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Be an ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • Published by: André Hammer on Feb 01, 2024
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In today's fast-paced digital world, it's more important than ever to have qualified professionals who can ensure the security and integrity of information systems. One way to show your expertise in this field is by becoming a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

This certification proves that you can assess vulnerabilities, report on compliance, and implement controls within an organization's IT infrastructure. Whether you want to advance your career or improve your skills, becoming a CISA could be a helpful step towards a successful future in information systems auditing.

Definition of Certified Information Systems Auditor

Certified Information Systems Auditor websiteA Certified Information Systems Auditor is a well-known certification for audit, control, and assurance professionals. It shows that an individual can assess vulnerabilities, report on compliance, and implement controls for an organization's information technology and business systems.

To become a CISA, a person should have at least five years of professional information systems auditing, control, or security work experience. They can also substitute some of the experience with specific education qualifications.

The education and work experience requirements for CISA certification are important. Candidates must have a minimum of 4000 hours of professional work experience in the field. These criteria are crucial in preparing candidates for the certification and ensuring they can perform the duties associated with the CISA designation.

Path to becoming a CISA

Eligibility Criteria

To take the CISA exam, candidates need at least five years of experience in IS audit, control, assurance, or security. However, up to three years of work experience can be exempt based on education and experience. Candidates can also substitute one year of information systems experience for one year of work experience, which makes it accessible for many professionals.

Candidates are also required to follow a code of professional ethics and professional standards. Additionally, they must complete 20 hours of annual professional education and agree to comply with the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) policy, showing their commitment to professional growth.

Education

To become a Certified Information Systems Auditor , you need at least five years of professional experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. You can also use a mix of education and experience to meet this requirement. The CISA certification exam costs between $575 and $760, depending on when you register and if you're an ISACA member. This doesn't cover extra fees for study materials and exam preparation resources.

Meeting these education requirements and passing theCISA exam is crucial for advancing careers in information systems auditing and security.

Work Experience Requirements

Candidates applying for CISA certification need at least five years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. This experience must be within the last ten years, covering a minimum of three job practice analysis areas.

Higher education can substitute for some work experience, such as one year for a 2-year degree or two years for a 4-year degree. These criteria ensure candidates have the practical knowledge and skills needed for information systems auditing.

This requirement also assures employers and clients that CISA-certified professionals can effectively manage and control IT systems, and conduct thorough security assessments.

CISA Certification Process

To be eligible for the CISA certification, individuals must have at least five years of professional experience in information systems auditing, control, or security work. Educational achievements or professional certifications may substitute for up to three years of experience.

Candidates must apply directly to ISACA and meet the exam registration, payment, and scheduling requirements. Preparation involves studying core subject areas such as information system auditing, governance, management of IT, and acquisition, development, and implementation of information systems. Study materials, review courses, and practice questions are available to help with exam preparation.

The costs of the CISA certification include the exam registration fee, study materials, review courses, and potential retake fees. The exam registration fee varies depending on membership status and early registration deadlines, and there may be additional costs for study materials and review courses.

Registering for the CISA Exam

CISA Exam websiteTo register for the CISA Exam, individuals need to confirm their eligibility and then complete the registration process. Eligibility requirements include a minimum of five years of professional information systems auditing, control, or security work experience. Once eligibility is approved, candidates can register for the exam by submitting a registration form along with the necessary fees.

The cost of the exam varies based on ISACA membership status, with non-member rates being higher than member rates. There are also early registration deadlines with reduced fees, and additional costs for rescheduling or changing the exam location. Overall, the process involves carefully reviewing and meeting eligibility requirements, submitting the necessary forms, and paying the associated fees in a timely manner.

You can find valid examples for varying exam and eligibility fees, as well as different registration deadlines and penalties for rescheduling, through the ISACA's official website and various professional certification forums.

Preparing for the 2022 Exam

To effectively prepare for the 2022 CISA exam, candidates can take several steps.

First, they should thoroughly review the exam content outline provided by ISACA, the governing body of the certification. This will help them understand the specific domains and task statements that the exam will cover.

Additionally, candidates should consider enrolling in a formal exam preparation course, offered by various training providers. ISACA also provides official study materials, including review manuals, practice questions, and webinars, which can be invaluable resources. In order to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for the 2022 CISA exam, candidates should carefully review the experience and education requirements outlined by ISACA. This may include obtaining relevant work experience in the field of information systems auditing.

Exam Cost

The Certified Information Systems Auditor exam costs around 575 GBP. Additional fees, like membership fees, exam prep materials, and potential re-examination fees if the first try is not successful, should be considered. The exam cost may vary by region or country. For instance, candidates in the UK might have different costs compared to those in other European countries.

