What is COBIT?
Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT) was first released in 1996 by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). It was initially designed as a framework of IT control objectives to empower financial auditors to navigate IT environments.
It has evolved over the years, however, and today, it helps businesses of many kinds to design, implement, and manage governance for information systems and IT environments.COBIT has been updated many times, and in 2012, COBIT 5 was released and included new guidance around data governance and risk management.
The latest version of COBIT is COBIT 2019, which incorporates a focus on flexible and collaborative governance strategies that better address rapidly evolving technologies in business environments.
Benefits of COBIT
There are numerous benefits to using the COBIT framework within an organization. COBIT 2019 better reflects the considerations, requirements, and opportunities available through today’s IT environments.
It provides CIOs and IT managers the ability to thrive and adapt to new risks and improve decision-making around emerging risks. Some of the COBIT governance framework benefits include:
- It meets the needs of a modern IT organization
- It creates alignment between IT adoption and strategic business goals
- It can be customized to meet the business’s unique needs
- It aligns well with other IT frameworks (i.e., COSO, ITIL, ISO/IEC, CMMI, and TOGAF)
- It empowers organizations to meet compliance requirements
- It is continuously updated so that it evolves along with technology
The Five Core Principles of COBIT
The COBIT methodology is built on five core principles that combine IT governance objectives and IT management guidelines to facilitate enterprise business goals:
- Principle 1: Meet the needs of stakeholders
- Principle 2: Provide end to end cybersecurity for the organization
- Principle 3: Apply a single integrated framework
- Principle 4: Provide a holistic approach to information security
- Principle 5: Separate management objectives from information governance
The five COBIT principles provide the driving force for developing a holistic framework to manage and govern IT infrastructure. Additionally, ISACA’s seven “enablers” help to outline the organizational aspects of the business that should be considered in IT governance objectives.
- Principles, Policies, and Frameworks
- Business Processes
- Organizational Structures
- Culture, Ethics, and Behavior
- Services, Infrastructure, and Applications
- People, Skills, and Competencies
Together, both the principles and enablers help organizations to align their enterprise IT processes and technology investments to their goals. Ultimately, this enables them to realize the return on investment (ROI) for those investments.
Who is Responsible for COBIT Compliance?
While using COBIT was initially limited to organizations that conduct financial audits, it has since evolved to encompass enterprise IT management, regardless of industry. Organizations that use it most frequently include those with regulatory compliance requirements, high-risk environments, and heavy IT infrastructure requirements. These include IT professionals such as DevOps engineers, financial institutions, and government agencies.
How Does COBIT Compare to ITIL?
COBIT and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) can be considered as two sides of the same coin, with COBIT providing much of the guidance around IT governance and ITIL providing the implementation specifics for IT systems. ITIL is a detailed set of activities for developing services such as IT service management (ITSM) and IT asset management (ITAM) that meet IT-related goals as well as strategic business objectives. Both frameworks focus on the goal of aligning IT goals with stakeholder needs while being fully flexible and customizable to the organization’s specific needs and resources. Thus, both frameworks work together to empower organizations to pick and choose which components apply to their scope and are most beneficial to meeting the needs of their governance system.
- COBIT is an IT framework developed by ISACA to help businesses to design, implement, and manage governance for information systems and IT environments.
- COBIT is built on five core principles that combine IT governance objectives and IT management guidelines to facilitate enterprise business goals.
- While using COBIT was initially limited to organizations that conduct financial audits, it has since evolved to encompass management of enterprise IT, regardless of industry.
- COBIT and ITIL are similar frameworks with COBIT providing much of the guidance around IT governance and ITIL providing implementation specifics for IT systems.