What is a software audit?

How many digital tools do you use in your company? Today, they can be counted in tens. Having twenty or thirty digital tools in your company means that it is vital to verify their state, at least from time to time. And that’s the essence of a software audit.

It’s challenging to coin one universal definition of a software audit because there are many different types of such audits (later in this post, we will show you three major ones). Companies conduct them for various reasons and purposes. But we can generally say that a software audit is a procedure designed to verify the condition of the software that you use in your organisation.

Typically, software audits are conducted in order to check the state, performance, quality and compliance of the software that you use. Digital products, just like physical ones, can become outdated or unnecessary over time. In such a situation, they need to be deleted or replaced.

Reasons to conduct a software audit

Usually, companies decide to conduct a software audit in order to:

  • Verify if their software works correctly (i.e., there are no issues that need fixing)
  • Maintain full licensing compliances (so-called software license audits)
  • Check If the software they use is compliant with legal requirements in a given country (e.g., in reference to processing personal data)

Software audits can be conducted internally or externally. In the first case, the company’s team is responsible for the audit. Such audits are performed to check the quality of the software (if everyone uses the latest version of a given tool etc.). External audits are mainly for legal and compliance purposes, and third-party auditors conduct them. Such audits can be commissioned by the company itself or by some sort of a regulatory body (e.g., a personal data protection institution).

Three basic types of software audits

Software security audits

Their goal is to make sure that your company is secure from the online safety point of view. Security breaches are extremely dangerous and can lead to serious problems, including revealing your company’s sensitive data. For obvious reasons, companies all over the world protect their digital assets, and they use firewalls, encrypted data transmission and antivirus software to achieve that goal. And that’s why you need a software security audit – to ensure that all software in your company is properly protected and safe to use.

UX audits

Every tool that you use should be accessible and intuitive, correct? That’s why companies conduct UX audits – to make sure they use the best tools that are easy to use and intuitive. UX audits are also immensely important when you want to develop your own software, e.g., a mobile app. In such a case, you have to make sure that your digital product is useful for all users, even less tech-savvy ones. The UX audit reveals whether your app is well-designed and functional. If some tweaks or corrections are necessary, the audit will inform you about them (you get a list of recommendations). Thanks to UX audits, you can use and publish 100% user-friendly software.

Software quality audits

Probably, that’s the most straightforward type of a software audit. Here, auditors check whether all the apps and programs that you use in your company are updated and work correctly. Sometimes you also get recommendations on software that’s better/cheaper and could replace some of the programs that you already use. Software quality audits can also check whether all of your software is legal and whether you stick to the user’s license.

What to do after the audit?

Depending on the findings, you can do several things. For starters, you should delete all the unused software and update all the outdated apps and tools. If there are any issues, fix them as quickly as possible. If there are potential security leaks, improve your security measures. After the first software audit, you know much more about your digital ecosystem, so it’s easier to plan the next audit and decide what to expect from it.

And speaking of planning an audit – would you like to know how to conduct such a software audit? If so, take a look at the full version of this post: Introduction to Software Audit: Definition, Benefits, Checklist

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