It's important for candidates to review the cost breakdown and payment deadlines to ensure a smooth exam registrationprocess and avoid surprises.

Maintaining Certification Status

To keep their CISA certification, individuals need to do 20 hours of continuing professional education every year and a total of 120 hours in three years. This helps certified professionals stay updated on industry trends, technologies, and best practices.

Renewal of the CISA certification is needed every three years. It involves completing an online application and paying a renewal fee. There are associated fees for maintaining CISA certification status, including an annual maintenance fee and exam registration fees for required CPE hours.

Understanding the costs and fees for maintaining CISA certification is important for professionals to remain relevant in the information systems auditing field.

Continuing Professional Education

To keep their CISA certification, CISAs must do ongoing professional education. This means staying up-to-date with industry standards, rules, and best practices. They need at least 120 education hours over 3 years, with a minimum of 20 hours each year. Going to seminars, workshops, or online courses counts. This helps them improve their knowledge and skills in areas like security and assurance. Staying updated allows CISAs to give good services to clients or employers.

Certification Renewal

Certified Information Systems Auditors (CISAs) need to complete at least 20 hours of continuing professional education per year. Over a three-year period, they must accumulate 120 hours in total for certification renewal. These hours should directly relate to the CISA job practice and are usually acquired through conferences, online training courses, seminars, and other educational resources.

Furthermore, CISA professionals must submit an annual maintenance fee. Certification renewal is mandatory every three years, and there is a grace period of 12 months after the certification expiration date to meet the requirements. To maintain certification renewal, CISA professionals must also follow the Code of Professional Ethics and agree to adhere to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) continuing professional education policy. This policy outlines the maintenance of the CISA certification and assists professionals in meeting the renewal requirements.

Roles and Responsibilities of a CISA

Governance and Management of IT

The governance and management of IT are important for Certified Information Systems Auditors.

CISA professionals make sure that IT systems in an organization support its overall goals and follow laws and regulations. They also manage risks and compliance.

They develop and implement IT policies, monitor system performance, and evaluate risks.

The CISA certification focuses on different stages of the IT lifecycle, such as acquisition, development, and operations. Professionals learn to identify and address risks, and protect information assets.

Obtaining a CISA certification involves training, study materials, and exam fees. But it's worth it for potential career advancement and increased earning potential.

Auditing Information Systems

The process for registering for the CISA exam involves submitting an application, meeting the prerequisites, and successfully passing the exam.

To be eligible for CISA certification, candidates must have a minimum of five years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. Experience can be waived with a maximum of three years if certain conditions are met.

Candidates also need to adhere to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association’s Code of Professional Ethics and submit an annual maintenance fee.

Once certified, a Certified Information Systems Auditor is responsible for assessing IT systems, conducting audits, and providing recommendations regarding information systems security and control processes. ISACA outlines the responsibilities of a CISA to ensure that professionals adhere to industry standards and best practices, making it an important credential in the field of information technology and systems auditing.

Protection of Information Assets

Organisations can protect their information assets by:

  • Implementing robust security measures like encryption, access controls, and regular security audits.
  • Investing in employee training and fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
  • Using firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and continuous monitoring to safeguard information assets.
  • Staying updated with the latest security patches and software updates to reduce the risk of data breaches.
  • Conducting regular data backups and using secure data storage solutions.

CISA Exam Breakdown

Governance

Governance is important for managing information systems and protecting information assets. It ensures that IT resources are used effectively and comply with regulations and best practices.

Certified Information Systems Auditors evaluate governance processes, identify risks, and assess control measures. They make sure that proper policies, procedures, and protocols are followed to protect sensitive information and evaluate system efficiency and security.

The CISA exam tests candidates' knowledge of governance, management, and protection of information assets through multiple-choice questions. It covers topics like risk management, control identification, and ensuring the integrity and availability of information assets. This helps assess their ability to contribute to effective IT governance and management.

Management

In Certified Information Systems Auditors , professionals have an important role in overseeing and managing IT. They conduct independent reviews of an organization's information systems to ensure that IT policies, procedures and controls adhere to regulatory standards and industry best practices. They identify areas for improvement, implement solutions, and monitor compliance to reduce risks.

To maintain CISA certification, individuals must continue their professional education and renew their certification. This involves participating in relevant training programs, workshops, and seminars to stay updated with the latest developments in the field and fulfilling annual CPE requirements outlined by the ISACA. By staying current with the CISA certification process, professionals can contribute effectively to the governance and management of IT systems.

