How to Simplify ISO Audits for IT Using Automation

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How to Simplify ISO Audits for IT Using Automation

Being ISO certified shows customers that your enterprise is committed to using systems and following processes that boost the quality of your products and services. While customers will be assured, your teams may be worried about the task ahead. To achieve certification, they’ll need to undergo multiple audits.

  • Internal audit: First internal review of your documentation, processes, procedures, and systems, to understand how effective they are and what could be improved.
  • Third-party audit: to ensure suppliers are doing what they say they are.
  • Certification audit: An ISO auditor will examine your processes and documentation and interview your workforce to assess if you are following the ISO standard you are aiming for.
  • Maintenance audits: These occur during the life of your certification, as external ISO auditors make sure that you’re continuing to follow all documented procedures.
  • Re-certification audits: After three years you’ll need to reapply and go through another certification audit.

This probably sounds like a lot of additional work at a time when your teams are buckling under the strain of supporting a more disparate end user base and an ever-more complex IT estate. There are ways to gain buy-in and make ISO certification less of a headache.

Explain the benefits of ISO Certification

There are several ISO information security standards that IT organizations can benefit from. Including:

  • ISO 27001: Information Security Management Systems. 
  • ISO 27701: GDPR Compliance.
  • ISO IEC 20000-1: Information Technology Service Management.
  • CMMC: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification.
  • ISO 27017: Security Controls for Cloud Services.

So, how does ISO certification benefit IT?

  • Confidence in your business drives growth and stability: Achieving ISO certification gives confidence to suppliers, business partners and customers, helping your company and customer base to grow, giving employees greater stability.
  • Better protection: By showing you are committed to improving processes you are also showing your commitment to protecting your workforce. Being ISO 27001 accredited, for example shows that a company takes IT security seriously by reducing the risk of a costly data breach. That doesn’t just apply to customer data but ensures employee data is also better protected.
  • Better visibility into third-party vendor activities: Reduce the risks of identifying and working with third-party vendors. For example, by choosing recycling vendors who are ISO certified you can ensure they’ll follow strict procedures during IT asset disposition (ITAD) and you’ll have more peace of mind selecting a cloud vendor who has achieved ISO 27017.
  • Fewer issues: While the initial task of auding your systems, processes and procedures may sound daunting. By eliminating poor processes, your team will spend less time fixing issues thereby reducing workloads in the long term.

Involve teams from the get-go

Suddenly announcing IT is going to go for certification isn’t likely to make teams happy. Involving them from the start will help to gain buy-in and allow you to deal with any resistance or questions from an early stage.

Use the right tools

To get you through the many and regular audits, you need to maintain robust records of your processes and provide documented evidence on how they are being followed. Given the number of disparate tools and systems that your IT teams interact with, that can be a lot of work. These tools manage distinct areas of your IT estate, and they aren’t designed to interact with each other. So, like the many other tasks IT manages, much of the work to maintain records will be handled manually.

We all know how time consuming and risky this is. There’s a chance for errors to creep in or steps to be missed. Your organization isn’t static but your project data will be if you are using manual process to maintain it. The longer it takes to collect and analyze data, the more out of date it will be, adding further risk both to your ISO certification and any program you manage using this data.

Morgan Stanley found out just how costly lapses in data protection can be. A third-party vendor used by Morgan Stanley as part of a data center decommissioning program failed to erase data from servers and hardware before they were sent to a recycler. Later a few decommissioned servers containing customer information went missing from a local branch. Although the issue was caused by a third party, it was found that Morgan Stanley hadn’t properly supervised the vendor or maintained adequate documentation. As a result, in addition to being subject to a number of class-action lawsuits, it was issued with a $60 million civil money penalty by the US OCC.

To reduce the time and effort of documenting processes for ISO audits, consider implementing a digital platform conductor (DPC). A DPC connects to all your disparate tools, and extracts, aggregates and cleans the information held within them in real time to provide a holistic view of your IT estate. Further leveraging two-way connectors, a DPC will update your existing databases with correct data to ensure all your records are up to date.

Maintain ISO record keeping requirements using automation

A digital platform conductor not only affords you greater visibility across your IT estate, but also allows you to take advantage of orchestration capabilities, triggering your disparate IT management tools to automate your IT processes and workflows. As tasks are completed the DPC stores a digital record. Reduced reliance on manual entry means reduced errors and you have easy access to detailed reports for ISO audits. This is even extended to work completed outside of your organization as third-party tasks can also be automatically recorded, to make sure that programs such as IT asset disposition (ITAD) are managed using appropriate processes.

By leveraging automation, you don’t just retain detailed records across all your IT programs, but you can accelerate the time to completion, reducing risk of ISO audits and across your entire IT estate.

Book a demo with ReadyWorks to see how to leverage automated processes to accelerate IT programs, reduce risk and cut the time and effort of ISO audits.

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