How do I Become a Certified Information Systems Auditor?

Isn’t it great to have sophisticated technologies at our disposal? Thanks to the rapid advancements in technology, we now have perks like smartphones, smart devices and IoT, smart personal assistants, wearables, and so much more. Powered by AI/ML technology, these intelligent gadgets have made our lives much more comfortable.

But Do You Know What These Devices Create? 

They create tons and tons of data, which is at the target of cybercriminals. Data is everything now – one who has access to data has the ultimate power. The sudden upsurge in data has caused cybercriminals to become more active and upgrade their ways to give way to more complex, dangerous, and sophisticated cyber-attacks and threats. This is also the reason why cybersecurity professionals upgrade themselves through cybersecurity courses, a CISA course being one of the popular choices.

Today, viruses aren’t the most dangerous thing around – cybercriminals are designing malware that can reside in memory and is very challenging to identify. They are also employing anonymous and distributed infrastructures for cyber threats and attacks (like the Tor proxy service) to disguise suspicious actions efficiently. 

Furthermore, the more sophisticated the technology in use, the more complicated and advanced the cyberattacks get. For instance, according to Cisco researchers, the Internet of Things (IoT) is “ripe for exploitation” – it is offering unique pathways for attacks, particularly DeOS (destruction-of-service) attacks. DeOS attacks destroy the backup infrastructure used to restore the systems post-attack in a way that there remains no scope for recovery. 

 This is precisely why companies “need” and hire IT Security experts. Only professionals well-trained and skilled in the security domain can match up to the sophistication level of modern-day cybercriminals. According to the Senior Managing Director at Robert Half, Phil Sheridan:

 “In order to successfully confront a proliferating breed of cyberattackers, companies need skilled IT talent who understand the current and evolving cyberthreat environment. With a robust strategy in place, companies will be prepared for the future of cybersecurity.”

 It is by investing in the right talent that companies shield themselves from impending cyber threats. IT Security professionals can not only help companies reinforce their security front, but also put in action measures and steps to identify, mitigate, and prevent potential cyber risks and threats.

Who is an Information Systems Auditor?

An Information Systems Auditor is an expert professional who assesses, evaluates, and audits information systems on aspects like logging, access, physical security, access, systems continuity, and so on. Information Systems Auditors perform both general and application control audits and reviews for simple/complex information systems. Other duties include reviewing and assessing system security, system development standards, programming and communication controls, backup and disaster recovery, operating procedures, and system maintenance. They also design, develop, and maintain audit software and prepare audit reports.

Usually, Information Systems Auditors must have a bachelor’s degree in information systems/information technology/MIS/accounting. It is beneficial to have a certification like CISA/CPA/CISM/ACA. 

How to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor?

The Certified Information Systems Auditor or CISA is a globally-renowned and accredited ISACA designation that is offered to professionals who prove their excellence in information systems security, audit, and control. The CISA certification is perfect for IS/IT Auditors, IS/IT Consultants, IS/IT Audit Managers, and Security Professionals.

To become a Certified Information Systems Auditor, you must pass the CISA exam and also fulfill a host of other requirements set by ISACA. To appear for the exam, you must have a minimum 5 years of professional work experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. However, ISACA allows for a maximum of 3 years as a substitute/waiver of the five years of work experience, provided you have:

  • At least one year of information systems experience or one year of non-IS auditing experience to make up for one year of work experience.
  • At least 60 to 120 completed credit hours of university semester (a 2/4-year degree) not limited by the 10-year preceding restriction can make up for 1 or 2 years of work experience.
  • A bachelor’ s/master’s degree from a university that follows ISACA-sponsored Model Curricula can make up for one year of work experience.
  • A master’s degree in information security/information technology from a recognized university can make up for one year of work experience.
  • Two years of experience as a full-time university instructor in a related field (like computer science, accounting, information systems auditing) can make up for one year of work experience.

Steps to obtain the CISA certification

  1. Register for the exam

Once you’re sure that you can fulfill the experience requirements mentioned above, you must register for the exam. Usually, the CISA exam is conducted in June and September every year. 

  1. Prepare for the exam

The CISA Examination focuses on measuring the skills of candidates on five core domains:

  • Domain 1 – The Process of Auditing Information Systems (14%)
  • Domain 2 – Governance and Management of IT (14%)
  • Domain 3 – IS Acquisition, Development, Implementation (19%)
  • Domain 4 – IS Operations, Maintenance, and Support (23%)
  • Domain 5 – Protection of Information Assets (30%)

There are many helpful study resources for this exam such as the CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor Study Guide (4th edition), CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor All-In-One Exam Guide (3rd edition), CISA Review Questions, Answers, and Explanations Manual (11th edition), and the CISA Flashcard Study System. 

Also, there are many online training courses exclusively designed to help students pass the CISA exam including Surgent CISA Review Course, CISA Super Review Course, CISA Exam Practice Study Materials, and SimpliLearn CISA Prep Course.

  1. Take the exam

The CISA exam is conducted in an old-school fashion – it is a written exam. The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions to be completed in 4 hours. To pass the exam, you must at least obtain a score of 450 points. 

Candidates who successfully pass the CISA exam can apply for the CISA certification within five years from the date of passing the exam. Only those candidates who fulfill the experience requirements are offered the certification. 

So, that’s basically it – the three essential steps to becoming CISA Certified Professional. However, apart from the experience requirements, if there’s one important requirement, it is the proper training and guidance. While self-study is a great way to kickstart the basic learning procedure, you will need expert guidance to help you master all the five domains of CISA exam. And this is only possible by enrolling in a training course. 

So are you ready to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor?