SMEs business is likely not to have a dedicated IT department or a support desk. However, they still need to manage their entire business with a strong IT. Australian companies are more likely to lack an IT department or helpdesk than large ones.
They still require many of the same services as large companies. Regardless of who performs these tasks, the company needs to ensure someone within the organisation conducts them.
A small business needs to have an audit. Your auditor will keep trying to convince you that you need formal records, despite your belief that you don’t have to. Check books and cash register tapes are accurate records.
Looking at your records can help an auditor determine whether you are following appropriate procedures. The date and amount on a bank statement must get listed with the payee and supervisor. Print out copies of your transactions, even if you use online banking.
It would help show the auditor whether all your bills have been paid and recorded. Ensure that all your receipts are preserved for at least three years. Usually, small businesses hold onto their records for more extended periods.
It is important to have receipts to determine what expenses are deductible and which ones are not. If you give gifts to your customers or purchase supplies for them, you may be able to deduct those expenses as promotional expenditures.
Small businesses are rarely audited every year; therefore, some owners don’t know when their records must be kept or which documents must be maintained. If you think something is unimportant, keep it anyway.
If something happens later that you can’t provide documentation for, try to recreate as much documentation as possible. If you need someone to examine your records to see if any mistakes have been made or if anything is unclear, you shouldn’t hesitate.
But before that,
What’s the IT security audit about?
Security audits of your IT systems are performed as part of an audit of your information technology. IT encompasses every aspect of an organisation’s IT infrastructure, such as computers, servers, network routers, switches, etc.
Audits are broken down into automated and manual types in information technology security. Computerised audits are conducted through monitoring software that creates audit reports when changes to files and system settings are made. IT audit checklists cover both technical and physical security controls during manual audits.
This article focuses primarily on manual IT security assessment techniques.
What are the reasons for the SMEs to take up the IT audit?
You should do more than know about cyber threats; you must also know about your IT security and vulnerabilities.
In addition to being a one-time project, security audits should be a living document. As technology advances and your business model changes, your IT systems become more vulnerable. Innovation and change are dynamic.
Consequently, IT security needs also to evolve constantly.
Now, you know what makes an IT security audit successful:
- Assess your current IT security state
- by looking for vulnerabilities and prioritising where improvements are needed
- Define the goal of your IT security
- Check your progress towards your goal.
The number and sophistication of cyberattacks on small and medium businesses are increasing. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43% of attacks target small businesses. Cyber threats can be vigorously fought when you are aware of their dangers and the security weaknesses in your system.
10 Best IT Audit Checklist for small businesses in 2022
The concepts of IT audit are straightforward and can be understood by anyone. In truth, however, these requirements are so complicated that most people will have to do a substantial amount of research and translate them from “auditor” before figuring out what they mean and how to comply with them.
Here are the top 10 best suited IT audit checklist for small businesses.
- Cyber security audit checklist
- SEO audit checklist
- Sustainability audit checklist
- ISO 9001 audit checklist
- IS0 45001 audit checklist
- Website audit checklist
- Internal audit checklist
- Safety audit checklist
- IT infrastructure checklist
- Audit templates
#1. Cyber security audit checklist
Security environments in today’s networks and data are complex and diverse. It is crucial to examine each component of your security system individually and as a whole to ensure that they are working correctly for your organisation and safe and not endanger your company’s security or that of your clients.
An audit checklist will allow you to analyse your cyber security resources and identify weak points to put a plan in place.
Keeping two steps ahead of threat actors is the best strategy in the modern security environment. You must start by taking action back and honestly evaluating all your hardware, software, website practices, and protocols.
The following questions need to be answered when preparing a cybersecurity audit checklist:
- How could a breach impact sensitive data?
- Are you aware of how an attack would affect your business, including customers and vendors, finances and reputation?
- How do you plan to comply with industry-related compliance requirements?
- What are your past experiences in creating an IT security audit checklist? How are you using it? Where did you focus, and where did you omit?
- What information does your organisation share with external entities? How does this affect your website or network?
- Do you have plans to respond to and recover from security incidents and business interruptions, specifying who gets notified and when, and what procedures are in place should a breach occur?
- Does your company have an annual cybersecurity budget?
Use your cybersecurity checklist to determine where you stand financially and in terms of cybersecurity resources.
