What is CISA?
CISA stands for “Certified Information Systems Auditor.” This certification is the global standard that certifies the Information System Auditor’s knowledge and skill in assessing the various vulnerabilities that plague an organisation and establishing technological safeguards in an enterprise environment.
The certification is provided by the ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), a professional entity that has been in operation for more than 50 years and caters to 165,000 members spread out over more than 180 countries worldwide. They provide many advantages to Indian Information System professionals, including a significant salary increase and exposure to foreign recruiters who are always on the lookout for IS auditors with CISA accreditation.
In today’s world, the importance of protecting your organisation from IS security risks and threats cannot be overstated, especially in enterprises that hold valuable data on hundreds of thousands of customers everywhere. Spending a majority of the organisation’s time and resources worrying about data breaches can significantly slow down the organisation’s growth. Hence, there is an ever-increasing need for Certified Information Systems Auditor’s (CISA) worldwide.
What are the primary responsibilities of a CISA certified professional?
The CISA professional’s responsibilities are not confined to just IS auditing and control and often extend to many other parts within the enterprise. They are known to work with the management to:
- Evaluate risk to information systems and create an audit strategy to monitor and mitigate such possibilities
- Plan audits to determine if IS assets are secure and meet the latest specifications
- Carry out regular audits that meet the standards defined by the organisation
- Provide recommendations to the management based on the results
- Plan and execute implementation of recommendations made to the management
The multiple benefits of getting a CISA are as follows:
- Professionals with a CISA certification are sought after by recruiters looking to hire for IT auditor roles as it gives the person more credibility in the field
- CISA certification does not just recognise your work experience but also highlights your educational experience in IS auditing and security
- It is proof that the individual has the ability and mindset to deal with any IT-related challenges that may arise
- Persons holding a CISA certification are eligible for a significant increase in their salary.
- Since CISA is globally recognised, candidates with this certification better options when it comes to finding a job in any part of the globe.
The CISA is targeted towards IS and IS security professionals with at least 5 years of experience in information system (IS) auditing, control, assurance, or security.
The applicant has to pass the CISA exam before applying for certification. The exam is four hours long and consists of 140 multiple choice questions that will test the applicant in the following five domains:
- Information Systems Auditing Process
- IS Governance and Management
- Information System Acquisition, Development and Implementation
- Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
- Protection of Information Assets
The exam can be taken worldwide at any authorised testing location. ISACA also offers an online remote testing option. It is not mandatory for the applicant to pass the exam in order to start the CISA certification application process. If the applicant applies for the exam after or while working, they have 10 years from the start of their work experience to pass the CISA exam. However, if they pass the exam first, they only have 5 years from the date of passing to attain the required work experience.
Exceptions may be made in special cases where the applicant does not have the required experience. For example, similar work experience or educational experience (like a master’s degree) can act as a substitute for a part of the five years required. However, ISACA will require you to complete two years of work experience to qualify for CISA certification.
The information systems field is ever-changing with new technological innovations and methods being introduced regularly. For the IS audit and security professional to remain relevant in their organisation, they need to stay up to date on the latest advances in their field. With a CISA, this is guaranteed as the professional has to participate in the ISACA mandated continuous learning program called Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program.
The CPE program is designed to:
- Ensure CISA professionals still carry the knowledge they gained when pursuing the certification.
- Remove underqualified personnel and maintain the quality of the IS audit, control and security professionals that hold the certification.
- Updating the individual’s current knowledge and skills in the IS auditing, control and security fiel
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