Information Technology (IT) Audit Checklist & Steps

May 13, 2024

Do you ever wonder if your IT system is truly bulletproof? Think about this: a secure and efficient IT framework is the backbone of your business success. From protecting your precious data to ensuring you meet industry regulations, the role of an IT audit checklist is more crucial than you might think.

In this article, we'll break down what an IT audit involves, explore the different types you might need, and highlight the crucial role of an in-house or outsourced IT auditor. Unsure if you need an audit? Curious about how to prepare, what standards you should adhere to, or what steps the process involves? We've got you covered. 

By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to bolster your IT defenses and streamline your operations. Let's get started and dive into the checklist that ensures your IT health is in top shape.

IT audit checklist: What you should know

What is an IT audit? 

An IT audit is the essential health check that ensures each component of your system is functioning correctly, securely, and efficiently.

An IT audit checklist assesses your technology systems, management, and operations to ensure they comply with established standards and procedures that safeguard your assets, maintain data integrity, and operate effectively to achieve your business goals.

Through a series of systematic checks, auditors identify potential issues that could disrupt your operations or security, guiding you on how to address these risks proactively and align with your business objectives. 

Types of audits in IT

Types of IT audit processes

Whether you’re looking to bolster security, enhance efficiency, or ensure compliance, different types of IT audit processes offer a unique lens through which to view your IT infrastructure.

Systems & applications audits

Systems and applications audits focus on ensuring that the systems and applications in use are appropriate, efficient, secure, and compliant with all regulations.

These audits typically assess the systems that handle data processing and are crucial for maintaining the integrity and security of data.

Information processing facilities

This type of IT audit checklist examines the physical security and environmental controls at facilities that handle the processing and storage of data.

Whether it's a data center or an on-site server room, ensuring these physical resources are secure and resilient is essential for business continuity.

Systems development

Systems development audits are conducted to ensure that the systems under development meet the company’s standards and requirements.

This audit ensures that the procedures used in developing new systems and upgrading existing ones are controlled and efficient.

Management of IT and enterprise architecture

Management audits evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of IT management in their role of supporting the organization’s strategies and operations.

This includes assessing how IT decisions align with the organization's goals and how well the enterprise architecture is being managed.

Client/Server, telecommunications, intranets, and extranets

Lastly, this audit type focuses on the networks and the technology supporting client/server architecture and telecommunications, including intranets and extranets. It checks the reliability and security of these systems, which are vital for daily business operations.

Who needs this process?

Who really needs an IT audit?

You might be asking yourself, "Do I really need an IT audit?" Well, if you're running a business in today's digital landscape, the answer is likely yes. 

Here are the industries that need IT audit checklists the most:

  • Small to medium businesses: Even smaller businesses can have complex IT systems. An IT audit can help ensure that your data is protected and your systems are efficient.
  • Large corporations: IT audits are a must for large companies to safeguard against data breaches and ensure compliance with international standards.
  • Healthcare providers: With patient data at stake, healthcare providers must ensure their IT systems comply with laws like HIPAA in the U.S.
  • Educational institutions: Schools and universities manage a lot of personal data and need to protect this information while maintaining an efficient network.

Each of these entities relies on robust IT systems to manage operations, secure data, and maintain compliance with industry regulations. An IT audit helps ensure these systems are not just functional but are also safe and efficient.

IT audit checklist essentials

Essentials of an IT audit checklist: What to include?

When preparing for an IT audit, it’s crucial to understand what components should be included to ensure a comprehensive review that strengthens your business's technological backbone.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment forms the foundation of an IT audit. This process involves identifying and evaluating risks associated with your IT environment. It should cover potential threats to both physical and digital aspects of IT, such as system failures, security breaches, and data loss.

The outcome helps prioritize the audit focus areas based on where vulnerabilities might impact business operations most significantly.

Security controls review

This part of the audit assesses the effectiveness of both physical and cybersecurity measures implemented within the organization.

Check for robust firewalls, effective antivirus software, secure Wi-Fi networks, and comprehensive access controls. The review should also evaluate policies and practices related to cybersecurity training, incident response, and regular security updates.

Data management and integrity

Ensuring that data is accurately processed, stored, and protected is a key element of an IT audit.

This includes verifying backup processes, evaluating the effectiveness of disaster recovery templates, and ensuring data integrity is maintained across all systems, especially during upgrades or migrations. Auditors should also check for compliance with data protection laws relevant to the organization’s industry and location.

Compliance verification

This segment confirms the organization's adherence to applicable legal, regulatory, and technical standards.

Depending on your industry, this might include regulations like GDPR for sensitive data protection, HIPAA for healthcare, or SOX for financial reporting. The IT audit checklist should systematically review all compliance documentation and operational practices against these standards.

System performance analysis

An audit should assess how effectively IT systems support business operations. This involves evaluating server uptimes, software functionality, network load capacity, and the responsiveness of IT support services.

Performance metrics should be analyzed to ensure they meet the operational demands of the business without unnecessary resource expenditure.

