An audit can be thought of as an external inspection of a public website that is carried out by a third-party.Most often, the outside party is a web developer who has been hired to maintain the website and to help with its development. It’s the person responsible for making sure the site is up to date and accurately represents the mission of the organization, the company, or its partners – site audit tools
Sometimes an outside audit will be performed by a third-party organization, such as a government agency or a company that does digital security audits.
Any kind of audit can be triggered by events or situations, such as an internal audit being done by an agency, a digital security audit being performed by a digital security company, or when a content problem is discovered.
There are a variety of reasons that an organization would want an outside audit performed. Here are a few:
- To improve the website or the website’s functionality, such as an upgrade
- To find bugs and security issues that have not been discovered yet
- Verify the accuracy of data or information that the organization holds
- To examine the website’s marketing content, digital assets, and website analytics
- To learn from previous audits of similar websites to ensure that the site can be improved.
When there is a chance that your website or digital assets are going to be inspected by an outside party, you want to have a plan in place so that you are not blindsided by a change request or an attack.
An audit is often viewed as a very large change request as there are lot of site audit tools on the internet and you need a comprehensive plan in place so that you don’t miss a thing.
If a site has experienced a security incident, such as a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack or a compromise, then an outside party may have no control over the service and you want to make sure that it doesn’t interfere.
How does a company website plan for an audit?
Organizations should begin planning an audit early on in the life of the website.
Once you have a website, you should follow the steps to plan and create the audit. The audit is a necessary step in the life cycle of the website. And if you are aware of the steps to take, then you can avoid surprises.
When should you plan an audit for a website?
Each organization will have to make its own decision about the need for an audit at different stages of the life cycle. For example, an organization may take an ineterst in the creation of an internal wiki. That is used as a repository for internal documentation, images, images of user-generated content, presentations, and so on.
When that documentation is available for legal purposes. Such as for FCC or FDA, the organization should consider an audit as part of its digital security program.
Another organization may be planning an internal campaign that allows employees to publish content on the intranet. This process may need to be audited to ensure the proper naming. The use of the correct data in the search criteria, and a good structure to help with SEO.
Also, every organization is different and will take the time to analyze the most likely areas of concern and the extent of those concerns.
Once the organization decides to do an external audit, it needs to evaluate the person or organization who will perform the audit.
First, if the third party performes audit, then you should consider that an external audit will require the organization to waive any copyrights in the content on the website, in the presentation, or in the database.
If the content belongs to the organization, then the organization will have to purchase any licenses. And also to ensure that the content remains proprietary.
An external company that audits digital assets is not responsible for any accidents that may occur in the process of performing an audit.
Secondly, consider if the company conducting the audit has the ability to transfer the content. And the tools that will be used to audit the website to the organization’s internal resources.
Third, if the company performing the audit is to do the audit onsite. Then they will need to make sure that they have the appropriate security in place. Such as the appropriate cameras and locks.
Fourth, if you are requesting the audit in-house. Then you should know what the company will do to keep the audit confidential. If you don’t have any issues with confidentiality, then the audit is a valuable asset for your organization.
Lastly, consider the organization’s confidence level in the external firm performing the audit. When the organization has confidence in the audit team. And in the processes used by the company performing the audit. Then they can accept the value of the audit and accept the outcome of the audit. As long as it was a fair and balanced assessment of the site.
Ideally, an organization should communicate to any external company that they intend to conduct the site audit tools.