blog-hero-background-image
Third Party Risk Management

What is Risk Governance Framework [& How to Create It]

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Risk governance is a critical component of any organization's risk management strategy. It helps to ensure risks are proactively identified, assessed and mitigated effectively to protect the organization's assets and achieve its objectives. 

A well-designed risk governance framework provides a structured approach to managing risk, fostering a culture of risk awareness and accountability throughout the organization. 

By establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and processes, a risk governance framework enables organizations to proactively identify and address potential risks, ultimately enhancing their resilience and competitiveness. 

In this article, we will explore the concept of a risk governance framework, and its importance, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to create one that aligns with your organization's unique needs and goals.

What is a Risk Governance Framework?

A risk governance framework is a structured approach to managing and mitigating risks within an organization. It outlines the policies, procedures, and responsibilities necessary to identify, assess, and manage risks effectively. 

This framework ensures that risk management is integrated into the organization's overall strategy and decision-making processes.

An effective risk governance framework involves a collaborative effort among various stakeholders, including senior management, risk management teams, and other departments. 

Organizations that implement a comprehensive risk governance framework can proactively manage risks, reduce uncertainty, and enhance overall resilience and performance.

Example of Risk Governance Frameworks

While there are several different risk governance frameworks out there, the right framework depends entirely on the needs of your organization.

Example of Risk Governance Frameworks

Here are a few commonly used risk governance frameworks together with their pros and cons:

1. Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a framework mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for contractors handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). 

It aims to enhance cybersecurity across the defense industrial base by enforcing specific cybersecurity practices. CMMC requires organizations to undergo third-party assessments to validate their cybersecurity maturity level, which ranges from basic cyber hygiene to advanced practices.

Pros:

  • Regulatory compliance: Ensures compliance with DoD cybersecurity requirements.
  • Risk mitigation: Addresses cybersecurity risks specific to federal contracting.
  • Standardized assessment: Provides a structured approach to assessing and improving cybersecurity maturity.
  • Clear requirements: Establishes clear security requirements based on organizational risk profiles and the sensitivity of handled information.

Cons:

  • Implementation costs: Can be resource-intensive, especially for smaller contractors.
  • Complexity: Requires understanding and implementation of multiple maturity levels and associated controls.
  • Scalability challenges: Tailoring requirements to fit various organizational sizes and types can be challenging.
  • Dependency on third-party assessors: Success depends on the availability and competence of accredited assessors.

2. NIST 800 - 53 & NIST CFS

NIST 800-53 and the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) provide comprehensive guidance to federal agencies, contractors as well as organizations on securing information systems and responding to cyber threats. 

NIST 800-53 offers a catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations that handle sensitive information, tailored to various risk profiles and compliance requirements.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive controls: Provides a robust set of controls addressing a wide range of cybersecurity risks.
  • Adaptability: Can be tailored to fit different types of organizations and business environments.
  • Integration with Other standards: Aligns well with other frameworks and regulatory requirements.
  • Continuous improvement: Offers mechanisms for ongoing risk assessment and mitigation.

Cons:

  • Complexity: Implementing all controls can be daunting and resource-intensive.
  • Maintenance overhead: Requires continuous updates and adjustments to keep pace with evolving threats.
  • Initial implementation costs: Costly to implement initially, especially for smaller organizations.
  • Lack of flexibility: Some organizations may find it rigid and difficult to customize.

3. ISO 27001 & ISO 27002

ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security management systems (ISMS), providing a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information.

On the other hand, ISO 27002 offers a set of guidelines and best practices for implementing the controls outlined in ISO 27001.

Pros:

  • Global recognition: The frameworks are accepted internationally and aid compliance efforts across different markets.
  • Risk-based approach: Focus on risk assessment and mitigation and can be tailored to organizational needs.
  • Continuous improvement: Encourage ongoing evaluation and improvement of security measures.
  • Management support: Require commitment from senior management which fosters a compliant culture.

Cons:

  • Resource intensive: Implementation can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Complex certification process: Certification requires rigorous audits and compliance with strict criteria.
  • Organizational resistance: Requires buy-in from all levels of the organization to be effective.
  • Interpretation variability: Interpretation of standards may vary, leading to inconsistencies in implementation.

4. AICPA SOC 2

SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) is an auditing standard developed by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) for technology and cloud computing organizations. The risk governance framework focuses on controls relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Pros:

  • Trust assurance: Provides assurance to customers regarding the security of their data.
  • Flexibility: Allows organizations to define and implement controls based on specific business processes.
  • Market differentiation: Enhances marketability by demonstrating a commitment to security and privacy.
  • Continuous monitoring: Requires ongoing monitoring of security controls to maintain compliance.

Cons:

  • Complexity: Requires understanding of audit requirements and adherence to rigorous standards.
  • Costs: Audits and compliance efforts can be costly, especially for smaller organizations.
  • Limited applicability: Primarily benefits service providers and may not be relevant to all organizations.
  • Dependency on auditors: Success depends on the competence and availability of certified auditors.

5. EBIOS

EBIOS (Expression des Besoins et Identification des Objectifs de Sécurité) is a risk management methodology developed by the French National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI). 