Documentation and reporting

Comprehensive documentation is vital for effective IT governance. An information technology audit should review how well policies, procedures, and audit logs are documented, maintained, and aligned with best practices and compliance requirements.

This includes checking for clear documentation on security policies, user access controls, and change management procedures.

Key areas of IT audit standards

Key areas of an IT audit standard & best practices

IT audit standards are established protocols and guidelines designed to govern how organizations conduct comprehensive reviews of their information technology systems.

These standards ensure that IT audits are performed consistently, with the goal of enhancing system security, improving risk management, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Here are some of them: 

ISO/IEC 27001: Security management

Overview: This international standard specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). It's designed to ensure the selection of adequate and proportionate security controls.

What it covers: The standard covers all aspects of information security management, including risk management, security policy, asset management, physical and environmental security, communications and operations management, access control, incident management, business continuity management, and compliance with legal and contractual obligations.

COBIT: Comprehensive IT audit procedure

Overview: COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies) is a framework created by ISACA for IT management and IT governance. It is widely used by those who audit and manage information technologies and business systems.

What it covers: The framework includes an executive summary, framework, control objectives, implementation toolset, and IT audit checklist. It helps organizations maximize the value of their information by aligning IT strategy with business strategy, managing risks, and optimizing resources.

ITIL: IT service management

Overview: ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) provides a cohesive set of best practices drawn from the public and private sectors internationally. It assists organizations in achieving quality service and overcoming difficulties associated with the growth of IT systems.

What it covers: ITIL’s comprehensive framework covers the entire IT service lifecycle, from the initial setup and daily operation to long-term improvements. It ensures IT aligns with business needs and provides guidance on service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement.

PCI DSS: Payment card industry data security standard

Overview: This standard is crucial for any business that handles credit card transactions. PCI DSS ensures that your IT systems secure cardholder data, reducing payment card fraud.

What it covers: The standard dictates that merchants and service providers maintain a secure network, protect cardholder data, maintain a vulnerability management program, implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks, and maintain an information security policy.

Purpose of IT auditor

Why you need an IT auditor for business continuity

With all the technical IT audit standards, do you have the time to understand everything? That's where an IT audit manager comes in handy. Here are other reasons why you need one: 

Risk management evaluation

IT auditors assess and mitigate risks that could disrupt your business. By using an IT audit checklist, they use advanced tools to evaluate threats such as natural disasters or cyberattacks, ensuring your risk management strategies are comprehensive and robust.

System reliability checks

Auditors inspect your IT systems for vulnerabilities that could cause downtime or data loss. Their comprehensive evaluations help maintain your system’s reliability through regular updates, correct configurations, and necessary redundancies.

Compliance verification & regulatory compliance

Ensuring compliance with regulatory standards is crucial for uninterrupted business operations. IT auditors verify that your systems adhere to legal and technical standards, protecting your business from potential legal challenges.

Recovery strategy optimization

IT auditors not only ensure you have effective recovery strategies in place but also regularly test and refine these audit plans. This preparation is key to minimizing downtime and maintaining trust with your clientele in the event of an IT emergency.

How to plan an IT audit

How to plan your IT audit: What to include in your IT audit

By having an IT audit checklist, you evaluate your organization's systems, ensuring they are secure, compliant, and as efficient as possible. By being well-prepared, you can facilitate the audit process, making it beneficial rather than burdensome for your business.

Gather the necessary documentation

Start by gathering all the necessary documentation that auditors might need. This includes network diagrams, access logs, compliance reports, previous audit reports, and security policies. Having these documents ready can significantly speed up the audit process.

What to include:

  • Network diagrams: Provide a clear view of the IT infrastructure, including all hardware and software components.
  • Access logs: Show who accessed what and when, which is crucial for assessing security protocols.
  • Compliance reports: Demonstrate adherence to relevant regulations.
  • Previous audit reports: Offer insights into past issues and how they were resolved.
  • Security policies: Outline the measures in place to protect data and systems.

Review your IT infrastructure

Conduct a thorough review of your IT infrastructure to identify any potential issues before the auditors do. This includes checking for outdated software and unauthorized devices on the network and ensuring that all security patches are up-to-date.

What to check:

  • Software updates: Ensure all software is up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  • Hardware inventory: Verify all hardware devices are authorized and properly configured.
  • Security measures: Check that firewalls, antivirus programs, and other security measures are functioning effectively.

Train your staff to improve workflow

Make sure your staff is aware of the IT audit checklist and understands their role in it. Training should cover the importance of compliance, data security, and how to respond to auditor requests effectively.

What to focus on:

  • Awareness of policies: Ensure all employees are familiar with your company's IT security and data protection policies.
  • Procedure for responding to auditors: Educate staff on how to provide information and access to auditors.
  • Understanding of compliance: Employees should understand the compliance requirements that affect their daily work.

Schedule a pre-audit meeting

Arrange a meeting with the IT audit team before the audit begins. This meeting is a chance to discuss the scope of the audit, any specific areas of concern, and logistics like access to facilities and systems.


