ISACA is an independent, globally active professional association. It was founded in 1969 as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and today operates only under the acronym.
The professional association is intended for auditors, IT auditors, and professionals working in the areas of IT governance and information security. Currently, the association offers eight different professional certifications. The association’s German representative is the ISACA Germany Chapter.
- What is ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association)?
- History of ISACA
- The purpose of ISACA
- Where Is ISACA Headquarters
- What Is a System Audit
- ISACA standards
- The services of the professional association
- The German chapter
- The ISACA certifications
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Using ISACA
- ISACA vs. Altenatives in table and details explained
- Common Misconceptions About ISACA
- Frequent Asked Questions
What is ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association)?
ISACA is the acronym for Information Systems Audit and Control Association. It is an independent professional association for auditors, IT auditors, and professionals working in the areas of IT governance and information security, founded in 1969, which today operates only under its acronym. The association is active in over 180 countries worldwide and has more than 150,000 members.
In Germany, the local association ISACA Germany Chapter e. V., based in Berlin, represents the international association. The German representation has over 3,000 members. The headquarters of the international umbrella organization is located in Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago. The association provides numerous training and education opportunities and currently offers a total of eight internationally recognized professional certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
Other services include the development and provision of globally established methods and standards, research work, the organization of international conferences, and the publication of the ISACA Journal. In addition, the association has maintained the COBIT framework since 1996 and sees itself as a global pacesetter in IT governance.
History of ISACA
ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) was founded in 1969 by a group of individuals who recognized the need for a centralized source of information and guidance on the emerging field of computer auditing. Originally, the organization was named the EDP Auditors Association (EDPAA), and its focus was on the field of Electronic Data Processing (EDP), which was the term used at the time to describe computer systems.
As the organization grew and expanded its focus beyond auditing to include other areas such as IT governance, risk management, and cybersecurity, it changed its name to ISACA in 1994 to reflect its broader mission.
Over the years, ISACA has continued to grow and evolve, becoming a global organization with more than 150,000 members in over 180 countries. It has also expanded its offerings to include globally recognized certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT).
Today, ISACA remains committed to its mission of advancing the practice of information technology governance, security, audit, and assurance, as well as providing education, research, and networking opportunities for IT professionals and organizations around the world.
The purpose of ISACA
ISACA is a professional organization that serves to provide guidance and standards for the governance, control, and security of information systems. Its main purpose is to help individuals and organizations achieve their business objectives through technology’s effective use and management.
ISACA offers various resources and tools for professionals in the fields of IT governance, assurance, risk management, and security, including training and certification programs, research publications, and networking opportunities. Its members come from a wide range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, government, and technology.
Overall, the purpose of ISACA is to promote and advance the knowledge and expertise of its members and the industry as a whole in the areas of information technology, governance, and security.
Where Is ISACA Headquarters
ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) is a global professional association focused on information governance, assurance, risk management, and cybersecurity. The headquarters of ISACA is located in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.
What Is a System Audit
A system audit is a comprehensive review and evaluation of an organization’s IT systems, processes, and controls to assess their effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance with established policies, procedures, regulations, and industry standards. It involves examining various aspects of an organization’s IT environment, such as hardware, software, networks, databases, applications, data management, information security, and IT governance.
The purpose of a system audit is to identify any weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or deficiencies in the IT systems and processes, and provide recommendations for improvement to enhance the overall performance, security, and reliability of the organization’s IT environment.
ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) has developed and published several globally recognized standards that provide guidance and best practices for professionals involved in IT governance, risk management, information security, and audit. These standards include:
- COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies): A framework that helps organizations govern and manage their IT environment, providing guidance on IT governance, risk management, and control objectives to align IT with business goals and ensure the effective use of IT resources.
- ITAF (IT Assurance Framework): A set of guidelines for performing IT assurance engagements, including IT audit, IT risk management, and IT governance assessments, to ensure that IT resources are used efficiently, effectively, and securely.
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager): A certification that validates the skills and knowledge of information security managers, covering areas such as information security governance, risk management, information security program development, and incident management.
- CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor): A certification that validates the skills and knowledge of IT auditors, covering areas such as IT auditing, IT governance, risk management, and information security.
- ISACA Code of Professional Ethics: A set of ethical principles and standards that guide the professional conduct of ISACA members, including integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and professional competence.
ISACA standards are widely used by IT professionals, organizations, and auditors worldwide as a benchmark for good practices in IT governance, risk management, and information security.
The services of the professional association
The professional association offers numerous services. It conducts research, develops standards for controlling and auditing information systems, and offers assistance in numerous areas related to information governance. In addition, the professional association is the publisher of the ISACA Journal. It is one of the world’s leading technical journals in the areas of information security governance and IT governance.
Other services include hosting international conferences on organizational and technical information security topics, awarding globally recognized professional certifications, and maintaining the COBIT framework for IT governance.
The German chapter
The international professional association has a total of more than 220 local chapters in more than 180 countries. In Germany, the professional association for IT auditors, founded in 1986, became part of the international professional association. It was renamed ISACA Germany Chapter e.V. in 1994. The headquarters of the Germany Chapter, the seventh largest chapter worldwide, is located in Berlin.
Currently, the chapter has more than 3,000 members. The Germany Chapter offers its own preparatory courses for the various international certifications. In addition, a national certificate program based on COBIT is provided.
The ISACA certifications
The association currently offers eight different globally recognized professional certifications. Prerequisites for successful certification are several years of professional experience and evidence of appropriate knowledge in the respective field. The eight certifications are:
- CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
- CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control)
- CSX-P (Cybersecurity Practitioner Certification)
- CDPSE (Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer)
- CGEIT (Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT)
- CET (Certified in Emerging Technology)
- ITCA (Information Technology Certified Associate)
Among the most well-known professional certifications is the CISA. Over 150,000 professionals worldwide have earned the certificate.
Here’s a table comparing some of the key differences between the certifications offered by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association):
|Certification||Focus||Target Audience||Experience Requirements||Exam Topics||Renewal Requirements|
|CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)||IT audit, control, and security||IT auditors, security professionals, IT consultants||5 years of relevant work experience OR 3 years of relevant work experience with certain educational waivers||– Information Systems Auditing Process<br>- IT Governance and Management<br>- Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation<br>- Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience<br>- Protection of Information Assets||Earn and report 20 CPE hours annually and pass the CISA exam every 3 years|
|CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)||Information security management||Information security managers, IT managers, risk professionals||5 years of relevant work experience in information security, with 3 years of experience in information security management||– Information Security Governance<br>- Information Risk Management<br>- Information Security Program Development and Management<br>- Information Security Incident Management||Earn and report 20 CPE hours annually and pass the CISM exam every 3 years|
|CRISC (Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control)||IT risk management, control, and assurance||IT risk professionals, IT auditors, security professionals||3 years of relevant work experience in at least 2 of the CRISC domains||– IT Risk Identification, Assessment, and Evaluation<br>- IT Risk Response<br>- Risk Monitoring and Reporting<br>- Control Design and Implementation<br>- Control Monitoring and Maintenance||Earn and report 20 CPE hours annually and pass the CRISC exam every 3 years|
|CGEIT (Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT)||IT governance and strategic management||IT executives, IT managers, risk professionals||5 years of relevant work experience in IT governance or management||– IT Governance Framework<br>- Strategic Management<br>- Benefits Realization<br>- Risk Optimization<br>- Resource Optimization||Earn and report 20 CPE hours annually and pass the CGEIT exam every 3 years|
Note: This table provides a general overview of the certifications and their requirements. It’s important to refer to the official ISACA website for the most up-to-date and detailed information on each certification.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Using ISACA
Advantages of Using ISACA:
- Globally Recognized Certifications: ISACA offers globally recognized certifications in areas such as IT governance, security, audit, and risk management. These certifications demonstrate a high level of expertise and knowledge, and can be beneficial for career advancement.
- Professional Development: ISACA offers a variety of educational opportunities, such as training courses, conferences, and webinars, which can help IT professionals stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field.
