As we mentioned, COSO is the de facto internal control framework associated with Sarbanes-Oxley. Therefore, COBIT is a natural choice for the IT Control Framework. The COBIT Framework is a set of 34 high-level control objectives organized into the four areas described in the financial and technical standards section.
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The diagram above shows the 34 high-level control objectives and their relationship to the four areas. While a majority of the controls have elements that are important in SOX compliance, a number of the high-level objectives stand out.
In the area of Planning and Organization:
Determine the information architecture
Define the IT organization and relationships
Ensure compliance with external requirements
Virtually all of the elements of Acquisition and Implementation:
Acquire and maintain application software
Acquire and maintain technology infrastructure
Develop and maintain procedures
Install and accredit systems
Many of the elements of Delivery and Support:
Ensure systems security
Educate and train users
Manage the configuration
Manage problems and incidents
And all of the elements associated with Monitoring:
Monitor the processes
Assess internal control adequacy
Obtain independent assurance
Provide for independent audit
Using these objectives, COBIT recommends organizations follow a plan, do, check, correct cycle. This philosophy, if followed, will help to improve the effectiveness of IT operations and, at the same time, help an organization achieve SOX compliance.
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