CISA EXAM PRACTICE QUESTION: COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE QUESTION 15/10/2017

Understanding computer or other network architecture is important is acing your CISA exam. There are dozens of questions that you will find during your CISA exam around this topic. Here is an example of a computer architecture question which may be tested in your CIA/CISA exam.

 

Ransom’s Question on 15/10/2017 – Computer Central Processing Unit (CPU) related question.

 

A recently qualified certified information systems auditor (CISA) has been hired by an organisation to review the computer architecture for an organisation that utilises a single Central Processing Unit (CPU) for its computers. The Information Systems (IS) auditor notes the following in his walkthrough. Which of the following observations is of primary importance to the IS auditor?

Select the correct answer:

A – All upgrades to the multiprocessor system are reviewed and approved.

B – Management has initiated a project to implement pipeline design in order to reduce idle time.

C – Time-sharing is used to service the different processing tasks one at a time.

D – System control software is halted between processing tasks.

 

Let us apply the K-E-C approach in answering this question.

 

Please note that the K-E-C approach is as follows:

 

K = Keyword, phrase or stem of the question

 

E = Eliminate two incorrect options

 

C = Choose the best answer for the remaining two options, linking the answer to the Key or K.

 

So let us approach this question.

 

K = Key – The key phrases here are “single CPU” and  “primary importance”. This question is about being able to determine the observation that has the greatest risk or may have the highest impact on the organisation. In other words, which of these observations should top management’s “to-do list”.

 

E = Eliminate two options – Let us examine each of the options in this question to ensure that we fully understand what they mean in layman’s terms. Let me break down these options for you.

 

A – All upgrades to the multiprocessor system are reviewed and approved.

This is an administrative control. Preapproval of upgrades to the processor to ensure that it meets business requirement is important.

B – Management has initiated a project to implement pipeline design in order to reduce idle time.

This is also an administrative control. Let me explain what a pipeline design is. It is a design to ensure overlapping execution of multiple instructions with the same circuitry. The circuitry is divided into stages which process instructions in the CPU one at a time.

C – Time-sharing is used to service the different processing tasks one at a time.

Time-sharing is the activity whereby the CPU allocates time to various processes and shares time to this processes. For example, if a computer were to open up and Excel document and open an internet page, the time needed in performing these tasks will be shared among these two activities.

D – System control software is halted between processing tasks.

This implies that when there is a processing task running on a computer, the system controls such as the antivirus will halt momentarily to allow a processing task to complete. This is as a result of having a single CPU on computers.

From the above descriptions, we can easily eliminate options A since it is not as important as the other observations.

We can also eliminate options B since is refers to pipeline design project in place. It is not as important as C or D.

 

C = Choose the correct answer that lines up with the KEY – We are thus left with options C and D to choose from.

 

Option C states that time-sharing is used, which something the IS auditor should worry about, but let us examine option D in orders to determine which of these should be raised with senior management.

 

Option D states that system controls software is halted between processing tasks. This means that if there is a virus in the system, the computers will be vulnerable when this system control software is halted. The vulnerability increases due to this observation.

 

So, although C is important, it is not a priority as the observation D. If we go back to our K-E-C principle and match the options to the KEY = “single CPU” and “primary importance” we can easily conclude that option D passes the test of being the observation of primary importance for a computer architecture that has a single CPU.

 

The correct answer is thus D –  “System control software is halted between processing tasks. It agrees with the Key “single CPU” and “primary importance”.

 

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