Managed Service Providers (MSPs) often face challenges in conducting comprehensive and efficient Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) audits for their clients. Choosing the right audit template approach can significantly influence the effectiveness of the audit process. Here, we examine three different audit template approaches—One Large Template, Two Templates, and Multi Template—highlighting their pros and cons to help MSPs make an informed decision.

1. One Large Template Approach

Pros:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: This approach ensures that all possible technologies and scenarios are covered in a single, extensive template.
  • Customizable for Clients: Upon copying the template to a client, MSPs can simply remove the irrelevant questions, tailoring the audit to specific needs.

Cons:

  • Bulky and Cumbersome: The template can become unwieldy with all questions in a single file, requiring significant effort to delete many irrelevant questions for different clients.

2. Two Templates Approach

Pros:

  • Structured Yet Flexible: The first template includes essential standards for all clients, while the second, more advanced template, is reserved for larger clients or those requiring a thorough audit.
  • Scalable: It’s an easy way to start an audit and can be expanded if necessary.

Cons:

  • Limited Specificity: The two-template system may not cater to specific technological needs due to its generalized structure.
  • Potential Redundancy: Like the single template approach, this method may also require deleting questions that do not apply, which can be time-consuming.

3. Multi Template Approach

Pros:

  • Highly Flexible: Dedicated templates for each major technology area allow MSPs to apply only those relevant to the client’s needs, making the audits highly targeted and efficient.
  • Client-Centric: This approach can be tailored to the exact scope of interest for both the MSP and the client.

Cons:

  • Complex Management: Handling numerous templates (potentially up to 20) can be daunting as each needs to be updated and managed separately.

In addition MSPs can benefit from utilizing Narmada, which offers a rich library of templates to guide and enhance the audit processes. Narmada’s resources include a wide range of standards and frameworks that cater to various needs, from broad and occasionally complex compliance frameworks such as NIST and CIS, to more practical and straightforward options like the Australian Cyber Security Essentials and UK Cyber Security Essentials. Additionally, Narmada provides its own proprietary templates. These resources allow MSPs to draw inspiration and decide which standards are most appropriate to apply in their audits, thereby enriching the customization and effectiveness of their service offerings.

Conclusion

Selecting the right audit template approach depends largely on the specific needs of your MSP and the nature of your client engagements. If your client base is diverse and your audits need to be highly customized, the Multi Template approach may be best. However, if you prefer a simpler, more streamlined audit process with some flexibility, the Two Templates approach might be sufficient. For those who can manage the downsides of handling a voluminous template, the One Large Template approach offers a comprehensive solution.

Ultimately, the choice of the audit template should align with your operational capabilities and the specific technological and business needs of your clients. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each approach, MSPs can enhance their auditing efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring better service and client satisfaction.

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