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Continuous Control Monitoring

Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring Examples

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Examples of using cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) for enterprises revolve around three core areas: 

  1. Compliance automation
  2. Cyber threats’ remediation
  3. Vendor risk management. 

 

Across these core areas, lots of activities go into implementing an effective cybersecurity CCM program. This piece will discuss examples in these areas. You’ll also see how enterprise security teams simplify implementation processes with a cybersecurity CCM tool.

 

Before we get to those…

 

Why Is Cybersecurity Continuous Monitoring Important?

 

Two main reasons: 

  1. You get real-time visibility into your company’s internal controls and cybersecurity infrastructure for taking timely security actions. 
  2. It increases your security team’s productivity.

 

Gartner’s research corroborates: 

 

Gartner’s research corroborates

 

Beyond its importance, if implemented properly, the benefits of CCM are enormous. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and enterprise tech execs leverage it to unlock benefits such as:

  • Enhanced visibility  
  • Early threat detection
  • Proactive incident response
  • Continuous compliance, and
  • More effective risk management:

 

Benefits of CCM

 

But there’s a caveat. 

 

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to attain these benefits without properly implementing cybersecurity CCM. And that’s because continuous control monitoring has a whopping seven (7) lifecycle implementation phases: 

 

seven (7) lifecycle implementation phases:

 

If you’re just getting started, knowing this is crucial before trying to replicate examples. To help you, we created this cybersecurity CCM checklist relied on by enterprise CISOs and tech execs.

 

Grab a free copy below. It’d help your security team implement CCM properly, as you aim to replicate the examples that follow: 

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The Enterprise Cybersecurity CCM Checklist

Enterprise security execs use this checklist to effectively implement cybersecurity continuous monitoring (CCM).

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Enterprise Examples of Continuous Control Monitoring

 

Gartner notes that:

 

The highlight above brings us to the first example (and prominent use case) of continuous control monitoring in cybersecurity: 

 

1. Compliance Automation 

 

There are numerous privacy laws and regulatory frameworks enterprise orgs must be compliant with today. From global programs such as SOC 2, GDPR, ISO 27001, to local ones like CCPA in California or Singapore’s Cyber Essentials Mark, the list goes on. 

 

Here’s the most challenging part. 

 

Each of these frameworks, whether global or local, has dozens of mandatory security controls. Ensuring each control is working as required by policy, as Gartner notes, is the only way a company remains compliant. And to achieve this, automating the entire compliance processes across all programs is necessary. 

 

That’s a perfect example (and use case) of continuous, automated monitoring of compliance controls. With a pure-play cybersecurity CCM platform, enterprise security teams are able to manage multiple security controls and compliance audits smoothly. 

 

Take the team at Speedoc: 

 

James Yeo - quote

 

Read the example (and use case) of Speedoc here

 

2. Cyber Threats’ Remediation

 

Cyber threats could be external, from hackers looking for misconfiguration to exploit in your IT systems. It could also be internal, from your employees leaving vulnerabilities through which cyber thieves can exploit and steal critical data. 

 

As a result, there’s a need to have a comprehensive overview of your IT, network, and cloud assets. Specifically, you want to continuously find and fix misconfigurations or user behaviors that could lead to data breaches. Doing both simultaneously is how your security team can better secure company and users’ information. This is another example (and critical use case) of a cybersecurity CCM platform. 

 

Speedoc leans on Cyber Sierra for this, too:

 

James Yeo - case study

 

3. Vendor Risk Management

 

Vendors will go the extra mile, checking off all security requirements to win a company’s business. But don’t trust them to consistently secure company data once they become part of your company’s 3rd party ecosystem. 

 

This makes ongoing vendor assessments a vital example (and use case) of cybersecurity continuous control monitoring. Using a CCM platform with vendor risk management capabilities, enterprises monitor vendors’ security posture in real-time. 

 

Consider this global bank using Cyber Sierra: 

 

global singapore bank quote

 

More on this example (and use case) here

 

Automating Cybersecurity Continuous Monitoring Activities In One Platform

 

Done separately, each example of using cybersecurity continuous control monitoring comes with loads of activities. But with an interoperable cybersecurity CCM platform, activities related to monitoring of controls can be automated from one place. This saves your security team more time to focus on more strategic endeavors of securing the company. 

 

Say you wanted to instill automation in your enterprise compliance management and continuously monitor controls. With Cyber Sierra, you get access to all the popular compliance programs, along with each one’s mandatory policies (1) and security controls (2): 

 

Governance - Policies

 

It doesn’t end there.

 

Our platform even automates the process of continuously monitoring security controls of all implemented compliance programs. This enables your compliance team to get notified whenever there are control breaks.

 

Here’s a peek:

 

enterprise compliance management

 

As shown, activities this streamlines in one view include: 

  1. Monitoring control breaks of all compliance programs
  2. Viewing details of each control break
  3. Getting tips for remediating each control break, or
  4. Assigning remediation members of your security team. 

 

CCM activities related to cyber threats’ remediation and vendor risk management also need to be automated. And with Cyber Sierra, your security team can monitor a range of controls from the same place. 

 

Take cyber threats’ remediation. 

 

Our platform lets you integrate and connect all IT, network, and cloud assets used across your organization. Once integrated, it continuously monitor and pulls data into a Risk Register, where misconfigurations and user behaviors that could cause breaches are flagged in real-time:

 

Our platform lets you integrate and connect all IT, network, and cloud assets used across your organization. Once integrated, it continuously monitor and pulls data into a Risk Register, where misconfigurations and user behaviors that could cause breaches are flagged in real-time:

 

Once integrated, it continuously monitor and pulls data into a Risk Register, where misconfigurations and user behaviors that could cause breaches are flagged in real-time

 

In this view, our Risk Register detected a vulnerable control break (3) by a user (2) of the GSuite cloud asset (1) automatically. 

 

Last but not least are continuous control monitoring activities for third-party risk management. Identifying and mitigating vendor risks can be a handful, as your team must analyze, assess, and monitor 3rd parties’ security postures in real-time. This is why we built Cyber Sierra to enable enterprise security teams to do it all in one place. 

 

Our platform’s TPRM capability automatically and continuously assesses evidence of security controls uploaded by vendors. It is also intelligent enough to flag vendors whose evidence fail verification: 

 

Our platform’s TPRM capability automatically and continuously assesses evidence of security controls uploaded by vendors

 

Automate Continuous Monitoring Activities

 

The activities involved in cybersecurity continuous control monitoring can be daunting, especially if tackled manually or from different tools. But by automating them from a single platform, enterprises can constantly monitor and get full visibility needed for the proper implementation of security controls. 

 

That’s a reason executives at enterprise tech companies rely on a pure-play cybersecurity CCM platform like Cyber Sierra. One example is Aditya Anand, the CTO of Hybr1d. Their security team monitors and gets full visibility of security controls with our platform. 

 

In Anand’s own words:

 

Anand Quote - Hybrid

 

Hybr1d demonstrates that the many activities of cybersecurity CCM can be automated with an interoperable platform like Cyber Sierra. 

 

Your team can achieve the same:

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Automate Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring Activities

Ready to see how Cyber Sierra continuously monitors and automates compliance automation, cyber threats’ remediation, and vendor risk management activities?

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  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
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Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Different Cybersecurity Controls and How to Implement Them

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The frequency at which cybercriminals are launching new —and more sophisticated— attacks will only increase. To buttress, imagine it takes you 5–7 mins to skim this article. In that short time, hackers would’ve targeted the cybersecurity infrastructures of over 33 enterprises. 

 

And that’s by 2021 estimates:

 

hackers would’ve targeted the cybersecurity infrastructures of over 33 enterprises

 

As the predictions reveal, by 2031, enterprise organizations would be cyberattacked every two seconds. Given this alarming frequency, how can enterprise security teams identify, investigate, and counter-attacks at the pace of cyber thieves?

 

Joseph MacMillan; CISSP, CCSP, CISA, gave a clue

 

Joseph MacMillan - Quote

 

I wrote this article to help proactive CISOs and Enterprise Security Leaders like you heed this crucial advice. We’d evaluate cybersecurity control types and go through how your security team can implement the right ones with Cyber Sierra. 

 

But first: 

 

What are Cybersecurity Controls? 

 

Cybersecurity controls are measures used by security teams to detect, prevent, and remediate cyber threats. Creating, implementing, and enforcing them ensures the cybersecurity CIA triad —confidentiality, integrity, and availability)— of your company’s IT assets:

 

the cybersecurity CIA triad —confidentiality, integrity, and availability)— of your company’s IT assets

 

As illustrated, without the proper controls, achieving the cybersecurity CIA triad is difficult, if not impossible. The rise of cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) is as a result of this. Today, enterprises mustn’t just strive to have the right cybersecurity controls, but you must monitor them continuously to always ensure proper implementation. 

 

So for the rest of this article, we’d: 

  1. Evaluate types of cybersecurity controls
  2. Go through how to implement and monitor them. 

 

Before that: 

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Types of Cybersecurity Controls for Enterprises

 

All cybersecurity controls revolve around four essentials: People, technology, processes, and strategy. This means you must: 

 

  1. Have the right people on your security team 
  2. Empower them with the right technology 
  3. Institute the right security processes, and 
  4. Have a strategy that tracks the right security metrics. 

 

Across the four essentials outlined above, all control types can be categorized under the core pillars of cybersecurity: 

 

  • Governance and compliance
  • Cyber threat remediation
  • Vendor risk management 

 

Governance and compliance controls 

 

Continuously meeting all industry and government regulations is now a prerequisite for gaining customers’ and investors’ trust. To this end, having the required governance and compliance controls does two crucial things for your enterprise organization: 

 

  • They help you achieve compliance for highly-sought standards like SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and others. 
  • They also help your company continuously improve those controls to remain compliant as new changes emerge. 

 

But the challenge: How do you know the specific controls required for each compliance standard your company must attain? 

 

Each compliance program has dozens of policies, requiring multiple dozens of security controls to be in place. SOC 2, for instance, has 23 mandatory policies and over 96 cybersecurity controls. Creating, tracking, and implementing each can be a stretch, especially when you add those from other programs like ISO 27001, GDPR, and so on. 

 

But with Cyber Sierra, your security team gets a centralized view of all compliance program policies and their corresponding controls: 

 

But with Cyber Sierra, your security team gets a centralized view of all compliance program policies and their corresponding controls

 

From the view shown above, you can evaluate: 

 

  1. All the mandatory policies for all the compliance programs your company must become compliant with, and
  2. Each control required under every policy. 