It is used primarily by French public organizations and critical infrastructure sectors to identify and manage information security risks.

Pros:

  • Tailored approach: Adaptable to different types of organizations and sectors.
  • Risk-centric: Focuses on identifying and prioritizing risks based on business processes.
  • Integration with French regulations: Aligns with French regulatory requirements and guidelines.
  • Collaborative process: Involves stakeholders at various levels of the organization in risk assessment and mitigation.

Cons:

  • Limited international recognition: Primarily used within France, which may limit its applicability globally.
  • Resource intensive: Requires significant resources for implementation and maintenance.
  • Training requirements: Requires training and expertise to effectively use the methodology.
  • Documentation overhead: Documentation requirements can be extensive and time-consuming.

Risk Governance Framework Components

Risk Governance Framework Components

A Risk Governance Framework typically consists of several key components that organizations use to manage risks effectively. These components can vary slightly depending on the industry and specific organizational needs, but generally include the following:

1. Risk Culture and Awareness

Risk culture and awareness refer to the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors regarding risk within an organization. It encompasses how risk is perceived, discussed, and integrated into decision-making across all levels. 

A strong risk culture ensures that all employees understand their role in managing risks and are proactive in identifying and mitigating them. Awareness involves ongoing education and communication to ensure everyone understands the importance of risk management. 

This component also includes fostering an environment where employees feel safe to report risks and mistakes without fear of repercussions. 

2. Risk Appetite and Tolerance

Risk appetite defines the amount and type of risk an organization is willing to pursue or retain to achieve its objectives. It is often set by the board and articulated in a board-approved policy that aligns with the organization's strategic goals. 

Risk tolerance, on the other hand, establishes the acceptable level of variation in performance relative to the achievement of objectives. Together, they guide organizations in making decisions that balance risk and reward. 

These components require ongoing assessment and adjustment to ensure alignment with changing business conditions, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder expectations. 

3. Risk Identification

Risk identification involves the systematic process of recognizing and describing risks that could potentially affect the achievement of objectives. It is an essential aspect of business processes as it allows organizations to proactively assess potential threats and opportunities. 

Risk identification methods may include workshops, surveys, scenario analysis, and review of historical data. In sectors like the financial and defense sectors, where compliance requirements and cyber threats are prevalent, robust risk identification practices are crucial. 

This component ensures that all relevant risks, including those related to compliance efforts and cyber threats, are identified and evaluated for their potential impact on the organization.

4. Risk Assessment and Evaluation

Risk assessment and evaluation involve analyzing identified risks to determine their likelihood and potential impact on business objectives. This process helps prioritize risks based on their significance and develop appropriate responses. 

It involves assessing risks against predefined criteria, such as compliance requirements, financial implications, operational disruptions, and strategic alignment. 

In sectors with stringent compliance environments, such as financial and defense sectors, risk assessment must adhere to accuracy requirements and common controls. 

5. Risk Response and Treatment

Risk response and treatment refer to the development and implementation of strategies to manage and mitigate identified risks. This component aims to reduce the likelihood or impact of risks to an acceptable level while maximizing opportunities. 

Responses may include risk avoidance, mitigation, sharing, or acceptance, depending on the organization's risk appetite and the nature of the risk. 

Effective risk response requires clear roles and responsibilities, adequate allocation of company resources, and integration with existing business processes. 

In sectors facing cyber threats or stringent compliance processes, proactive risk response measures are crucial to safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring regulatory compliance.

6. Risk Monitoring and Reporting 

Risk monitoring and reporting involve tracking identified risks, evaluating the effectiveness of risk treatments, and communicating this information to stakeholders. It ensures that risks are managed within acceptable limits and that any emerging risks are promptly addressed. 

Monitoring activities include regular risk reviews, performance indicators, and scenario analysis to assess changes in risk profiles. 

Reporting provides stakeholders, including the board and regulators in compliance-driven sectors, with transparent and timely information on the organization's risk exposure and management efforts. 

7. Risk Communication

Risk communication involves the exchange of information about risks between the organization and its stakeholders. It ensures that relevant parties are informed about potential risks, risk management strategies, and their impact on business objectives.

Effective communication promotes understanding, facilitates decision-making, and fosters a collaborative approach to risk management. In sectors like finance and defense, where compliance processes and stakeholder expectations are high, clear and concise risk communication is essential. 

It helps build credibility and transparency, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions and align their expectations with the organization's risk management practices.

8. Risk Management Oversight

Risk management oversight refers to the governance structure and processes established by the board and senior management to direct and oversee the organization's risk management activities. 

It includes defining roles and responsibilities, setting strategic objectives, and ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Oversight ensures that risk management practices are effective, integrated into business operations, and aligned with the organization's risk appetite. 

9. Continuous Improvement 

Continuous improvement involves regularly reviewing and enhancing the effectiveness of the risk governance framework. It includes evaluating the efficiency of risk management processes, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing necessary changes. 

Continuous improvement provides guidance to organizations in adapting to evolving business environments, emerging risks, and regulatory changes. It ensures that risk management practices remain relevant, responsive, and aligned with strategic objectives. 

