What is Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)? Definition from SearchSecurity (2022)

What is Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)? Definition from SearchSecurity (1)

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  • Taina Teravainen

What is Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)?

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a certification and a globally recognized standard for appraising an IT auditor's knowledge, expertise and skill in assessing vulnerabilities and instituting IT controls in an enterprise environment.

This certification is issued by ISACA to people in charge of ensuring an organization's IT and business systems are monitored, managed and protected. It is presented after completion of a comprehensive testing and application process. It is designed for IT auditors, audit managers, consultants and security professionals.

(Video) CISA | Certified Information Systems Auditor | Highest-paying Information Systems Degree

Attaining CISA certification is considered beneficial because it is accepted by employers worldwide and is often requested for IT audit and security information management (SIM) positions. The certification provides the holder with greater visibility throughout the job application process since most recruiters prefer and keep an eye out for IT auditors with a CISA certification.

Responsibilities of a Certified Information Systems Auditor

The primary duties of a CISA include:

  • Implementing an audit strategy for information systems (IS) that is based on risk management.
  • Planning audits that can be used to determine whether or not IT assets are protected, managed and valuable.
  • Executing the audits in compliance with the organization's set standards and objectives.
  • Sharing audit results and providing recommendations to management based on the results.
  • Performing reexaminations of the audits to ensure the recommended actions have been performed by management.

A CISA's responsibilities often extend beyond auditing control. They are expected to work with management to confirm organizational processes, plans for implementation and operation of the deployed systems, and promote the organization's objectives and strategies.

This includes evaluating:

  • risk management practices;
  • IT portfolio and resource management;
  • strategies for business-IT alignment;
  • business continuity and disaster recovery strategies;
  • IT policies, standards, processes and procedures within the organization;
  • the value of the IT control framework; and
  • the management and monitoring of IT personnel, the IT organizational structure and controls.

After systems are implemented, CISAs must continue to monitor various areas to ensure successful deployment of the systems. This includes conducting project and post-implementation reviews. Other responsibilities include evaluating:

(Video) CISA | Certified Information Systems Auditor | Overview of CISA | CISA Exam | ISACA CISA Certificate

  • the business case for the proposed system;
  • controls for the IS;
  • IT supplier selection and contract management processes;
  • the project management framework and controls; and
  • the preparedness of the IS.

Once the system is implemented, the CISA is responsible for evaluating:

  • the IT service management practices and structure;
  • end-user computing;
  • change and release management operations;
  • IT continuity and resilience;
  • database management system execution;
  • IT operations and maintenance;
  • conducted reviews of the IS;
  • complications and incident management practices; and
  • data quality and life cycle management.

Finally, a CISA is responsible for working with management. This is to ensure the security standards, policies, procedures and controls within the organization impart integrity, confidentiality and availability of information assets.

How to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor

In order to become CISA certified, applicants must complete the following five steps:

  1. Successfully complete and pass the CISA exam.
  2. Apply for CISA certification.
  3. Adhere to ISACA's Code of Professional Ethics.
  4. Follow ISACA's Continuing Professional Education Program.
  5. Comply with ISACA's Information Systems Auditing Standards.

ISACA asks that all CISA applicants complete five years of professional IS auditing, control, assurance or security work, but substitutions and waivers can be obtained. For example, one year of IS experience or one year of non-IS auditing can be substituted for one year of experience. Also, 60 to 120 university semester credit hours -- a two year to four year degree -- can replace one or two years of experience, respectively. Two years as a full-time instructor within the related field at a university can also replace one year of experience.

Work experience must be within the 10 years prior to a candidate's application submission or within five years of a passed CISA exam. The candidate must also show adherence to ISACA's Code of Professional Ethics and Information Systems Auditing Standards. Once these criteria are met, the candidate can successfully apply for certification.

