Today, COBIT is used globally by all IT business process managers to equip them with a model to deliver value to the organization, and practice better risk management practices associated with the IT processes. The COBIT control model guarantees the integrity of the information system.

What is COBIT?

COBIT stands for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology. It is a framework created by the ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association). It was designed to be a supportive tool for managers—and allows bridging the crucial gap between technical issues, business risks, and control requirements.

COBIT is a thoroughly recognized guideline that can be applied to any organization in any industry. Overall, COBIT ensures quality, control, and reliability of information systems in an organization, which is also the most important aspect of every modern business.

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What is ISACA?

ISACA stands for Information Systems Audit and Control Association. It develops controls and guidance for information governance, security, control, and audit professionals.

This international association focuses on IT governance, providing benchmarks and governance tools for organizations that employ information systems. ISACA is behind the creation, sponsorship, and driving of the COBIT framework.

What is the History of COBIT?

Originally published in 1996, COBIT helped financial auditors better navigate their IT environment growth. 

ISACA released a more comprehensive version in 1998. It enveloped areas beyond audit controls. The third and fourth versions, released in the 2000s, added further management guidelines around cyber security.

The fifth COBIT version came in 2013 and brought along tools, objectives, and best practices universally applicable to all IT operations in enterprises. It expanded on the fourth version by incorporating related standards from the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), including ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library.

ISACA then updated COBIT 5 to COBIT 2019. It is the latest version. This COBIT version is more comprehensive, flexible, and suitable for all enterprises, irrespective of their immediate goals or size. COBIT 2019 includes six governing principles, unlike COBIT 5, which had five. Also, in this version, the number of processes supporting management objectives and governance has increased from 37 to 40. 

Why is COBIT Important?

The COBIT framework provides a common language for IT professionals, compliance auditors, and business executives. They can communicate with each other on the same IT goals, controls, objectives and outcomes.

The absence of a common language demands explanations on when, how, where, and why certain IT controls were created.

Implementing COBIT in any organization from any industry ensures control, quality, and reliability of IT systems.

What is COBIT Framework?

The COBIT business orientation includes linking business goals with its IT infrastructure by providing various maturity models and metrics that measure the achievement while identifying associated business responsibilities of IT processes. The main focus of COBIT 4.1 was illustrated with a process-based model subdivided into four specific domains, including:

  • Planning & Organization
  • Delivering and Support
  • Acquiring & Implementation
  • Monitoring & Evaluating

All of this is further understood under 34 processes as per the specific line of responsibilities. COBIT has a high position in business frameworks and has been recognized under various international standards, including ITIL, CMMI, COSO, PRINCE2, TOGAF, PMBOK, TOGAF, and ISO 27000. COBIT acts as a guideline integrator—merging all solutions under one umbrella.

The latest COBIT version 5 came out in April 2012 and consolidated the principles of COBIT 4.1, Risk IT Frameworks, and Val IT 2.0. This version draws reference from IT Assurance Framework (ITAF) from ISACA and the revered BMIS (Business Model for Information Security).

What Are the COBIT Framework Basics?

COBIT is more than a set of technical standards for IT managers. This framework supports the requirements of businesses via combined IT applications, related processes and sources. It provides the following two main parameters: 

  • Control: IT management practices, policies, procedures, and structures, providing an acceptable assurance level that business goals will be met. 
  • IT control objective: States the acceptable results level that must be attained on implementing control procedures for a particular IT operation.

What Are the Principles of COBIT?

The latest version, COBIT 2019, presents six principles for a governance system:

  1. Meet stakeholder needs
  2. Holistic approach
  3. Dynamic governance system
  4. Distinct governance from management
  5. Tailored to enterprise needs
  6. End-to-end governance system

What Do You Need to Know Before Using COBIT?

  • Objectives: The latest version has 40 governance and business management objectives. IT professionals can prioritize or ignore the objectives based on the stakeholders’ needs. 
  • Design factors Include strategic, contextual, and tactical factors that help define an organization’s requirements and how they must be addressed in a framework. They drive implementation choices for technology, methods, and outsourcing.
  • Domains: The objectives are categorized into specific domains that map to various business processes such as planning, creating, and monitoring.
  • Goals cascade: It defines the connection between business goals and requirements.
  • Components: These are generic elements such as infrastructure, skills, process descriptions and structures influencing IT.

What is the Difference Between COBIT 5 and COBIT 2019?

COBIT 2019

COBIT 5

It has six governance principles.

It has five governance principles.

The term “managed” is for management processes.

The term “ensured” is for governance processes.

The term “manage” is for management processes.

The term “ensure” is for governance processes.

40 processes

37 processes

Governance framework principles present

Governance framework principles are absent

Enablers renamed as components

Enablers are included

Design factors available

Design factors are not available

CMMI performance management scheme is used.

A 0-5 scale based on ISO/IEC 33000 is used to measure performance.

How Does COBIT Compare With Other Governance Frameworks?

