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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Definition of IT Audit

IT audit is the process of collecting and evaluating evidence to determine whether a computer system has been designed to maintain data integrity, safeguard assets, allows organizational goals to be achieved effectively and uses resources efficiently. An effective information system leads the organization to achieve its objectives and an efficient information system uses minimum resources in achieving the required objectives. IT auditors must know the characteristics of users of the information system and the decision-making environment in the auditee organization while evaluating the effectiveness of any system. Use of computer facilities has brought about radically different ways of processing, recording and controlling information and has combined many previously separated functions.

The potential for material systems error has thereby been greatly increased causing great costs to the organization. The highly repetitive nature of many computer applications means that small errors may lead to large losses. For example, an error in the calculation of income tax to be paid by employees in a manual system will not occur in each case, but once an error is introduced in a computerized system, it will affect each case. This makes it imperative for the auditor to test the invisible processes and to identify the vulnerabilities in a computer information system, as through errors and irregularities, the costs involved can be high.

Increasing use of computers for processing organizational data has added new scope to the review and evaluation of internal controls for audit purposes. The IT internal controls are of great value in any computerized system and it is an important task for an auditor to see that not only adequate controls exist, but that they also work effectively to ensure results and achieve objectives. Also internal controls should be commensurate with the risk assessed so as to reduce the impact of identified risks to acceptable levels. IT auditors need to evaluate the adequacy of internal controls in computer systems to mitigate the risk of loss due to errors, fraud and other acts and disasters or incidents that cause the system to be unavailable.
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