IA-IS-Relationship-Discussion_Grabski

Report
Discussion of:
“The Relationship between
Internal Audit and Information
Security: An Exploratory
Investigation”
Severin Grabski
Michigan State University
2011 UWCISA Symposium
Toronto, Canada
Stated Objective
Investigate the nature of the
relationship between information
security and internal audit
• Important – Critical component of
Corporate Governance
• Motivation needs to be more than
“no empirical research exists”
Tasks Accomplished
• Established that the IA role has been
generally ignored in the literature
• Conducted semi-structured
interviews with IA and IS security
professionals
• Identified factors that impact the
nature of the relationship between
IA and IS functions
But…
• Had sense of concern
Proposed Model
IA vs. IS Control View
• IA
• IS
Stage of attempted
penetration
o Configuration –
(Preventive)
o Access (Preventive)
• IA Review
o Monitoring – Detective o Monitoring –
(Detective)
Control objective
o Preventive
o Detective
o Corrective
• What’s missing?
• What happened to Corrective?
Proposed Model
But…
“…no empirical research investigating
how well the two functions work
together.” (p.5)
Proposed Model • Never addresses Role of IA and IS
• How Should IA and IS Interact?
o Model only shows tasks and how they are
reviewed
• Is there Theory for this Interaction?
SOX & IT Governance
• Case Study of Charles Schwab
Corporation (Damianides 2005)
• Top management sought improved IT
Governance Framework
o IA recommended COBIT
o Improve IS controls
o Enhance IT & Business Processes
o Map audits to COBIT
• On a high level, this shows units
working together
Proposed Model
But… (p. 131)??
So How Did This
Proposed Model Occur?
From Here!
Includes Monitoring
& Documentation
Basis for Proposed Model
But…
• Ransbotham & Mitra (2009) Model is about
external attacks on an organization –
information security compromise process
• How does this relate to “Internal” Controls?
• How does this relate to securing the system
from the “Innocent Incompetent”?
Proposed Model
So How Did We Get
Figure 3?
Proposed Model
NEVER
TESTED!
I Got Lost!
I Need a Map
I Need a THEORY
Where’s the Theory?
• While there has not been any
study of IA and IS working
together, there has been many
studies of organizations and
institutional structure
• Possible theory –
Neo-institutional Theory
Neo-institutional Theory
• Should be used for studying IT security
issues in organizations (Bjorck 2004)
o Can be used to explain differences in
formal and actual security behavior
o Can be used to explain why formal
security structures are created and not
fully implemented
• Can be used to explain how
institutional factors influence the
behavior of individuals (Hu et al. 2007)
Neo-institutional Theory
• Organizations are structured by
phenomena in institutional
environment and become
isomorphic with them
• Two parts
Institutionalism
Isomorphism
Institutionalism
• Process in which components of
formal structure become
accepted, and are seen as
appropriate and needed
• Decision to adopt depends upon
whether the innovation will
improve internal processes
Isomorphism
• Explains how institutional structures
and practices propagate among
organizations
o Coercive Isomorphism (External pressure)
o Mimetic Isomorphism (Imitation)
• Software selection (Tingling & Parent 2002)
o Normative Isomorphism (Professionalism)
• Mediating role of top management in
ES assimilation (Liang et al. 2007)
Benefit of Theory
• Guide formulation of constructs &
interview questions
• Focus does not need to be on
testing neo-institutional theory
• Focus can be on extending theory
• Could still use case-based
approach
Research Instrument
• Discuss “perceived inequality”
o Never appears in research instrument
o What does appear is “Working
Relationship”
• Suggest that “Organizational
Characteristics” impact relationship
o “Working Relationship,” “Audit
Demographics,” and “IT Demographics”
are used
Setting - Education
• Concern about Security
o More or less in Education than Business?
o Many Laws (FERPA, GLBA, PCI, HIPPA,
States also have laws/penalties for data
disclosure, etc.) impact Universities
• Manuscript states that security was
not an overarching strategic factor.
• How can security not be a major
concern?
Research Method
• Good Approach
• Did the participants get the
opportunity to review the transcripts
and correct errors/omissions?
• Need to state in the Research Method
section that an IA and IS security
person were interviewed at institutions
that did not outsource IA (information
is only in Table 1)
Findings
• Technical Knowledge
o Tech knowledge  deeper
relationships
o Or is it that they know the correct
questions to ask and can bring value to
the IS team?
• Communication Skills
o If IA explains what & why, than IS is
cooperative
• Auditor’s Perception of the Role of IA
vis-à-vis Information Security
Findings
• Does Technical Knowledge Result
in Improved Communication Skills
& Result in Increased Cooperation
with IS?
IS perceived top management to be very
supportive of information security but,
adequate resources were not necessarily
forthcoming (in Not For Profit)
Findings
• How can IS and IA work smarter with
fewer (limited) resources?
For Profit
• Budgetary Support
• Incentive for Audit Compliance
• Why?
Security Issues
Related to Financial
Results
IT Corporate
Governance
Relationships Matter
IS
IA
IA
IS
IS
IS
Relationships Matter
• A collaborative relationship between
the internal audit and information
systems security functions increases
user compliance, improves the
effectiveness of internal audit (P6 A&B)
• More interesting question:
How is a collaborative relationship
established?
Additional Survey
• Interviewed CIO
o IA was “bad guy” in the past
o IA had stringent standards
o Didn’t understand that IT Security is situational
(practical, unsecure to totally secure but
impractical)
• SSN need high security
• Other stuff can be wide-open
o Had to work with IA to be “practical”
• Could not apply all of COBIT all the time!
o IA acts like an extra set of eyes & ears
• Working smarter
Additional Survey
• IA did not want to disclose
standards used in audit
o Releasing audit standards viewed as
“teaching to the test”
o Needed to get shared understanding of
standards  good practices
• IS can now share these good practices
• Facilitates audit
• IS can help invent technologies to meet
new standards, e.g., PCI, etc.
Additional Survey
• IA tells IS the annual audit plan
• IS uses IA for help garnering additional
resources
o Card Lock system for Server Rooms
o Expanded for Physical Security across
campus
• CIO & IA Director have mutual respect
• This “Top Management” directly
influences the other IA and IS unit
employees
Summary
• Need clear evolutionary path from
literature to Figure 2 to Figure 3
• Theory
• Gap between questions in research
instrument and issues identified in the
manuscript
• Relationship to ERM
• Operationalize Constructs
• Model Specified Correctly?
Closing Comments
• Enjoyed manuscript
• Do we know if the proposed model
(Figure 3) would change if the IA and
IS were viewed as belonging to
o “High performing” organizations?
o “Low performing” organizations?

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