Perimeter
1/18/2013
02:35 PM
50%
50%

Acing An Audit In 30 Minutes

Compliance audits don't have to be chaotic events

I asked a client in the insurance business about its recent audit. The president of the company told me that, once again, the audit went fine. Actually, it went better than fine. As usual, it aced the audit. Zero deficiencies, zero issues, zero problems. The auditors said it was the most organized office and easiest file review they had ever seen.

That was impressive, but the best part was yet to come. "How long did it take to prepare for the audit?" I asked. She said her staff spent about 30 minutes preparing for the auditors. Then she added that 15 minutes of that time was making sure the conference room and restrooms were tidy.

Yes, you read that right. Their audit prep time was half an hour.

Want to know how they do this every time? There's no real secret. This company's staff is focused on processes that properly support all necessary business tasks every day.

Security, compliance, documentation, and financial accountability are all built into its processes, not added on later. When there is a new problem that is not addressed with its processes, it doesn't simply address the problem; it learns from it and adjust its processes accordingly.

If a member of the staff encounters a new problem without a process to address it, then the employee brings it to management so a method can be developed to detect and/or address the problem next time.

The company's president told me new employees are either able to adapt to its problem-solving process and high-quality mind set, or they don't make it. In her words, "It's not personal; the process really works out who makes it here."

The president also realized early in the life of the business that a key to supporting processes was the appropriate technology. Instead of using off-the-shelf software, she invested in building custom software that matched her vision of compliant and efficient processes.

Was custom software expensive? Not over time. In fact, the company can now offer significantly more services than its competitors with half of the number of employees. Because the company's software was built with the end in mind, the technology makes audits a breeze, with all necessary data immediately available.

Unlike many organizations, this company never has to really do anything to get ready for an audit. The planning on appropriate and necessary processes, plus the professional discipline to follow the processes, makes them ready for an audit every day.

For this company, audits are not the test of completion and accuracy. It holds itself to that standard every day, through processes and culture. It is a system any organization can build and maintain. All it takes is forethought, adaptability, and discipline.

Glenn S. Phillips loves the company president he just wrote about. He is the president of Forte' Incorporated where he works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks within. Glenn is the author of the book Nerd-to-English and you can find him on twitter at @NerdToEnglish. Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Latest Comment: nice post
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1750
Published: 2015-07-01
Open redirect vulnerability in nokia-mapsplaces.php in the Nokia Maps & Places plugin 1.6.6 for WordPress allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the href parameter to page/place.html. NOTE: this was originally reported as cross-sit...

CVE-2014-1836
Published: 2015-07-01
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in htdocs/libraries/image-editor/image-edit.php in ImpressCMS before 1.3.6 allows remote attackers to delete arbitrary files via a full pathname in the image_path parameter in a cancel action.

CVE-2015-0848
Published: 2015-07-01
Heap-based buffer overflow in libwmf 0.2.8.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted BMP image.

CVE-2015-1330
Published: 2015-07-01
unattended-upgrades before 0.86.1 does not properly authenticate packages when the (1) force-confold or (2) force-confnew dpkg options are enabled in the DPkg::Options::* apt configuration, which allows remote man-in-the-middle attackers to upload and execute arbitrary packages via unspecified vecto...

CVE-2015-1950
Published: 2015-07-01
IBM PowerVC Standard Edition 1.2.2.1 through 1.2.2.2 does not require authentication for access to the Python interpreter with nova credentials, which allows KVM guest OS users to discover certain PowerVC credentials and bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified Python code.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report