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What is the Future of IT Auditing? Bridging Human Expertise and Artificial Intelligence

AI technology will transform the job of an IT auditor, but will not render it obsolete

Aqsa Taylor | June 11, 2024

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The job of an IT auditor is under the microscope right now, but if you cut through the noise we find one truth to be clear for this position in the next 20 years:

The role of an IT auditor will adapt to bridge the gap between people and machines more than it does right now.

The Current Role of an IT Auditor

Right now, we define IT auditors as the professionals responsible for ensuring the integrity, reliability, and security of information systems within an organization. They are among the first line of defense for detecting fraud, and finding errors that put an enterprise at risk.

Security auditing in organizations is expensive and time-consuming. It involves collecting and analyzing data manually to identify problems after they have already happened.

In addition, auditors must ensure organizational compliance with relevant standards and regulations. They must also compile their findings into detailed reports for executives and board members. These reports assess the current state of risk, and provide recommendations into how the organization can better protect itself from internal and external threats.

We previously covered the on-going global evolution of those guidelines, and implications for security leaders and investors.

However, as we look ahead to the next 20 years, the job of an IT auditor is set to undergo significant transformations, driven by advancements in technology. Despite these changes, the human element of the job will remain irreplaceable, acting as the human element, or bridge, between machine learning and decision-making.

What will the role of an IT auditor look like in 20 years?

The Technological Transformation

In the next two decades, the role of IT auditors will be heavily transformed by the introduction of advanced data science techniques such as process mining and machine learning. These technologies will revolutionize how data is collected, analyzed, and interpreted.

Process Mining

Process mining tools will allow IT auditors to automatically ingest data from a multitude of systems and tools within an organization. This technology will enable the real-time processing and correlation of large quantities of data, providing a near-instantaneous view of how processes are functioning. Instead of manually collecting data and making assumptions, auditors will be able to rely on machine-driven logic to visualize process flows and identify anomalies.

Steps in audit process when process mining is applied
Figure: Steps in audit process when process mining is applied.

Machine Learning

Machine learning algorithms will further enhance the capabilities of IT auditors by identifying patterns and predicting potential issues before they arise. These algorithms can analyze historical data to detect trends and flag deviations that could indicate risks or inefficiencies. This proactive approach will allow auditors to address issues more swiftly and accurately.

The Human Element in IT Auditing

Despite the significant advancements in technology, the job of an IT auditor will not be completely replaced by AI, machine learning, or robots. The human element remains essential for several reasons:


While machines can process data and identify patterns, they lack the ability to make complex decisions that require a deep understanding of context and nuanced judgment. IT auditors bring their expertise and experience to interpret findings, consider the broader implications, and make informed decisions.

Analyzing Exceptions

Not all anomalies or exceptions identified by machines will be straightforward. Some may require a deeper investigation to understand the underlying causes. Human auditors are needed to analyze these exceptions, considering factors that might not be apparent from data alone.

Ethical and Contextual Considerations

IT auditing often involves ethical considerations and a thorough understanding of organizational culture and context. Machines can provide data-driven insights, but they cannot fully grasp the ethical implications or the unique context of each organization. Human auditors are essential for making judgments that align with the organization’s values and ethical standards.

The Future of IT Auditing: A Synergistic Approach

Yes, the IT auditor role as it exists now will be wildly different in 20 years as it becomes more efficient and less labor-intensive thanks to growing integrations with technologies such as process mining for cyber and machine learning. These tools will automate many of the data collection and analysis tasks, allowing auditors to focus on higher-level decision-making and strategic planning.

The future IT auditor will be a tech-savvy professional, skilled in using advanced analytical tools while also possessing strong critical thinking and decision-making abilities. Their role will be to bridge the gap between machine-generated insights and human judgment, ensuring that the organization’s information systems are not only efficient and secure but also aligned with ethical standards and organizational goals.

In conclusion, while technology will transform the job of an IT auditor, it will not render the role obsolete. Instead, it will enhance the auditor’s capabilities, making them an even more integral part of the organization’s strategy for managing information systems and ensuring compliance. The future of IT auditing is a harmonious blend of human insight and technological prowess, driving efficiency and innovation in the digital age.

Learn more

Glossary: What is auditing?

Article: Process Mining Use Cases for Cyber

ebook: Process Mining: The Security Angle

Demos: How to Accelerate Auditing