Regulatory Alert - Nov 2020 The Expansion of Virtual or Remote Auditing

Aegis extends this brief regulatory alert:

The use of remote or virtual auditing has been used by limited companies and organizations over the past few years.  However, with the emergence and impact of Covid-19, this technique has become an important tool, especially for expansive ISO Management audits.  The major audit providers are currently using remote auditing for the surveillance, certification, and recertification audits required for ISO registration.  The growth of interactive communication technology (ICT) has enabled this expansion by providing needed real-time remote evaluation tools, such as smart phones, laptops, video cameras, wearable technology and artificial intelligence, and drones.

Reasons cited for remote auditing are mainly concerns for the security and safety of staff (auditors and auditees), travel bans, and potentially limited physical access to sites. Others  cited include keeping businesses up and running, reduction of auditor and/or facility representative travel time and related expenses, and greater auditee participation in audits with the ability for process input including access to experts/company stakeholders who can participate from other locations.

As with current on-site audits, the auditor follows a somewhat standard protocol such as:

  • Obtaining and reviewing identified facility information prior to the audit
  • Developing the introduction meeting and providing an audit schedule
  • Reviewing records and communicating with auditee
  • Collecting and verifying information – personnel interviews
  • Preparing audit conclusions
  • Conducting closing meeting

Additionally, the auditor will need to address the following prior to the audit.

  • What ICT system(s) can be used at the facility to view specific areas, such as process waste streams, air emissions controls, labs, etc.?  Are there security concerns?
  • What areas cannot be accessed by ICT?
  • What records may not be available at this site?
  • What is the availability of personnel for remote interviews regarding processes, waste streams, etc.?
  • Is there a time difference?
  • Are there language barriers?
  • What about the inclusion of time for notes, etc.?

Most of the above information would also be important for an in-person audit. The difference may be the pre-planning.  If you would like assistance with virtual auditing, please contact Sandy Morse here at