By Brian Nathans
5 min read
COBIT is an acronym for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies. The COBIT framework was created by Information Systems Audit and Control Association, ISACA to bridge the crucial gap between technical issues, business risks and control requirements. COBIT is an IT governance framework for businesses that want to implement, monitor and improve their IT management best practices.
The framework can be implemented in any organisation in any industry to ensure the quality, control and reliability of information systems. In the USA, COBIT is the most commonly used framework for achieving compliance with the Sarbanes - Oxley Act.
Basics of the COBIT Framework
COBIT goes beyond simply the technical standards for IT managers. The framework supports business requirements through the combined application of IT, related sources and processes to achieve business goals. To completely understand the breadth of COBIT’s mode of operations, two main parameters are provided;
Control - This includes IT management procedures, practices, policies and structures designed to provide an acceptable level of assurance that any set business goals shall be met. It also guarantees that any undesired incidents will be detected and corrected in a quick, concise manner.
IT control objectives: This provides a complete list of requirements that have been considered by the management for effective IT business control. Defines the level of acceptable results to be attained by implementing control procedures concerning a particular IT operation.
What you need to know before using COBIT
Objectives: COBIT contains over 40 business management and governance objectives. IT managers can prioritise or ignore these objectives based on the needs of different stakeholders.
Goals cascade: The COBIT Goals cascade is the mechanism to translate stakeholder needs into specific, actionable and customized enterprise goals, IT-related goals and enabler goals. This translation allows setting specific goals at every level and in every area of the enterprise in support of the overall goals and stakeholder requirements, and thus effectively supports alignment between enterprise needs and IT solutions and services.
Components: Components or enablers are generic elements litke skills, infrastructure, process descriptions and structures that influence IT.
Design factors: These include contextual, strategic and tactical factors that help define the needs of an organisation and how they must be addressed in a framework. These factors drive implementation choices regarding technology (such as cloud data), methods (such as DevOps, ITIL 4 or Agile) and outsourcing.
Meeting stakeholder needs
Stakeholder news is always a priority for organisations because they can only succeed when all stakeholder needs are met. All operations and processes should be directed towards achieving business objectives, and the most crucial objective of them all should be meeting stakeholder needs. Stakeholders have certain requirements that the COBIT framework addresses by managing all IT operations across the organisation successfully. This helps in creating value with the deliveries, which is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction.
Covering the Enterprise End-to-End
Implementing COBIT affects more than just the IT department of an organisation. COBIT can be applied to the entire enterprise bringing maximum value to the entire organisation. The framework takes governance and risk management for the entire organisation instead of focusing on just the IT section of the company.
Applying a Single Integrated Framework
The COBIT framework includes all the company’s teams, employees and departments. It combines the organisation’s needs, processes with the IT management and governance of the company. This integrated framework helps identify any potential threats to the organisation and upgrades processes to operate more efficiently.
Enabling a Holistic Approach
COBIT is for more than just the IT department in a company. It can be used to increase the overall efficiency of an organisation. The framework provides an integrated and holistic approach to improving operational processes to maximise efficiency. Team members can focus on being more productive and generate more valuable output for the customers when they employ this framework in their enterprises.
Separating Governance from Management
COBIT emphasizes the need to make a clear distinction between IT governance and management. This is important because COBIT developer, ISACA believes the two components require separate organizational structures ad different processes, as they each serve separate organizational purposes. If IT governance and enterprise governance are combined with the help of COBIT, the entire process becomes a lot more straightforward and simplified.
The COBIT framework also identifies seven aspects of governance that need to align in order to support the five principles above;
- Principles, Policies and Framework
- Organisational structures
- Culture, Ethics and Behaviour
- Servies, Infrastructure and Application
- People, skills and competencies.
Benefits of COBIT application in Today’s Enterprises.
The principles of COBIT can showcase the advantages the framework brings to any enterprise that implements it. The primary goal of any framework is to enhance the value of the organisation’s final output to its end users, and COBIT helps companies achieve that. The main benefits of including COBIT principles in organisations today include the following;
Maintains regulatory compliance for organisations
COBIT helps organisations stay compliant with all the regulations so that they can avoid any unnecessary financial losses. This is a big part of IT management. A lot of regulations keep getting updated regularly, and companies need to be aware of them and work on keeping up with these updates. The COBIT framework helps with this. Compliance offers a lot of benefits to organisations themselves by keeping their security systems updated, enhancing customer satisfaction, and more.
Increases efficiency and productivity across the enterprise
COBIT creates an organisational structure, and its framework creates an environment that boosts productivity and efficiency of operations, especially when it comes to IT processes. The same IT processes that boost productivity can easily be scaled with COBIT and can be applied to the entire company. Enterprise-wide enhancement of productivity and increase in efficiency will help companies stay competitive in the market.
Safeguards company information systems
Information and security systems are considered to be one of the most valuable assets of an organisation. The COBIT framework secures information systems across the company, making cybersecurity a much simpler job for IT teams and network security specialists.
Improving the quality of information and insights for the organisation
COBIT helps organisations generate meaningful insights that they can use to increase the value of their deliveries. This can be really helpful for companies to improve their existing processes as well. Overall, when the process improves and the organisation creates more value with their deliveries, the business has increased successful endeavours.
Security services have accumulated a total market share of $64.2 billion in 2019, and this market is only going to grow in the future. Risk management is a big part of cybersecurity, and COBIT provides measures to organisations to successfully manage and reduce the risks to their enterprise. This is a big help to companies as they can reduce additional resources that would have otherwise gone into using other risk management processes and software.
The COBIT framework presents many benefits to organisations and its principles should be adopted to manage a successful IT governance and management framework. From maintaining regulatory compliance for organisations, increasing productivity across enterprises, safeguarding company information systems, to risk management, COBIT is an asset to any enterprise, not just the IT department but entire companies. All these benefits of this framework are only possible because of its underlying principles. Summarily, these are; meeting stakeholder needs, covering the enterprise end-to-end, integration, enabling a holistic approach and finally separating governance from management.
If you found this post informative then why not check out our previous guide on CMMC requirements?