processing is a complex topic involving lots of technical know-how. Experts
have written books about it and IT professionals spend their entire careers staying
up on its developments. For this post about data, we’ll focus on a few key
critical data processing concepts that especially impact security and need to
be addressed in your application controls policy.
your data processing is the bridge between your data input and output. Now
let’s look at some important data processing aspects.
record all electronic information about transactions that take place within an
application. For example, you may enter payroll information each week into your
accounting application for each employee. Each completed set of data that you
input for each employee counts as a transaction if the data is processed
between, for example, your system and a bank.
logs must match what are known as “source documents.” For example, payroll
information may originate from a timesheet (either on paper or sent electronically).
If the timesheet and the paycheck doesn’t match, then there may be a
transaction error. Experiencing many transaction errors may indicate a problem
with your application or with the way your employees are using it.
note incorrect information, incomplete information, and errors about
transactions. It’s important to run these reports for your most critical
applications to make sure that transactions are accurate. For example, edit
reports are useful when you’re sending out paychecks, tax information, or
utility bills. You can then note any errors and make fixes before officially completing
are designed to accurately capture information and ensure high data quality.
Your override procedures need to be strict and for exceptions only. Don’t abuse
an override function just to get around inconveniences. In addition, and as a
security precaution, it helps to monitor overrides along with all other logging
information to look for patterns and possible security violations.
In case of a
power outage, a data interruption, or lags between different applications, your
applications need to reconcile inputted transactions with your database. For
example, if 10 users submit utility billing information onto your website while
you’re having a server outage, those 10 transactions should reconcile to your
database once your server is back up. Also, reconciliation applies from an accounting
perspective. You need reconciliation processes in place to ensure that your
general and subsidiary ledgers match up.
IT professionals should monitor everything related to your data processing such
processing policy needs to be reviewed by business and application stakeholders
to make sure you are complying with the law and using best practices. In a
future post, we’ll look at data output—the final stage of data after it’s
inputted and processed.
about the security of your data processing? Reach out to us today.
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