These components collectively provide guidance to organizations in navigating the complexities of risk management, benefiting from enhanced resilience, and achieving sustainable growth.

Why Do You Need a Risk Governance Framework?

A well-implemented risk governance framework not only helps organizations navigate uncertainties but also strengthens their overall operational resilience and strategic decision-making capabilities.

Why Do You Need a Risk Governance Framework?

Here are more reasons why your organization needs a risk governance framework 

  • Risk identification and assessment: A robust risk governance framework helps organizations systematically identify and assess potential risks across various operational facets. By formalizing this process, organizations can anticipate challenges, proactively manage uncertainties, and prioritize resources effectively to mitigate potential negative impacts on strategic objectives and operational continuity.
  • Decision making and accountability: Clear risk governance structures clarify roles and responsibilities for risk management at all organizational levels. This ensures that decision-makers have access to timely and accurate risk information, enabling informed choices aligned with the organization's risk appetite and strategic goals. Furthermore, accountability mechanisms within the framework promote transparency and discipline in managing risks, fostering a culture of responsible decision-making.
  • Compliance and regulatory requirements: In many industries, regulatory compliance is mandatory and closely tied to effective risk management practices. A well-defined risk governance framework helps organizations meet these compliance obligations by establishing standardized processes for risk assessment, monitoring, and reporting. By adhering to regulatory requirements, organizations mitigate legal and reputational risks while demonstrating commitment to ethical business practices and stakeholder expectations.
  • Enhanced stakeholder confidence: Effective risk governance instills confidence among stakeholders, including investors, customers, and employees. By demonstrating a structured approach to identifying and managing risks, organizations showcase their commitment to sustainable growth and resilience. This can lead to enhanced trust and credibility in the market, attracting investment, fostering customer loyalty, and maintaining a positive reputation even amidst uncertainties and challenges.

How to Create a Risk Governance Framework?

How to Create a Risk Governance Framework?

Now that you understand what a risk governance framework and its components are, how do you create one for your organization?

Creating a risk governance framework involves systematic steps to identify, assess, mitigate, and monitor risks across an organization. 

Follow these eight simple steps to create a comprehensive risk government framework that systematically manage risks, enhances decision-making, and supports long-term resilience and success:

1. Define Objectives and Scope

This step establishes the foundation for understanding what risks need to be managed and the extent of the governance framework.

Start by defining the specific goals of the governance framework, such as improving risk oversight or ensuring regulatory compliance. Clearly articulate these objectives to align with the organization’s strategic vision. Then determine the scope by identifying which organizational units, processes, and activities will be covered. Include key stakeholders and their roles in the framework. 

2. Establish Risk Appetite and Tolerance

Define the organization’s risk appetite, specifying the level of risk it is willing to accept to achieve its objectives. This should reflect both qualitative and quantitative aspects, such as financial thresholds and strategic priorities. 

Establish risk tolerance levels for various risk types, considering factors like operational, financial, and reputational impact. This provides a benchmark against which risks can be evaluated, ensuring that risk-taking aligns with the organization’s capacity and willingness to bear risk.

3. Conduct Risk Assessment

This step provides a detailed understanding of the risk landscape and helps prioritize risk management efforts.

Once you have established risk appetite and tolerance, perform a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential risks across the organization. You can utilize tools like risk registers, heat maps, and scenario analysis to gather data from various departments. 

Also engage stakeholders through workshops and interviews to gain insights into potential risks and their implications. Ensure you assess the likelihood and impact of identified risks, prioritizing them based on their potential effect on the organization’s objectives. 

4. Develop Risk Management Policies

After risk assessment, formulate detailed risk management policies and procedures. These should outline the processes for risk identification, assessment, mitigation, and monitoring. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, including risk owners and governance committees. 

Establish protocols for reporting and escalation to ensure timely risk communication. These policies provide a consistent and structured approach to managing risks across the organization, ensuring that all stakeholders understand and adhere to the framework.

5. Implement Risk Mitigation Strategies

This step focuses on reducing the likelihood and impact of risks to acceptable levels, enhancing the organization’s resilience and stability.

Develop and implement specific risk mitigation strategies based on the prioritized risks identified. Assign responsibility for each mitigation action to appropriate individuals or teams. 

Ensure that these strategies align with the organization’s risk appetite and tolerance levels. Ensure you utilize resources effectively to address high-priority risks while balancing cost and benefit. 

6. Establish Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms

Implement systems to continuously monitor identified risks and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. Develop key risk indicators (KRIs) to track changes in risk levels and trigger alerts for potential issues. 

Establish regular reporting mechanisms to provide updates to senior management and relevant stakeholders. This includes setting up dashboards, periodic risk reports, and review meetings. Continuous monitoring and reporting ensure that risks are managed proactively and adjustments are made in response to changing conditions.

7. Communicate and Educate

Effective communication and education promote a unified approach to managing risks and enhance the overall risk culture within the organization.

Communicate the components of the risk governance framework throughout the organization and ensure that all employees understand their roles in risk management through clear communication and documentation. 

Also conduct training sessions and awareness programs to build a risk-aware culture. Finally, encourage employees to report potential risks and contribute to risk management activities. 