(Video) #1 How to Pass Exam Certified Information Systems Auditor in 15 hours (CISA) | Full Course | Part 1

About the CISA exam

The CISA exam is open to any individual who expresses an interest in IS auditing, control and security. It is four hours long and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions set around five job practice domains:

  • Information Systems Auditing Process
  • Governance and Management of IT
  • Information System Acquisition, Development and Implementation
  • Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
  • Protection of Information Assets

A score of 450 or higher (scored on a scale of 200 to 800) is required to pass the exam. It can be taken at any time in testing locations worldwide and remotely online. The exam is offered in English, Chinese Mandarin Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Turkish.

How to prepare for the CISA exam

Individuals looking to prepare for the exam can take advantage of preparation materials that are available through the ISACA. Many ISACA chapters also host CISA exam review courses. It is recommended that people preparing for the exam take as many practice tests as possible in addition to studying the ISACA Review Manual and learning to think like an accountant.

Adopting an accountant's mindset is beneficial because most of the people who write the CISA exam either work as accountants or in the financial services industry. Therefore, by thinking like an accountant, a test-taker can gain a greater understanding of the questions and answers and the way they were written.

If a CISA candidate passes the exam, they will be sent the information needed to apply for the CISA certificate. However, they must first ensure they have met the work experience requirements.

(Video) I am a CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor

How to maintain CISA certification

CISA applicants and certification holders must abide by ISACA's Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program. This training is to ensure that CISAs stay up to date and proficient in their fields.

The goals of the CPE program include:

  • Monitoring IS audit, control and security professionals' maintenance of knowledge and capabilities.
  • Dividing qualified CISAs from those who have not met the requirements and cannot continue their certification.
  • Assisting top management in the construction of stable IS audit, control and security functions with suggestions and criteria for personnel selection, training and development.
  • Preserving an individual's CISA capabilities by updating existing knowledge and skills within IS auditing, control and security.

ISACA requires maintenance fees and a minimum of 20 CPE hours annually, plus an additional 120 contact hours during a fixed three-year period.

Benefits of a CISA certification

The CISA certification is recognized worldwide as the sign of an individual's excellence within information system auditing. Benefits of a CISA certification include:

  • A competitive advantage in the job market and with job growth.
  • Increased value of the individual within the organization.
  • Increased credibility in the workplace. This is due to the combination of the achievement of passing the exam and the recognition of work and educational experience.
  • Assistance meeting high professional standards with ISACA's requirements and Continuing Professional Education program.
  • Confirmation of an individual's knowledge, experience and expertise in the field. Demonstration of their ability to successfully meet challenges that may arise.

CISA certification can also impact an individual's salary. Professionals with CISA certification often make between $52,459 and $122,326 per year. Internal audit directors are one of the highest paid positions with a CISA certificate. This position can make around $136,082 per year.

(Video) Learn Certified Information Systems Auditor-CISA online | CISA tutorial | Koenig Solutions

This was last updated in October 2021

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FAQs

What is the meaning of CISA? ›

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA ) leads the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to our cyber and physical infrastructure.

What does a certified information systems auditor do? ›

Certified information systems auditors are a foundational piece in successful IT departments. These IT professionals perform audits of technology governance structures, data application controls, data integrity, and system security.

How many questions do you need to pass the CISA exam? ›

The candidate's raw score is converted onto a scale of 200-800, with 450 being the passing score. Each question on the exam is weighted evenly. Questions must be answered correctly to receive credit, and there are no score deductions for incorrect answers. How much does the CISA Exam cost?

How hard is the CISA exam? ›

Most readers tend to agree: the syllabus and exam content isn't particularly tough. After all, it is a one-part exam with only 150 questions. Compared to other exams in the niche, it is lighter. That said, it requires basic knowledge on a wide variety of topics, versus specific knowledge in a more narrowed focus.

How long is CISA exam? ›

The CISA exam lasts four hours and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.

How do I pass CISA exam first attempt? ›

Part 1: CISA Exam Prep Tips
  1. Understand the Core Concepts. ...
  2. Gauge Your Existing Knowledge with Self Analysis. ...
  3. Design Your Study Plan. ...
  4. Familiarize with the Exam Question Format. ...
  5. Put on the ISACA Hat when Answering Questions. ...
  6. Analyze Your Answers and Read All Explanations. ...
  7. Don't Blindly Memorize. ...
  8. Don't Forget the Mock Exam.

