Work-from-home mandates have accelerated an already growing trend toward mobile, remote working solutions. This extended the office and all cybersecurity concerns into the home or other networks. Companies now have less visibility and control, creating complex issues for information technology (IT) governance, risk, and compliance (GRC).
GRC software is a critical tool to simplify these increasingly complex cybersecurity problems. Read on to learn how it can help.
What is a Governance, Risk, and Compliance Platform?
Cybersecurity often necessitates segmenting staff and resources devoted to different areas, such as governance or compliance. Now, the centrality of IT in nearly every company’s business model calls for more integrated solutions. This blog will break down the basics of all three elements of GRC software and how it can simplify all of them:
- The governance side and how an integrated platform simplifies security
- The risk element and how to implement a robust risk mitigation strategy
- The compliance portion and use cases for different industries
By the end of this guide, we’ll equip you with resources to piece together a comprehensive GRC platform of your own or from a qualified managed IT service provider — like RSI Security.
GRC Software for IT and Security Governance
Governance within a company comprises elements at multiple levels and spans nearly all departments. To understand governance more intuitively, it’s helpful to break it down into the 4 Ps: People, Purpose, Process, and Performance. ‘People’ are the parties in control over the company’s structure and direction, often represented by or in the C-suite of the company’s chief executives. ‘Purpose’ is the company’s objective, usually denoted by policies or agendas. ‘Process’ concerns how the company intends to achieve its purpose, while ‘Performance’ is the analysis of that process.
When concerning IT, governance typically refers to the overall management of architecture implementation and the guiding principles by which the team approaches and practices cyberdefense.
Using a unified GRC platform or software solution integrates IT governance into all aspects of its daily operations. The software provides administrative and C-suite stakeholders optimal visibility and control over the most nuanced and intricate IT operations. It also helps ensure that IT integrates with other governance concerns (legal, personnel, etc.).
Benefits of a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer
Cybersecurity is a vital component of a company’s overall governance that companies integrate IT management directly into the C-suite. A chief information security officer, or CISO, is responsible for all decision-making for IT and cybersecurity policies.
One significant benefit of GRC is integrating virtual CISO (vCISO) services, including:
- A cybersecurity advisory team comprising the vCISO and internal and external resources that monitor IT infrastructure ensures fidelity and visibility.
- Robust cybersecurity and IT awareness programs focused on monitoring for, analyzing, and mitigating internal and external cybersecurity threats, together with risk management.
- Seamless security incident response, mobilizing all available resources to detect and stop an attack as soon as possible, then recover as much data and threat insight as possible.
Condensing IT governance responsibilities into one individual or team facilitates all other aspects of cyberdefense — especially risk and compliance, the different elements of GRC.
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GRC Approaches to Security Risk Management
Risk and risk management are among the essential cybersecurity and IT elements. Some risks correspond to analogous threats outside the realm of IT, such as physical theft. Although IT risks comprise much more varied and complex concerns to monitor within the confines of your facilities and across intangible assets like cloud and wireless networks. Most IT security frameworks are designed to eliminate risks to the extent possible.
A GRC approach to risk mitigation and management is beneficial in integrating risk management throughout the company’s top-level management and regulatory requirements. It seeks to codify and analyze risks using the language of required regulatory frameworks and dispose of or otherwise mitigate them before they turn into outright events. These regulations and regulatory frameworks are typically due to governmental oversight, such as HIPAA compliance within the healthcare industry.
Threat and Vulnerability Management Implementation
To minimize a cyberattack’s potential damage, companies need to identify risks as early as possible. GRC facilitates this by removing barriers to analysis. An integrated GRC approach to threat and vulnerability management should include:
- Early-, mid-, and late-stage ongoing threat and vulnerability lifecycle management
- Patch management or auditing at regular intervals with immediate corrective action
- Asset management for physical and digital assets, cloud components, and IoT devices
- Powerful intelligence tools like root cause analysis (RCA) and penetration testing
Most critically, all these risk management functionalities (and more) should operate in smooth conjunction with one another, informing each other’s insights rather than working independently.
GRC Platforms for Regulatory Framework Compliance
Finally, regulatory compliance with various required cybersecurity and legal frameworks is an area that also spans IT and cybersecurity into physical safeguards and overall governance. Suppose your company operates within or adjacent to a particularly vulnerable industry or one that is a frequent and lucrative target of cybercrime. In that case, it may need to comply with one or more frameworks.
GRC approaches to compliance are revolutionary for combining the wide-reaching elements of compliance and compliance advisory services into one simplified package. In the past, in the absence of a GRC approach, companies would often need to implement compliance for many different frameworks operating independently of each other — and irrespective of all their other governance and risk management concerns. GRC facilitates compliance across all frameworks.
Examples of GRC Regulatory Compliance Synergies
Compliance is often categorized as a “hurdle” companies must overcome in order to operate. However, compliance is much more than a minimum requirement; it’s a necessary standard to keep all parties involved safe.
It’s common for compliance regulations to be created as a response to growing cybersecurity threats. For example, consumer payment information and personal health information must be kept out of nefarious actors’ hands. As a result, companies must have security protocols to mitigate the possibility of a cyber breach directly. What’s more, companies must also instill policies to reduce the harm done should a cyber-attack occur.
Consider these three compliance categories:
- Companies that process payments via credit card or debit cards need to comply with the Data Security Standards (DSS), published by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC). A GRC approach to PCI- DSS compliance can ensure control for monitoring payments across all platforms, including online and offline transactions.
- Companies in and adjacent to the healthcare industry need to comply with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA compliance entails following three rules (Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification), all of which a GRC platform can facilitate.
- Companies that contract with the US government’s Department of Defense (DoD) must comply with the NIST SP 800-171 and the Cybersecurity Model Maturity Certification (CMMC), among other frameworks. A GRC platform is particularly useful for would-be military contractors seeking “preferred” status, given the complexity of DoD compliance.
Your company may fall into one, two, or all three of these categories. If any of these apply to you, especially if multiple apply simultaneously, GRC software can immensely help.
Unified Governance Risk Management and Compliance
To recap, an integrated GRC platform or GRC software solution is a comprehensive approach to governance, risk management, and compliance, three essential elements of a companies’ IT or cybersecurity management.
Here at RSI Security, we offer various IT and cybersecurity solutions, including pre-packaged GRC and other bundled services and a la carte services like cybersecurity technical writing or IT and cybersecurity awareness training. To see just how powerful your company’s GRC approach can be or optimize your cyberdefenses, contact us today!