- Networking: ISACA provides opportunities for IT professionals to connect with others in their field, both locally and globally, through conferences, online forums, and local chapter events.
- Best Practices and Guidelines: ISACA develops and publishes best practices, guidelines, and standards in areas such as cybersecurity, risk management, and IT governance. These resources can be valuable for organizations looking to improve their IT practices.
Disadvantages of Using ISACA:
- Membership Fees: ISACA charges membership fees, which can be expensive for some individuals and organizations.
- Certification Costs: The cost of obtaining ISACA certifications can also be expensive, which may be a barrier for some individuals.
- Limited Focus: ISACA’s focus is primarily on IT governance, security, audit, and risk management. While this is a valuable area of focus, it may not be sufficient for individuals or organizations with broader IT needs.
- Limited Resources: While ISACA provides many valuable resources, some individuals or organizations may find that they need more specialized or tailored resources that are not available through ISACA.
ISACA vs. Altenatives in table and details explained
Here is a comparison table of ISACA and some of its alternatives:
|Focus||IT governance, security, audit, and risk management||Cybersecurity||IT skills and knowledge||Cybersecurity|
|Certifications||Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), and others||Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), and others||A+ (IT Support), Network+ (Networking), Security+ (Security), and others||GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification), such as GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA), and others|
|Best Practices and Guidelines||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
ISACA and its alternatives have similarities and differences. ISACA’s focus is on IT governance, security, audit, and risk management, while (ISC)² and SANS Institute focus on cybersecurity, and CompTIA focuses on IT skills and knowledge. However, all of these organizations offer certifications, professional development, networking opportunities, and resources such as best practices and guidelines.
ISACA and (ISC)² charge membership and certification fees, while CompTIA and SANS Institute do not require membership fees but have certification costs. ISACA and its alternatives offer various types of certifications, with each certification focusing on different areas of IT.
Professional development, networking opportunities, and resources such as best practices and guidelines are available through all of these organizations. However, individuals or organizations may choose to join one or more of these organizations based on their specific needs and preferences.
Common Misconceptions About ISACA
There are several misconceptions about ISACA, which stands for Information Systems Audit and Control Association. Some of these misconceptions include:
- ISACA is only for IT auditors: While ISACA does offer resources and certification programs for IT auditors, it is not limited to this profession. ISACA also provides guidance and standards for professionals in IT governance, risk management, cybersecurity, and other related fields.
- ISACA is only for large organizations: This is not true, as ISACA membership is open to individuals and organizations of all sizes. In fact, many small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from ISACA’s resources and guidance in managing their information technology.
- ISACA certification guarantees a job: While holding an ISACA certification can enhance your skills and knowledge in the field, it does not guarantee a job or promotion. It is important to also have relevant work experience and a strong resume to showcase your qualifications.
- ISACA is only for people in the United States: ISACA has a global presence, with members and chapters in over 188 countries. It offers resources and guidance that are applicable to professionals worldwide.
Overall, it is important to understand that ISACA is a diverse and inclusive organization that offers resources and guidance for professionals in various fields related to information technology, governance, and security, regardless of the size of the organization or the location of the individual.
Frequent Asked Questions
Deciding whether to pursue a CISA certification, and which ISACA certification is the best for you, depends on your career goals and interests. However, here are some general guidelines to consider:
Should I get CISA certification?
The CISA certification is a globally recognized credential for professionals in the field of information systems auditing, control, and security. If your career goals involve working in these areas, obtaining a CISA certification can enhance your skills, knowledge, and marketability.
Is the CISA exam difficult?
The CISA exam is known to be challenging, as it covers a wide range of topics related to information systems auditing, control, and security. However, with proper preparation and study, passing the exam is achievable.
Which ISACA certification is the best?
The answer to this question depends on your career goals and interests. Some other ISACA certifications to consider include Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT). Each of these certifications focuses on different areas of information technology, governance, and security.
What is the equivalent certification to CISA?
There is no direct equivalent to the CISA certification, as it is a unique credential offered by ISACA. However, some other certifications relevant to information systems auditing, control, and security include Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and CompTIA Security+.
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