IT and ISMS Audits for Process Improvement
Auditing is a critical piece of your ISMS software solution. Once you’ve strategized your ISMS scope, your organization relies on having a regular and efficient cadence of independent reviews to validate and optimize your processes over time. Beyond reviewing and maintaining compliance with ISO 27001, 27002, or other standards such as NIST 800-53 and more, your auditing efforts serve as a benchmark of performance as your program grows and matures. In the continually changing digital risk landscape, threats, and vulnerabilities continue to evolve.
While having an auditor independent of the day-to-day actives is essential for an objective review, it can lead to a time-consuming investigation to gather evidence ranging from documentation to tracking down the appropriate stakeholders for interviews. Having a GRC platform, or specifically, an ISMS software tool can help to improve your efforts across the board. The important element here is the ability to track and log activity in real-time. With detailed activity logs to start from, the auditor has a clear scope to guide their project and efforts.
Integrated ISMS Software Solutions
The key here is having a connected auditing solution. The integrated piece is a two-part factor. First, it’s beneficial to have an auditing solution that can seamlessly share data with your core GRC software solutions, including IT and vendor risk management, as well as your policy management solution. Leveraging a shared network of control records across these solutions is a significant advantage in fast-tracking the launch of any investigation. Several other GRC products can add to this core mix of integrated ISMS software, most notably, incident management records.
There is a wealth of other information that your overall GRC platform can connect to such as, User IDs, date and time records, access or denial of access records, configuration changes, exceptions, security-related events, and more. Risk management professionals within the application will record many of these instances, but other details are initially captured by monitoring tools or directly by first line applications. Having an integrated network between your first-line application, extended security network, and GRC solution can play a huge advantage in your ability to successfully capture the necessary and many times tedious data points across sources to execute an IT audit.
Key Considerations for Activity Logs
Having a dynamic audit log is essential to any InfoSec or ISMS investigation. Once you identify a vulnerability, you can then review key pieces of data, including who the related stakeholders, associated control records as well as their documented effectiveness score. From there, you can expand testing to evaluate the design of the control model to ensure the organization is evaluating the practice adequately. The trail of real-time exchanges, and activity centrally logged back to your GRC solution or ISMS software solution can help guide additional inquiries and provide valuable auditing outcomes, including:
- Evidence – Access test records for both control design and effectiveness, use as evidence to support audit findings, and the recommendations that your initial auditing reports suggest for leadership to consider. They can also serve as evidence in escalated circumstances, such as in the case of a data breach or other related lawsuit.
- Threat Identification – Audit logs can provide an overwhelming amount of data, but using continuous or real-time monitoring applications systems can recognize inconsistent behavior that could lead to the exploitation of vulnerabilities and realization of risk.
- Maintain Compliance – Audit logs help you maintain traditional compliance initiatives such as SOC reporting. Audit logs also serve to support your corporate compliance initiatives and can be documentation to support your security claims in instances where your organization is the vendor evaluated.
- Debugging and Process Improvement – Activity logs and general evidence collection can also help in the event of general security issues, providing a clear record of what may have led to an unintentional event.
One of the challenges noted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is having too many competing sources, with variations in truth such as timestamps or general formatting. Having an integrated ISMS software system rather than siloed applications can help to alleviate these inconsistencies by automating the validation data across sources and minimizing the potential for human error in everyday data collection.
OneTrust GRC provides an integrated suite of GRC products to support ISMS compliance. The OneTrust GRC Audit Management solution helps fast-track auditors through the planning and scoping of a project and offers structured workpapers to guide the actual execution of an investigation. To learn more about OneTrust GRC Audit Management, click here to visit our product page.