 

Your security team can also implement these controls on the same pane with Cyber Sierra. This is why executives at enterprise companies trust the capabilities of our platform. 

 

Take Hemant Kumar of Aktivolabs

 

Hemant Kumar of Aktivolabs

 

More on Aktivolabs’ success story here. 

 

Cyber threats’ remediation controls

 

One of the ways cybercriminals exploit companies is through loopholes and vulnerabilities in their network and IT assets. To stay one step ahead, enterprise security teams must: 

 

  • Continuously scan their network and cloud assets for threats.
  • Implement controls for detecting and remediating them. 

 

With Cyber Sierra, your team can accomplish both. 

 

Our platform lets you integrate and connect all your network, Kubernetes, and cloud assets for continuous scanning. Through our Risk Register, you also get cybersecurity controls from vulnerabilities related to all scanned assets automatically implemented. This means your team can focus on identifying and remediating control breaks: 

 

Risk Register

 

As shown, Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register automatically detected a vulnerable control break (3) by a user (2) of the GSuite cloud asset (1). 

 

Vendor Risk Management Controls

 

Third-party vendors, while crucial to all enterprises’ operations, introduce lots of cybersecurity risks. According to Joseph Kelly, EY’s Third Party Risk Leader, enterprise security teams have no option than to find a way to deal with the risks they introduce: 

 

Joseph Kelly - Quote

 

To answer the question Joseph raised…

 

Have vendor risk management controls for identifying, managing, and mitigating vendor risks. Specifically, you must analyze, assess, and monitor 3rd parties’ security postures in real-time. Your team can achieve this with a platform that automatically assesses evidence of security controls defined by your company. Such a platform should also be intelligent enough to flag vendors who fail verification for immediate remediation. 

 

Cyber Sierra does both out of the box

 

Cyber Sierra does both out of the box

 

How to Ease Cybersecurity Controls’ Implementation

 

Using a centralized platform eases the implementation of all cybersecurity controls. The reason is that cybersecurity controls aren’t mutually exclusive. For instance, those required by compliance programs affect cyber threats’ remediation from cloud assets and third-party risk management. 

 

Research by EY confirmed this. 

 

Their study found that companies using a centralized platform performed vendor risk control assessments much faster

 

2023 EY Global Third-Party Risk Management Survey - In-content highlight design

 

Done with an automated, centralized platform like Cyber Sierra, enterprise companies can even do more. For instance, a global bank leveraging our platform was able to streamline their entire workflow. 

 

A snippet of their success story reads

 

a global bank in singapore

 

It doesn’t end there. 

 

Other cybersecurity controls are better implemented with a centralized, automated platform. Take the ongoing implementation of governance and compliance program controls. With a platform like Cyber Sierra, enterprise security teams get two benefits. 

 

First, all controls of compliance programs you need to become compliant with are auto-consolidated into a single dashboard:

 

all controls of compliance programs you need to become compliant with are auto-consolidated into a single dashboard

 

 

As shown, from this pane, you can: 

  1. See what programs a control is attached to
  2. View and update evidence of having that control
  3. Assign control implementation to team members
  4. Add new compliance program controls as they emerge. 

 

Second, after initial implementation, our platform automatically monitors and flags all control breaks for immediate remediation. 

 

Here’s a peek:  

 

after initial implementation, our platform automatically monitors and flags all control breaks for immediate remediation.

 

From here you can easily: 

 

  1. Monitor control breaks across all compliance programs
  2. View details of each control break
  3. Get action tips for remediating each control break, or
  4. Assign their remediation to anyone on your security team. 

 

Implement Cybersecurity Controls with Ease

 

A point worth re-stressing is that cybersecurity controls aren’t mutually exclusive. The controls you need for becoming and staying compliant to governance and compliance programs relate to your internal risk management controls. To this end, it makes sense to constantly implement and monitor all controls from a single platform. 

 

Aditya Anand shared how the security team at Hybr1d achieves both with Cyber Sierra’s intelligent, interoperable cybersecurity platform. 

 

In his words

 

Aditya Anand

 

Hybr1d shows that to easily implement and monitor cybersecurity controls, enterprise companies should consider using an automated, interoperable platform like Cyber Sierra.

 

And you can start with a free demo:

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Implement & Monitor All Cybersecurity Controls with Ease

Get a 100% free demo to see how Cyber Sierra eases the entire process of implementing and monitoring cybersecurity controls.

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Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring Process Steps Simplified for Enterprise CISOs

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Work-related stress has long been the bane of enterprise security execs, mainly chief information security officers (CISOs). For instance, in Nominet’s 2020 research, 90% of CISOs said work-related stress affected their wellbeing and personal lives. 

 

Years after, the situation isn’t getting better.

 

Threat actors are becoming more advanced by the day. As a result, securing a company’s IT assets, employees, IP, and so on, will only get harder. This has led to higher stress levels, as this recent study found: 

 

Cynet's 2023 CISO Stress Study

 

Realistically, you can’t wave a magic wand and remove all work-related stress. It is built into the fabric of leading an enterprise security team. However, you can drastically reduce it by simplifying the cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) process steps. 

 

That’s what we’re delving into today. But first, let’s establish…

 

What Enterprise Continuous Control Monitoring Process Is

 

A cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) process is a collective of the action steps taken to stay one level above cybercriminals. The whole idea is to achieve the golden rule: Prevention is better than cure. 

 

Says SANS Institute Director, John Davis:

 

John Davis - Quote

 

John couldn’t say it better. 

 

And that’s because with an effective CCM process: 

  • You can keep an ongoing watch on security controls across company assets with less stress. 
  • Your enterprise security team can remediate vulnerabilities before threat actors exploit them. 

 

To achieve these benefits, follow the steps discussed below. But if you’re new to this, I recommend you also get this cybersecurity continuous control monitoring checklist:

 

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The Enterprise Cybersecurity CCM Checklist

Enterprise security execs use this checklist to implement cybersecurity continuous monitoring (CCM).

Continuous Security Monitoring Process Steps

 

Four steps enable the cybersecurity CCM process: 

 

Four steps enable the cybersecurity CCM process:

 

1. Consolidate and Integrate Data from Tools

 

The first step towards achieving CCM is to integrate data from all tools prone to misconfigurations and vulnerabilities into a single platform. This includes critical cloud assets and business tools used across your organization:

 

Consolidate and Integrate Data from Tools

 

Integrating and connecting apps will enable your team to maintain an undated cloud asset inventory. Done with an intelligent, interoperable cybersecurity platform like Cyber Sierra, you get: 

  • Granular data segmentation of integrated assets.
  • Continuous monitoring of misconfigurations.

 

More on Cyber Sierra as we proceed. 

 

2. Establish Governance of Security Controls

 

All risk management compliance programs have security controls that must be in place for an organization to attain and remain compliant. This is true for SOC2, ISO27001, GDPR, and others. 

 

So establishing governance enables your team to know what security controls to prioritize and continuously monitor across programs. 

 

And doing this is easy with Cyber Sierra: 

 

Establish Governance of Security Controls

 

As shown, our intelligent cybersecurity platform automatically aggregates security controls from all implemented compliance programs into one view. From this holistic view, you can: 

  1. See programs a security control is attached to. 
  2. View evidences of having that control in place. 
  3. Assign critical controls to key members of your security team.
  4. Easily create and add new controls to your cybersecurity governance.  

 

3. Automate Vendor Risks’ Assessments

 

Third-party vendors can introduce risks that undermine your cybersecurity continuous control monitoring efforts. To buttress, research by Verizon revealed that

 

Worse, it can take up to 277 days for organizations to detect risks from 3rd-parties, according to IBM.

 

Worse, it can take up to 277 days for organizations to detect risks from 3rd-parties, according to IBM. One way to mitigate this as part of the cybersecurity continuous control monitoring process is to automate vendor risks’ assessments

 

Cyber Sierra enables your team to do this. For instance, our platform auto-assess evidence of security controls uploaded by 3rd-parties. It also consolidates everything into a single view, where your team can track evidence that failed verifications. 

 

Here’s a sneak peek:  

 

 our platform auto-assess evidence of security controls uploaded by 3rd-parties

 

4. Streamline Security Awareness Training

 

Employees across an entire organization form an important, if not the most important, component of all cybersecurity processes. And continuous control monitoring is no exception.

 

Ongoing security awareness training is therefore essential for educating employees on the steps outlined above. It is also crucial for equipping them on implementing the ever-changing CCM process. 

 

Kevin Turner corroborates

 

Kevin Turner - Quote

 

Cyber Sierra streamlines this in a way that makes sense for enterprise security execs. On the same platform, you can: 

  1. Launch new regular cybersecurity training 
  2. Monitor ongoing training to ensure employees complete them and stay informed on their responsibilities in achieving continuous control monitoring: 

 

Security Awareness Training

 

All through the four cybersecurity continuous control monitoring process steps, I showed how our platform helps. Consolidating multiple security tools on a single platform like Cyber Sierra reduces stress for CISOs and enterprise security execs. 

 

Cynet’s CISO Study confirmed this: 

 

Cynet’s CISO Study confirmed this: using multiple tools on a single platform can reduces the work stress

 

Using an enterprise cybersecurity CCM system such as Cyber Sierra has other benefits, apart from just reducing stress for CISOs. 

 

Before we get to those advantages:

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Ease the Cybersecurity CCM Steps

Access the core tools for achieving continuous control monitoring in one enterprise cybersecurity platform.

The Advantages of Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring System

 

According to Narendra Sahoo

 

Narendra Sahoo - Quote

 

Sahoo’s take highlights the first advantage of using a cybersecurity continuous control monitoring system like Cyber Sierra. 

 

1. Near Real-Time Risk Monitoring

 

Being a pure-play cybersecurity CCM platform, Cyber Sierra has built-in, enterprise-grade capabilities. For instance, the holistic ‘Controls Dashboard’ enable your enterprise security team to continuously monitor controls in near real-time by: 

  • Integrated cloud asset categories or asset types
  • Custom or standard compliance programs implemented:

 

Custom or standard compliance programs implemented

 

As shown, consolidating all security controls into this dashboard enables near real-time risk monitoring. You can also track controls assigned to teammates from the same pane, making it way easier to fix control breaks.