Acquisition, Development, and Implementation

Acquisition, Development, and Implementation are important parts of CISA certification. They involve evaluating IT processes and operations, like getting new systems, making software, and putting in information systems. CISA certification focuses on managing risk, control practices, and making sure IT goals match the organization's goals. Governance and management of IT are also very important for CISA certification. This makes sure that procedures follow industry best practices and rules.

It also gives a way to check how well IT works and how safe the info is.

For example, auditors might look at how new software is bought to make sure it follows service-level agreements. They might also check the testing processes when making a new system to find possible problems.

Operations, Maintenance, and Service Management

Effective Operations, Maintenance, and Service Management ensures the smooth running of an organization’s IT infrastructure. This includes hardware, software, and networks, as well as managing services for users.

It involves monitoring and resolving issues, updating systems, and performing preventive maintenance to minimize disruptions to business operations. Implementing best practices for incident and problem management, change management, and capacity management is also essential.

To protect information assets and maintain efficient business operations, organizations can implement security measures such as regular data backups, encryption, and access controls. They can also use service management tools and frameworks like ITIL to streamline service delivery and support.

Maintaining CISA certification in this domain may involve training and examination fees, as well as ongoing professional development to stay up to date with industry best practices and regulations.

Protection of Information Assets

Organisations can protect their information assets in various ways:

  • Implementing strong access controls
  • Conducting regular security assessments
  • Establishing clear security policies and procedures

Other measures like:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Data encryption
  • Regular security training for employees

These steps can safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure. Encryption is particularly important. It converts data into a coded form that only authorized users with the correct decryption key can access. For instance, data stored on a company's servers can be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access, even if the physical server is compromised. Similarly, emails containing sensitive information can be encrypted to ensure that only the intended recipient can access the data. These measures help ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organisation's information assets.

Business Resilience

Business resilience is about how an organization can adapt and respond to disruptions and challenges.

One way to achieve this is by continuously monitoring and assessing potential risks.

For example, Certified Information Systems Auditors can help businesses identify vulnerabilities in their IT systems and create strategies to mitigate risks.

Businesses can also diversify their supply chain, invest in robust cybersecurity measures, and foster a culture of flexibility and innovation.

These measures enable organizations to recover from unexpected events or crises.

For instance, having a backup data storage system can help a business quickly resume its operations in the event of a cyber-attack.

By building and maintaining resilience, businesses can ensure the continuity and sustainability of their operations, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.

Cost Associated with CISA Certification

Exam Cost

The CISA exam in 2022 costs around £415 for ISACA members and £507 for non-members. Candidates should also plan for expenses like study materials, review courses, and re-examination fees if needed. Budgeting for these extra costs is crucial for full exam preparedness.

Wrapping up

Becoming a Certified Information Systems Auditor can help you show your expertise and progress in information systems auditing. This certification proves you can identify vulnerabilities, ensure compliance, and set up controls in a company's infrastructure.

Getting CISA certified will boost your credibility, increase your earning possibilities, and expand your career prospects.

Readynez offers a 4-day CISA Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CISA course, and all our other ISACA courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CISA and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications.

Please reach out to us with any questions or if you would like a chat about your opportunity with the CISA certification and how you best achieve it. 

FAQ

What are the requirements to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor?

To become a Certified Information Systems Auditor , you must have a minimum of five years of professional information systems auditing, control, or security work experience. This experience must be within the 10-year period preceding the application date.

How do I prepare for the Certified Information Systems Auditor exam?

To prepare for the Certified Information Systems Auditor exam, study the exam content outline, use study guides and practice exams, attend review courses, and network with other professionals. Reviewing past CISA exam questions can also help prepare for the exam.

What are the benefits of being a Certified Information Systems Auditor?

Some benefits of being a Certified Information Systems Auditor include increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, and credibility in the industry. For example, a CISA credential can open doors to roles such as information security manager or IT auditor, with higher salaries than non-certified professionals.

What are the job opportunities for Certified Information Systems Auditors?

Certified Information Systems Auditors can find job opportunities as IT auditors, security consultants, risk management specialists, and compliance officers in various industries, including finance, healthcare, and technology.

How do I maintain my certification as a Certified Information Systems Auditor?

To maintain your certification as a Certified Information Systems Auditor , you must earn 20 Continuing Professional Education hours annually and comply with ISACA's Code of Professional Ethics. Examples of CPE activities include attending relevant seminars, webinars, and conferences, as well as publishing articles or teaching relevant courses.

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