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ISO, COBIT and ITIL: Which international norms & standards best suits your company?

HomeEducationalISO, COBIT and ITIL: Which international norms & standards best suits your...

You must have heard of all these terms and had come across how important it is to follow them. But if you may not be sure on what they exactly are or if you are wondering about which ones suits your company the best. Here is a guide to understanding these concepts better, it will also help you with your company’s compliance. ISO, COBIT and ITIL help you mainly by maintaining international standards.

ISO – The International Organization for Standardization or ISO is an organization dedicated to set the international standard. It has representatives from various nations and works towards creating a standardized product.  It looks into worldwide proprietary as well as industrial and commercial standards.

Some of the important ISO standards are Quality (ISO 9000), Health and Security (ISO 22000), Risk Management (ISO 31000), R+D+i (ISO 16000), Social Responsibility (ISO 26000). As for the IT sector, there is a separate body of ISO. It is called ISO 20000, it was the first of its kind. It maintains the regulations that are needed to be followed by information technology service management (ITSM) system. It upholds the best practices of Information Technology Infrastructure Library or ITIL.

Be it external or internal IT service provider, they all have to abide by ISO 20000-1. It is applicable for normal business activities or even any IT modifications that get commissioned. In an additional document called the ISO 20000-2, the details of the first document related to service management are recorded.

COBIT – COBIT or Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies. It was created by an international professional association called ISACA. The main purpose of it is to exercise control and monitor the functioning of IT Service Management. It maintains long-term governance through various regulations.

Its main functions are collecting, organizing and managing all lifecycle related information from inception to its final stages. It ensures quality control. It has several domains and processes. 4 domains and 34 processes to be precise.

COBIT participates in planning and carries out making the best use of technologies that are well aligned with company objectives. It works towards defining, acquiring, adjusting as well as instrumentation of necessary technologies that support business processes. It also guarantees productivity and efficacy of the technological system. It also closely watches that all guidelines get followed.

However, COBIT does not have a comprehensive approach. It is applicable to specific topics only. It is time-consuming to follow the regulations as they are too detailed. Does not help in management only aids the operational aspect.

ITIL – ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library involves ITIL Process and ITIL Framework which work in sets of well-documented IT service management practices. It mainly emphasizes on aligning IT services with business requirements. ITIL is compiled into five volumes covering each of ITSM lifecycle. ITIL comprises of Service Management, Service Strategy, Service Design, Change Management, Service Operation, Continual Improvement Services.

With maturity in stages industries get the clearer picture on which norm or regulations are best suited for their governance. Innovation in the field of the IT sector is continuous. If regulatory bodies are not set, coming up with an international standard or even evaluating how an organization is functioning in relation to similar organizations would become highly difficult.

Are ISO, COBIT and ITIL contrary or complementary to each other?

Though ISO provides security controls it fails to spell out implementation guidelines. It also does not elaborate on how the regulations are applicable to the IT framework. ITIL puts but markedly less emphasis on security control but its focus is on processes related to operation, delivery and support.

COBIT depends highly on controls and metrics but its lack of security concerns make it a little difficult to be followed thoroughly. In fact, they are actually complementary. One makes up for where the other lacks. For instance, ITIL offers the best operation solution, if it functions with the security of ISO and key performance factors of COBIT then a comprehensive system can be created.

If there is an Incident management issue, needless to say it co es within the scope of ITIL, but ISO provides with crucial security support and COBIT lays down key performance factors.

ITIL in itself is not the solution, making ISO and COBIT needed for purposes such as security and COBIT for seamless delivery and service. Both provide required assistance in security and delivery and deployment mechanisms. If innovation is what you aspire for, ISO, COBIT can greatly help in the process of ITIL. It can make ITIL more cost-effective and stipulated. It might seem a little complicated when looked at individually but when to put together it does make sense.

In order to optimize the IT functions, it is required to bring in standardization not only for international standard, but for better performance within the very scope of each IT function. ISO, COBIT and ITIL are the most widely accepted regulation all over the world.

Which ones suit your company better completely relies on the need for which regulations are sought. Any strict adherence to just one will not yield the great result. Rather, a combination of the three when applied can result in great performance.

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