  • Clarify the audit scope: Ensure everyone understands what the audit will cover.
  • Address concerns: Discuss any areas of particular concern that need focused attention during the audit.
  • Plan logistics: Organize how auditors will access the systems and facilities they need to review.
How to conduct an IT audit

Step-by-step guide: How to conduct an IT audit

Once you've prepared and gathered all the necessary documentation for an IT audit checklist, it’s time to dive into the actual auditing process. 

Step 1: Conduct risk assessment

Begin with a thorough assessment of potential risks to your IT systems. This involves analyzing external threats, such as cyber-attacks, and internal risks, including potential data breaches or hardware failures. Understanding these real-time risks will help you prioritize the most critical areas for immediate attention.

Step 2: Review security and access controls

Evaluate the effectiveness of your existing security measures. This step includes checking whether firewalls, antivirus software, encryption protocols, and access management systems are up to date and operating correctly. Ensuring robust security controls is essential for protecting your data and IT infrastructure from unauthorized access and other security threats.

Step 3: Analyze system performance (data backup & disaster recovery, antivirus software, etc.)

Assess the performance of your IT systems to ensure they meet your business's operational demands. Look at server uptimes, network speeds, software efficiency, and the effectiveness of your IT support. This analysis will help you identify performance bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement.

Step 4: Verify compliance

Confirm that your IT practices comply with relevant industry standards and regulations. This is crucial for businesses in regulated sectors such as healthcare, finance, or education, where compliance with specific legal and regulatory requirements is mandatory.

Step 5: Report findings and recommend improvements

Compile the results from your IT audit checklist into a detailed report that outlines key findings and areas of concern. Include recommendations for actionable improvements that can help enhance your IT infrastructure and security audits.

Step 6: Implement changes

Act on the recommendations provided in the audit report. This may involve upgrading outdated systems, revising security policies, or improving data management practices. Implementing these changes is vital for maintaining a secure and efficient IT environment.

Step 7: Monitor and regularly update

After implementing changes, continuously monitor your IT systems to ensure they adapt well and remain efficient. Regular updates and follow-ups are crucial to respond effectively to new challenges and evolving threats.

Why choose Vital Integrators

Elevate your IT audit checklist with Vital Integrators

Need help with IT audit complexities? You're not alone. Many business owners grapple with compliance and security standards. That's where Vital Integrators steps in to simplify and strengthen your process.

At Vital Integrators, we understand the pressure you face to keep your systems secure and compliant. That's why we tailor our IT audit checklist to meet the specific needs of your business.

Our expertise isn't just recognized; it's certified. We hold a CompTIA Security Trustmark+ certification, a testament to our high standards in cybersecurity and data protection.

We don’t just handle IT audits; we anticipate the challenges they bring. Our proactive approach ensures that your systems are fortified against potential threats before they become issues.

With Vital Integrators, you gain access to round-the-clock support and comprehensive management solutions that keep your operations running smoothly without interruption.

Contact us now!

Let's help you with IT audit procedures! 

Don’t let IT audits be a source of stress. Let Vital Integrators transform them into an advantage for your business.

Call us today at (337) 313-4200. Choose to turn your IT audit into a strategic asset that enhances the security and efficiency of your operations.

Frequently asked questions

How do you define the audit scope for an organization's information technology infrastructure?

Defining the audit scope involves identifying the specific elements of the company’s information technology that need to be evaluated.

This process ensures that the audit focuses on the critical aspects of the organization’s IT infrastructure, including network security, system performance, and compliance with regulations.

What does an evaluation of an organization's information involve?

An evaluation of an organization’s information encompasses examining the management and security of all data processed and stored within the information system.

This evaluation helps identify any potential security risks and inefficiencies in data handling.

What are the steps in creating an IT audit for a company’s information technology?

Creating an IT audit checklist involves several key steps: firstly, determining the scope of the audit and then using network discovery software to identify all components of the organization’s IT infrastructure.

The process also includes assessing the current state of network security and system vulnerabilities.

How can regular IT audits benefit an organization's security?

Regular IT audits help maintain the integrity of an organization's security by consistently evaluating and updating security measures.

This routine check-up helps to detect and mitigate potential intrusions, ensuring that the information system is protected against evolving threats.

What techniques are used to audit the security of an organization?

To audit the security of an organization, auditors utilize tools like intrusion detection systems and network discovery software.

These tools help identify unauthorized access attempts and analyze the security configuration of the network.

How can you streamline the audit process for an organization's IT infrastructure?

To streamline the audit process, organizations can use automated tools to monitor system performance and security continuously.

This includes tracking CPU and RAM usage to detect any anomalies that could indicate security issues or system failures.

What additional benefits does an IT audit provide?

An IT audit can also offer insights into the operational efficiency of an organization’s information technology.

The audit findings often lead to recommendations for improving system performance and enhancing data management strategies, contributing to better overall business practices.