An information security audit is an audit on the level of information security in an organization. It is an independent review and examination of system records, activities and related documents. These audits are intended to improve the level of information security, avoid improper information security designs, and optimize the efficiency of the security safeguards and security processes. Within the broad scope of auditing information security there are multiple types of audits, multiple objectives for different audits, etc. Most commonly the controls being audited can be categorized to technical, physical and administrative. Auditing information security covers topics from auditing the physical security of data centers to auditing the logical security of databases, and highlights key components to look for and different methods for auditing these areas.
When centered on the Information technology (IT) aspects of information security, it can be seen as a part of an information technology audit. It is often then referred to as an information technology security audit or a computer security audit. However, information security encompasses much more than IT.
Internal audit versus external audit
Every audit conducted is either an external audit or an internal audit.
An external audit is conducted by a certified professional independent from the organization being audited. The intention of performing an external audit is to gather the most impartial results possible. External auditors provide a variety of services. They review an organization’s information systems, security procedures, financial reporting, and compliance methodology to determine efficacy and identify security gaps.
An internal audit is generally used as a management tool to improve internal processes and controls. Internal audits are to be completed independently and objectively, to ensure compliance of a given business operation to standards set by the organization, regulatory body, or government.
The main features of an internal audit are:
- They’re voluntary.
- They’re conducted internally by a member of your business/organization.