8. Evaluate and Improve

Lastly, evaluate the risk governance framework’s effectiveness regularly through audits, assessments, and stakeholder feedback. Review the outcomes of risk management activities and identify areas for improvement. Ensure you stay informed about emerging risks and regulatory changes that may affect the organization. 

Continuously update and refine the framework to address new challenges and enhance its effectiveness. This ongoing evaluation ensures that the framework remains robust, adaptive, and aligned with the organization’s evolving risk landscape and strategic objectives.

How can Cybersierra help in creating a Comprehensive Risk Governance Framework?

Cyber Sierra’s AI-powered cybersecurity platform helps in creating a comprehensive risk governance framework by providing a centralized platform for governance, risk, and compliance management. Besides, the tool has pre-built NIST and ISO controls as well.

The platform’s comprehensive suite of tools and expertise in cyber risk management helps organizations to:

  • Identify and assess risks: The platform allows users to identify and assess all risks across all asset categories. This enables organizations to understand potential problems or uncertainties that could affect them.
  • Develop and implement controls: The platform helps develop and implement controls to mitigate identified risks and also create measures to lessen the impact of those risks.
  • Monitor effectiveness: Cyber Sierra enables continuous monitoring of the effectiveness of implemented controls and security posture while providing updates and information to relevant teams about governance, risk, and compliance efforts.
  • Report to stakeholders: The platform facilitates reporting on GRC activities to stakeholders, ensuring transparency and compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Compliance with regulations: Cyber Sierra supports compliance with various regulations, including GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO27001, SOC2, and others, by providing pre-made policy templates and controls.
  • Streamlined processes: The platform automates tracking and monitoring, saving time and reducing complexity in compliance and risk management processes.

Overall, Cyber Sierra’s suite of tools and features help organizations to create a comprehensive risk governance framework that integrates risk management, compliance, and cybersecurity governance, ensuring a robust and secure risk management strategy.

Book a demo today to see Cyber Sierra in action.

  • Third Party Risk Management
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Third Party Risk Management

How to Create a TPRM Framework?- A Step-by-Step Guide

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


In today’s business landscape, operating without a third-party vendor can be challenging. Therefore, organizations often seek the strategic advantage of third-party vendors. But unfortunately, outsourcing third parties comes with inherent risks that must be actively managed.

 

Compliance leaders frequently note that organizations often face unforeseen risks following the initial onboarding and due diligence processes. This underscores the inherent complexity of third-party connections and highlights the critical need for comprehensive Third-party Risk Management (TPRM) strategies. While it is not possible to eliminate all third-party risks, establishing a comprehensive third-party risk management framework will help mitigate potential risks associated with each vendor.

 

“To build pervasive security across that third-party ecosystem, you not only need to know who those third parties are and what they’re doing for you,” said Edna Conway, chief security officer, global value chain at Cisco, “you had best understand the leadership and the operational processes utilized in your own enterprise that manage the commercial relationship with those third parties.” – 

 

It is, therefore, imperative to understand your third-party risks. So, in this blog post, we will detail how to create a suitable third-party risk management framework for your organization and their associated benefits. Let’s get started right away!

 

What is a TPRM Framework?

A TPRM framework evaluates and mitigates potential security risks associated with outsourcing to third-party vendors, partners, suppliers, or service providers. The framework provides a road map for organizations to build customizable risk management programs per their industry best practices.

A TPRM aims to comprehensively evaluate the risk landscape to minimize the likelihood of data breaches and vulnerabilities, and enhance the overall cyber resilience against threats from third-party vendor associations. The evaluation could range from access to your intellectual property to operational, legal, financial, and compliance risks.

There are two main categories under the TPRM framework— 1) Tailored specifically for TPRM or Supply Chain Risk Management program (SCRM) like Shared Risk Assessment TPRM framework and NIST – 800-161. 2) Supplementary information security programs that enhance the TPRM program or assist in vendor risk management questionnaires, such as NIST CSF v1.1. ISO 27001, and ISO 27036. These standards outline building an effective infosec program by effectively managing controls associated with third-party risks.

Why do you need a TPRM Framework?

While most organizations focus on securing endpoints such as servers, routers, and firewalls mostly, it is worth noting that they are not the only threat actors. There could be potential risks from unfamiliar sources such as the networks of trusted third parties too. These connections can become the vulnerabilities that hackers use to infiltrate your defenses! Hence it is important to come up with a holistic third-party risk management framework.

By employing a TPRM framework, companies can increase their understanding of risks and gain insight into the risk profiles of their suppliers and service providers. This way, the business can make conscious decisions on whether it should partner with a given entity or terminate its relationship to safeguard its operations.

Recent research reveals that a startling 62% of data breaches originate from vulnerabilities in third-party vendor relationships. This indicates just how vital having a TPRM framework is for protecting sensitive organizational information. A properly instituted TPRM program enables organizations to consistently uncover and address potential risks, as well as provide a structured approach for developing and deploying effective risk mitigation tactics.

