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Cyber Security Industry Alliance Issues Findings from Summit on Sarbanes-Oxley and IT Security

Most Stakeholders Not Looking for More Official Guidance on IT Security

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), the only public policy and advocacy group dedicated exclusively to cyber security, today released a report that summarizes key findings and conclusions from a conference held to discuss the adequacy of guidance given on IT security in Sarbanes-Oxley. Today's announcement follows a Sarbanes- Oxley compliance initiative that began in 2004 with a CSIA report outlining the implications of Section 404 for information security.

Attendees at IT Security and Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance: A Roundtable Dialogue of Lessons Learned, addressed whether the statutory and administrative materials governing Section 404 provide enough guidance on IT security to enable management and auditors to carry out their compliance obligations.

"The conference proceedings and subsequent announcements from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicate that additional detailed guidance on information technology and security controls under Section 404 is neither desired by corporate management nor likely to be forthcoming from regulators, who have expressed a preference for relying on management's discretion and judgment in establishing IT controls rather than providing specific audit control lists," said Paul Kurtz, executive director of CSIA. "Against this backdrop, many auditors, legal counsel and management plan to rely on generally agreed upon frameworks for IT security, such as COBIT and ISO 17799. Regardless of how management decides to specifically address information security, the one thing that remains clear is that it must be considered an important part of overall compliance."

Sponsored by CSIA, George Mason University School of Law's Critical Infrastructure Protection Program (GMU), The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), the conference brought together experts representing each of the key stakeholder communities involved in Section 404 compliance. Corporate management, audit and accounting, legal counsel and IT security officers and professionals made up four panels that discussed experiences and lessons learned in addressing IT security issues relating to Section 404 and whether or not more official guidance is needed.

The report highlights five lessons learned from the first round of compliance efforts that include:

* Steep learning curve inevitable regardless of adequacy of IT guidelines The heated political climate that led to the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, combined with the bright spotlight directed at corporate leaders with each new revelation of scandal, mismanagement or fraud, virtually assured that the first round of compliance was going to entail a steep learning curve, regardless of the level of guidance provided. * IT security is not a CEO priority The relationship between IT and compliance under Section 404 has not been well understood by senior management and therefore, not given personal priority attention. This is because Congress has been silent on the issue of IT and CEOs listen and act on what Congress says. Also, the relationship between the concept of "internal controls," an accounting concept, and the role of IT security is not well recognized by corporate leaders. * Deference to auditors by management and legal counsel Section 404 under Sarbanes-Oxley is designed to hold management and auditors separately accountable; however, both management and legal counsel tend to defer to auditors in terms of interpreting and implementing Section 404. * Augmentation of COSO framework required Section 404 states that a company's internal controls must be based on "a suitable, recognized control framework established by a body of experts that followed due-process procedures," and specifies the COSO framework, published by the Treadway Commission's Committee of Sponsoring Organizations, as suitable. However, the COSO framework alone provides insufficient guidance, and some say it is too broad and not sufficiently focused on financial controls. Some auditors and IT professionals refer to the standard set forth in the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT), developed by ISACA's IT Governance Institute. * Existing control processes and procedures affect Sarbanes-Oxley compliance activities Companies with already established and implemented internal controls throughout their organization have an easier time meeting Section 404 compliance obligations. Those without solid internal controls are confronted with a more complicated compliance process.

The report concludes that management and legal counsel representatives generally opposed additional IT governance and security guidance from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), as it was seen as unnecessary, unhelpful and unwanted. However, representatives from public accounting firms were in favor of additional PCAOB guidance and many panelists were in favor of formal recognition by the PCAOB of COBIT.

Representatives were unanimous in the view that stakeholder communities do not communicate with one another effectively on IT governance and security, as they all speak in terms and language unique to their profession. They also agreed that a common lexicon and framework is needed to ensure all stakeholders share a common understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities in the Section 404 compliance process.

To obtain a copy of today's CSIA report, "IT Security and Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance: Conference Summary of Findings and Conclusions," please visit http://www.csialliance.org/.

About the Cyber Security Industry Alliance

CSIA is the only advocacy group dedicated exclusively to enhancing global cyber security through public policy, education, awareness and technology. The organization is led by CEOs from the world's top security providers, who offer the technical expertise, depth and focus to encourage a better understanding of cyber security issues. It is the belief of the CSIA that a comprehensive approach to ensuring the security, integrity and availability of global information systems is fundamental to national and economic stability. To learn more about the CSIA, please visit our Web site at http://www.csialliance.org/ or call +1-703-894-2742.

Members of the CSIA include BindView Corp. ; Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ; Citadel Security Software Inc. ; Citrix Systems, Inc. ; Computer Associates International, Inc. ; Entrust, Inc. ; Internet Security Systems Inc. ; iPass Inc. ; Juniper Networks, Inc. ; McAfee, Inc. ; PGP Corporation; Qualys, Inc.; RSA Security Inc. ; Secure Computing Corporation , Surety, Inc.; Symantec Corporation and TechGuard Security, LLC.

Cyber Security Industry Alliance

CONTACT: Stacy Simpson of the Merritt Group, +1-703-390-1528, or
[email protected], for the Cyber Security Industry Alliance

Web site: http://www.csialliance.org/

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