 

2. Seamless Risk Remediation 

 

An effective cybersecurity continuous control monitoring process should detect threats, control breaks, and promptly remediate them. Achieving this is seamless with Cyber Sierra. 

 

From all controls in your security governance, our platform automatically detects and pulls control breaks into a separate view: 

 

Seamless Risk Remediation

 

From this view, you can easily assign control breaks for prompt remediation and tracking. Another way Cyber Sierra enables seamless risk management and remediation is through its Risk Register. 

 

Enterprise security teams use it to continuously:

  1. Detect IT assets with misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.
  2. Examine all security controls linked to such assets.
  3. Check the control breaks and assign remediation: 

 

Risk Register

 

Enterprise tech executives trust Cyber Sierra for simplifying their cybersecurity processes due to the advantages mentioned above. One, out of many examples, is Aditya Anand, the CTO of Hybr1d. 

 

In his testimony, Aditya raved:

 

Enterprise tech executives trust Cyber Sierra for simplifying their cybersecurity processes due to the advantages mentioned above. One, out of many examples, is Aditya Anand, the CTO of Hybr1d.

 

Read Hybr1d’s case study

 

Simplify Cybersecurity CCM Process Steps

 

To recap, our recommended cybersecurity CCM process steps are: 

  1. Consolidate and integrate data from tools.
  2. Establish governance of security controls.
  3. Automate vendor risks’ assessments, and
  4. Streamline security awareness training. 

 

Typically, each of these steps required a different software product. But most tools often don’t work well together, making the process more complex and stressful for enterprise security leaders. 

 

To solve this, our platform consolidates the core capabilities required into an intelligent, interoperable cybersecurity platform. This way, you can simplify the entire cybersecurity continuous control monitoring process steps from one place:

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Simplify the Cybersecurity CCM Process

Access the core tools for simplifying the continuous control monitoring process in one enterprise cybersecurity platform.

  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Cybersecurity CCM Tools Recommended for Enterprise Companies

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According to Gartner:

 

Gartner quotes

 

This is a not-so-good situation for two reasons:  

  • On the one hand, GRC vendors may not offer the full scale of capabilities required to effectively achieve CCM. 
  • On the other hand, CCM tools that can’t address a broad array of threats often end up working in isolation. 

In other words, a half-baked or point continuous control monitoring tool working in isolation isn’t worth it, per IBM’s Charles Henderson:

 

Charles Henderson - Quote

 

A solution to this?

 

An Interoperable CCM Platform

Most CCM platforms have full scale continuous control monitoring capabilities. But as Henderson stressed, implementing another point solution isn’t worth it. They often end up posing a threat to efficient cybersecurity. EY’s Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Consulting Leader, Richard J. Watson corroborates

 

Richard J. Watson - Quote

 

So to help enterprises achieve continuous control monitoring without cluttering their tech stacks, we built Cyber Sierra. You get a pure-play CCM platform with built-in capabilities for remediating other cybersecurity challenges interoperably. 

For instance, with our Controls Dashboard, enterprise teams can continuously monitor security controls by:

  • Asset categories or asset types
  • Compliance programs or frameworks:

 

 As shown, you can assign risks associated with control breaks to teammates and monitor remediation status in real-time

 

 As shown, you can assign risks associated with control breaks to teammates and monitor remediation status in real-time. And with other built-in functionalities, achieving continuous control monitoring while addressing core cybersecurity challenges interoperably is possible. 

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The Interoperable CCM Platform

Achieve continuous control monitoring while addressing core cybersecurity challenges interoperably.

An interoperable CCM platform like Cyber Sierra is optimal for CISOs and enterprise security execs looking to achieve more with less. To show you how it compares, let’s walk through some cybersecurity CCM tools recommended by Gartner. 

 

Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) Tools Gartner Recommends

In their cybersecurity CCM study, Gartner recommended ten tools. We streamlined the list to five exclusive to CCM based on conversations with customers, prospects, and enterprise security experts. 

 

Panaseer

 

Panaseer

 

The Panaseer CCM tool ingests data from security, cloud and on-premise IT and business tools. The software then normalizes, augments and correlates this data, giving security teams: 

  • Continuous visibility of assets and controls status
  • Insights for prioritizing security resources
  • Automated security posture reports. 

According to Panaseer’s CCM feature page, they optimize and monitor controls across eight cybersecurity domains: 

  • Vulnerability analysis
  • Endpoint analysis
  • Patch analysis
  • Identify and access management
  • Privileged access management 
  • Security awareness management
  • Application security analysis, and 
  • Cloud security. 

Given these covered domains, the Panaseer CCM software is ideal for cyber asset and security controls’ management, reporting, and evidenced remediation. But it falls short in two crucial areas. 

  1. Enterprise security teams can’t use Panaseer to assess security risks from third-party vendors that can lead to control breaks.
  2. You can’t establish compliance governance and monitor corresponding security controls mapped to implemented compliance frameworks and policies. 

Cyber Sierra has these solutions built-in. 

For instance, with our platform your team can map and monitor controls for all implemented compliance programs: 

 

with our platform your team can map and monitor controls for all implemented compliance programs

 

Quod Orbis

Quod Orbis is another tool dedicated to CCM:

 

Quod Orbis

 

The software audits a company’s cloud assets and monitors risks and security controls continuously from data sources and compliance frameworks. Unlike Panaseer, Quod Orbis focuses more on monitoring the security controls of compliance programs. 

You get: 

  • Continuous compliance
  • Real-time compliance controls visibility
  • Enhanced security and compliance posture 
  • Cyber risk quantification, and
  • Expert-led management of their platform. 

Like Panaseer, you can’t track third-party risk assessments, provide, or monitor continuous employee security awareness training with Quod Orbis. And these are crucial for ensuring the security controls being monitored are adhered to by third-parties and employees. 

With Cyber Sierra, in addition to having core CCM capabilities, you can launch and monitor ongoing security awareness training: 

 

Training overview-cloud security

 

Metricstream

Positioned as ‘the connected GRC software,’ Metricstream offers continuous control monitoring capabilities for: 

  • IT & Cyber Risk
  • Compliance
  • Audit, and
  • ESG:

 

Metricstream

 

As shown above, Metricstream is more of a GRC solution with continuous control monitoring features for:

  1. Gaining a unified, real-time view of risks, threats, and vulnerabilities for effective risk and IT control assessments.
  2. Staying on top of evolving regulatory requirements relevant to compliance risks, policies, cases, and controls.

Like the others, two areas where Metricstream is lacking are vendor risk assessment monitoring and ongoing employee security awareness training. You need both to ensure security controls being monitored are adhered to by vendors and employees. 

Another reason to consider a cybersecurity CCM platform like Cyber Sierra with such capabilities built-in. 

 

JupiterOne 

This tool has extensive integration for various apps used across different categories by enterprises. To that effect, JupiterOne is mainly a cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) solution with continuous compliance monitoring capabilities:

 

JupiterOne

 

With this tool, security teams can have vulnerabilities from their cloud assets ingested and normalized in a single platform. 

You get: 

  • Cloud asset inventory
  • Granular data segmentation of integrated assets
  • Continuous compliance, and
  • Graph-based context. 

The graph-based context is JupiterOne’s stand-out feature. Security leaders use it to view the connections between their cloud assets, constantly monitor, and identify any risks involved. Without this feature, JupiterOne would probably not be considered a continuous control monitoring tool. 

And that’s because it mainly collects and normalizes assets’ data, maps out cloud assets relationships, and provides visibility. Being an interoperable pure-play CCM platform, Cyber Sierra does these out of the box. 

We even have a more advanced graph-based context built-in: 

 

not only can you integrate and ingest data from your cloud assets to Cyber Sierra

 

As shown, not only can you integrate and ingest data from your cloud assets to Cyber Sierra. But in a graph-based context you can also:

  1. View how each asset connects to others.
  2. Monitor vulnerabilities between connected assets. 
  3. Track security controls broken by specific users of those assets. 

 

RiskOptics

Formerly Reciprocity, RiskOptics bears similarities to Metricstream being that it is more of a GRC platform: 

 

RiskOptics

 

However, RiskOptics’ ROAR (Risk Observation, Assessment and Remediation) feature offers some continuous control monitoring capabilities. It is mainly suited for monitoring and providing insights for closing control gaps in implemented compliance frameworks. 

The tool does that in two ways:

  • Reducing audit fatigue by enabling teams to reuse controls and evidence across frameworks and continuously test control effectiveness, making organizations always audit-ready.
  • Connecting threats, vulnerabilities and risks, and continuously testing compliance and security controls to surface risks. 

RiskOptics does not offer the ability to monitor third-party risk assessments, provide or track continuous employee security awareness training, just like other CCM tools Gartner recommends. These are crucial because they ensure security controls being monitored are adhered to by third-parties and employees.  

Even though Cyber Sierra isn’t on Gartner’s recommended CCM tools (yet), the platform shines in those areas. Ours is an enterprise-grade pure-play CCM system that also solves other cybersecurity monitoring and remediation challenges interoperably. 

 

Advantages of a Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring System Like Cyber Sierra 

Continuous control monitoring wasn’t added to Cyber Sierra as an afterthought or in response to the growing demand. Unlike other platforms, our CCM feature isn’t built separately. You get full-scale continuous control monitoring capabilities built into core cybersecurity areas like: 

  • Governance and compliance
  • Managing cloud assets
  • Risk management and remediation

 

Governance and Compliance

Here, continuous monitoring of security controls associated with compliance programs, frameworks, and policies happens in two ways. Cyber Sierra first consolidates controls from all implemented security governance and compliance programs into one view. From there, it automatically monitors and adds any control that breaks into a dedicated view for easier discovery and remediation: 

 

Enterprise teams use this to monitor security controls relative to compliance programs and integrated cloud assets

 

Second, you also get a more comprehensive ‘Controls Dashboard’ under governance. Enterprise teams use this to monitor security controls relative to compliance programs and integrated cloud assets. 

Here’s a sneak peek:

 

As shown, you can assign risks associated with control breaks to teammates and monitor remediation status in real-time

 

Managing Cloud Assets

Enterprise security teams can integrate and maintain a holistic inventory of all cloud assets used with Cyber Sierra. But to enable the management of risks and vulnerabilities from those assets, our platform takes it one step further. 

