Case Studies: Making audit prep stress free

Columbia Natural Resources is a natural gas exploration and development company acquired from NiSource by Triana to augment their distribution network with in-house expertise. On deciding to sell stock, CNR needed to update policies and procedures. Datamatics stepped in to help in to fully clean up IT Compliance and any future IT audit concerns.

  The Need

The board of directors decided that the best possible returns would be met by taking CNR public and selling stock. This decision came at a time when the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 was reaching the primary deadline. In order to take CNR public, the company would have to become 404 compliant. Columbia was already a model of efficiency and as such did not have adequate personnel or training to spare for a compliance project.

This project became immediately taxing when it was discovered that the entire business infrastructure needed shoring up to even begin to seek compliance landmarks. All of the applications were created in-house and supported by a lean IT staff of six. In addition, none of the company documentation was up to date with some of the policies dating back to the middle 1980s. Datamatics Consultants Inc. set up a system of rules that would achieve IT compliance without requiring rigid adherence to CobIT. This included a custom-designed change management process and tighter controls over financial information. The project was rounded out with a customized disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

  The Solution

Datamatics Consultants Inc. provided a specialized IT audit team consisting of two primary auditors, a Business Continuity specialist and a technical/process writer. The initial evaluation phase was shared with auditors performing finance-specific examinations of the business to determine where gaps in processes might need to be addressed. In many cases those gaps were tied to the application serving that area of the business. Datamatics Consultants Inc. advised the client of serious issues long before remediation which enabled the client to make drastically needed changes ahead of the normal audit cycle. While the client already had a backup plan with off-site storage, Datamatics Consultants Inc. was able to enhance the program with additional business continuity steps that ensured a reliable recover as well as maintain backups.

  The Result

Remarks from Columbia natural Resources staff, "While engaging with three separate services providers for our current Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiative, it seems that the Policies and Procedures portion provided by Datamatics Consultants Inc. was the one area that was completely in order and functioning well and was our model for other aspects, so thank you for providing us some success. You guys are certainly ahead of the pack and we're glad to see such a rapid ROI."


  • Updating and filling in compliance gaps
  • Solving future obstacles and future audit infringements
  • T Audit Sox, DRP BCP, BS 7799, SDLC, P&P, Data center assessment, Technical Writing, Change Management