While COBIT, ITIL, and TOGAF provide exceptional mechanisms for improvement, maintenance, and prioritizations, they differ in scope and audience:  

​COBIT vs ITIL

  • The ITIL framework keeps a narrow focus on ITSM (IT service management), but COBIT broadly focuses on risk management that can be applied to various business areas. 
  • ITIL needs a third-party tool like Tudor IT Process Assessment (TIPA) to document compliance, while COBIT audits are conducted by ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditors (CISAs).

COBIT vs TOGAF

The Open Group association created and maintains TOGAF. Unlike ITIL, an IT service framework, TOGAF is an architectural framework. 

  • COBIT focuses on creating an enterprise-wide IT governance system implementing several security controls. Contrastingly, TOGAF helps create an information architecture for enterprises to integrate and streamline business and IT goals. 

The two can be used as a hybrid model to establish a strong governance framework.

The Various Cobit Components

  • Framework

    IT helps in organizing the objectives of IT governance and bringing in the best practices in IT processes and domains while linking business requirements.
  • Process Descriptions

    It is a reference model and also acts as a common language for every individual in the organization. The process descriptions include planning, building, running, and monitoring of all IT processes.
  • Control Objectives

    This provides a complete list of requirements that have been considered by the management for effective IT business control.
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  • Maturity Models

    Accesses the maturity and the capability of every process while addressing the gaps.
  • Management Guidelines

    Helps in better-assigning responsibilities, measuring performances, agreeing on common objectives, and illustrating better interrelationships with every other process.

COBIT is being used by all organizations whose primary responsibilities happen to be business processes and related technologies—all organizations and businesses that depend on technology for reliable and relevant information. COBIT is used by both government and private sector organizations because it helps in increasing the sensibility of IT processes.

Enroll today for the COBIT Certification Course that covers the principles and enablers that form the basis of the COBIT 5 business framework.

Why is COBIT 5.0 the Most Celebrated Version?

All previous versions of COBIT faced a variety of criticism; they were thought to facilitate limited opportunities—and sometimes even adverse results. A major IT firm found that COBIT practices can actually lead to a “Hot Potato” situation wherein all stakeholders had passed on the tasks down the line. Critics maintained that COBIT 5.0 encouraged paperwork and rote rules rather than merely promoting IT governance engagements and improving accountability. 

COBIT 5.0 addressed all the criticisms in a sustainable manner. It now encourages all organizations to govern and manage information in the most holistic and integrated manner. The guiding principles of COBIT 5.0 are:

  1. Meeting the needs of stakeholders
  2. Covering the whole enterprise from end to end
  3. Application of a single integrated framework
  4. Ensuring a holistic approach to business decision making
  5. Separating the governance from the management

In several cases, COBIT 5.0 has been appreciated for its ability to reduce the risk of IT implementations. IT initiatives typically require quick, agile adaptations that simultaneously need regular buy-ins from stakeholders and other users. The COBIT 5.0 framework has been able to bring about a collaborative culture within the organization and this better met the needs, risks, and benefits of all IT initiatives.

The Advantages of COBIT 5.0 Certification

A COBIT 5.0 Certification not only prepares professionals for the global challenges to the business IT process but also delivers a substantial amount of expertise information on:

  1. IT management issues and how they can affect organizations
  2. Principles of IT governance and enterprise IT while establishing the differences between management and governance
  3. Accessing the ways in which COBIT 5.0 processes can help the establishment of the five basic principles along with other enablers
  4. Discussing COBIT 5.0 with respect to its process reference model and goal cascade

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Benefits of COBIT

The professionals best suited for COBIT methodologies are those who are already in a position to understand the nuances of IT governance in business management practices. The course will be especially beneficial for:

  • CIOs / IT Managers / IT Directors
  • Risk Committee
  • Process Owners
  • Audit Committee Members
  • COBIT 4.1 and earlier users
  • IT Professionals in audit, risk, security, governance, and assurance sectors

While the modern world is gearing towards an environment of several emerging technologies, including Consumerisation, Cloud Computing, Social Media, Big Data and Mobility, information and IT is easily the new currency. Technology ensues massive volumes of information chunks to be easily supported and managed. This raises the success rate of businesses, but at the same time raises other challenging and complex management and governance concerns for the security professionals, enterprise leaders, and governance specialists. New businesses demand that risk scenarios are better met with the power of information. COBIT 5.0 is the exact solution the modern businesses are asking for.

Conclusion

While the modern world is gearing towards an environment of several emerging technologies, including consumerization, cloud computing, social media, big data, and mobility, information and IT is easily the new currency. This raises the success rate of many organizations, but at the same time raises other challenging and complex management and governance concerns for security professionals, enterprise leaders, and governance specialists. New businesses demand that risk scenarios are better met with the power of information. COBIT 5.0 is the exact solution the modern businesses are asking for.

Get trained and certified in COBIT with Simplilearn’s COBIT certification course. When you’re ready, you can even take a free COBIT 5 certification practice test.

You can also check out Simplilearn's video on Introduction to COBIT 5 Foundation Training.

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