You get a Risk Dashboard to continuously monitor risks by asset categories and security control breaks by asset types:

 

Managing Cloud Assets

 

As shown, the risk heat map gives your team a unified view of all critical to low risks mapped to all affected cloud assets. 

 

Risk Management and Remediation

The whole purpose of continuous monitoring is to detect, manage, and remediate risks proactively. To do that, a CCM platform shouldn’t just enable enterprise teams to monitor controls. It should facilitate the remediation of risks associated with monitored controls. 

Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register enables that. 

With it, enterprise security teams can scan all integrated assets (it takes ~10 mins) to: 

  • Identify assets that are vulnerable to threats.
  • See a breakdown of security controls linked to those assets. 
  • Easily check the control break in one button click: 

 

enterprise security teams can scan all integrated assets

 

Implement an Interoperable CCM Tool 

Cyber Sierra consolidates the core capabilities for cybersecurity continuous control monitoring into one interoperable technology platform. This is recommended, according to EY’s 2023 Global Cybersecurity Leadership Insights Study. 

A key finding of the study went: 

 

EY - In-content highlight design

 

Based on this, achieving cybersecurity continuous control monitoring with a consolidated platform is logical. And with Cyber Sierra, you get one that monitors and detects incidents efficiently while also tackling other cybersecurity challenges. 

Imagine your team doing more with less.

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Do More With Less

Achieve continuous control monitoring through a consolidated platform with built-in capabilities for tackling other cybersecurity challenges.

  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
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  • Startup Founders
Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring: A Checklist for CISOs

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Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. And their growing sophistication is expanding the cyberattack landscape every quarter

 

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. And their growing sophistication is expanding the cyberattack landscape every quarter:

 

To outsmart them and secure enterprise organizations, security teams must adopt measures that proactively identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and attacks beforehand. Narendra Sahoo, CISA, reiterated how enterprise security teams can do this. 

He wrote

 

Narendra Sahoo - Quote

 

Gartner calls this recommended proactive measure cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM). Being a relatively new approach, it’s best for CISOs and enterprise security executives to begin by knowing what to include as they plan its implementation. 

We’ll cover that in this guide and explore an actionable checklist to help your security team get it right. But let’s start with the often-asked question…

 

What Should a Continuous Cybersecurity Monitoring Plan Include?

As defined by Gartner

 

Gartner Quote

 

Based on this definition, an effective continuous cybersecurity monitoring plan should, through technology and automation: 

  • Map and maintain awareness of all systems and IT assets across your company and third-party vendor ecosystem. 
  • Understand all emerging external threats and internal threat-related activities relative to established security controls. 
  • Collect, analyze, and provide actionable security-related info across all mapped IT assets, security frameworks, and compliance regulations. 
  • Integrate risk management and information security frameworks, and enable your security team to proactively manage risks. 

Automating the areas outlined above in your CCM plan ensures coverage for all steps of the typical CCM lifecycle phases:

 

control life cycle phases

 

But each phase of the CCM lifecycle above has many steps and, in some cases, substeps. This, in turn, makes their implementation something security teams need to meticulously follow, step-by-step. 

In the cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) checklist below, we explore the steps in each phase. You’ll also see how Cyber Sierra, our interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform, streamlines their implementation

Download the checklist to follow along: 

 

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The Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) Checklist

Implement Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring in your enterprise organization with this step-by-step checklist.

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Why should we implement the CCM process?

 

By implementing a CCM process, enterprises can proactively manage risks, maintain regulatory compliance, improve operational efficiency, and foster a culture of continuous improvement, ultimately contributing to long-term success and sustainability.

Regulatory compliance:

CCM facilitates regulatory conformity and adherence to industry benchmarks pertaining to internal control oversight, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), COSO framework, and other governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) directives.


Risk mitigation:

It offers near real-time visibility into control vulnerabilities, empowering organizations to promptly identify and mitigate risks, thereby reducing the potential for fraud, errors, or operational disruptions.


Operational efficiency:

CCM automates the monitoring of controls, diminishing the need for periodic manual testing and audits, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavors.


Continuous enhancement:

By continuously monitoring controls, organizations can pinpoint areas for improvement and implement necessary adjustments to bolster the efficacy of their control environment.


Cost optimization:

An effective CCM can aid organizations in avoiding the costs associated with control failures, such as fines, legal fees, and reputational damage.


Informed decision-making:

CCM furnishes management with up-to-date information on the state of internal controls, enabling them to make more informed decisions regarding risk management and resource allocation.


Competitive Advantage:

Implementing a robust CCM process demonstrates an enterprise’s commitment to strong internal controls, risk management, and good governance practices, which can enhance its reputation and provide a competitive advantage in the market.

 

Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) Checklist 

 

Renowned Security Architect, Matthew Pascucci, advised

 

Matthew Pascucci

 

Matthew’s advice is spot on.

In short, it is the expected outcome of the first step of our CCM checklist. So let’s dive in. 

 

1. Analyze Continuous Control Objectives

Enterprises with any form of existing compliance and risk management process already have some form of security controls in place. If that’s your case, as it is with most enterprise organizations, achieving continuous monitoring of those security controls starts with analyzing your controls’ objectives.

You achieve this by initiating an extensive assessment of your organization’s compliance and cybersecurity controls. In other words, assess existing risks, cyber threats and vulnerabilities with a CCM platform.

The platform you choose should be able to:

  • Connect and map all the IT assets in your cloud and network environments, and those of third-party vendors. 
  • Outline and categorize all technical and non-technical security controls across mapped assets and environments.  
  • Integrate existing risk management, compliance, and information security frameworks to match outlined controls.
  • Identify vulnerabilities and gaps in existing security controls relative to mapped assets across cloud environments. 

You can automate these tasks with Cyber Sierra. First, connect and map IT assets used across your company and third-party vendor ecosystem by integrating them with Cyber Sierra: 

 

Analyze Continuous Control Objectives

 

After integrating, scan one, some, or all apps and systems used across your organization in a few clicks. Each time your team initiates a scan with Cyber Sierra, it not only performs a scan, but also performs a comprehensive risk assessment of the integrated IT assets. 

This is because our interoperable cybersecurity platform analyzes all integrated assets against standardized risk management, compliance, and information security frameworks in the background. This helps to detect and push vulnerabilities, cyber threats, and risks into your dashboard. 

Here’s a peek: 

 

 our interoperable cybersecurity platform analyzes all integrated assets against standardized risk management, compliance, and information security frameworks in the background

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Analyze Control Objectives and Implement Continuous Control Monitoring in One Place.

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2. Evaluate Controls’ Implementation Options 

What implementation options are feasible after analyzing the objectives of your controls through a comprehensive risk assessment? That’s the question your team must answer here.  

To do this: 

  • Review your company’s service portfolio to identify and determine what security controls are mission-critical.
  • Identify areas where additional resources (i.e., expertise, capital, training, etc.) are required for implementing continuous monitoring of mission-critical security controls, based on gaps found during the analysis and risk assessment phase.
  • Examine existing risk management, compliance, and information security procedures and processes to uncover what needs an upgrade to achieve continuous control monitoring. 

 

3. Determine Continuous Control Implementation

According to Steve Durbin, CEO of the Information Security Forum: 

 

Steve Dublin

 

Continuous control monitoring is a fast-paced process, where your security team must stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. So as observed by Steve, having a cohesive security architecture is essential for effective, consistent, and safe implementation. 

You can do this by: 

  • Developing a common language by creating standard terms and principles for implementing continuous control monitoring in your organization. This makes it clear for your security team and new members to understand what they should and should not do.
  • Establishing the objective and priority of each implemented or should-be implemented security control relative to your business goal(s). This helps everyone in your security team working on specific security controls to give it necessary priority. 
  • Determining and documenting acceptable approaches for implementing CCM. This helps your team know where to start, how to proceed, and the possible, acceptable outcome of each implemented or should-be implemented security control. 
  • Outlining the conditions and steps for adapting all mission-critical security controls being monitored.

 

4. Create Continuous Control Procedures

This step involves creating continuous security control procedures based on stardardard or customized cybersecurity policy frameworks. Examples of standard cybersecurity policy frameworks to create continuous control procedures from are NIST, ISO, SOC, etc. 

So for this step: 

  • Examine standard cybersecurity policy frameworks to identify security controls critical to your business. 
  • Create procedures for implementing controls identified from standard policy frameworks. 
  • Identify necessary security controls not available in the standard cybersecurity policy frameworks examined; then, create custom policies and procedures for implementing them. 

For the third sub-step, you’ll need a platform like Cyber Sierra that allows the upload of custom cybersecurity policies. Our compliance automation suite allows the creation of customized risk governance programs and uploading of custom control policies for them: 

 

Create Continuous Control Procedures

 

5. Deploy Continuous Control Instances

Implementing control instances operationalizes the cybersecurity controls established within the policy frameworks developed in the previous phase. 

This involves: 

  • Collaborating with your security operations team to implement continuous cybersecurity controls instances.
  • Implementing the security services needed to enforce and make defined control instances work. 
  • Providing evidence for evaluating adherence to established security controls, policies, and procedures. 

You may need to hire external expertise or launch employee security awareness training on deploying continuous control instances. Cyber Sierra can help with the latter:

 

all training

 

As shown, you can launch and track the completion of cybersecurity training programs relevant to implementing CCM with our employee Security Awareness module. 

 

6. Automate Security Controls’ Monitoring

This step is where the main functions of a cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM) platform come to bare. So choose one that enables your security team to automatically: 

  • Monitor and test security controls based on defined procedures and implemented risk management and compliance policies.
  • Identify and score emerging threats according to their likely impact on your organization’s security program. 
  • Provides actionable information for your DevSecOps team to remediate threats and vulnerabilities in near-real-time. 

For a CCM platform to tick the boxes above, it must ingest data from your mapped IT assets against established security policies. It must also refresh this ingested data in real-time automatically, ensuring continuous monitoring of security controls. Finally, it must alert security teams of risks that could lead to a breach. 

The Risk Register on Cyber Sierra meets those requirements.

 

risk register

 

As shown, it detected threats in a GSuite asset category down to individual users. In this case, it refreshes ingested data in real-time, creating a threat alert and risk score whenever a user connects an unapproved external app with SSO to their GSuite. 

 

7. Optimize Continuous Control Implementation

Continuous control monitoring is a never-ending process. 

