What is a COBIT framework?

What is COBIT framework - the guide

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) is a framework created by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) as a supportive tool for managers. The framework allows for bridging the gap between business risks, technical issues, and control requirements. 

COBIT is a globally recognised guideline that can be applied to any industry. The COBIT framework ensures quality, control, and reliability of information systems within the organisation it is applied to. 

Want to know more about the COBIT framework? This guide will help you learn how it’s used to control the quality, control, and reliability of IT systems. Let’s take a closer look. 

What is COBIT framework? 

COBIT is a framework for the governance and management of enterprise information and technology, aimed at the whole enterprise. COBIT defines the components and design factors to build and sustain a best-fit governance system.  

The COBIT cybersecurity framework is used by IT business process managers to provide them with a model to practice better risk management practices and deliver more value to the organisation. The COBIT framework guarantees the integrity of the information system within the organisation. 

What is ISACA? 

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) develops guidance and controls for information governance, control, security, and audit professionals. ISACA’s purpose is to help business technology professionals and their enterprises around the world realise the potential of technology through IT governance.  

The ISACA promise is how the organisation delivers on its purpose: inspiring confidence that enables innovation through technology. ISACA’s work, and the work of the professional community they support, is extremely important to the global IT industry. Hence, why the organisation created the COBIT framework to help IT professionals around the world.  

Who should use COBIT? 

Any organisation or business that depends on technology for reliable and relevant information should consider using the COBIT framework to help bolster security. 

What is the importance of the COBIT? 

The COBIT framework provides a common language for compliance monitoring auditors, business executives and, most importantly, IT professionals to communicate with each other on IT goals, objectives, controls, and outcomes. 

The absence of a common language requires explanations on how, when, where, and why certain IT controls were created. Implementing COBIT ensures quality, control, and reliability of IT systems. 

Learn the basics of the COBIT framework 

The COBIT framework is a process-based model subdivided into four specific domains: 

  • Planning and organisation 
  • Delivering and support 
  • Acquiring and implementation 
  • Monitoring and evaluating 

However, the COBIT framework is more than just a set of standards for IT managers. It supports the requirements of businesses via related processes, combined IT applications, and sources. Here are the two main parameters provided:  


Control is defined as the IT management policies, procedures, practices, and structures, which provide an acceptable assurance level that business goals will be met.  

IT control objective 

IT control objective states the acceptable results level that must be attained on implementing control procedures for a particular IT operation. 

What are the principles of COBIT? 

According to ISACA, the COBIT framework presents 6 principles for a governance system: 

  1. A governance system is required to satisfy stakeholder needs and to generate value from the use of I&T. To create value, the enterprise must balance benefits, risk, and resources, and develop an actionable strategy and governance system. 
  1. Several components build a governance system. They can be of different types and must work together in a holistic way. 
  1. A governance system should be dynamic: If one or more of the design factors have changed (e.g., a change in strategy or technology), the enterprise must consider how this impacts the EGIT system. 
  1. Governance and management activities and structures are different. 
  1. The enterprise’s needs should be used to tailor the governance system. To do this, a set of design factors for customising and prioritising the governance system components is used. 
  1. A governance system includes all enterprise functions, focusing on IT function and all technology and information the enterprise uses to achieve its goals. 

Some things you need to know before using COBIT 

Before committing to the COBIT framework there are some important things you need to know. Let’s take a closer look: 

  • Objectives 

IT professionals are able to prioritise or ignore objectives based on the stakeholders’ needs. The latest version provides 40 governance and business management objectives. 

  • Design factors  

Helps users design a customised governance solution for enterprise I&T by considering all critical factors (known as design factors). 

  • Domains 

The objectives are categorised into specific domains that map to various business processes such as monitoring, creating, and planning. 

  • Goals Cascade  

The Goals Cascade shows how stakeholder drivers create stakeholder needs, and those needs define the enterprise’s goals. The enterprise goals, in turn, generate IT-related goals, which define the enabler goals. These various components of the cascade must be addressed in order to carry out a successful implementation. 

  • Components 

Generic elements such as skills, infrastructure, process descriptions and structures influencing IT. 

COBIT 5 v COBIT 2019 

According to ISACA, the main differences between COBIT 5 and COBIT 2019 are that COBIT 2019 has 6 governing principles instead of 5. The number of processes supporting the governance and management objectives is increased from 37 to 40, with some changes in terminology. Governance principles are added, and performance management is based on the CMMI performance management scheme instead of ISO/IEC 33000.  

Finally, 11 design factors that influence the design of the enterprise governance system are introduced and enablers are removed. An enterprise governance system can be designed using ISACA’s tool kit by inserting appropriate values in the respective fields. COBIT 2019 includes new technology and business trends in I&T. It can integrate with other international standards, guidelines, regulations, and best practices unique to your organisation and provide an effective EGIT framework. 

Let’s take a closer look at the key differences in a side by side comparison: 

COBIT 5 COBIT 2019  
Five governance principles Six governance principles 
37 processes 40 processes 
“Manage” terminology is used for management processes 
“Ensure” terminology is used for governance processes 
“Managed” terminology is used for management processes 
“Ensured” terminology is used for governance processes 
Governance framework principles are absent Governance framework principles area added 
Measuring performance uses 0-5 scale based on ISO/IEC 33000  CMMI performance management scheme used 
Enablers are included Enablers are renamed as components 
Design factors are not available Design factors are included 

How RiskXchange can help you 

A cybersecurity framework provides security teams with a set of standards and a common language across borders and industries to understand security postures. With a cybersecurity framework in place, it can help define the processes and procedures that your organisation must take to monitor, assess, and mitigate cybersecurity risk.  

RiskXchange can help you choose the right cybersecurity framework that works for you and your business. RiskXchange’s integrated cybersecurity risk platform helps you discover, continuously monitor, and reduce the risk across your enterprise and supply chain. RiskXchange is also the only platform that provides a complete 360-degree view of your attack surface, including that of your vendors.  

Get in touch with RiskXchange to find out more about the COBIT framework.