What is IT Governance Framework
First Things First
To succeed in business you need to understand the importance of IT and use this knowledge to drive their value. IT governance is an extremely critical aspect of any business. The sooner you accept that the better for your performance.
IT Governance - What Is It?
IT Governance can be described as a formal system which is in place to guarantee that the business requirements are optimally met by the IT investments. This is actually an entire system that maps out the ways and techniques in which any organisation can actualise, oversee and screen IT governance.
The primary function of the IT governance framework is to produce measurable results and evaluate the effectiveness and performance of IT in meeting organizational goals.
The current official international standard for IT governance is ISO/IEC 38500:2015. This standard provides help and guidance to the various governing bodies, as well as their advisors on the effective, efficient, and acceptable use of IT in their business.
Popular IT Governance Frameworks
The main vendor-neutral frameworks that are occasionally referred to as “IT Governance Frameworks” are -
1. ITIL - The framework for IT service management is called the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (or ITL). It is based around a five-phase service lifecycle which includes -
• Service strategy - understanding the customers and using IT to meet their requirements.
• Service design - making sure that the design of IT is cost effective and efficient.
• Service transition - this is all about building the design and testing it exhaustively.
• Service operation - is concerned with delivering and managing the service.
• Continual service improvement - ensures that steps are taken to continually improve the service and the related technology.
2. COBIT - Also known as Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology is the particular IT governance framework whose prime areas of consideration are regulatory compliance, risk management and optimally aligning the IT strategy with the company or organisational goals. The latest version of this framework was released in 2012 and is called COBIT 5.
3. ISO 27002 - ISO 27002 is the worldwide standard which bolsters the execution and implementation of Information Security Management Systems (or ISMS) in accordance with the ISO 27001. It establishes rules and general standards for initiating, executing, managing and enhancing information security management in a company.
4. FAIR - Also referred to as Factor Analysis of Information Risk is a relatively new model. It helps organisations in quantifying risk. Its prime area of focus is operational risk and cybersecurity.
IT Governance Subdomains
A subdomain is that which is a part of the larger domain. The above-mentioned frameworks also have quite a few subdomains of IT governance. These include -
- Business continuity and disaster recovery management.
- Data privacy which encompasses European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act compliance.
- ISO 27001 and information security.
- Knowledge management
- Risk management
- IT service management
- Project governance
Principles Of IT Governance
There are five key principles of IT Governance. If you follow them, there is no need for worry.
1. Risk Principle - no two risks are similar, either in financial repercussions or in depth of damage. In order to handle risks better, the controls and measures should be adjusted accordingly.
2. Suitability Principle - The level and style of IT governance needs to suit the needs of the concerned business. There cannot be a clash of goals.
3. Behavior Principle - The solutions rendered by the IT governance framework should drive organisational behavior.
4. Deployment Principle - You cannot implement the entire governance solution in one go. It needs to be incrementally implemented, one step at a time.
5. Automation Principle - To make the governance solution unobtrusive and penetrating, it needs to be automated.
Considerations For Implementing IT Governance
IT is a critical component for any organisation. Therefore, its governance should be properly structured. The framework should also act as a tool for benchmarking and measuring its effectiveness. Due to its strategic role in any organisation, internal auditors should include auditing of IT governance in their plans. Green IT is also fast becoming the norm of the day. Using green IT products like support manuals and texts should be encouraged..
Should I Really Care?
If your business is subject to regulatory compliance, if your business model is driven by efficiency, and if your business uses mature IT operations; you should care. Making use of the most suitable IT governance framework you can will achieve even more than your current aspirations.
How To Choose An Ideal Framework?
When reviewing the various frameworks keep in mind that each focuses on a fixed area. The one which seems to be the most natural fit for your organisation is the one that you should go for. The framework should be in sync with your corporate culture and should resonate with your stakeholders. The main thing is that it is not necessary to choose just one framework. You can always go for a mix of two if they will each compliment each other.
Ensuring Smooth Implementation
For anything to be successful you have to first educate yourself. Once you are knowledgeable enough to make a wise decision you should proceed further or leave the matter in the hands of experts. Something as significant as IT governance framework should not be dealt with mildly.
To make an impact, you need to embrace it. Start small by taking executive buy-in. Implement the framework in phases and monitor each phase and perfect it before introducing the next one. Finally, ensure that the communication lines between all the concerned parties are always open.
As a result of various corporate fraud and deception cases, the need for IT governance was felt. It was mostly triggered by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
Today, IT governance framework provides structure to company IT setup. It allows the company to measure the extent to which IT infrastructure is helpful in meeting the business goals and satisfying both the shareholders and customers alike.
IT governance framework formalised the corporate and IT governance practices across all organisations and helped reduced chances of corporate subterfuge. IT governance is great!