One of the main reasons we moved the IT advisory function out of internal audit was the fact that IT encompassed so much more than just doing an audit.
I believed in the exponential growth of IT based on the simple belief: IT is integral to efficient and effective businesses. Businesses that do not leverage on IT will go nowhere. So it only makes sense that IT will get more complex and more critical as each year goes by.
Back in 2010, PKF Malaysia realised this pattern. By staying stagnant and doing what the other firms were doing: Internal Auditors doing IT audits, we were going to simply die off. The first thing we realised was that, while Internal Auditors were OK doing IT audits, these were two different animals. We didn’t want to do checklist audits. We didn’t want someone doing IT audit who didn’t even know what the heck was an AAA server or how to do a simple VLAN config on a Cisco router. We didn’t want someone who would go up to the Audit Committee, put someone else’s career at stake by giving ridiculous recommendations and reports, based on ‘previous experience’ and ‘industry best practices’, when they don’t even know head or tail on what Active Directory is used for, or what’s the basics of DNS poisoning or IP spoofing. We needed serious technical people who have been on both customer and consulting end, and we needed to separate from the Internal Audit group….simply because we want an audit to be done differently.
We moved quickly into ISO27001 (ISMS) and PCI-DSS, we went through ISO27005 for risk assessment, we did COBIT 4.1 training and enablement and got everyone at least CISA certified. Most of us, like me, have multiple certs, for instance in IT forensics, IT ethical hacking, IT management, Project management and so forth.
We moved quickly to become MSC status to be a serious player in 2011, and we started strategic collaborations for different purposes. We joined workgroups with government and private agencies, opening channels to MOSTI, MIMOS, Bank Negara and so on, to conduct knowledge sharing sessions. For free. I am a great believer that contribution back to the industry should be done as part of our professional duty, and not as an engagement service.
So here we are, at the precipice of change. PKF itself has undergone some tremendous changes over 2012 and 2013. This week, we had our PKF Asia Pac Conference, where different countries got together, to explore different areas and opportunities. We’re excited, as we see the work we’ve done in the past 3 years to build our knowledge and reputation, possibly coming to fruition. I am also a big believer that PKF requires an IT function regionally. There should be a Center of Excellence, not just to do IT audit but to do Technical Services like penetration testing and forensics, or troubleshooting and service management; and also project management.
This is where we are. We still have a long way to go, but with the extension of our services into the other firms in PKF, we’re set to stay for a long while.
Here is the link to the presentation we did to the other PKF Firms last week.