As the threat landscape, risk management trends, and compliance regulation requirements evolve, so should your continuous control implementation. Also, as your organization grows or collaborates with new third-party vendors, your continuous security control requirements will must adjust, too.

So choose an interval that makes sense for your organization, say weekly or monthly; and optimize CCM implementation by: 

  • Enhancing ongoing data ingestion by uncovering new or disconnected apps and systems in your IT asset inventory.
  • Detecting control gaps and threats not accounted for as your DevSecOps team remediates identified risks. 
  • Informing overall threat intelligence management across your organization based on risks and vulnerabilities detected throughout the CCM process.

 

What Tool is Used in Continuous Control Monitoring? 

Due to its growing popularity, pure-play continuous control monitoring (CCM) platforms are emerging. At the same time, some niche governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) vendors are incorporating CCM capabilities into their solutions. 

While the latter can do some of the job, it’s best to use a CCM tool built to support implementation across all phases of the CCM lifecycle. As the checklist explored above showed, that includes a long list of steps all related to each other in one way or another. 

Based on this, Gartner recommends the use of a CCM tool that automates four core things:

 

What Tool is Used in Continuous Control Monitoring?

 

Cyber Sierra has these capabilities built into its platform. 

In short, ours is an interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation software. This means the capabilities outlined above work well together, making the automation of CCM procedures and processes seamless. 

 

Automate Continuous Cybersecurity Control Monitoring

As shown throughout various steps of the CCM lifecycle phases, automation is at the core of implementing CCM. And it is more feasible with an interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform. 

This is where Cyber Sierra comes in. 

Why not book a free demo of Cyber Sierra to get a sneak peek into how our platform automates the ongoing implementation of CCM?  

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Automate Enterprise Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring Implementation from One Place.

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  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

A Guide for CISOs to Streamline Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM)

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‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ 

You’ve probably heard that famous saying before. But relative to cybersecurity and averting data breach losses, how much of it holds?

IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report gave hints. Per their research, data breaches cost organizations a whopping US$4.35 million on average. Interestingly, the study revealed insight into how ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ in today’s endless battle against cybercriminals.

It found that companies using automated cybersecurity tools cut those data breach losses by up to US$3 million. More importantly, they were able to detect and respond to cyber threats much faster:

 

It found that companies using automated cybersecurity tools cut those data breach losses by up to US$3 million. More importantly, they were able to detect and respond to cyber threats much faster

 

These findings beg a question: 

What automated tools and processes can CISOs deploy to continuously monitor and detect data breaches before they cause harm?  

 

The Case For Continuous Cybersecurity Monitoring 

Andrew Burt, Luminos’ Managing Partner, in his article for the Harvard Business Review, wrote

 

Andrew Burt - Quote

 

Here’s why I agree with Andrew. 

Trying to avert cybercrime, companies spent a staggering US$150 billion on cybersecurity in 2021. But this humongous amount wasn’t enough to stop cybercriminals. The next year, in 2022, 4,100 disclosed data breaches that exposed 22 billion records still happened.

It didn’t end there. 

What was more worrying is how long it took organizations using traditional cybersecurity programs to detect those disclosed breaches. Per the IBM study cited above, on average, organizations needed 297 days – about 9 months – to identify and contain a breach. 

This, despite the humongous amounts spent on cybercrime, calls for more proactive measures. And that’s because monitoring, detecting, and responding more quickly to cyber threats is now a necessity. Gartner’s Security and Risk Analysts call this necessity cybersecurity continuous control monitoring (CCM).

Their report noted:

 

By adopting CCM, enterprise security executives can proactively improve their company’s cybersecurity posture while being more productive. But achieving these desirable outcomes is no mean feat.

 

By adopting CCM, enterprise security executives can proactively improve their company’s cybersecurity posture while being more productive. But achieving these desirable outcomes is no mean feat. 

For starters, one must know: 

  1. The phases of implementing CCM, and 
  2. What to look for in a CCM-enabling platform. 

The rest of this article explores both hurdles. As we proceed, you’ll see how Cyber Sierra, an emerging CCM platform, fits the bill for enterprise CISOs and security executives. 

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The Phases of Implementing Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM)

 

Effective implementation of enterprise cybersecurity continuous control monitoring follows seven lifecycle phases:

 

The Phases of Implementing Cybersecurity Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM)

 

As shown, CCM is a never-ending, clockwise endeavor with a lot of to-dos at each phase. Take the first, ‘Analyze Control Objectives.’ Its end result would be a succinct, ongoing analysis of your organization’s cybersecurity controls’ objectives. 

To do it effectively, your security team must perform risk assessments, a gruesome process with steps such as: 

  • Mapping all the IT assets in your cloud and network environments, as well as those of third-party vendors. 
  • Outlining and categorizing all technical and non-technical security controls across mapped assets and environments.  
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and gaps in existing security controls relative to mapped assets across cloud environments. 
  • Determining what security controls need to be in place. 

Again, all four steps above belong to just the first phase of implementing continuous control monitoring. Some other phases of the CCM lifecycle have more steps. And for ongoing control monitoring to be effective, teams must implement all steps across all phases. 

As you can imagine, that’ll take a lot of processes, procedures, and DevSecOps professionals to pull this off, if done manually. But with a CCM tool, security executives can automate their way to the benefits of CCM more efficiently.

 As observed by Gartner: 

 

As you can imagine, that’ll take a lot of processes, procedures, and DevSecOps professionals to pull this off, if done manually. But with a CCM tool, security executives can automate their way to the benefits of CCM more efficiently.

 

And that brings us to our 2nd hurdle: What should you look for in an enterprise cybersecurity continuous monitoring (CCM) tool? 

 

What to Look for in a Cybersecurity CCM Tool 

A CCM tool should support implementation activities throughout all phases of the continuous control monitoring lifecycle. But as we’ve seen, that includes seven phases and a long list of steps. Trying to ascertain if a tool ticks off all steps will be a stretch. 

To this end, it’s best to peek into the suitability of an enterprise CCM tool by ensuring it focuses on two predominant control-monitoring scenarios: 

  1. Asset-based monitoring, and
  2. Framework-based monitoring. 

 

A CCM tool should support implementation activities throughout all phases of the continuous control monitoring lifecycle

 

Let’s briefly explore each of these. 

Asset-Based Monitoring 

Effective asset-based monitoring can take care of phases 1–4 of the continuous control monitoring lifecycle. This is because by mapping all IT assets across your organization and third-party vendor ecosystem, your security team can: 

  1. Perform risk assessments on connected apps
  2. Evaluate possible monitoring implementation options based on your company’s service portfolio 
  3. Determine the most effective security controls to implement 
  4. Create relevant control policies, frameworks, and procedures. 

Achieving all this takes a few clicks with our interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform, Cyber Sierra. For instance, you can map all IT assets used across your company and 3rd party vendor ecosystem by integrating them with Cyber Sierra: 

 

Asset-Based Monitoring

 

After integrating all apps and systems used across your organization, the Cybersecurity Module in Cyber Sierra lets you scan one or all of them for vulnerabilities. 

This involves a two-step process: 

 

Cybersecurity Module in Cyber Sierra lets you scan one or all of them for vulnerabilities

 

Each performed scan doubles as a risk assessment of the IT assets integrated with Cyber Sierra. This is because your team can see all vulnerabilities and risks on those assets in one dashboard. 

Here’s a peek: 

 

Each performed scan doubles as a risk assessment of the IT assets integrated with Cyber Sierra

 

This insight empowers security teams to:

  • Determine the most effective security controls to implement based on identified risks and vulnerabilities. 
  • Create, upload, and enforce relevant control policies, frameworks, and procedures. 

The latter is also possible with Cyber Sierra’s extensive Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) module: 

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Implement Continuous Control Monitoring, In One Place.

Create, upload, and enforce continuous control monitoring policies, frameworks, and procedures with Cyber Sierra’s interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform.

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Framework-Based Monitoring

The 2nd predominant capability a good cybersecurity CCM tool should enable is framework-based monitoring. This means it must be able to:

  1. Continuously monitor and test implemented security policies, procedures, and frameworks, and
  2. Ensure they are effectively preventing compliance failures and alerting security teams on emerging risks in real-time.

Essentially, it should take care of the final phases of the cybersecurity continuous control monitoring lifecycle. And this is only possible if the CCM tool can automatically ingest data from IT assets and calculate risks against defined security controls. Also, it should be able to refresh this ingested data, say, hourly or daily. 

The Risk Register on Cyber Sierra ticks these boxes. 

It ingests data from your IT assets against security policies you can upload and define in the Compliance Automation (GRC) module. It refreshes in real-time automatically, ensuring continuous monitoring of security controls and alerts you of risks that could lead to a breach. 

Take the product shot below: 

 

our Risk Register detected threats in a GSuite asset category down to individual users

 

As shown, our Risk Register detected threats in a GSuite asset category down to individual users. It automatically generates an alert and risk score when a user links an unauthorized external app to their GSuite account using SSO. It also auto-identifies potential data threats. 

 

The Right Continuous Control Monitoring Vendor

According to M. M. Rahman, CISA

 

Dustin Bailey - Quote

 

This is saying that the right CCM vendor or tool should double as an operable Security Operations Center (SOC) within your organization. Essentially, beyond integrating all apps and IT assets used, your entire security team should be able to leverage it for detecting and mitigating threats before they cause harm. 

Again, Cyber Sierra’s interoperable cybersecurity modules tick this crucial box: 

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Implement Continuous Control Monitoring with Cyber Sierra’s interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform.

Create, upload, and enforce continuous control monitoring policies, frameworks, and procedures with Cyber Sierra’s interoperable cybersecurity and compliance automation platform.

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  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Building and Implementing a Continuous Control Monitoring

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Imagine if companies received real-time alerts whenever their operational controls were compromised. How many data breaches, operational hiccups, and costly regulatory non-compliance issues could be immediately addressed or even completely avoided?

IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report found that companies took an average of 277 days to identify and contain a data breach. That’s nearly 9 months of potentially catastrophic damage before an organization even realizes they’ve been compromised!

Delays in cybersecurity can cause drastic damage and significant losses.

That’s where Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) comes into play and becomes essential for your organization’s resilience and long-term success.

Building and implementing a CCM system requires thoughtful planning, prioritization, and a systematic approach. However, the rewards for enhanced risk management, adherence to regulatory rules, and operational efficiency far outweigh the initial efforts.

In this guide, you will understand how to build and implement a Continuous Control Monitoring system.