You will be able to maximise the security of your web and data assets when you are equipped with this knowledge and the assistance of NSW IT Support professionals.
#2. SEO audit checklist
What are the chances this page will rank? Do its technical SEO requirements meet or exceed the minimum?
Almost every SEO professional, consultant, and website owner has asked these questions at least once.
Technical SEO audits conducted by agencies and consultants on hundreds of client pages can enhance the client’s visibility in search results.
Professional SEOs usually have a quick list of technical SEO items they refer to when trying to solve rankings and indexing problems.
You should perform a search engine optimisation audit on your website for numerous reasons.
First, you should identify problematic areas and create a plan to improve them. A good search engine optimisation audit will keep your website updated with the latest optimisation strategies to keep you ahead of your competitors.
Prepare an SEO audit checklist by considering the following areas:
- Does your homepage dominate your results?
- Does a site link accompany your listing?
- How accurate are your page descriptions?
- Google My Business Listing (Knowledge Graph) for your brand appears in the right section of Google Search?
- Do your page’s name and other information materialise accurately?
- How relevant are the links on the first page of Google results for your brand?
- What is the relevance of the ‘related searches?
- Is it possible to create dedicated pages for associated searches?
- How many pages are submitted to Google, and how many pages are indexed by Google?
- Are you using Google Search Console to specify your preferred domain?
- Are your robots.txt files optimised?
- Does your URL structure conform to search engine best practices?
- Have you enabled breadcrumb navigation?
- Are structured data tags allowed on your site?
- What is the canonical URL for every page on your site?
- Are your 404 pages optimised?
Congratulations to those who have reached this point after addressing the question! Your ranking and organic traffic levels will undoubtedly improve if you follow the recommendations above.
#3. Sustainability audit checklist
Many businesses are still relatively new to sustainability, and they are unclear about the actual steps they can take to develop and grow their sustainability programs.
What if it was possible to quickly and easily find out which of the best practices for sustainability are already in your company and identify those that provide opportunities for your business?
Performing a sustainability audit is a way to compare your company’s practices with those that are sustainable.
It can be simple and easy to use or complex and detailed, depending on its design.
Prepare a sustainability audit checklist by considering the following areas:
When conducting a sustainability audit, it is essential to realise that you will not be able to handle it alone.
Although technically, the checklist can be completed on your own. The likelihood is that you won’t have all the information you need to fill it out.
These are the areas covered by the sustainability audit checklist:
- What supports and infrastructure are needed to help the business develop a robust sustainability program?
- Is the business engaging employees and treating them well?
- What are the business’s philanthropic initiatives?
- What are the company’s waste reduction efforts?
- How can the business minimise its products’ environmental impact?
- What strategies does the business use to engage with suppliers to promote sustainability?
A Small Business Sustainability Audit checklist helps you save time and ensure that your company is following best practices in all key areas, so you can quickly and easily learn where you stand.
#4. ISO 9001 audit checklist
A quality management system (QMS) is governed by ISO’s 9001 standards for quality management systems (QMS).
Companies can use ISO 9001 to improve the quality of their systems, operations, goods, and services by setting the requirements for quality management systems.
The standard aims to emphasise the customers and process approach for quality management.
The ISO 9001 audit checklist should concentrate on the following segment:
- Monitoring and reviewing these external and internal issues is how you keep track and make sure these issues are being addressed?
- Who is relevant to your QMS? How have you determined this? Do those parties need to meet any applicable requirements? What potential impact have they had?
- How did you determine the scope of your ISO 9001 audit based on the QMS boundaries and applicability?
- How do risks and opportunities impact actions and plans?
- How do you measure, monitor, and evaluate your processes? What is your process for making changes when needed to meet your goals?
- What strategy do you use to identify the risks and opportunities of offering products and services that meet these requirements?
- Describe how top management identifies, reviews, and maintains quality policies. Is this in line with the mission and context of your enterprise?
- When determining what will be done, how resources will be allocated, and how results will be evaluated for quality objectives, how does your organisation decide what steps to take?
An ISO 9001 audit checklist serves as a tool for auditors to collect documentation and details concerning quality objectives, corrective actions, internal challenges, and customer satisfaction.
#5. IS0 45001 audit checklist
It provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving safety in the workplace and identifying the objectives your business can work toward as you identify improvements.
