Organizations today face a ton of challenges with software audits, which is understandable given the complexity and scale of enterprise software.
For starters, auditing software takes a lot of time and effort to get it done right. It may, therefore, be tempting for organizations to push out product releases without an audit, both to save money, and to benefit from software updates more quickly. This is not advised, however, as it is likely to introduce bugs or non-compliant functions into the software.
Software audits employing manual audit teams and automatic auditing tools are absolutely necessary to stay on top of emerging security and legal risks. That said, audits can be a tough ordeal for enterprises... but only if they’re making major mistakes. What are these mistakes and how can organizations prevent them?
1. Having Little to No Support from Top-Level Executives
Executive support is an integral aspect of successful internal audits. It’s hard to implement a compliance-focused culture in the office when key leaders don’t understand and embrace compliance in the first place.
This results in software audits being done just for the sake of it with no real objectives in place. Software quality is affected as a consequence, which then leads to poor work productivity, non-compliance, or worse: security vulnerabilities.
Another problem when business leaders distance themselves from being involved in software audits is their resultant lack of knowledge. When key executives are not well-informed about their own systems, they’re more prone to making mistakes like suggesting a software change that goes against local data regulations, for instance.
Mistakes like these cost enterprises dearly: The average fine for non-compliance is $5.47 million.
The maximum fines of GDPR non-compliance in enterprises (image source)
To stop this from becoming an issue, organizations should implement compliance training and awareness throughout the company to better equip key personnel for software audits.
Ideally, top-level personnel should also be a part of the process. Auditing teams should be the only ones responsible for audits; the CIO & CTO (the CEO may get involved sometimes) carry part of the responsibility as well.
This, combined with regular internal audits, will give your company the knowledge and experience it needs to conduct more effective software audits while establishing a compliance culture in the workplace.
2. Being Biased When Performing Internal Audits
Internal audits are a lifesaver for enterprises. Not only do internal audits discover compliance or code issues before they become a problem, they also prepare your organization for external audits.
However, organizations should be careful to not be biased when performing internal audits. When businesses see themselves in the best way possible, they tend to overlook flaws in their software that can turn out to be critical errors.
This is where an external auditor is invaluable. They can look at your organization’s code, databases, and general software environment from a fresh perspective to spot issues that the internal audit may have missed. Their experience also assists in crafting solutions to the problems and setting you up to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
If enterprises want to maintain their audits in-house, they should assemble an audit team or program that works separately from the rest of the IT department. By separating the audit team from the regular IT teams, organizations remove bias from the equation, leading to more complete and accurate internal audits.
3. Not Preparing Enough Documentation
Documentation is the GPS of software audits. Without it, audit teams struggle to find evidence and direction in determining whether a piece of software is compliant or meets the quality requirements established by industry standards. In fact, more and more audit standards are emphasizing the importance of documentation in their policies today.
It’s paramount for organizations to record and document every piece of information related to their software, including governance policies, customizations, usage procedures, and quality assurance metrics. This will ease the internal audit process significantly while leaving behind a paper trail for external auditors to refer to.
4. Manually Collecting and Analyzing Audit Data
Manually collecting and analyzing data is the biggest error enterprises make in audits. Not only is manual data collection slow, it’s also prone to mistakes that can affect enterprise software.
Imagine a team member who is tasked with identifying non-compliant features in a business tool. After a long day, he decides to take a break and resume his work tomorrow. Work goes on as usual the next day, but the team member forgets to continue where he left off, which ends up in missing several compliance issues in the software.
To overcome human errors and perform successful audits, it’s best to rely on an automated audit tool to collect the data your organization needs. This will save a lot of time and resources (and headaches) that can be spent on other important areas of software compliance, security, and quality.
How to Make Software Audits Easier and More Effective: Panoptics
Panoptics’ audit trail makes preparing for audits a breeze for enterprises. Our industry-leading platform tracks every software change your organization makes—from minuscule edits to total system rehauls—and identifies when the change is made.
Panoptics also discovers “hidden” changes in multiple environments, including in the cloud. This prevents your organization from missing out on hidden compliance issues and faulty software errors that negatively impact your operations.
The audit trail is automated, making it significantly easier for your auditing team to get the critical data they need to perform internal audits while preparing for external audits effortlessly. With Panoptics, auditors no longer need to rely on the development team to provide data, nor do they need to crawl through source code versioning systems to get the job done.
Ready to save time and money with Panoptics’ audit trail?
Try Panoptics for free today to see how we can help your business plan and execute successful software audits.
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