Implementing Continuous Control Monitoring

Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM), also called ‘audit in motion’, is a key component of an effective enterprise risk management program. It ensures that your organization adheres to industry, regional, and local regulatory standards at all times. 

A CCM system also helps you set clear expectations for employees to follow, and it reduces the risk of non-compliance with laws and regulations.

But setting up a CCM system isn’t just about having control frameworks like COBIT 5 or ISO 27001; it also requires a data-driven approach to ensure you have all the information needed for effective decision-making.

Step by Step Guide to Building and Implementing a Continuous Control Monitoring System

Here is a step-by-step guide to building and implementing your own CCM system.

Step by Step Guide to Building and Implementing a Continuous Controls Monitoring System

Let’s look at them one by one.

 

1. Identify processes

The initial step in implementing CCM involves identifying and thoroughly understanding the crucial processes within your organization that need control monitoring. This identification is vital since it helps prioritize the areas where control monitoring can provide the most value in mitigating risk and ensuring compliance.

To effectively identify these business processes, consider the following factors:

  • Alignment with objectives: Prioritize processes closely tied to strategic goals like revenue generation, expense management, or boosting operational efficiency.
  • Risk exposure: High-risk processes (financial, operational, regulatory) should be primary candidates for CCM.
  • Regulatory requirements: Processes governed by stringent compliance regulations and likely to attract penalties or fines if non-compliant are also crucial for monitoring.
  • Past issues: Consider your history of control weaknesses and errors to identify areas needing monitoring and control measures.

With these, you can prioritize the processes and controls that need to be addressed first.

 

2. Prioritize key controls

The second step in establishing your CCM is prioritizing key controls for critical processes. These controls are guidelines, actions, or procedures implemented to mitigate risks and ensure data accuracy. 

Prioritize key controls

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Risk ranking: List your processes according to their associated risks. Give higher priority to key controls that target your riskiest processes.
  2. Relevance to objectives: Analyze how each control contributes to meeting business goals. Those directly supporting essential objectives should gain precedence.
  3. Assess effectiveness: Evaluate past performance of controls. Those proven to reduce risks and uphold data accuracy should be a focus.
  4. Perform cost-benefit analysis: Weigh the cost of implementing each control against its benefits. Maximize return on investment by focusing on cost-effective controls.

Through these steps, you can prioritize key controls, effectively use resources, and create the most considerable impact on risk management and objective fulfillment.

 

3. Set control objectives or goals

After identifying and prioritizing key controls, the next step is to establish what you want those controls to accomplish. Control objectives act as reference points, enabling you to validate the performance of your selected controls in decreasing risks and upholding regulatory compliance. Ensuring these objectives align with your wider risk management strategy and business goals is essential.

 

Set control objectives or goals

To define control objectives:

  1. Identify control functions: Start by identifying the specific function each control serves. Determine if it is designed to prevent, detect, or correct losses, errors, or incidents that pose risks.
  2. Assess risk appetite: Understand your organization’s risk tolerance, including acceptable levels of risk exposure and potential impacts. Incorporate risk appetite into your control objectives to maintain a balanced approach.
  3. Link to business objectives: Your control objectives should support your strategic goals. Ensure each control objective is linked to a corresponding business objective or overarching risk management strategy.
  4. Structure the objectives: Your control objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Ensure they are clear and concise, providing a solid framework for assessment.
  5. Ensure regulatory alignment: Factor regulatory and compliance requirements into your control objectives to avoid pitfalls.

Defining well-aligned control objectives will guide the implementation and evaluation of your Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM), helping to improve efficiency and effectiveness across your organization’s risk management and compliance efforts.

 

4. Automate tests or metrics

Once you’ve set your control objectives, you must develop automated tests or metrics. Automated tests allow you to check the effectiveness of your key controls continuously. This strategic move toward automation reduces your need for manual oversight, minimizes the potential for human errors, and speeds up your ability to spot control weaknesses. These benefits boost your risk management efforts and can lead to cost savings and improved operational efficiency.

Using these automated systems, you’ll gain real-time insights into how well your control measures are performing. These tests regularly monitor key indicators and produce quantitative evaluations, helping you make informed decisions. This is where the role of third-party solutions comes into play.

Third-party solutions are especially important when you’re dealing with a large number of data points and multiple control measures. They help ensure that the tests are conducted consistently across all channels, reducing human error risk.

With Cyber Sierra, you can streamline continuous control monitoring through automation, effortless integration into current systems, and a scalable infrastructure. The platform is purpose-built to help you achieve regulatory compliance even while it offers robust analytics for identifying risks and reporting on control performance. 

 

5. Determine the process frequency

The final step in establishing your Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) system entails choosing the appropriate monitoring frequency and establishing a consistent review process for the results generated by your automated tests or metrics. Once the controls are in place and metrics established, continuous checks provide near real-time assurance of effectiveness.

The frequency of monitoring isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s influenced by numerous elements, such as your organization’s risk profile and industry-specific regulatory requirements. The key is to identify a balance; too frequent checks may burden your resources, while infrequent monitoring could miss out on critical early warning signs.

You must institute regular review processes alongside determining the appropriate monitoring frequency. This guarantees that the data collected from automated tests is analyzed thoroughly and turned into actionable insights on a scheduled basis.

With continuous monitoring and effective review processes, you’ll achieve prompt identification of control weak spots and faster resolution of any rising issues. Ensuring these issues are intercepted and rectified as soon as possible prevents them from escalating further, providing an overall safety net and boosting the efficiency of your organization’s risk and compliance management.

Wrapping Up

Building and implementing a Continuous Control Monitoring system requires thoughtful planning, prioritization, and a systematic approach. However, the rewards for enhanced risk management, adherence to regulatory rules, and operational efficiency far outweigh the initial efforts.

Remember, CCM is not a one-off strategy; instead, it’s an ongoing commitment to designing, measuring, monitoring, and refining your controls to ensure their alignment with your evolving business objectives and the changing risk and regulatory landscapes.

 

Perform Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

 

Cyber Sierra’s platform enables enterprises to keep company policies in one central location and make them accessible to all employees. The platform also offers a comprehensive training regimen that addresses the risks posed by today’s most pressing cybersecurity issues.

To discover how Cyber Sierra can help you establish your CCM program, book a demo today.

  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM): What It Is and Why It Is Important?

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Ever wondered why some businesses manage to stay ahead of regulatory changes and potential risks while others drown in the complexities of compliance standards and data security?

The answer is simple: they have a robust compliance program in place. 

Any enterprise that handles sensitive data must monitor and control its information end-to-end.

That’s where the role of continuous control monitoring (CCM) comes in.  

In a fast-paced business world, CCM is essential for proactively handling sensitive information and maintaining a robust approach to risk management and operational efficiency.

But what does CCM entail, exactly? And how can you go about implementing it in your enterprise?

Let’s examine what CCM means and why it’s so important for your business.

What is Continuous Control Monitoring?

Continuous control monitoring is an ongoing process that involves near real-time assessment and oversight of cybersecurity measures to ensure compliance with regulations. It is a set of technologies designed to offer consistent and high-frequency, automated assessments of control measures. 

objectives of CCM

The objective is to

  • Confirm the efficacy of these controls in mitigating risks,
  • Maintain a proactive cyber defense position, and
  • Ensure business continuity and regulatory compliance.

However, the goal of CCM is not simply to confirm that the controls are in place but rather to provide an ongoing and near real-time assessment of their efficacy. 

In other words, CCM provides insights into how well a control measure is performing and highlights any opportunities for improvement or optimization.

Enhancing Efficiency Through CCM

While CCM provides great tools and solutions, the fulcrum of its success heavily depends on your willingness to embrace change and improve your operations. Here’s how you can enhance your operational efficiency with a CCM:

Enhancing Efficiency Through CCM

1. Implements data analytics and advanced technologies

Integrate CCM with advanced data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to augment its capabilities. Leverage these advanced technologies to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies quickly.

This combination assists in predicting risks, making data-driven decisions, and mitigating issues before they cause significant damage. Consequently, integrating data-driven techniques and CCM can take your risk management and operational efficiency to new heights.

2. Performs regular control and process assessments

Perform frequent evaluations of your organization’s controls and processes to optimize and adapt to evolving requirements continuously. 

These assessments foster enhanced efficiency by 

  • Identifying gaps, 
  • Redundancies, and 
  • Opportunities for improvement.

CCM facilitates timely adaptations, ensuring your organization is ready to address regulatory changes, market shifts, and emerging threats.

3. Encourages collaboration and cross-functional integration

Promote cross-functional integration and collaboration between departments to streamline communication, decision-making, and actions when operating with CCM.

Unify risk, control, and compliance teams with IT and security departments to synchronize objectives, reduce operational complexities, and enhance overall efficiency.

This approach fosters a holistic understanding of the organization’s control environment and empowers coordinated responses to emerging risks.

4. Monitors and measures the success of CCM 

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to gauge the success of your CCM initiatives. Track improvements in compliance, incident resolution times, and control effectiveness. Use these insights to refine your approach, optimize resource deployment, and validate the impact of CCM on your organization’s efficiency.

5. Establishes a proactive risk management culture

Finally, foster a forward-thinking risk management culture within the organization to fully harness the benefits of CCM. Encourage employees to participate in decision-making and recognize the importance of controls and fraud prevention.

Cultivate proactive security habits, such as regularly tweaking and reviewing controls, to enhance your organization’s adaptability. 

When employees understand the link between continuous control monitoring and improved efficiency, they are more likely to commit to the necessary changes.

With Cyber Sierra’s unified cybersecurity platform, you can maintain a central repository of your company policies, and make it accessible to all employees. Cyber Sierra’s platform also offers a comprehensive employee security training program to address today’s most pressing cyber risks.

Book a demo with us to know how you can use Cyber Sierra to kickstart your CCM program.

Benefits of Implementing Continuous Control Monitoring

benefits of CCM

The benefits of implementing continuous control monitoring include the following:

  • Improved compliance
  • Early detection of potential threats
  • Reduced risk of regulatory penalties
  • Enhanced transparency and communication
  • Optimized resource deployment

Let’s look at them in more detail.

1. Improved compliance

CCM provides an ongoing review of your enterprise’s cybersecurity, financial and operational processes to ensure they adhere to internal and external regulatory standards. 

This is especially true for enterprises, as they operate at large scales and typically face diverse and extensive regulatory requirements.