You must regularly audit your health and safety standards, and you need to assess audit results and audit findings to improve continually.
While preparing ISO 45001 audit checklist, the following questions need to be addressed:
- How does the organisation review and monitor the information about the internal and external issues?
- How does the entity determine the boundaries and applicability to establish the scope and system?
- Has the management set the objectives of ISO 45001?
#6. Website audit checklist
If your site already has traffic, you can often gain a HUGE performance boost by auditing your site and maximising improvements.
Our efforts to create new content or get new backlinks distract us from identifying and executing existing opportunities, such as identifying and exploiting new opportunities.
For a webpage that has never audited what’s happening behind the scenes, achieving quick wins and traffic gains has never been easier.
Let’s look at the website audit checklist to maximise the domain’s performance.
- Disallowing low-quality content to appear in Google’s search results.
- Increase the speed of loading pages.
- Ensuring mobile optimisation for the website
- Resolving the issue of 404 broken links
- Figuring and fixing the indexing issues
- Reviewing the organic traffic for the CTR
- Reviewing the content gaps
- Reviewing the snippets and structures
- Examining the backlinks
As you have seen, there are a lot of opportunities to improve your current site’s ranking, improve your lead generation campaign, and increase your online presence; you can prepare the website audit checklist beforehand.
#7. Internal audit checklist
Can internal auditors make their internal audit projects more thorough by preparing a more comprehensive scope? Are there resources available to help internal auditors build audit programs from scratch?
The team must understand why the project has been added to the audit plan at the beginning of all audit projects.
Before fieldwork begins, answer the following questions:
- Why was this audit project approved as part of the internal audit plan?
- Does it contribute to achieving the organisation’s goals and objectives?
- Is the audit designed to address enterprise risks?
- If so, when and how was the process audited in the past, and what was the result of that audit(s)?
- Does the process appear to have changed substantially since the last audit?
It is helpful to perform an audit of the internal controls of the process based on the company’s internal information.
It is increasingly seen as the best practice to seek external expertise to ensure the business’s changing landscape is kept up with, and critical processes and controls are designed correctly.
#8. Safety audit checklist
The safety of employees at work must be maintained at all times. A safe work environment is necessary for productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen.
Both employers and employees must implement safety procedures and guidelines. This safety audit checklist can ensure keeping your employees safe at work.
Safety audit checklists identify hazards, for example, associated with processes at work, working conditions, fire emergency procedures, warehouse guidelines, and general housekeeping.
Users should be able to identify the risks associated with their work processes and procedures using your checklist and ensure the environment in which they spend most of their time is safe.
#9. IT Asset management audit checklist
An Infrastructure Audit evaluates the current state of your systems, your applications, and your network to assess its performance.
Modern businesses cannot do without IT infrastructure. With growing risk exposure, a changing security landscape, and more stringent regulations, IT support and strengthening have become essential for businesses.
The purpose of asset management is to take inventory of your hardware and software assets and use this information for making decisions. It can be difficult for your IT department if this is a new or evolving procedure.
You may want to consider an IT asset management strategy if you are considering it.
Here is a checklist of items to consider.
- Identify your plan and goals for implementation develop an IT Asset Management Team
- Creating a stable plan for the asset data
- Examining the condition of the hardware
- Evaluate the ROI of asset management
A comprehensive IT asset audit is highly recommended for organisations that plan to update their projects, start new assignments, evaluate the efficiency of their projects, identify errors in a project’s operation, or plan to outsource their IT infrastructure.
#10. Developing audit templates
For a small business audit to be thorough, company personnel and procedures must be analysed accurately. In management audits, the goal is to verify that the essential elements of the organisation are in places, such as the mission statement and annual budget.
Ascertain that every department has a supervisor who understands their authority, that every employee receives the proper training, and that accurate job descriptions exist for each position.
Make sure your company has a policy manual and a method for evaluating employee performance. Additionally, it is important to review the budgeting and assessment.
Audit templates allow the business to understand the dominant area of their business so that during the audit course, one doesn’t miss the important section.
Auditors and other stakeholders in the auditing process can use the audit checklist. Among its key questions is the engagement checklist. Auditor uses the checklist to review and examine how a company’s business management system operates. The auditing procedure can be improved by using it as a guide.