We’re not the first ones to say that the coronavirus pandemic is changing everything in the business world these days. With unprecedented limits on travel and interpersonal activities, we have all been challenged to adapt to this new environment. And remote services are now highly sought after in every sector.
When it comes to IT security, virtual attestations, testing, and assessments are now the best way to ensure regulatory compliance and business continuity. What was once seen as a second-rate option is now a critically valuable service.
Find out more about the Remote Auditing Solutions offered by I.S. Partners.
Why Remote Is Now the Way to Go – 6 Key Advantages
Infectious outbreak is testing our pandemic plans for the first time in our lifetimes. Many of us had not really thought about the implications of a healthcare emergency on our industry or our typical workday. Yet, here we are, making the best of an almost total WFH situation. Some are even predicting that the shift to doing work online, rather than on-site, may be permanent.
For the foreseeable future, likely until mid-May or later, telework is the best way to go forward with auditing and compliance efforts. Here are some more reasons why your organization should consider it.
Watch this video to learn more about the valuable advantages of virtual IT security assessments and compliance attestations.
1. Same High Professional Standards
Risk assessments and security audits are performed remotely in very much the same way they would be carried out in person. Licensed auditors and authorized external assessors have an ethical obligation to do their due diligence no matter what the setup is. Even when working remotely, they have the same compliance obligations and high standards. These professionals work to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s integrity, processes, and physical security controls, even from afar.
2. Tried & Trusted Technology
Although many more organizations are just now looking into the possibility of remote auditing options, the technology has been around and employed by I.S. Partners and others for some time. Advanced information and communication technology have been utilized for risk assessments and auditing purposes for about 15 years now.
In reality, auditors are already been using these technologies even when doing on-site fieldwork. Digital spreadsheets and videoconferencing are tried and true tools of the trade for coordinating audit teams. Cloud storage and file sharing are already used for centralized evidence gathering in what are now known as ‘traditional’ auditing processes.
Challenges to the traditional way of doing things can be easily overcome with new technology. For example, workpaper documentation requirements are met by simply saving electronic versions of client communications. Our team uses Sharefile as a secure repository of documentation and Zoom for web conferencing and remote walkthroughs. We provide a secure online portal and utilize SmartSheet to manage the project entirely remotely.
3. Reliable Accuracy
Remote auditing has been a debated topic in the past because of the belief that auditors may be more likely to discover vulnerabilities and security risks only when they visit a site. Yet, in most cases, the same internal controls and business processes can be assessed from virtually anywhere.
We can assure you that there is no quality difference between traditional and remote auditing accuracy. If our skilled auditors ever determine the need for on-site assessment or follow up on-premises, there’s no hesitation to employ a combination method to ensure the best results.
4.Information in Real-Time
Modern auditing utilizes ongoing risk analysis and continuous controls monitoring. Automation ensures that auditors are notified immediately when an irregular event occurs, high-risk operations are performed, and if controls fail. This means that evidence is no longer static, but is provided in real-time enabling alerts to be investigated and addressed right away. This also reduces the time needed to gather evidence related to security controls and provides continuous assurance that processes are running according to design.
5. Lower Costs
Remote audits have the distinct advantage of being more cost-effective than traditional methods. This is because it decreases, or eliminates, direct travel expenses for the assessors. Additionally, auditors tend to be more efficient when working from their office, or home office, and using their equipment that is already set up for auditing processes. This helps reduce the time billed to our end clients.
For assessments that still require traditional fieldwork, optimizing remote capabilities helps us decrease the time required on-site and plan visits well in advance.
6. Less Stress
We firmly believe that audits should not cause anxiety. With remote auditing, we can take some of the undue stress out of the process. Our clients have enough to worry about these days without needing to coordinate visits, host an on-site audit team, and deal with extra disruptions to regular business operations.
Tips for Remote Auditing Success
This is a period of great uncertainty and many organizations have needed to reorganize their normal work habits and procedures. For that reason, a little extra planning may be helpful to ensure success.
- Re-evaluate the scope. – Make sure that your organization’s auditing and compliance goals are still feasible during this period when many employees are working from home and keeping irregular schedules. This is a good time to consider adjusting the timing of document submissions or testing procedures.
- Identify the most effective remote business tools. – Remind your team about the cloud resources, workflow tools, project management applications, and video call platforms that are at their disposal to facilitate remote work.
- Improve collaboration. – Clear communication is more important than ever. However, because there are so many options for communicating these days, it can be hard to keep track of all the important interactions. Plus, managing audit team interactions in a virtual environment, while handling family distractions and home-life interruptions, is challenging. Help your team stay on track by determining the most reliable channel for you to communicate with your internal team and external assessors and auditors.
- Increase communication. – Once the goals and timing are set, optimal tools for organizing workflow and collaboration are identified, and the best mode of communication is determined, it’s time to get to work. Provide each other with frequent and regular updates on deadlines and progress. Scheduling periodic video conferences at a time that works for everyone can be a good way to touch base.
100% Remote Auditing Options
I.S. Partners has been working remotely for years now. We have the technology and experience to perform a wide range of risk assessment, testing, advisory, and certification services without the expense of travel and on-site visits. These include: