GRC Software

Statistics offer irrefutable proof about the exponential growth of cyber threats and attacks within work environments.

The sheer quantity of cyber attacks on organizations is gigantic and growing daily.  Two statistics illustrate this fact: The US Department of Energy endures 10 million hacks per day,  and  organizations based in the United Kingdom recorded 44 million known cyber attacks.  The worldwide cost of cyber crime runs in the trillions of dollars annually.

 In parallel, the corporate IT environment increasingly dynamic and complex and needs to support cloud and SaaS computing, social applications, mobile computing for smartphones and tablets and outsourcing and more.

Risk and Compliance – the ‘Big Data’ Challenge

So how do organizations cope with these twin challenges,  the cyber threat landscape in an diverse computing environment?

Companies have responded in several ways.  In order to protect themselves and also to comply with regulations and standards, organizations perform numerous cyber security reviews, audits, and penetration tests which uncover  multiple vulnerabilities  In addition, they have invested in multiple security point solutions which, in turn, collect large amounts of of suspicious events and risks.

Ongoing reviews and automated scanners and point solutions createtens of thousands (and more) of findings which companies need to assimilate.

Most companies still manage these data using spreadsheets and office tools.

The ‘big data challenge’ faced by organizations refers to the need to collect and process large and complex sets of data. GRC systems have been developed to unify the needs for governance, risk management and compliance.

GRC Sofrware – Using GRC Tools

GRC Tools have included, among others:

  • audit management and audit management software
  • a range of SIEMs (security event management systems)
  • security point solutions
  • automated scanners
  • reviews and audits required by regulations
  • pen-tests

A traditional Excel or Excel-based solution proves inadequate due to the large amount of data and the underlying absence of real analytics and business-insight. In contrast, the ideal holistic risk management solution should be able to provide customers with:

  • a clear picture of their organizational risk that relies on the correlation analysis and aggregation of the technical data
  • a prioritized plan of improvement (a.k.a. a remediation or mitigation plan) to guide customers in their choice of what aspects of risk management require their immediate efforts. Different levels of protection should be strictly based on business needs and business criticality.
  • last but not least, easy and quick operation in a reasonable time frame

GRC Software systems have the potential to meet all these needs, and they share additional qualities that further encourage their implementation in a working environment.

Inscription within the Business Environment

GRC systems uniquely focus on business needs, business language, and business priorities. For instance, critical risks are associated to a specific business service rather than just to the server they have been encountered in. Detailed technical information is mapped to business, becoming more user-friendly and understandable.

The range of different types of assets and the underlying risks that can be handled is designed to fit an organization’s specific needs. Examples of such assets could include:

  • high level assets (business processes, organizational units, services, regions, buildings, etc.)
  • IT assets (systems, applications, components, devices, etc.)
  • non-IT assets (operational technology, such as pumps at water facilities, pipelines at oil and gas facilities, power plants at electricity, manufacturing cells at manufacturing)
  • physical security

Dynamics and Customization

GRC Software is not merely a documentation tool; rather, it provides the needed analytics. It can manage dependencies between organization assets and analyse the possibility of risk in a given place affecting seemingly unrelated areas. In addition, different risk sources are correlated around common assets, analyzed and aggregated.

GRC Software is designed to gather and manage risks from multiple risk sources, for instance:

  • human reviews and audits
  • automated scanners on the networks
  • vulnerability scanners
  • application scanners
  • pen-tests
  • management systems

Furthermore, risks are correlated around organizational assets, clarifying the whole picture.

Workflows are also clearly provided  for the purpose of involving the organization in ongoing remediation. While traditional Risk Management Software ends its action at the accumulation of a report, GRC Software ensures that tasks are assigned via email, alerts and reminders are sent, top management is kept informed, and progress is monitored.

Existing regulations, controls and policies are easily supported by the GRC Software. As importantly, it supports the implementation of new external regulations or internal policies as soon as they are integrated, mitigating compliance and governance issues.

Technical Aspects of GRC Implementation

GRC Software supports the smart blending of policies and controls i.e. different policies are not merely associated with different asset types but with different assets in relations to their properties. For instance, there would be a different policy of data in servers with passenger information, with IP data on aircrafts, with flight scheduling information, etc. Similarly, the role of the server’s location is taken into account: an identical server would require very high availability in a manufacturing cell as opposed to its confidentiality. Conversely, the same physical type of server supporting a banking internet application would require the highest level of confidentiality.

GRC Software can be easily integrated with other systems in the organization, including not only event management or scanners but also additional risk management systems or operational risk management systems. CMDB’s (configuration management database; a repository of information related to all the components in an information system) are another example of compatible software.

Finally, in terms of ownership and ROI concerns, the total cost of the organization’s existing risk and compliance processes is reduced. Less time is consumed while limiting expensive external consulting.

GRC Software - Getting Started

GRC Software is easy and intuitive to use and speedy to implement. An incremental approach is supported, since the enterprise would otherwise be spending time and effort in modelling a large GRC system that would already be out of date following the 6 to 18 months of its implementation. Therefore, GRC Software allows an organization to ‘think big’ while starting small and to gradually increase its capacity. In conclusion, GRC Software owns the flexibility to support unique customer needs without the need for custom development. It is conveniently ‘ready-to-go,’ sparing the organization time-consuming and complex implementation.