The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the adoption of remote audits in organizations and industries across the world.
The subsequent time and costs savings suggest remote auditing will remain popular into the future.
Use these tips and resources to help your organization prepare for a remote audit.
ISO 19011 support for remote audits
The ISO endorses the use of remote auditing.
It sets the benchmark through a series of published recommendations and requirements.
However, not all external certification and regulatory bodies accept remote audits.
What is a remote audit?
A remote audit is an electronic audit that uses technology to evaluate compliance.
This replaces face-to-face interaction, either internally or between a company and an external certifying body.
Benefits of remote audits
Remote audits free up onsite resources, are less disruptive to workflow and support maximized efficiency by allowing audit teams to work from familiar offsite locations.
Logistical support is limited to the installation and maintenance of technology and tools.
The use of security-enhanced cloud computing, document sharing and video conferencing applications promotes an agile and more responsive auditing process.
What happens in a remote audit?
A remote audit is a dynamic process that evolves as it unfolds.
It is auditor-led and guided, and requires constant adjustments to interview questions and document requests as the audit progresses.
Interviews are conducted in real-time via Zoom or Skype, documents and data are shared and reviewed on file-sharing apps, and tech-enabled walkthroughs are performed on request.
Is your organization ready for remote auditing?
Organizational readiness is key to a successful remote audit.
It entails updating existing QMS, adopting the appropriate tools and infrastructure, and, in the case of an internal audit, defining and developing the audit process.
Security evaluations of shared tools, documents and networks may be required to support a remote audit.
Updating policies and procedures relating to document and data access is essential to protecting the integrity of your organization.
6 tips for remote audits
If your organization is implementing remote audits for the first time, here are a few recommendations to support the transition.
- Adopt the use of security-enhanced technology to mitigate the risk of network attacks – VPNs, password-protected documents, encrypted data and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
- Appoint an onsite facilitator to manage audit logistics and resolve any technology-related problems.
- Define the scope, purpose, timing, requirements and method of each audit.
- Establish clear-cut rules of engagement between the organization and the compliance or audit team. Cover expectations regarding the availability of role players, the frequency of status updates and engagements between defined points of contact.
- Arrange audits so that audit activities are least disruptive to workflow.
- Schedule regular check-in times with the auditors to evaluate progress, iron out issues and streamline the flow of communication.
Resources for remote auditing
These free resources can clarify concerns and help your organization prepare for a remote audit.
- ISO guidelines for remote audits
- Explaining e-audits
- Optimizing remote internal quality audits
- The evolution of remote audits
- Preparing for a remote external audit
Advantages of isoTracker’s Audit Management Software
As a secure, centralized and fully-automated system, isoTracker’s audit management software is a plug-and-play remote auditing solution for small, medium and large organizations.
It supports internal audits – from planning to execution – and helps organizations avoid non-compliance issues, pass external audits and improve consistency.
Automated audit reports and built-in tracking capabilities ensure audit issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.
The remote audit management software by isoTracker is available as a standalone application or as a value-added feature integrated into isoTracker’s QMS.
isoTracker’s audit management software is agile, fully automated, ISO-compliant, cost-effective and user-friendly.
Why not try it out now in a 60-day free trial?