28 Feb 2020 AnkitChadha

What is Application Controls? Definition, practices and methodology

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Information Technology General Controls have caught the attention of various organizations that use advanced IT products, software and services. ITGC are the regulations that control the IT systems used by organizations.

ITGC assures that the IT systems produce accurate and reliable results. ITGC audits get carried out as a part of financial statement audits intending to review the placed controls for IT systems having a direct effect on the financial statements.

 

Three main control elements of ITGC are:

  1. Program Changes

This element brings relevance to the controls for changes and system development activities. Any changes made to a system follow the pre-established change management policy and procedures, including configuration and emergency changes. Changes get logged, tested and approved before integrating it into production.

  1. Access to Program Data

This element groups controls on the relevance of how to access, both logically and physically, and is used to manage systems and data.

  • IT Policy- A formal security policy reviewed and approved by management. It is to be circulated throughout the organization.
  • Data Center- Physically accessing data should be restricted to appropriate personnel.
  • Password Parameters- Parameters for password to the network, relevant systems and the infrastructure should be configured appropriately.
  • Access Reviews-Every organization must perform regular reviews of active users and access rights for identification and removal of inappropriate access to the network.
  1. Computer Operations

This element clusters the controls dealing with operational activities.

  • Batch Job Processing or Monitoring- Such procedures are designed to assure the entirety and aptness of system and data processing.
  • Incident Management- Established incident management processes address critical incidents within a decided timeline.
  • System Backups- Implement the right backup and recovery procedures to ensure the recovery of essential data and programs necessary for financial reporting. Backup and recovery procedures should be implemented regularly.

 

Benefits of ITGC

Most organizations are dependent on IT systems for their daily business operations. They face the challenge to monitor and control data security threats while operating effectively and productively. Most ITGC solutions include capabilities to whitelist and blacklist applications to allow decisions for the functioning of the same. With ITGC, every organization can potentially eliminate the risks posed by illegal, malicious or unwanted software and prevent unwanted network access. Take a look at the benefits ITGC can bring to your organization:

  • Allows identification and control of IT systems that are already present and which ones to get as an addition.
  • Allows automatic identification of trusted software that is authorized to run.
  • Prevents all unauthorized software or application to run.
  • Eliminates all unknown and unwanted applications to reduce IT risks.
  • Reduces any malware-related risks and loss.
  • Improves the overall stability of your network.
  • Protects against exploitations of unpatched operating systems and third party risks.

 

Better Understanding of Data Environment with ITGC

The main objective of ITGC is to provide visibility into users, applications and content. It helps us understand our organization's data, its location, user accesses, access points, and data transmission processes. These measures are necessary to discover data and classify risk management and regulatory compliance. ITGC provides support to these processes and organizations to stay well informed about their entire IT grid.

ITGC enables organizations with the knowledge of critical areas like web traffic, potential threats, applications, and data patterns. While the management decides actions for any of these areas, ITGC is instinctively protecting your IT network.

 

A Reliable Partner For All Your ITGC Needs

You find ITGC insufficiencies on individual assessments of mitigating controls and procedures. It is imperative to determine the differences in a domain as a group because similar differences increase the overall exposure to threats. A thorough evaluation with this approach helps you and your management identify possible failures across different levels that might result in counterfeits or financial statement inaccuracy. Contact us if you need a better understanding of ITGC or have any related queries. We will be happy to help you understand.