Regulatory bodies demand rigorous third-party risk management. Start with a thorough due diligence, meet contractual obligations, implement internal security controls, and ensure ongoing compliance with security standards throughout the vendor management lifecycle.

A comprehensive TPRM framework is an essential catalyst for meeting these requirements by providing guidelines to comply with the prescribed security standards and regulatory obligations.

Failure to mitigate third-party risks can result in legal repercussions, reputational and financial losses, and more importantly, erosion of customer trust. A TPRM framework acts as a credibility amplifier that protects your business from vendor risks, safeguards your resources and assets, and maintains your trust and reputation in your marketplace.

illustration background

Subscribe to Secure My Software Weekly

Join thousands of CISOs, CTOs, and security pros getting actionable tips for security their software biweekly.

card image

Different Components in the TPRM Framework

 

components of TPRM

 

There is no one-size-fits-all TPRM program; you can customize your TPRM framework based on your business needs.This can be accomplished by either utilizing a TPRM automation software or developing a fully integrated risk management solution. Any effective TPRM approach should incorporate these six essential elements:

 

Due diligence

Third-party due diligence is a critical step in risk management, allowing companies to evaluate vendors before engaging in a business relationship. This involves conducting background checks and mitigating risks associated with conflict of interest, legal, cyber security, or compliance issues, ensuring these external partners are legitimate, reliable, and won’t harm the company’s reputation or finances.

 

Risk identification

The next step in choosing a TPRM framework is recognizing and assessing potential risks related to third-party vendors. Here, you evaluate the nature of the risks, such as operational, compliance, or data privacy risks, the scope of the risk, and the involved parties.

 

Risk assessment

Following risk identification, this phase involves determining the impact of the likelihood of identified risks. By analyzing the severity and probability of various risks, organizations can prioritize them and allocate resources accordingly to manage and mitigate the highest priority risks.

 

Risk monitoring

Risk monitoring is a sustained practice utilizing specialized tools and procedures to track, assess, and analyze risk factors continuously. This ongoing process enables organizations to stay abreast of changes in the risk landscape, swiftly identify emerging risks, and proactively address potential vulnerabilities in their third-party relationships.

 

Risk mitigation

This phase centers on mitigating identified risks to an acceptable level. Strategies may involve implementing internal controls, establishing well-defined contractual agreements, conducting routine audits, formulating contingency plans, and fostering transparent communication with third parties. The objective is to minimize the impact of risks, ensuring the ongoing integrity and security of the organization’s operations within the context of the third-party relationship.

 

Continuous assessment

Continuous vendor monitoring and risk assessments help you align with the industry best practices. It is essential to establish procedures for security incidents related to third-party vendors. This includes reporting, investigating, and remediating any possible security incidents.

 

How to Choose a Third-Party Risk Management Framework

How to Choose a Third-Party Risk Management Framework

 

When choosing a third-party risk management framework for your company, it’s important to carefully assess your company’s specific needs and risk exposure profile. This includes regulatory requirements, tolerance limits on risk, compliance requirements, vendor dependence, and many organizational considerations. Some key matters to consider are outlined below:

 

Regulatory Compliance & Risk Appetite:

  • Consider the prevailing regulations in addition to your organization’s risk tolerance
  • Ensure the framework aligns with regulatory requirements as well as reflects your risk appetite.

 

Dependence on Third Parties

  • Determine to what extent your organization depends on third parties Examine growing threats related to outsourcing and usage of technologies such as cloud services.

 

Core Business Functions Performed by Vendors

  • Understand that tasks previously handled by internal employees are now carried out by third parties.
  • Be aware of how the disruptions or failures caused by vendors can affect you. Increased reliance on vendors can amplify risks

 

Characteristics of TPRM Frameworks to consider:

  • Vendor risk assessment program: Ensure that it provides a structured approach within which vendors’ risks can be assessed using custom features based upon the nature of the relationships and the significance of services rendered.

 

  • Third-party vulnerability detection: Look for mechanisms that identify vulnerabilities, including cybersecurity gaps, and have features that enable vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and continuous monitoring of third-party environments.

 

  • Compliance gap detection: Assess whether the framework enables continuous compliance monitoring with relevant regulations and industry-specific requirements. Look for functionalities that identify compliance gaps and deviations from established standards.

 

  • Risk assessment questionnaire: Evaluate if the framework offers automation capabilities for administering security questionnaires and collecting information from third-party vendors. Look for functionalities that streamline the assessment process, automate responses, and provide detailed risk analyses.

 

  • Remediation program: Check if the framework supports developing and implementing remediation plans to address identified risks and vulnerabilities. Check for availability of features that facilitate stakeholder collaboration, tracking of remediation progress, and help prioritize corrective actions based on risk severity.

 

  • Reporting: Ensure the framework includes reporting capabilities to communicate TPRM activities to stakeholders. Look for customizable reporting templates, dashboards, and metrics that provide insights into risk exposure and mitigation efforts.

 

Some cyber frameworks that align well with TPRM requirements and security controls include NIST CSF, ISO 27001, ISO 27002, ISO 27019, ISO 27036, and NIST RMF 800-37. These frameworks provide structured approaches to addressing cybersecurity risks and can be tailored to support your organization’s third-party risk management initiatives. By taking into account these elements and establishing a robust TPRM framework, organizations can adeptly handle third-party risks while optimizing the value gained from these partnerships.

