Developing an Effective IT Assessment Plan
Developing an effective IT assessment plan aligns your IT with your business objectives by reviewing your systems, data, and more.
Effective IT assessments require adequate planning and a quality assessment program. While the focus of each assessment is unique, typical objectives include evaluating IT controls, compliance with regulations and standards, and the security, integrity, and availability of data and systems. IT assessors investigate and review applications and systems, governance, data, policies, and procedures. Most importantly, IT assessments help align your IT and overall business objectives.
Defining Effective IT Assessments
Assessments can differ however, most IT assessments include a preliminary risk assessment, planning, fieldwork or testing, reporting, and a post-assessment review. Examples of IT assessments include:
- General Controls Assessments
- IT Risk Assessments
- Application Controls Assessments
- Other Technology-Specific Assessments (Databases, Operating Systems, Firewalls, etc.)
- Cybersecurity Assessments
- Compliance Assessments
Preliminary Risk Assessments
IT assessments begin with a risk assessment to define, review, and plan for IT risks. The preliminary risk assessment at the start of an IT assessment is intended to gain an understanding of the environment and its controls, entity-specific concerns, and preliminary identification of high-risk areas. The assessment program is then based on historical technology risks, current and emerging risks, and risks (identified during the risk assessment) that are specific to the environment.
As the assessors gain an understanding of your environment and systems, they generally can set a clear scope that prioritizes testing points. Next the goal will be to determine the best procedures for data gathering, which often involves obtaining departmental policies for review, interviewing staff, developing a methodology to evaluate and verify controls, and developing evaluation criteria.
Fieldwork and Testing
As assessors move to the fieldwork and testing stage of your IT assessment, the focus is on the documentation of their findings. Particularly, this stage often includes acquiring data, reviewing the design of controls, and evaluating their effectiveness, discovering issues, and thoroughly documenting results.
Effective IT Assessment Reporting
In the reporting phase, you will learn your assessor’s findings about your environment and systems. This stage can often set an okay assessor apart from a good assessor. While an okay assessor may simply send you a report of their findings, in contrast a good assessor from a quality firm will work with your organization to develop a thorough plan on how to proceed with their information effectively.
For example, Securance assessors will deliver a quality, board-ready draft report within a week after our assessment. Our reports translate technology- and IT process-related risks into business risks that all stakeholders can understand and appreciate. Consequently, what often sets Securance apart from other firms is that we only provide risk mitigation recommendations that are customized to your organization and make sense for you within the context of your technologies, business objectives, and budget.
Effective IT Assessment Firms
In conclusion, IT assessments are an integral part of enterprise risk management. Accordingly, effective IT assessors will consider emerging risks and threats to your industry and technologies, conduct periodic reviews, and help you manage risks so you can achieve your business goals. At Securance, a senior-level consultant with over 20 years of experience works with your organization’s specific business goals to create an actionable plan. Whether your business needs an IT risk management strategy, compliance support, or help streamlining IT controls, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.