How much does CISA exam cost? ›

The exam requires a $50 application fee. Once your application is accepted, there is a fee to sit the actual Exam. For ISACA members, this fee is $465. And for non-members, the fee is $595.

How long does IT take to study for CISA? ›

You can be ready to sit for the exam in three to six months, depending on your familiarity with auditing and IT security, as well as how much time you can devote. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Study at times when your brain can effectively and efficiently process and absorb information.

What is the pass rate for the CISA exam? ›

You're probably curious about the CISA pass rate and your chances of passing on the first go. Regardless, the ISACA does not release the exact figures on the CISA pass rates. Still, most experts claim that the pass rate is somewhere between 45% and 60%.

Why do people fail CISA? ›

Most applicants with a technology background confront challenges in understanding governance and auditing topics, and they are prone to think technically. This can be a prime reason why many applicants fail in the CISA exam.

What happens if you fail CISA exam? ›

Individuals have 4 attempts within a rolling twelve-month period to pass the exam. Those that do not pass on their first attempt are allowed to retake the exam a total of 3 more times within 12 months from the date of the first attempt.

How can I crack CISA exam? ›

Self-Preparation

You can refer to customizable, interactive sample exams that are designed from a database of 1,000+ CISA Review questions. For gaining more detailed knowledge, you can also refer to the books provided by CISA including the CISA Review Manual book by ISACA and the CISA Planning Guide.

Who is eligible for CISA? ›

To qualify for CISA, you must have 5 years of information systems auditing, control, assurance or security work experience within the past 10 years of the application submission date. This experience must be in at least one CISA Job Practice Domain Area, available to view on page V-2.

How many times can you take the CISA exam? ›

Individuals can take an exam four times in a rolling year (the initial attempt and three retakes - the 365 rolling calendar date is from the date of the first exam attempt). Please note: Individuals retaking an exam are required to purchase a new exam registration for each exam attempt.

Is a CISA worth IT? ›

So, is the CISA certification worth pursuing? If you are a junior or mid-level IT auditor, then it most certainly is. Similarly, if you are an internal auditor, IT consultant, project manager, or any cybersecurity professional then this certification is definitely worth pursuing.

Can I take CISA without experience? ›

Demonstrate the Required Minimum Work Experience: A minimum of 5-years of professional information systems auditing, control or security work experience - as described in the CISA job practice areas - is required for certification.

Does CISA expire? ›

To maintain your CISA, you must earn and report a minimum of 120 CPE hours every 3-year reporting cycle and at least 20 hours annually. CPE reporting is due by the end of each calendar year and is required to renew through the following year.

Which is better CISA or CPA? ›

CPA and CISA Differences

While CPAs learn auditing techniques, auditing is not a primary or exclusive function of the credential, and not all CPAs are auditors. In contrast, CISAs are highly skilled auditors trained to assess policies, processes and technology systems. Also, CPAs focus on financial numbers.

How can I pass my CISA in 1 month? ›

Step 1: Read and completely understand the CISA manual once while taking notes of important concepts. Use the questions at the beginning and end of the section to gauge your understanding (70 hours).
...
Activities to be performed are:
  1. Skimming (the study guide or any material books)
  2. Exercise (with practice test)
  3. Repeat.

Is CISA exam online? ›

Register now for a CISA, CRISC, CISM or CGEIT certification exam and you can now choose to schedule and take your exam from the comfort and safety of your home, or anywhere, at a date and time that is convenient! ! If your testing center remains open, you are welcome to take your exam in person if you prefer.

How do I clear my CISA certification? ›

In this article we will talk about the tips and preparation methods that will help CISA aspirants to clear their exam in their first attempt.
  1. Plan Early. ...
  2. Refer ISACA Review Manual. ...
  3. Participate In a Review Course. ...
  4. Think as an accountant. ...
  5. Take Practice Tests. ...
  6. Conclusion.
9 Dec 2015

How many papers are there in CISA? ›

The CISA exam is a one-part exam with 150 multiple-choice questions (reduced from 200 questions) that come from five domain categories.

