Understanding COBIT Framework: Definition, Components, and Benefits
IT Governance is the highest priority in a complex business environment. With the critical breaches of security, systems and frameworks such as COBIT can make a difference in organizations. COBIT was created by ISACA as an IT management framework to help enterprises to manage their data and information. Now, a lot of companies use at least one framework to help them with their IT governance and information management, and the most widely used one is COBIT.
IT Managers across the world face a lot of new challenges every day in their organizations. New risk scenarios every single day threaten the stability of an organization. With the development of new technology, risk management, and security assurance, and assuring compliance through the efficiency of the IT management.
It has become very crucial as well as to take care of these factors. COBIT is the only framework in the market that provides benefits for enterprise IT. It helps all enterprises sizes to maintain stability and focus on the growth of their business.
What is COBIT Framework?
COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies) is a framework created by ISACA for information technology management and governance. The framework is business-focused and describes a set of generic processes for the management of Information technology, with each process defined together with inputs and outputs, key process activities, process objectives, performance measures, and an elementary maturity model.
Furthermore, it offers globally accepted principles, models, and analytic tools for increasing the reliability of information systems.
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.
What is ISACA?
ISACA(Information Systems Audit and Control Association) is a global association of those involved in IT Audit, Governance, and other related fields. In the last couple of years, it's been working to expand into cybersecurity, but most of its members are involved in IT Audits.
It created and maintains the COBIT framework, which is an IT Governance framework, and created and maintained a series of certifications for cybersecurity.
History of COBIT
The initial release of the COBIT system was in 1996. It was only a set of objectives that were created to assist with the growth of IT environments for auditors and other members of the business community.
The second release was in 1998 and the second version had ISACA enable COBIT for use outside of the auditing community as well. The third and fourth versions came out in the 2000s with the IT governance framework and techniques. The fifth COBIT version came in 2013 and developed tools, objectives, and best practices that are applicable to all IT operations in enterprises.
ISACA then updated COBIT 5 to COBIT 2019 which is used today. This COBIT version is more comprehensive, flexible, and suitable for all enterprises, irrespective of their immediate goals or size.
Why Use COBIT 5? Why Is COBIT Important?
You can find the importance of using COBIT in the following points:
- It maintains high-quality information for supporting making decisions of the business.
- It helps to achieve business goals via the effective use of IT infrastructure.
- It maintains IT-related risks.
- It helps to optimize the cost of IT services.
- It supports compliance with contractual policies and agreements, relevant regulations, and laws.
The COBIT framework provides a common language for IT professionals, compliance auditors, and business executives by which they can communicate with each other on the same IT goals, controls, objectives, and predicted outcomes.
The absence of a common language arises explanations of 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.
Who Uses COBIT5?
Most of the Cobit 5 users include security consultants and enterprise executives in the following sectors:
- IT Operations
- Risk Management and Security Management
Benefits of COBIT
COBIT is designed to guide companies in developing a strategy, while also allowing organizations to be more comfortable with the best-fits strategy. It defines “components” to build a system: processes, policies and procedures, organizational structures, information flows, skills, infrastructure, and culture and “behaviors,” according to the ISACA. Formerly referred to as “enablers” in COBIT 5, these components better define what businesses need for a strong governance system.
The COBIT framework helps businesses to group all existing frameworks in the organization and understand how each framework will fit into the overall strategy. It can also help businesses to monitor the performance of these other frameworks in terms of security compliance, information security, and risk management.
What are the Components of COBIT?
This helps to organize IT governance objectives and use the best practices in IT processes and domains. All of this is done while linking business requirements.
This is a model that acts as the common language between individuals within the organization. Process descriptions include the planning, building, running, and monitoring of all IT processes.
This gives a list of requirements that the management has considered for effective IT and business control.
Maturity models are used to access the maturity and potential of every process. They also address any gaps that exist.
These guidelines enable better assigning of responsibilities, performance measurement, agreeing on common goals, and better relationships with other processes.
Principles of COBIT Framework
1- Meeting Stakeholder Needs
The first important principle of COBIT is “Meeting Stakeholder Needs”. It means that this framework helps you to meet all the needs and requirements of your stakeholders by offering them appropriate values. Delivering desired enterprise stakeholder values simply requires fine management and governance of the IT assets.
To achieve the desired results, all the stakeholder needs have to be transformed into an applicable strategy. After that, the strategy can simply lead your company in the right direction toward your desired goals. To make this a bit easier, the COBIT5 goals cascade helps you in translating your stakeholder needs into specific, and customized goals within the context of IT-related goals, enabler goals, and enterprise goals.
2- Covering the Enterprise End to end
The second principle of COBIT says that you have to cover the entire organization end to end so you can manage and operate every section with equal attention. The above flowchart shows every section or part of an organization along with the work of that section.
We can easily see that all the parts of an enterprise are related. It simply means that any kind of issue in any section will also create some issues in the other ones related to it. For this, the COBIT framework packs a facility that can cover all the sections and parts of your enterprise, so that you will be able to keep an eye on them without facing any obstacles.
3- Applying a Single Integrated Framework
COBIT comes with the ability to align or integrate with all the latest relevant frameworks and standards used by other enterprises. The major ones of them are CMMI, PMBOK/Prince2, TOGAF, ISO 27000 series, ITIL, ISO 38500, ISO 31000, ISO 9000, COSO ERM, COSO, etc.
With this facility, COBIT can be used as a management and governance framework integrator. It means that it can be integrated with any of these frameworks and standards to make your business achieve new goals.
4- Enabling a Holistic Approach
The fourth principle of the COBIT framework is to enable a holistic approach in your organizational work, which means your entire organization must work as a single unit.
For this, the latest version of COBIT defines a specific set of enablers to support the implementation of a comprehensive management and governance system for enterprise IT.
The COBIT enablers can simply be divided into seven parts which can also be seen in the below-given pointers.
- Principles, policies, and frameworks.
- Organizational structures.
- Culture, ethics, and behavior.
- Services, infrastructure, and applications.
- People, skills, and competencies.
5- Separating Governance from Management
The fifth principle of COBIT focuses on the separate implementation of governance and management in the organization.
Governance in an organization can be termed as the action or process that ensures the achievement of enterprise objectives by evaluating stakeholder needs, conditions, and options. It also takes care of setting direction by prioritizing and making decisions as well as monitoring compliance, progress, and performance against objectives and directions.
In simple words, we can say that the COBIT framework brings together and works based on these five principles, which allows your enterprise to build an effective management and governance framework. This framework is entirely based on a holistic set of seven enablers, which optimize IT investment and use it for the benefit of all the stakeholders. Additional information related to these 5 COBIT principles can simply be seen by accessing the official pdf of the company.
What Do you Need to Know before using COBIT?
The latest version has 40 governance and business management objectives. IT professionals can prioritize or ignore the objectives based on the stakeholders’ needs.
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.
The objectives are categorized into specific domains that map to various business processes such as planning, creating, and monitoring.
It defines the connection between business goals and requirements.
These are generic elements such as infrastructure, skills, process descriptions, and structures influencing IT.
Difference Between COBIT5 and COBIT2019
COBIT Vs ITIL
COBIT Vs TOGAF
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