Category: ISO27001 (Page 2 of 2)

PKF IT Opportunities

One of the main reasons we moved the IT advisory function out of internal audit was the fact that IT encompassed so much more than just doing an audit.

I believed in the exponential growth of IT based on the simple belief: IT is integral to efficient and effective businesses. Businesses that do not leverage on IT will go nowhere. So it only makes sense that IT will get more complex and more critical as each year goes by.

Back in 2010, PKF Malaysia realised this pattern. By staying stagnant and doing what the other firms were doing: Internal Auditors doing IT audits, we were going to simply die off. The first thing we realised was that, while Internal Auditors were OK doing IT audits, these were two different animals. We didn’t want to do checklist audits. We didn’t want someone ┬ádoing IT audit who didn’t even know what the heck was an AAA server or how to do a simple VLAN config on a Cisco router. We didn’t want someone who would go up to the Audit Committee, put someone else’s career at stake by giving ridiculous recommendations and reports, based on ‘previous experience’ and ‘industry best practices’, when they don’t even know head or tail on what Active Directory is used for, or what’s the basics of DNS poisoning or IP spoofing. We needed serious technical people who have been on both customer and consulting end, and we needed to separate from the Internal Audit group….simply because we want an audit to be done differently.

We moved quickly into ISO27001 (ISMS) and PCI-DSS, we went through ISO27005 for risk assessment, we did COBIT 4.1 training and enablement and got everyone at least CISA certified. Most of us, like me, have multiple certs, for instance in IT forensics, IT ethical hacking, IT management, Project management and so forth.

We moved quickly to become MSC status to be a serious player in 2011, and we started strategic collaborations for different purposes. We joined workgroups with government and private agencies, opening channels to MOSTI, MIMOS, Bank Negara and so on, to conduct knowledge sharing sessions. For free. I am a great believer that contribution back to the industry should be done as part of our professional duty, and not as an engagement service.

So here we are, at the precipice of change. PKF itself has undergone some tremendous changes over 2012 and 2013. This week, we had our PKF Asia Pac Conference, where different countries got together, to explore different areas and opportunities. We’re excited, as we see the work we’ve done in the past 3 years to build our knowledge and reputation, possibly coming to fruition. I am also a big believer that PKF requires an IT function regionally. There should be a Center of Excellence, not just to do IT audit but to do Technical Services like penetration testing and forensics, or troubleshooting and service management; and also project management.

This is where we are. We still have a long way to go, but with the extension of our services into the other firms in PKF, we’re set to stay for a long while.

Here is the link to the presentation we did to the other PKF Firms last week.

PKF Avant Edge – Partner Presentation

PCI-DSS, ISO27001, COBIT and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

We just secured another PCI-DSS deal today, and once the customary celebration has died down, we will set aside time to start planning for the project. PKF works with our QSA (Qualified Security Assessor) partner, Control Case, to ensure that our clients get the best consultation and services possible, and to almost guarantee a certification in PCI-DSS. I say almost guarantee, because there are no such thing as 100% in this world. For instance, what if a meteor crashes on earth just as the PCI-DSS audit was about to start? Sure, we’ll all go the way of the dinosaurs, but was our client certified? No!

Anyway, jokes aside, we’re gearing up for the new year, with PCI-DSS, some ISO27001 and our normal COBIT assurances in the pipeline. The reason why we focus so much on these 3 standards and framework (COBIT is NOT a standard!) is because they are inter-related. ISACA and other groups have mapped all three to each other in a sort of matrix fashion, so that sitting down with a PCI-DSS guy and talking about the 12 requirements, you inherently can map COBIT controls on those 12 requirements, and hey, presto, to the 11 domains of ISO27001. PCI-DSS can be mapped against ISO27001 as well, especially to the holy Annex A controls of the ISO standard. The fact is, anyone that has ISO 27001 experience will be interlaced with PCI-DSS and COBIT as well. They are all siblings of the same mother, IT governance and audit.

Of the 3, both PCI-DSS and COBIT has taken major steps forward. PCI-DSS 2.0 came out 2 years back and added in virtualisation and a lot more clarifications on testing procedures. The big step forward was that now risk assessment documentation must be verified against accepted risk management methodology. Before this, there wasn’t such a need. In doing so, PCI-DSS is moving closer to his bigger brother, ISO27001, which is risk-based.

COBIT has always been risk based. Anyone that comes at you with a COBIT checklist should be questioned. We’re not saying checklist is wrong, but there must be a context of that checklist. We see a lot of “checklist based on industry benchmarks.” That’s one way. But each business is different. Not every IT division needs a IT strategic roadmap with a 5 year plan on IT investments. I know one of my client whose IT guy is basically the guy from Low Yat, doesn’t. That client needs more controls on information leakage and policies governing that Low Yat guy. Fix what’s priority. Fix what is highest risk. And in order to do that, you need to know, interact, interview with the client.

COBIT 5 takes this literally. For too many years, practitioners has been throwing COBIT controls like fireworks on Chinese New Year Eve. Comply to this, else we will give you a big fat zero! We’ve been using COBIT 4.1 for a long time now, and it still remains an ‘auditor’s framework’. With COBIT 5, we move up the ranks to IT governance. It’s a different way to audit. Here we look at the causal relationships of IT and business. The controls tie to the governance of IT within the context of the organisation, hence putting practitioners with risk experience to the forefront. Unlike the haphazard way of trying to tie RISK IT, VAL IT and COBIT together, COBIT 5 hopes to bring in a more uniform approach to IT auditing, one that will hopefully transpose the audit from the realm of the IT techies to the board.

With COBIT 5, the checklist wielding junior internal auditor whose knowledge of IT consist of facebook and farmville will, hopefully, go the way of the dinosaur, and be replaced by practitioners who has real world experience, management insights and the technical-business acumen to bridge technology into corporate relevance.


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