This continued surveillance means potential compliance issues can be identified and rectified rapidly, leading to fewer incidents while maintaining your organization’s reputation with regulators and stakeholders.

2. Early identification and mitigation of risks

CCM operates in near real-time, allowing for immediate identification of potential threats or irregular activities. This effectively turns risk management into proactive rather than reactive practice for enterprises.

3. Lowered risk of regulatory penalties

CCM offers a holistic view of the enterprise, clearly showing current and future risks. This allows for early detection and mitigation of regulatory penalties resulting from non-compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS HIPAA, or GDPR.

In the long term, this can result in substantial cost savings and protect your enterprise’s reputation and business relationships.

4. Increased transparency and improved communication

CCM promotes transparency through its capability for near real-time reporting on the state of an enterprise’s essential controls. 

It facilitates better communication between different enterprise departments, stakeholders, auditing bodies, and regulators.

Improved transparency also builds trust and cooperation across the enterprise, leading to more efficient decision-making processes.

5. Optimized resource allocation

CCM provides near real-time, actionable intelligence that assists in strategically deploying resources. With continuous monitoring, enterprises gain insights into crucial controls and underperforming areas.

This facilitates the precise allocation of resources—whether in the form of personnel, tools, or funding—towards areas where they will have the maximum impact in boosting efficiency and effectiveness.

Choosing the Right CCM Software

Choosing the right CCM solution for your enterprise requires careful consideration of your exact control needs, budget, the scale of your operations, and the specific compliance regulations you need to adhere to.

This task, while complex, is crucial for CISOs and security professionals to enhance the effectiveness of their security controls. Here’s how you should go about it:

1. Focus on features tailored to your needs

CCM software solutions have many features, but the right solution depends on features that align with your distinct needs.

If most of your controls are financial, select a tool that provides in-depth financial risk analysis capabilities. On the other hand, if your primary concern is fraud detection, choose a solution robust in anomaly detection and complicated event correlation.

Cyber Sierra’s platform, for instance, can help enterprises get and maintain compliance with regulations such as Australia’s CIRMP, India’s SEBI laws on cybersecurity for AMCs, or even help monitor custom control frameworks.

2. Prioritize ease of integration

The right CCM software should easily integrate with your existing systems and processes. If, for instance, a significant portion of your workflow is cloud-based, you would want a cloud-compatible software solution that allows for seamless data flow between systems.

Interoperability between software systems reduces redundancies, facilitates straightforward implementation, and simplifies operations.

3. Value vendor support

Choose a CCM solution backed by a vendor offering robust customer support, training, and documentation.

Remember, the goal of choosing a CCM software solution isn’t just to purchase a product; it’s to cultivate a partnership with a provider who will support you as your organization evolves, and your monitoring needs grow or change with time.

For instance, Cyber Sierra offers comprehensive customer support from trained cyber security professionals.

4. Assess scalability

Given that business growth is the goal of every enterprise, choose a CCM software solution that can scale in tandem with your organization’s growth.

Whether you plan to increase the number of employees, expand to new geographical locations, or diversify your product offerings, your CCM software should be able to cope with these changes without compromising its effectiveness.

Cyber Sierra’s enterprise grade platform is built to grow with your organization. The platform allows you to upgrade and buy additional security features, such as third-party risk management, employee security training, threat intelligence and cyber insurance and access them all from the comfort of a single dashboard. 

5. Determine the solution’s ease of use

It will be much easier to use your CCM solution if designed with simplicity in mind. Consider investing in a software solution that features a user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation and workflow, and self-explanatory training modules.

This will allow you to train your employees on the software without requiring them to rely on outside resources.

6. Budget

Before choosing a CCM solution, it’s important to consider the value it will bring to the organization versus its cost.

  • Initial costs: These include the purchase of the solution and the cost of deployment, which may involve installation, system integration, and customization.
  • Recurring costs: Consider the costs that recur over the lifetime of the solution. These could be license renewal, maintenance, upgrading, etc.
  • Training costs: Factor in the time and monetary cost required to train your staff to use the new solution.

Remember, it’s not always about finding the cheapest solution but rather one that offers the best functionality for your organization’s needs at a reasonable price. 

This balance is key to finding a solution that will be sustainable and beneficial in the long term. In any case, your budget should be realistically aligned with the size and requirements of your organization.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, implementing  a CCM system can significantly enhance your operational efficiency and risk management, contributing to the success of your organization.

This is why it’s imperative that you select a solution that is capable of meeting your needs and supporting your business objectives. Consider the above factors when evaluating software solutions, and be sure to evaluate each vendor on an individual basis before making your final decision.

Remember, implementing a CCM is an investment for your business. So, choose wisely!

  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Benefits of Continuous Control Monitoring

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With the rise of emerging technologies and the increasing demand for data quality, organizations constantly face new challenges that can impact their business.

This is especially true for those regulated by HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR. These laws require organizations to ensure their data is always safe, private, and confidential.

However, companies are often challenged by the amount of data they have to process and manage. This can make it difficult for them to detect threats or breaches in  near real-time.

In order to improve their security posture, they need a technology partner that can provide them with access to the right tools and expertise. Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) is a powerful solution that can help organizations comply with regulations while also ensuring their business efficiency is not compromised.

In this article, we’ll delve into the multifaceted benefits of implementing CCM and how it can help your business.

What is Continuous Control Monitoring?

Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) is a technology-driven process involving automated auditing techniques firms utilize to reduce business risks, increase accuracy, and ensure compliance. This approach provides near real-time insight into operations, increasing both efficiency and transparency. 

With CCM, companies can manage their risks in real-time and automate compliance using machine learning algorithms to detect fraud, data anomalies, and other threats.

The goal is to reduce the need for manual audits and human error while providing a higher level of control and oversight.

Top Benefits of Continuous Control Monitoring

The benefits of CCM include:

Benefits of Continuous Controls Monitoring

Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.

1. Automate compliance

Ensuring compliance can be a costly and time-consuming task for most businesses.

With CCM, however, the compliance process becomes automated. Controls are tested continuously, greatly reducing the risk of non-compliance due to outdated information or human error.

This continuous monitoring assures that business processes align with internal policies and regulatory requirements, reducing the likelihood of fines or penalties associated with non-compliance.

2. Real-time risk management

CCM enables you to monitor, control, and respond effectively to risk. This continuous approach detects anomalies, flags potential issues, and alerts management, all in near real-time. This instant, round-the-clock monitoring means risks can be dealt with almost immediately, reducing potential impacts.

Moreover, you can use CCM to manage risk across the entire organization, from frontline workers to the C-suite. It provides a single view of all risks, so it’s easy to see how they impact each other and where they might intersect.

3. Improve data accuracy with CCM

Another crucial benefit is the significant improvement it brings about in data accuracy. Traditional auditing methods, being manual, are inherently prone to errors. These errors can compound over time, leading to inaccuracies affecting decision-making.

In contrast, CCM minimizes the potential for human error by utilizing automated systems to monitor and evaluate controls and processes.

It also helps companies make better decisions by providing more accurate and up-to-date assessments of their security posture. 

4. Enhance fraud detection and prevention

The financial ramifications of fraud in a business environment can be astronomical. And financial fraud continues to pose a significant threat to businesses. Kroll’s 2023 Fraud reveals that over $800 billion is laundered annually worldwide. 

On top of that, reputational damage can be long-lasting and severely affected. A Forbes article states that corporate fraud can destroy up to 1.6% of equity value annually, impacting investor trust and overall business reputation.

Using CCM introduces a robust layer of protection to your business security.

With its near real-time continuous monitoring and alert functionality, CCM can promptly identify any suspicious activities. This quick detection enables a more timely investigation and subsequent response, significantly reducing potential losses.

It can also assist your business in upholding its reputation as an entity that takes fraud detection and prevention seriously. This will provide you with a more trusted business environment for stakeholders.

5. Save time

At its core, CCM is designed to automate the process of identifying irregularities within a business’s operations. 

It screens numerous data streams in real-time, tracing any deviations from established norms. When any such anomaly is detected, CCM promptly directs alerts to designated personnel responsible for addressing the issue. 

Automating tasks in this way can dramatically reduce the effort required by employees. This helps to reduce the time spent on routine tasks and allows both auditors and business executives to focus on strategic tasks and decision-making.

6. Save costs and optimize resources

The initial investment in setting up a CCM system can be substantial. However, the long-term savings resulting from its enhanced efficiency make it well worth the cost.

CCM reduces the extensive time spent on manual auditing processes and compliance tasks. This reduction in turnaround time allows your organization to reallocate resources to areas that could benefit more significantly – such as business strategy and innovation.

As a result, operational costs are greatly minimized, and business productivity is significantly enhanced.

Best solution for CCM

The immense advantages of CCM can be transformative for organizations seeking to optimize their operations and maintain strict regulatory compliance. 

However, the successful integration and implementation of CCM necessitate meticulous planning and execution.

Despite the effective integration of CCM, organizations may still grapple with managing various security elements without an appropriate solution. 

To protect against potential threats, organizations must also prioritize additional security measures comprising:

  • Regularly conducting employee security awareness training
  • Continuous monitoring of regulatory compliance updates
  • Swiftly addressing cloud misconfigurations, and
  • Vigilantly maintaining and renewing cyber insurance policies when required.

This is where Cyber Sierra comes in.

Cyber Sierra delivers a comprehensive security management platform that not only incorporates CCM as a foundational element but also cohesively integrates other crucial security measures to cover all bases. 

best solution for ccm

With Cyber Sierra, you can promptly meet your compliance obligations, effectively manage risk, and solidify your overall security strategy. 

Book a demo with us to know how you can use Cyber Sierra to set your CCM program.

  • Continuous Control Monitoring
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Continuous Control Monitoring

Practical Approach to Continuous Control Monitoring

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How confident are you in your organization’s capacity to promptly and adeptly identify and counter cybersecurity risks?

Despite your best efforts to fortify your cybersecurity approach, it’s probable that your endeavors fall short.

In the present landscape, risk factors are in a constant state of flux, demanding swift and efficient counteractions.

An avenue to tackle this predicament lies in Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM), a method that aids enterprises in upholding regulatory compliance and curtailing cyber threat vulnerabilities. 

In this article, you will understand how to select the right CCM solution and how to implement the same.

Let’s get started.