How to Create a TPRM Framework

 

How to Create a TPRM Framework - Step by step guide

 

A strong third-party risk management framework helps avoid potential hazards and ensures vendor complexities do not derail a business. It safeguards assets, ensures regulatory compliance, and protects the company’s reputation. Here is an easy process for creating a third-party risk management framework:

 

1. Engage your stakeholders

The first step towards developing the TPRM framework is putting together a cross-functional team. It’s important to involve representatives from departments like risk management, operations, procurement, finance, IT, cybersecurity, legal, and compliance. This achieves alignment and allows each group to contribute their perspective and expertise in managing vendor risks effectively.

 

2. Group your third-parties

List down all your third-party service providers. Categorize them based on—the nature of the service or product offered, types of data accessed, the extent of data access and its necessity, and any fourth-party providers availed by the vendor.

 

Evaluate how important each third-party relationship is for the accomplishment of your organization’s goals. Also, consider geographic location of vendors for regulatory differences or geopolitical instability.

 

3. Define scope and risk tolerance

After thoroughly categorizing the vendors, define the scope of the TPRM framework by identifying the type of third parties involved and the risk factors to be considered. In addition, determine the organization’s acceptable level of risks.

 

Determine the organization’s risk appetite and tolerance levels, including cybersecurity, compliance, and operational disruptions. Account for industry-specific regulations and standards when defining the scope of the TPRM framework.

 

You can implement a risk matrix to categorize all the identified risks based on their criticality. This allows identifying risk thresholds.

 

4. Establish a TPRM process

Start by drafting vendor onboarding guidelines and pre-screening processing to categorize the vendors per their risk profile. Establish third-party risk assessment questionnaires to gather information on vendors’ internal controls, security practices, compliance, and industry-specific standards and best practices.

 

These questionnaires should cover areas like data encryption, access controls, regulatory compliance, and financial health, aligning with your organizational needs. Standardized or customized questionnaires can be used depending on our preferences and prevailing practices in our industry.

 

5. Risk identification and mitigation

Implementing a strong TPRM framework requires identifying and assessing risks systematically. This involves categorizing risks based on their potential impact and likelihood, and then conducting assessments to prioritize mitigation efforts.

 

Next, effective mitigation strategies, such as implementing security controls or enhancing contractual provisions, are defined. By following these steps, organizations can proactively manage third-party risks and safeguard their operations.

 

6. Due diligence

Before entering into third-party relationships, you must carry out a robust due diligence to thoroughly assess potential partners’ suitability and reliability. This involves monitoring and evaluating vendor performance, verifying their compliance with the required regulations, and adherence to contractual obligations. By staying vigilant and proactive in vendor management, organizations can develop fruitful partnerships and effectively mitigate risks over time.

 

7. Incident response plans

Develop corrective action or incident response plans to address security and data breaches, or other incidents involving third-party vendors. Also, establish business continuity and contingency plans to mitigate the impact on organizational operations, in the event of such disruptions or failures in third-party relationships.

 

8. Compliance

Ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations, industry benchmarks, and contractual obligations governing your third-party relationships. Establish open channels of communication with stakeholders, such as executive management, board members, and regulators on TPRM activities, results and risk status.

 

9. Continuous improvement

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms must be implemented for the TPRM framework. This helps in identifying lessons learned from past experiences and highlights emerging risks or changes in the business environment to enhance policies, procedures, and risk assessment methodologies.

 

10. Training

Develop training modules and awareness sessions to educate employees about their roles and responsibilities in managing third-party risks. Doing this fosters a security-first culture and promotes risk awareness and accountability throughout the organization.

 

Best practices to maintain third-party risk management framework

Best practices to maintain third-party risk management framework

 

 

A TPRM framework requires continuous monitoring and adoption to changing business conditions. Essential practices to ensure effective risk management in vendor relationships includes:

 

Develop standards and frameworks for third-party monitoring

  • Establish standardized operating procedures to be used throughout the organization.
  • Utilize established risk management frameworks such as NIST and ISO to complement the assessment process and ensure comprehensive coverage of third-party risks.

 

Risk cataloging and assessment

  • Catalog cybersecurity risks posed by third-party vendors and assess them based on potential impact and likelihood.
  • Adjust risk profiles per the changes in vendor operations, the scope of services provided, or any relevant regulations.
  • Segment vendors based on identified risks and prioritize mitigation efforts according to your organization’s risk appetite.

 

Conduct due diligence

  • Conduct annual audits to review the effectiveness of your risk management efforts
  • Compare performance against pre-defined risk tolerance thresholds.
  • Identify key security controls and monitor its adherence by the vendors.

 

Continuous improvement

  • Implement mechanisms to monitor third-party relationships, including performance, compliance, and risk indicators.
  • Develop incident response plans to ensure effective responses to security breaches or other incidents involving third-party vendors.
  • Provide training programs to educate employees and stakeholders on TPRM best practices and emerging risks.

