might want to read between the business lines….
By embrace, I don’t mean have one or two auditors working on this. I mean the entire department.
Before you cite all the regulatory requirements mandating the existence of an audit department in companies, having an audit department in name only won’t cut it.
Having an inept audit department will not be acceptable to regulators, and it shouldn’t be acceptable to company management either. Or Audit Committees!
Companies need skilled and efficient auditors that can do the heavy lifting, and this need will only increase.
Some Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) and audit managers tend to think that audit automation is a set-it-and-forget-it process. NOT.
In this post, I want to expand on a problem I mentioned in an earlier post , 10 Signs Mgmt Doesn’t Really Support Analytics.
Audit management too often thinks that once a process or an audit is automated, ALL auditor/staff hours previously spent performing that process can be reassigned elsewhere.
That is not the case at all.
If your department doesn’t track metrics on your analytics, you are probably not doing analytics or you are making little progress in analytics.
In either case, its obvious that analytics isn’t very important to your management.
Which is one of the points I made in my post, 10 Signs Mgmt Doesn’t Really Support Analytics.
So far, I have encountered very few audit departments that track meaningful metrics about their analytics.
Counting the number of projects that include analytics isn’t enough.
Your management says it wants more analytics, but does it really support analytics? Here’s 10+ signs that indicate that your mgmt:
- Does NOT knows what it takes to get analytics off the ground
- Believes that analytics multiply like rabbits, naturally
- Is NOT willing to make the adjustments required to deliver and sustain real value.
Here’s a list of all my posts to-date related to becoming or growing as an IT Auditor, all in one place for easy reference.
I’ll add other posts as they are written.
When internal auditors (or those pretending to be such) do poor work and don’t follow the appropriate audit and IT standards, they are unprofessional. However, I put the blame at the feed of audit management.
It’s 10 o’clock in the cloud. Do you know where all your user IDs are? Are some hidden in the cloud?
Cloud security if often cloudy because it’s not on premise where you can control it easier.
That means you may have powerful user IDs in the cloud that your security team knows nothing about, which means….
It finally happened: I fell prey to a phishing email.
I actually clicked a link.
At work, no less. Not good.
Since some of you are newer to the blog, I thought I’d bring a couple of my favorite posts to your attention.
Most of the team deployed to the 2 departments and started emptying wastebaskets in the ‘wastebasket audit‘ exercise, collecting all the trash in large carts on wheels.
Two others were posted as look-outs in the main hallways outside the target department.
I carried my black bag of tools and approached THE door.
I pulled out my favorite flat-head screwdriver. Originally, I was going to remove the closing arm at the top of the door and then pry the hinge pins out of the hinges.
This is the fifth and final post in a series. See the previous post, Behind Locked Doors: Part 4. Start with Behind Locked Doors: Part 1.
I consulted with a company that implemented a new GRC package, and unfortunately they are using an application designed for GRC to do audit workpapers.
That wasn’t the only move that was questionable…
If you’re looking for an insightful server audit, and you’re dauntless, you might want to jump on this train.
First, why do you need to be dauntless?
Because you’re going to need to obtain your data from a number of different sources; the bigger your company, the more likely you’ll need to call on and question more than a handful of people.
Because comparing and tracking all the servers that are on one list, but not another can be a challenge.
Because it his highly LIKELY that you WILL find something and the server team will not be happy.
Security Monkey posted that PentesterLab has some great resources that provide training on pentesting, like:
- Basics of Web
- Basics of HTTP
- Detection of common web vulnerabilities:
- Basics of fingerprinting
- and more! (like Linux Host Review)
When you evaluate the risk of a vulnerability, do you do it in the dark?
Or do you take into account other factors that might affect the risk?
What if one of the factors is an existing audit issue that has not been remediated?
To make these posts easier to find (and link to), here’s a list of all the CISA-related posts on this blog, in alphabetical order.
I’ll add other CISA posts as they are written.
If you need to read about how to be an irritating auditor, you obviously haven’t been auditing very long. According to most auditees, that quality comes with the territory, right? I hope not!
ISACA has a free glossary of IT, audit, and security terms that is not only helpful in studying for the CISA exam, but is a good reference guide for new and experienced auditors.
When checking system access, make sure you look at all the different items that affect the user’s access. For example, the user might need one or more of the following:
- Application ID
- Application role or group
- Membership in an local server group, Active Directory (AD) group, or UNIX Group
- Access to the application’s share and/or folder on the server
- Database ID
- Database role, including access permissions (read/write)
- Other permission (from a home-grown application code or enterprise identify management system)
If you’re an IT auditor (or want to be one) and don’t have any audit certifications, which certification should you get, the CISA or the CIA? If you want to get both, which one do you get first?
Full disclosure: I have the CISA, but not the CIA. Back when the CIA was 4 exams, I studied for all the CIA exams except the financial exam, but ended up not taking any of the exams. I also have the CISSP.
IT admins and IT auditors often don’t see eye-to-eye, and they don’t usually think their goals are similar.
The IT auditor just has to work a little harder to convince the IT admin of that. I’ve worn both hats, so I know it can be done.
Filed under Audit, Security
A new IT auditor needs some help dealing with database patching issues and how far you need to dive into technology during an IT audit.
Take a moment to read his comment and add your thoughts. I’ve put in my 2 cents. Let’s get a good discussion going.
I think any auditor can chime in, as audit scope and audit limitations are not unique to IT audit.
Dinesh’s comment appears in What IT Auditors Ought to Know – and Don’t!