COBIT 5 Practical Applications and Best Practices
COBIT 5, the business framework for IT practices and governance, aims at improving trust in, and value from, information systems. It uses governance & management techniques, globally accepted principles, practices, analytical tools and models to achieve this. It finds several practical applications that help in effective decision making and address the needs of stakeholders in the enterprise. The enterprise’s goals are met surpassing several challenges, using the common vocabulary and the systematic approach that COBIT 5 provides. The most common practical applications of COBIT 5 includes, Information security, Risk management, Business continuity, Intellectual property protection, Regulatory compliance and Assurance, among others.
COBIT5 framework reduces the chances of failure by encouraging greater unity around IT deployment by including a change enablement approach within the implementation lifecycle. It helps reduce IT implementation risk. In accordance to the COBIT 5 proponents, the framework manages to reflect all the IT initiative’s needs and risks & benefits associated with them. These IT initiatives require quick adaptation, agility and buy-in from the stakeholders and users. COBIT 5’s framework caters to all these requirements.
COBIT gives a high-level business framework that can be used to evaluate an enterprise’s policies, processes or technologies i.e., the existing or planned controls. COBIT 5 is a general IT-oriented standard. Thus it helps auditors to know how inline an IT organization is with all the business requirements and security. If the enterprise pairs COBIT along with a security standard like ISO 20k or ISO 27001, COBIT will ensure that the program is addressing the enterprise’ business needs, while the accompanying security standard will ensure that the security program is capable of securing the business with the necessary maturity and the appropriate controls.
Most publicly traded companies often use COBIT to assist in Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance processes. According to the law, the chief executives of publicly traded companies would have to attest to the accuracy of the information in their financial reports, which necessitates reliable IT processes and controls.
COBIT 5 makes IT and security professionals aware of the emerging technologies and the threats that accompany them; it helps them take more informed decisions, by helping them understand, utilize, implement and direct important information security-related activities. It helps enterprises of various sizes by
- Improving integration of information security
- Reducing complexity
- Increasing cost-effectiveness
- Enhanced information security arrangements and outcomes, thereby better user satisfaction.
- Informing risk decisions and risk awareness
- Reducing information security incidents
- Offering enhanced support for innovation and competitiveness
Organizations need to optimize their IT assurance approach in order to effectively identify related risks and opportunities. Assurance professionals of these organisations can use COBIT 5 for Assurance to help in planning and performing assurance reviews. This unifies the organization’s business, IT and assurance professionals around a common framework, objectives and vocabulary, thus making it easier to reach consensus on any needed control improvements. Assurance professionals are able to effectively plan, scope and execute IT assurance initiatives, navigate increasing technology complexity, and demonstrate strategic value to IT and business stakeholders by using COBIT 5 for Assurance. It provides a roadmap built from well-accepted assurance approaches. COBIT 5 for Assurance enables the audit team to significantly improve their current approaches and ensure that they are addressing all aspects of IT assurance. It brings enormous rigor and scope to COBIT 5 audit function.
COBIT 5 for Assurance serves the following purposes;
- Based on COBIT 5 concepts such as the enablers, it helps obtaining a view on current good practices on assurance.
- COBIT 5 for Assurance helps learn how to use COBIT 5’s various components and related concepts for planning, scoping, executing and reporting on various types of IT assurance initiatives.
- Obtaining a view of the extent to which the value objective of the enterprise—delivering benefits while optimizing risk and resource use—is achieved.
COBIT is a set of standards for security best-practices standards that enterprises can follow. COBIT helps us bring IT under control, so that it delivers the information that the organization needs. It divides the entire spectrum of IT management into 34 IT processes, and defines 318 control objectives and audit guidelines to manage these processes.
COBIT defines controls as the policies, procedures, practices, and organizational structures that are designed to provide reasonable assurance that business objectives will be achieved, and that undesired events will be prevented or detected and corrected. Control objectives in IT are defined by COBIT as those statements of the desired results or the purpose to be achieved by implementing control procedures in a particular activity.
COBIT delineates data, applications systems, technology, facilities and people as the various IT resources that need to be managed, by ensuring that these resources are well utilized for achieving the business objectives. Quality requirements, fiduciary requirements, and security requirements, are the three requirements for the management of the resources. These three are broken into, effectiveness, efficiency, confidentiality, integrity, availability, compliance and reliability of information- the seven desirable qualities.
The COBIT framework consists of a three level structure, out of which the first level is split into four domains, namely Planning and Organization, Acquisition and Implementation, Delivery & Support and Monitoring. The second level consists of 34 IT processes. The third level consists of 318 detailed tasks to carry out the IT processes.
Planning and Organization
This domain consists of the following IT processes: Define a Strategic IT Plan, Define the Information Architecture, Determine Technological Direction, Define the IT Organization and Relationships, Manage the IT Investment, Communicate Management Aims and Direction, Manage Human Resources, Ensure Compliance with External Requirements, Assess Risks, Manage Projects and Manage Quality.
Acquisition and Implementation
Identifying and acquiring/developing solutions, implementing them, maintaining, testing, accrediting and accommodating changes.
Delivery and Support
This involves defining and managing service levels, third-party services, performance & capacity, ensuring continuous service, systems security, identifying and allocating costs, educating and training users, assisting and advising customers, managing the configuration, problems and incidents, data, facilities and operations.
This involves monitor the processes assess internal control adequacy obtain independent assurance and providing for Independent audit.
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