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

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3.1. Evaluating Systems Software

IS software and utilities are defined as operating systems that translate user and application needs into hardware actions and the utilities that assist and support the operating system in performing these tasks. The primary difference between software applications and operating system software is that the applications are the user interface and the point of access to the data being manipulated by the process. Applications use operating systems to operate or control the hardware and network resources of the computer, but the operating systems are not accessed directly by the user.

When evaluating the development or acquisition of these systems, it is most important to understand the requirements of the user applications and the mission of meeting the business objectives so support by the systems software can be appropriately examined. In many cases, there are dependencies inherent in the applications software design that require certain operating system platforms and database systems to be used in order for the applications processing functionality to operate effectively. Applications are so interdependent on their support systems that they often will not function without the correct types and versions of database and operating system software supporting them. In many cases, the audit review of the operating and support systems is a matter of determining what the application was designed to operate on and ensuring that this is indeed what is being ...

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