How many parts are there in CISA exam? ›

The CISA Exam consists of five parts with 200 multiple choice questions, with one correct answer per question.

When can you take the CISA exam? ›

To qualify for the CISA certification, you must complete at least five years of work experience in a job related to IT auditing, control or security. You may complete this work requirement before or after the exam. You may also take the exam while part of the way through your work experience.

Is CISA globally Recognised? ›

CISA program is accredited by ANSI and is recognised on a state level in many countries worldwide.

Which exam is harder CISA or CISSP? ›

The CISA is by no means easy, however, it is generally considered less demanding than the CISSP. The CISA covers the following five domains: Information System Auditing and Processing. Governance and Management of IT.

Which is more difficult CISA or CISSP? ›

The CISSP is generally considered the more difficult certification to get out of the two. CISSP is more about the technicalities, so it is more challenging than CISA.

How difficult is the CISA exam Reddit? ›

A very good source for practice questions, I rate it 9/10. The exam was similar to the QAE, and I believe the difficulty was moderate - nothing too crazy, few curveballs here & there, and of course some bad worded questions are there.

Which is better CISA or CISSP? ›

You can see both paths have many similarities, the greatest difference is their focus. If you seek a job as an IT auditor – the CISA is a must. For most jobs in the cybersecurity field, the CISSP is your best bet first, then add the CISA to enhance future opportunities.

Is CISA technical? ›

CISA proves your team has the technical skills and knowledge it takes to assess, build and implement a comprehensive privacy solution while enhancing business value, customer insights and trust—ultimately improving your organization's image.

How many domains are there in CISA? ›

The CISA exam consists of 150 questions covering 5 job practice domains and tests your understanding of the knowledge and practical abilities an expert professional brings to the real-life job practice as it relates to information systems.

How can I check my CISA exam result? ›

Official CISA results will be mailed to you approximately 5 weeks after the exam. If you opt-in for email notification during registration, an email indicating a pass/fail will be sent to you. The scores will also be available in your profile at the My ISACA > My Certifications page of the ISACA website.

How many questions are on the CISM exam? ›

The official CISM exam has 150 questions.

What is the CISA test like? ›

The exam itself has 150 questions from five domains and must be completed in less than four hours. Candidates are also required to provide proof of at least five years of experience in IS audit, control, assurance or security. While challenging, you can achieve CISA certification with the right preparation and effort.

How much CISA earn in India? ›

Employees who graduate from Cisa Isaca earn an average of ₹31lakhs, mostly ranging from ₹13lakhs per year to ₹50lakhs per year based on 64 profiles. The top 10% of employees earn more than ₹50lakhs per year.

Can I get a job after passing CISA exam? ›

As data-driven and IT industries are growing, those having experience in CISA can get a job in financial institutes. With this certification, you can work in both audit and non-audit capacities including IT risk management, IT compliance, and control analysis.

Is CISA an accountant? ›

The certification process might be demanding for you but, the ultimate benefits of CISA certification to you as an accountant will make you forget all the hassle you went through within a very short time- yes!!

Is CISA certification in demand? ›

The globally-recognized Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification shows knowledge of IT and auditing, security, governance, control and assurance to assess potential threats. As you can imagine, it's very much in demand.

How do I schedule CISA exam? ›

To schedule your exam please log-in to your ISACA profile at www.isaca.org/MyISACA and click on the “Certifications & CPE Management” tab. Scroll down until you find the exam that you registered for. 4. Select Schedule Exam.

How long does ISACA membership last? ›

Maintaining/renewing your certification has two requirements: Pay the annual maintenance fee ($45 for members or $85 for non-members) Earn/report the minimum annual/3-year requirement of CPE hours.

Can you retake CISM exam? ›

If you need to take the exam more than once, your subsequent attempts must follow the schedule below: Retake 1: You must wait 30 days after the first attempt. Retake 2: You must wait 90 days after the date of the second attempt. Retake 3: You must wait 90 days after the date of the third attempt.

Why do I need CISA? ›

CISA enables you to be recognized, not only domestically, but at an international level, as a professional with knowledge, skills, and the credibility to offer opinions and solutions, and to audit all areas related to information systems.