 

Utilize automation tools for improvement

  • Leverage technology to automate evaluations and oversights, where possible.
  • Ensure continuous monitoring and improvement of third-party management processes.
  • Establish clear success criteria aligned to the level of risk tolerance.
  • Act on lessons and observations from incidents, audit findings, or best practices in the industry to strengthen due diligence processes.

How does Cyber Sierra help you manage third-party risk?

 

As emphasized, conducting thorough checks on third-party partners is crucial for businesses. It goes beyond merely ticking a checkbox; it’s an ongoing effort filled with inherent risks.

 

Developing a robust Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) program may seem daunting without a dedicated solution. Fortunately, your team can streamline critical processes of your vendor risk management program with Cyber Sierra.

 

Our unified cybersecurity platform empowers your team to assess, onboard, and manage your vendors’ security and compliance posture in near real-time, enabling you to mitigate vendor risks much faster. Ultimately, Cyber Sierra serves as a proactive partner, integrating governance, risk management, and cybersecurity adherence into a complete cybersecurity solution. Schedule a demo today!

 

FAQs

 

How can a TPRM framework benefit your organization?

A TPRM framework provides several benefits, including enhanced risk awareness, better decision-making regarding vendor partnerships, improved regulatory compliance, and protection of organizational assets and reputation. By systematically managing third-party risks, organizations can minimize the likelihood of vulnerabilities, data breaches, financial losses, and disruptions to operations, thereby safeguarding their overall resilience and competitiveness in the market.

 

How often should you conduct third-party risk assessment?

It is recommended to assess new third parties during onboarding, before audits, upon contract renewals, during incidents, during termination of partnerships, and also periodically whenever there are changes in the control environments.

 

Is there software for conducting third-party risk assessments?

Yes. There are specialized third-party risk management software and tools to perform risk assessment. These tools enable you to conduct assessments following a questionnaire, automate tasks, manage data, and offer insights into risks, streamlining the entire third-party risk management process.

  • Third Party Risk Management
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Continuous Control Monitoring

Building and Implementing a Continuous Control Monitoring

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Building and Implementing a Continuous Control Monitoring

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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

Why Security Executives Avoid Point Cybersecurity Solutions

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Why Security Executives Avoid Point Cybersecurity Solutions

Cyberattacks are getting worse. 

Between 2021 and 2022, it increased by 38% worldwide:

Between 2021 and 2022, it increased by 38% worldwide

There are other sides to this data.

First, cybercriminals are also becoming more sophisticated in their attacks on companies. Accordingly, there are growing numbers of tools (i.e., point cybersecurity solutions) for addressing specific threats individually.

And, that’s supposed to be a good thing. 

Unfortunately, using multiple vendor tools to tackle each cyber threat hasn’t helped CISOs secure their company infrastructure. For instance, another research by Check Point found that too many security solutions does your team’s cybersecurity efforts more harm than good: 

cybersecurity efforts more harm than good

This insight calls for CISOs to pause and ask… 

Why Aren’t Point Cybersecurity Solutions Optimal?

Most are often reactive purchases. 

Take when news of an enterprise data breach creates an uptick in sales of point solutions for tackling such cyberattacks. Likewise, a series of phishing attacks will pull companies into investing in counter-phishing solutions.

It usually makes sense at first. Long-term, however, such a siloed, reactionary approach to mitigating cyber risks has downsides. One is that, because they aren’t interoperable with others, they still leave gaps for cybercriminals. This is why opting for an interoperable cybersecurity suite designed to work dynamically makes more sense. 

And a veteran CISO recommended this

Joe Robertson - Quote

Joe’s suggestion highlights why IT executives should opt for a cybersecurity solution that can tackle multiple threats in one place. 

In line with that, this article will:

  • Explore 8 core cybersecurity solutions (and threats they tackle) 
  • Showcase Cyber Sierra, our interoperable cybersecurity suite. 
illustration background

Tackle Cybersecurity In  One Interoperable Solution Suite

8 Core Types of Enterprise Cybersecurity Solutions

There’s no shortage of point cybersecurity tools. 

And that’s in any niche or subniche you tune into:

8 Core Types of Enterprise Cybersecurity Solutions

But across this multitude of tools, there are core data security threats each category aims to mitigate. We explore those solutions below. 

1. Security Information & Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM products monitor and analyze security events across an organization’s systems and network. According to IBM, most point solutions in this category offer the same core functionalities: 

 Security Information & Event Management (SIEM)

And it’s not just having the same functionality. 

Being difficult to set up and manage without specialized employees are other problems SIEMs have, per W@tchTower. In short, their report further noted something CISOs should take even more seriously:

Being difficult to set up and manage without specialized employees are other problems SIEMs have, per W@tchTower

A solution to this is a SIEM that can aggregate threat alerts into an auto-updated risk register. Better if this risk register also has the capability to articulate the possible impact, likelihood, and risk score of each threat alert. This way, the data is more actionable for your team. 

Cyber Sierra has these capabilities:

risk register

2. Vulnerability Management Tools

While SIEMs can analyze and highlight crucial intelligence about potential threats, they lack in providing the right context, as observed above. Also, the data you get is often voluminous, making it difficult for your security team to prioritize efforts. 

