A new survey conducted by Protiviti and ISACA found that cybersecurity is the chief risk for IT audit departments, with several related risks such as privacy and data as well as regulatory compliance also ranking as top concerns.
Responses to this year’s edition of the annual technology and audit benchmarking survey, titled “IT Audit Perspectives on Today’s Top Technology Risks,” indicate that IT audit teams are perceiving the current technology risk landscape as much more threatening than in the past. War-related cyberattacks are on the rise, the surge of sophisticated ransomware attacks is ongoing and remote work continues to subject many organizations to new cybersecurity risks. Yet despite heightened concerns, the survey revealed that one in five organizations do not expect their 2022 audit plans to address the risk of cybersecurity breaches.
“Given the increasingly complex and rapidly changing technology risk landscape we’re in, it’s imperative for IT audit leaders to understand they are responsible for maintaining a holistic view of IT risks impacting the entire organization,” said Angelo Poulikakos, a managing director at Protiviti and global leader of the firm’s Technology Audit practice. “This requires tech-enablement from an audit standpoint and regular calibration of risk assessments to suit the current environment, rather than ‘rinsing and repeating’ the work from previous years.”
“The elevated cybersecurity concerns evidenced in this year’s survey underscore that cyber threats are no longer concentrated within specific industries. This is an industry agnostic concern, and every organization should be mobilizing to protect itself. While IT audit teams may not be on the front lines managing these risks, it’s essential that they take a proactive approach to regularly assess the efficacy of these efforts while confirming the proper controls and protections are in place,” added Poulikakos.
The Top 10 IT Audit Risks for 2022
The survey asked respondents to rate the significance of 39 technology risk issues. Of those, the top 10 IT audit risks identified were as follows:
- Cyber breach
- Manage security incidents
- Monitor regulatory compliance
- Access risk
- Data integrity
- Disaster recovery
- Data governance
- Third-party risk
- Monitor/audit IT, legal and regulatory compliance
The top risks cited in this year’s survey highlight the vital yet sensitive role that data plays in organizations today, with respondents expressing significant concerns regarding the way in which data is gathered, governed and secured. Respondents also demonstrated that IT audit professionals are acutely aware of the evolving compliance requirements facing their organizations, related to data stewardship, industry standards, and national and regional requirements.
“With a global focus on data regulation, it may be easy to view data solely through a lens of compliance,” said Paul Phillips, ISACA director of Event Content Development and Risk Professional Practice lead. “However, consumer concern with how their data are used and stored and other operational matters that can quickly become reputational matters must not be discounted. As IT auditors assess risk and evaluate controls associated with data, the tremendous organizational value (and responsibility) of data and the importance of trust should always be top of mind.”
The benchmarking report is based on a survey, fielded in the fourth quarter of 2021, of over 7,500 IT audit leaders and professionals, including chief audit executives (CAEs) and IT audit vice presidents and directors, representing a wide range of industries globally. The survey was conducted in collaboration with ISACA, a global professional association of more than 165,000 digital trust professionals.
Survey Resources Available
“IT Audit Perspectives on Today’s Top Technology Risks” is available for complimentary download, along with an infographic and podcast about the survey results, here. On July 28, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. PDT, Protiviti will host a free one-hour webinar to further explore the implications of the survey. Featured speakers will be Poulikakos, Phillips and Maeve Raak, a director in Protiviti’s Technology Audit practice.
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