How do I register for CISA? ›

The CISA Application for Certification is available at www.isaca.org/cisaapp. Note that candidates have 5 years from the passing date to apply for certification. Members of ISACA and/or holders of the CISA designation agree to a Code of Professional Ethics to guide professional and personal conduct.

Which is better CISA or DISA? ›

CISA has more value than DISA as it is internationally recognized, although the toughness high according to the standard. CIA is a world-renowned course for the certification in Internal Audit issued by IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors).

How much is CISA exam fee? ›

How much does obtaining a CISA certification cost? Exam fees are based on membership standing at the time of exam registration. ISACA members pay $575.00, while nonmembers pay $760.00.

Who is eligible for CISA? ›

To qualify for CISA, you must have 5 years of information systems auditing, control, assurance or security work experience within the past 10 years of the application submission date. This experience must be in at least one CISA Job Practice Domain Area, available to view on page V-2.

Is CISA a good certification? ›

CISA certification enjoys a stellar reputation within the IT community and will make you stand out from the rest of the pack. The level of commitment required to obtain and maintain CISA certification is highly respected. It shows you have the ambition and intelligence required of most leadership roles.

How do I become CISA qualified? ›

How to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor
  1. Successfully complete and pass the CISA exam.
  2. Apply for CISA certification.
  3. Adhere to ISACA's Code of Professional Ethics.
  4. Follow ISACA's Continuing Professional Education Program.
  5. Comply with ISACA's Information Systems Auditing Standards.

How long IT takes to study CISA? ›

You can be ready to sit for the exam in three to six months, depending on your familiarity with auditing and IT security, as well as how much time you can devote.

Can I take CISA without experience? ›

Demonstrate the Required Minimum Work Experience: A minimum of 5-years of professional information systems auditing, control or security work experience - as described in the CISA job practice areas - is required for certification.

Does CISA certification expire? ›

To maintain your CISA, you must earn and report a minimum of 120 CPE hours every 3-year reporting cycle and at least 20 hours annually. CPE reporting is due by the end of each calendar year and is required to renew through the following year.

Can I get a job after passing CISA exam? ›

As data-driven and IT industries are growing, those having experience in CISA can get a job in financial institutes. With this certification, you can work in both audit and non-audit capacities including IT risk management, IT compliance, and control analysis.

Is CISA an accountant? ›

The certification process might be demanding for you but, the ultimate benefits of CISA certification to you as an accountant will make you forget all the hassle you went through within a very short time- yes!!

Is CISA certification in demand? ›

The globally-recognized Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification shows knowledge of IT and auditing, security, governance, control and assurance to assess potential threats. As you can imagine, it's very much in demand.

How many times can you take the CISA exam? ›

Individuals can take an exam four times in a rolling year (the initial attempt and three retakes - the 365 rolling calendar date is from the date of the first exam attempt). Please note: Individuals retaking an exam are required to purchase a new exam registration for each exam attempt.

How long is CISA good for? ›

How long is the CISA certification good for? A full CISA renewal cycle takes three years. This means paying the maintenance fee three times (once every year), and also reporting on CPEs earning every year.

Why do I need CISA? ›

CISA enables you to be recognized, not only domestically, but at an international level, as a professional with knowledge, skills, and the credibility to offer opinions and solutions, and to audit all areas related to information systems.

Is CISA exam online? ›

Register now for a CISA, CRISC, CISM or CGEIT certification exam and you can now choose to schedule and take your exam from the comfort and safety of your home, or anywhere, at a date and time that is convenient! ! If your testing center remains open, you are welcome to take your exam in person if you prefer.

How many parts are there in CISA exam? ›

The CISA Exam consists of five parts with 200 multiple choice questions, with one correct answer per question.

What can you do with a CISA certification? ›

What Jobs Can You Get with CISA Certification?
  • Internal auditor.
  • Public accounting auditor.
  • IS analyst.
  • IT audit manager.
  • IT project manager.
  • IT security officer.
  • Network operation security engineer.
  • Cyber security professional.

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