Audit Readiness – How to ensure a successful audit in four steps

Amshuman

Amshuman

Jul 10, 2024

While audits rely on evidence samples, success hinges on showing consistently effective and active security controls. It’s important to focus on implementing and testing controls throughout the audit period, not just gathering last-minute proof. This proactive approach merges compliance with operational excellence, offering a clear picture of ongoing security posture – a recipe for smooth audits and audit readiness. 

A successful audit prep broadly involves three stages:

  • Audit planning – Defining the scope for audits by identifying relevant controls and running periodic checks 
  •  Evidence gathering – Capturing accurate, empirical evidence free from false positives
  • Evidence review – Sampling valid, relevant, and sufficient set of evidence for thorough but easy internal and external review 

When these three stages start overlapping and bleeding into each other, is when you know your audit preparations turn into an audit emergency. 

Any overlaps between these stages result in stale evidence, riddled with false positives, that can’t be validated – undermining the entire audit preparation process. 

Audit readiness, in any meaningful sense, is only possible with a connected view of  assets, risks, and controls; and a way to continuously interact with this knowledge – managing risks, implementing and tracking controls, and collecting evidence. 

Once in place, such a system imparts structure and rigor to audit preparations so organizations stay on track and approach audits with confidence.

Audit preparations are marked by chaos and confusion – collaborating with several teams, sending frequent reminders to stakeholders, trading screenshots and spreadsheets, and doubling back to check controls. 

Without a systematized way to advance audit preparations, infosec teams come to naturally rely on manual techniques and ad hoc workflows to get ready for audits –  the main roadblocks to getting audit prep right. 

Other common challenges when getting audit-ready include: 

  • Having to go back and forth with several teams to ensure controls are in place, including policies, completed training, device-related security guardrails, and so forth. 
  • Low-quality evidence that’s often incomplete and irrelevant, leading to questions from auditors and further extending audit timelines 
  • Failing to factor in edge cases and exceptions until the final evidence review stage, casting doubts on the legitimacy of the audit preparation




Making audits stress-free: 3 ingredients 

Streamlining audit preparations and ensuring audit readiness involves shifting from a fragmented asset and control management, to a holistic approach to managing controls.

Here’s what organizations need to have in place to make audits stress-free. 

  1. A connected view of assets, risks, controls, and compliance criteria 

Orgs need up-to-date visibility into any asset impacting security, their risks, and the controls that tie back to compliance. These help ensure that you retain control over your audit preparations by showing you which controls are in the green and which still need work. 

  1. Continuous asset tracking and control management 

Ensuring up-to-date inventory of assets, processes, and by testing controls across all, orgs can keep track of emerging risks, anomalies, and control gaps so these can be dealt with right away without compromising compliance posture This proactive approach eliminates last-minute surprises.

  1. Dedicated control and risk ownership 

Assign ownership of risks, controls, and compliance workloads to relevant stakeholders to extend accountability, diversify management responsibilities, and reduce risk concentration.





Sprinto: A toolkit for fail-proof audits

Sprinto is an end-to-end system for planning, organizing, and executing audits with confidence. 

The platform enables infosec teams to transform their audit preparations from disparate and disorganized, to holistic and deliberate, by helping strategically align efforts with audit milestones.

In effect, the platform helps ensure audit essentials so no stone is left unturned – from continuous control testing to automatically gathering time stamped evidence, Sprinto makes sure everything audit-related is accounted for. 

What’s unique about Sprinto is the capability to prompt you if certain periodic activities, like risk review, fall out of the defined audit window and need to be recalibrated to ensure completion within the relevant audit bracket. This way, controls are accounted for, evidence is ensured, and exceptions are eliminated.


Enable organized & collaborative audits

Ensure a clean report with Sprinto



Four steps to ensure audit readiness

Sprinto helps organizations take charge of audits by playing the role of an effective program manager. The platform creates a rigorous structure around audit preparations, helps efficiently operationalize audit efforts, and automates key workflows related to control testing, evidence gathering, and control remediation. 

Here’s how any org can get audit-ready with Sprinto.



Step 1 – Create forward-facing audits

Integrate your tech stack seamlessly into Sprinto to consolidate security controls,  instantly identify gaps against selected compliance standards, and implement measures to ensure sweeping compliance coverage. 

Sprinto brings together assets, controls, monitoring, and audit priorities to produce a clear and comprehensive picture of your audit landscape. Armed with an in-depth perspective on your path to audit success, you know exactly what steps to take for a successful audit.


Bring structure to the audit process

Step 2 – Automatically test controls and gather time-stamped evidence 

Monitor only those controls that are in-scope for your audit. 

Sprinto continuously runs checks on relevant controls, flags anomalies, and sends out time-bound alerts to ensure compliance. The platform automatically collects accurate evidences and documents them for review. 

The platform additionally nudges completion of periodic checks which may typically fall outside the audit window but still impact the audit.


Automate evidence collection for relevant controls

Step 3 – Review and sample the collected evidence

Set up internal audits, sample evidence, and assess your overall compliance health on Sprinto’s dedicated dashboard for that extra boost of confidence before entering your audit. 

Review evidence internally before sharing with auditors


Step 4 – Share evidence with auditors  

Finally, onboard your preferred auditor to Sprinto’s auditor dashboard to streamline evidence review. 

Provide separate auditor access to a secure dashboard with evidence samples to ensure that auditors are only assessing relevant evidence. Share additional or missing evidence as requested, communicate with auditors, and track audit progress, all within Sprinto. 

Additionally, share evidence sets and risk reports with management for approval on the Sprinto platform to keep everything audit-related in one place and expedite the process.

Collaborate with auditors & share evidence on the platform

Ensure audit readiness 24×7

Ace every audit with Sprinto 

Audit readiness requires a structured approach that’s only possible with a clear view of assets, controls, and evidence, and a firm grasp of how to harmonize these within the context of compliance.

Sprinto gathers everything relevant to your audit in a single place and automates control testing and evidence gathering workflows, so audit preparations go forward with minimal friction. 

Get in touch with our compliance experts to learn how Sprinto can help get you audit-ready in days.

Amshuman

Amshuman

Amshuman is a writer and cybersecurity enthusiast with research experience in post-quantum cryptography and a penchant for making the technical tangible. Outside the worlds of math and content, he’s an avid reader of ethnographies and a dedicated father to two cats.

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