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The CISA® Prep Guide: Mastering the Certified Information Systems Auditor Exam by John Kramer

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1.3. Controls

The CISA candidate must understand the various types of controls and their use. There are three basic kinds of controls.

1.3.1. Preventive Controls

Preventive controls are controls that are designed to prevent an error, omission, or negative act from occurring. Locking the door is a preventive control because it keeps the door from being opened. Any control that circumvents a risk from occurring is a preventive control. These are the best kinds of controls to put in place because the bad thing should never happen when a preventive control is applied to the risk. Taking positive actions and proactive steps based on previously identifying the risks are usually preventive controls. Putting procedures formally in place is another example of a preventive control. Formally implies that these procedures are in writing, monitored, and enforced.

1.3.2. Detective Controls

Detective controls are controls put in place to detect or indicate that an error or a bad thing has happened. An alarm on the door is a detective control because it tells you when the door has been opened but does not prevent someone from coming through the door. Reports and audit logs of activities are common examples or detective controls. Albeit after the fact, it is better to know some undesirable risk situation has occurred than to be unaware of the occurrence at all. Other examples of detective control activity include reconcilement of activities that have already occurred, such as bench reviews and ...

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