A software audit is a procedure aiming at checking the state, quality, compliance and security of the software that you use in your company. Why are such audits necessary? And what are the most common forms of them? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
How long have you been running your business? If it’s already been a few years, it is likely that some of the tools you use have always been with you. And maybe they help you get the job done, but what if there are better alternatives on the market? What if there are tools that are quicker, cheaper or more secure? To find that out, you need to run a software audit!
Why would you need to conduct a software audit?
There can be many reasons for such an audit. Typically, companies run them in order to:
- Pinpoint potential glitches or technical issues that need fixing
- Verify how the software is used on a daily basis (perhaps there are some tools that generate costs but aren’t in use anymore)
- Verify the legality and security of the software your company uses (maybe there are some expired licences or significant bugs or other problems that may cause data leakage or a hacking attack?)
Audits can be conducted internally (by your IT department) or externally (by a third-party auditor); there are also many types of them. It all depends on your goals and requirements. If you want to check if every tool is still vital for your business, you can opt for an internal audit. If you want to check legality and compliance (e.g., concerning personal data protection), you should opt for a third-party software audit.
What are the benefits of software audits?
First of all, they help you maintain your software in healthy condition. Thanks to a software audit, you make sure that your tools are updated and fully functional. Secondly, this way, you ensure that you use all your tools legally and that there are no cybersecurity threats. And thirdly, a software audit can be a source of some savings if, for instance, it turned out that you had a tool that generated high licensing costs and there was a cheaper or free alternative.
Earlier in this post, we mentioned that there are different types of software audits. There are three most common forms. Let’s take a look at them.
Three types of software audits
Their goal is to protect your company from malicious attacks and cybersecurity breaches that could lead to major technical problems or the leakage of sensitive data. A security audit is all about checking the tools and security measures you have implemented to ensure that they are sufficient in the context of what you do and how you operate.
These are concentrated on usability and accessibility. They verify whether the tools that you use (or offer!) are accessible and easy to use for different users. An important part of such an audit is the so-called cognitive walkthrough that aims at verifying how your tools perform various tasks. Every company working on a new app should conduct at least one UX audit before launching their product.
That’s the most straightforward type of security audit. Here, auditors check whether all the apps and programs that you use are updated and work correctly. It’s also important to check whether there are other tools that could perform the same tasks but for less amount of money or maybe in the cloud.
As you can see, depending on what you want to achieve, there are different options. See other forms of software audit to pick the one that ticks all of your boxes. And when you do, you can decide whether to do that on your own or with an external auditor.
Take a look at the full version of this post to see how to conduct such an audit: Introduction to Software Audit: Definition, Benefits, Checklist