IT Governance, Risk and Compliance

IT governance, risk and compliance (GRC) are three closely related disciplines that are converging in today’s enterprises in order to reduce overlapping  job requirements, save money and time and to gain efficiencies. As organisations face increasing compliance pressure and more sophisticated security issues, automating GRC tasks is essential. Mature tools can not only automate previously manual tasks, but can unify the scoring and metrics used to measure and manage the controls across all three disciplines, leading to a more comprehensive view of the overall risk posture.

Governance
IT governance describes the organisational structures and processes that enable the organisation’s IT decisions to mesh with the organisation’s overall strategy. IT governance is designed to incorporate IT spending and strategy with overall corporate governance. This ensures that all relevant corporate stakeholders, from the board, to audit teams, finance and IT has input into the decision-making process around IT spending and implementation.
Risk
Risk assessments are the foundation of any information security program. All businesses have critical information to protect, and data breaches can have a severe impact on affected organisations. Comprehensive and consistent risk assessments can help organisations identify and prioritise issues before compromise occurs. Risk programs should be based on an accepted framework of controls such as NIST SP 800-53 or the Consensus Audit Guidelines that covers the basic controls needed for securing the enterprise. Organisations must take into account:

  • What is at risk? Is it consumer data, intellectual property or the like?
  • What happens if there is a breach?
  • What risks are most important to fix first?

Once these questions are answered and risk assessments are conducted, organisations can track their assessment success over time and continue to improve.
Compliance
Security and compliance are the leading concerns of CSOs today. These can be difficult areas to navigate due to the increase in number and complexity of regulations, the constant changing threat environment and the economic pressure to reduce costs. Due to the shift of business to the Internet, IT is involved in far more of the regulatory compliance efforts than ever before. Whether it’s Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI or HIPAA, IT plays a significant role in data gathering, system auditing and reporting for compliance with these regulations.

Many companies have effectively integrated regulatory controls and procedures into daily business processes, however regulatory monitoring, reporting and testing is often still performed manually. Automating these processes becomes an essential next step as companies strive to achieve compliance more cost-effectively with every audit. Freed up from mundane tasks such as data gathering and report generation through automation, IT teams can focus proactively on high priority risks and minimising network non-compliance.
IT teams need solutions that make security and compliance easier, more repeatable and more transparent. Today’s economic environment requires solutions that are economical to acquire, easy to deploy and scalable to the largest global networks.