This is also posted to the ISACA Journal blog, Practically Speaking:
As new technologies are developed, we have to stay up to date with them. More so than almost any other practitioner interfacing with information technology, auditors have to work hard at continual education. It is not just the technology, though. We are also seeing orders of magnitude more data. More data to process means we have to be more efficient at sifting through those data to ensure we can protect our organizations. So how do we stay up with what is current?
First and foremost, we need to use technology for our benefit when we can. Data is a big deal, but as it has exploded, it is a big deal for just about everyone. That means companies are investing a lot of capital in developing systems to handle the reams and reams of information we have at our fingertips. These systems are able to spot trends and exceptions both. Why should these solutions be limited just to the folks doing financial forecasting? We can use them, too. That is a key attitude for us to take: When technology helps us, we have to come up to speed on it and leverage it for all its worth.
Second, speaking of learning new technology, we are being exposed to new ideas, new protocols and new standards all the time. We have to set aside the time to understand all of these new things. It is not practical to try to learn any of them in great detail. However, we have to understand them well enough to understand what they provide, where they have issues and what they should actually be used for. If we are relying on what we learned just 5 years ago, some of our knowledge is already out of date.
Finally, we have to understand that with the changes we have in technology, whole disciplines may be completely upended. I can remember a time when organizations were on the Internet and firewalls were a very uncommon thing. Now we are in an era where we know the firewall is not enough. These concepts are more abstract than a protocol definition. However, it is just as important that we stay up-to-date in these concepts as well.
All of this adds up to continually innovating yourself to maintain your knowledge and skills. The good news is that if you keep up, you will never be bored. Technology is changing at a break neck pace. There is always something new to learn and pick apart!
Read related Journal article:
“Innovation Governance: Innovate Yourself—Using Innovation to Overcome Auditing Challenges,” ISACA Journal, volume 6, 2019. (requires access to ISACA Journal via ISACA membership)