Understanding continuous control monitoring

Continuous Control Monitoring (CCM) stands as an innovative risk management approach, empowering enterprises to consistently evaluate, handle, and alleviate business risks. In today’s swiftly evolving digital realm, it’s imperative for risk managers and IT administrators to possess a comprehensive grasp of CCM and skillfully integrate it within their organizations.

At its core, CCM systematically examines controls and processes to ensure that they are 

  • Effectively preventing or detecting risk, 
  • Reducing the likelihood of non-compliance, and 
  • Other potentially costly incidents. 

CCM leverages advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to streamline and automate risk-monitoring processes. This, in turn, significantly decreases the time and resources spent on manual risk assessments and audits.

Choosing the right CCM solution

Choosing the appropriate CCM solution involves careful consideration. Here are some actionable tips to guide your selection process:

10-Practical-Approach

 

1. Identify your organization’s requirements

Start by identifying your organization’s specific needs and challenges in risk management and compliance. These could include specific industry or regulatory requirements, a shortage of risk management resources, or a need to improve operational efficiency.

 Some of the challenges can include:

  • Inadequate risk visibility: Limited insight into real-time risk and compliance status across different business units.
  • Limited resources: Insufficient workforce or expertise to efficiently manage risks and ensure compliance.
  • Inefficient processes: Current manual risk management and compliance monitoring processes may be time-consuming and prone to error.
  • Data integration issues: Difficulty integrating data from disparate sources and systems for comprehensive risk assessment.
  • Scalability concerns: The current risk management system may not be capable of handling increased data volume and complexity as the business grows.
  • Lack of real-time reporting: Insufficient mechanism for generating real-time reports for swift decision-making.
  • Security concerns: Ensuring the security of sensitive data while performing risk and compliance-related tasks.

 

2. Look for advanced features

Advanced features can help organizations to get the most out of their risk management systems. Some of these features include:

  • Single source of truth (SSOT): The ability to view all data related to a business process from one source, including transaction details and related documentation, in a single user interface.
  • Robust data modeling capabilities: Users can create and modify data models without technical knowledge or assistance from IT staff.
  • Advanced data visualization capabilities: Users can create dashboards and reports with a wide range of visualizations, including charts and graphs.
  • Automated workflow management: This feature automatically routes tasks to relevant stakeholders, enforces accountability, and streamlines the risk management process. It can also provide reminders for incomplete tasks or tasks nearing their due date, improving efficiency and ensuring timely action.
  • Predictive analytics: Using AI and ML to access predictive analytics and foresight into potential risks or issues can help organizations anticipate risks, devise counteractive strategies, and make better informed decisions about risk mitigation.

 

3. Integration with existing systems

When we talk about the integration capabilities of a CCM solution, it refers to the system’s ability to work in harmony with your existing IT infrastructure. This includes linking with various business applications, databases, IT systems, and other sources of creating or storing data within your organization.

Here are a few core aspects this comprises:

  1. Data Collection: A powerful CCM solution should be capable of extracting data from different systems like ERP, HRM, CRM, and other bespoke applications. 
  2. Data Consistency: Since the CCM system interacts with multiple data sources, it should ensure data consistency and resolve any potential conflicts. That way, each system using the data can have the correct and most up-to-date information.
  3. Tools Compatibility: The CCM solution should be compatible with your existing reporting, visualization, and data analysis tools so that you can immediately put it to use. 

The primary goal of integration is to bring about efficient and consistent data management across all systems, making risk management a streamlined and automated process.

 

4. Consider vendor support and training

Don’t let your organization’s proficiency be constrained by your team’s capabilities to adopt a risk management solution. 

The provider should furnish training and assistance throughout both the setup phase and beyond. This approach guarantees that all members within your organization grasp the tool’s mechanics, the data prerequisites for each process stage, and optimal utilization techniques. 

It’s crucial to verify that the vendor offers robust customer support and comprehensive training initiatives, aiding your team during system implementation and continuous utilization.

 

5. Evaluate user-friendliness

Prior to procuring a CCM solution, prioritize the following checkpoints to guarantee a user-friendly experience and ease of use:

  • Intuitive Interface: Clean, organized, and easily navigable layout
  • Ease of use: Straightforward execution of typical activities
  • Guided steps: Helpful tooltips or guides for complex tasks
  • Customization: Tailored dashboards, reports, and configurable aspects
  • Accessible support: Comprehensive user manuals, tutorials, and responsive customer service
  • Compatibility: Availability on various devices and platforms

Step-by-Step implementation process of CCM

Implementing a new CCM system may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

We’ll walk you through the process, from planning to execution, ensuring each phase is thoroughly completed to set your CCM solution up for success.

step by step implementation process

1. Consider a simple start

Every successful digital transformation starts small and builds upon early successes. Hence, when orchestrating the introduction of CCM, initiate with routine processes that stand to gain the most from sustained surveillance.

Begin by identifying vulnerable domains or those presently grappling with elevated risk levels. Internal audit findings serve as invaluable inputs, spotlighting problematic processes and controls with substantial financial implications. 

Additionally, consider testing CCM on procedures previously subjected to manual audits, facilitating a comparison of efficacy and efficiency.e already been audited manually to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of both methods.

Using Cyber Sierra’s solutions can further simplify the start, as it assists with accurately mapping your business relationships and identifying potential areas of concern.

 

2. Select the appropriate solution

Continuous control monitoring involves complex procedures and requires a robust and reliable tool or software. While an array of off-the-shelf solutions may promise comprehensive coverage, it’s vital to recognize your organization’s distinctive needs, processes, and control environment.

The selection process demands a laser focus on locating a solution that harmonizes with your organization’s requisites and integrates seamlessly within your IT framework. Flexibility for customization to match your unique demands is equally paramount.

Cyber Sierra, for instance, provides an interoperable solution tailored to your organization’s needs governing data, risk assessments, policies, vendors, and employees in one central hub.

 

3. Develop monitoring routines

Developing and fine-tuning CCM routines is critical for the ongoing success of your monitoring activities.

Initially, you’ll program the system to generate high probability exceptions (HPEs), potentially indicative of control failures. 

This might involve a process of iterative refinement; as the CCM system processes more data and exceptions are investigated and resolved, you’ll get a clearer picture of what indicates a likely control failure, and you can refine your routines accordingly.

This important step significantly reduces false positives and allows your team to focus more on true control issues.

 

4. Implement exception management

All exceptions generated by CCM need analyzing and resolution. Exceptions should be captured in a secure environment, and operational staff should be tasked with resolving them. This process must be carefully designed to avoid overwhelming staff with false positives.

 

5. Transition to business-as-usual

Once established, CCM should be part of the business’s standard operational procedures and processes. Regular system administration tasks, such as resolving data load issues, managing user access, or refining test logic, are essential for smooth operation.

Training your team for CCM adoption

Implementing CCM in your organization implies a technological shift and a cultural one, and involves understanding the skill set requirements, planning effective training strategies, and fostering a CCM-focused culture within your organization.

 

1. Skill set requirements

A successful CCM adoption demands a diverse skill set within your team, spanning comprehension of compliance intricacies, identification of cybersecurity threats, and mastery of analytics and data interpretation.

Your team must also learn to adapt to new workflows, understand the system’s outputs, reassess the risk levels of various assets, and comprehend their impacts on business operations.

 

2. Training strategies

Adopting a structured and gradual approach to training can be beneficial. Introduce your team to the new CCM system and train them in various aspects of CCM, such as continuous monitoring, risk assessment procedures, and control strategies.

Also, consider conducting hands-on training sessions where your team can explore and learn about the system’s features, enhancing their understanding and proficiency.

 

3. Fostering a CCM-focused culture

Beyond individual skills and training, nurturing a corporate culture that esteems CCM is pivotal. This culture champions transparency, risk awareness, and perpetual self-audit, necessitating a mindset shift from reactive to proactive risk management.

This transformation enhances the entire CCM implementation, fostering enthusiastic team participation in consistent control and risk evaluations. An ingrained CCM-focused culture strengthens your organization’s risk resilience and ensures an enduring commitment to effective risk management.

Identifying assertions for CCM

Assertions form a pivotal part of CCM. These are statements that management makes about certain aspects of the business, thereby validating compliance with the organization’s rules and policies.

Here’s how to identify relevant assertions for your enterprise and incorporate them into your CCM system:

identifying CCM

 

1. Understand your business environment

Start by understanding your organization’s environment, including its functions, operations, policies, and procedures. Identify the risk spots and performance indicators. Evaluate the various systems, controls, and procedures to mitigate these risks.

 

2. Identify relevant assertions

Different sectors and operations typically require distinct assertions. For example, a manufacturing unit might need assertions about inventory control, whereas a service-based firm could require claims about data privacy or service delivery timelines. Identifying relevant assertions depends on your organization’s specific requirements, industry standards, and regulatory mandates.

 

3. Engage stakeholders

Engage relevant stakeholders while identifying assertions. This includes managers from different departments and frontline staff who work directly with the systems being monitored by CCM.

 

4. Map assertions to controls

Once the assertions are identified, the next step is to map them to relevant controls within your organization. This mapping helps identify what control activities can validate which assertions.

 

5. Incorporate into CCM

After mapping, integrate these assertions into your CCM system. These become the metrics and checkpoints that continuous monitoring will track to ensure that all controls function as per required standards.

 

6. Continuous review and update

Business environments change and evolve. So, the assertions and their respective controls must be reviewed and updated frequently to ensure relevance and effectiveness.

Remember, assertions contribute to the reliability of your system’s compliance status. Thus, carefully identified and curated assertions can dynamically support your efforts in implementing and fine-tuning CCM in your organization.

Conclusion

CCM can be a potent tool for ensuring compliance. However, it requires careful planning and execution to be effective.

When implementing a CCM solution, it is best to do so gradually—refining processes based on practical learning and experiences. This will ensure the effective integration of CCM into business processes, leading to improved control effectiveness and risk management.

Nevertheless, CCM implementation forms only one piece of a larger puzzle. Comprehensive organizational security demands a multifaceted approach, encompassing:

Establish Employee Security Awareness & Training

 

This is where Cyber Sierra comes in. Cyber Sierra’s platform enables enterprises to keep company policies in one central location and make them accessible to all employees. The platform also offers a comprehensive training regimen that addresses the risks posed by today’s most pressing cybersecurity issues.

Book a demo to learn how to use Cyber Sierra to set up your CCM program.

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Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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