Point vulnerability management tools will integrate with a SIEM to complement it and create manageable processes for eliminating cyber threats. So if you purchase and implement a SIEM product, you’d still need to buy a separate vulnerability management software.

Such essential synergy is pre-built into Cyber Sierra. 

At the top, the security dashboard has an always-updated overview for members of your team to quickly glance: 

  • Average safety score of your organization
  • No. of vulnerabilities.
  • No. of warnings, and
  • Threats sorted from critical to low: 

Vulnerability Management Tools

Below this overview section, and from the same pane, managing vulnerabilities doesn’t require buying and implementing a separate tool. 

Each sorted alert comes with a description and succinct remediation to-do. And you can assign remediation tasks to your team right there on our platform or push them to JIRA without jumping through hoops: 

assign remediation tasks to your team right there on our platform or push them to JIRA without jumping through hoops

3. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Solutions in this category use custom enforcement to prevent sensitive data that could lead to security breaches from leaving your organization. Top DLP software can monitor, detect, and block both data entering your corporate network and those attempting to leave. 

According to Gartner, the top nine DLP products are:

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

4. Network Access Control (NAC)

These technologies allow CISOs and IT security executives to confirm the authorization and access of all devices and users on a company’s network. But most NAC tools rely on threat alerts from a SIEM. 

For instance, an implemented NAC product could enforce a security policy to contain an endpoint based on alerts triggered by a SIEM. In other words, as a point security solution, NAC tools could be deficient. 

eSecurity Planet reviewed the top nine NAC tools: 

Network Access Control (NAC)

5. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Here is an MFA technology explained visually: 

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

As shown, MFA creates an added layer of security for anyone trying to access your software. Instead of just passwords, which hackers can easily breach, personal verification methods are enforced. 

This reinforces your organization’s identity and access management (IAM), decreasing the likelihood of cyberattacks. 

Expert Insights reviewed the top MFA products:

Expert Insights reviewed the top MFA products

6. Security Configuration Management (SCM)

Solutions in this category are essential if your organization must comply with governance and regulatory compliance (GRC) requirements. First, they ensure that your company’s cloud tools, devices, and all related systems are properly configured and secured. 

On the other hand, a good SCM automates most processes needed to improve your cybersecurity posture and secure compliance certifications. 

But they have a caveat. 

SCMs are standalone point solutions. So, you’ll still need to purchase separate tools to navigate the tiresome process of securing different compliance certifications like SOC, ISO27001, PCI DSS, and others. 

And this is where an interoperable cybersecurity solution suite like Cyber Sierra shines. First, with a single scan, it can continuously identify misconfigurations in your network, repository, cloud, and Kubernetes:

Security Configuration Management (SCM)

Threats identified can be managed (with remediation tasks auto-generated per alert) on the same platform. This gives your team an always-updated view of your company’s data cybersecurity posture in one pane. 

Also, your company’s cyber posture data gets ingested natively into our GRC solution, reducing the entire process of getting standard and custom compliance certifications to a few simple clicks: 

your company’s cyber posture data gets ingested natively into our GRC solution, reducing the entire process of getting standard and custom compliance certifications to a few simple clicks

Since you’re still here…

illustration background

Tackle Cyberthreats, Automate Compliance Certifications. Right-size Cyber Insurance. All In One Interoperable Solution Suite

7. Phishing Simulation & Employee Awareness Program

Products in this niche help IT executives to disperse cybersecurity awareness and train employees on countering phishing attacks. Often called anti-phishing programs, they simulate realistic attacks and gauge how effective employees are at handling cyberthreats. 

But an exceptional solution should do more.

It should have the various anti-phishing training types built-in, so busy executives can easily send them to employees in a few button clicks.

Cyber Sierra has that: 

anti-phishing training types

Also, awareness training programs to educate employees on all possible cybersecurity threats should be built-in, too.  This includes:

  • Best ways to use social media
  • Cyber risks through 3rd-party vendors
  • How to spot phishing emails
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Safe browsing habits
  • Sensitive data handling 
  • Ransomware
  • Common cybersecurity threats
  • And others. 

Cyber Sierra also has these out of the box:

 

Cyber Sierra also has these out of the box:

8. Third Party Risk Management (TPRM) Solutions

By utilizing the tools in the seven categories so far, you can greatly strengthen your internal data security measures. Unfortunately, they won’t prevent cybercriminals from attacking through 3rd-party vendors, which your company needs to enhance its capabilities.

In short, the stats are scary in this area:

cybersecurity efforts more harm than good

Point TPRM tools help you mitigate possible third-party threats. 

But managing 3rd-party risks along with other threats in one, interoperable solution suite, is more optimal. Instead of another siloed tool in your security stack, you get the entire process synced into your team’s existing cybersecurity program.

Cyber Sierra makes this possible by streamlining the entire processes involved in managing third-party risks into three steps. It also comes pre-built with the two essential vendor assessment templates: 

pre-built with the two essential vendor assessment

We’ve covered the eight core cybersecurity solutions.

We also emphasized the need to opt for an interoperable cybersecurity solution instead of multiple point tools. 

You may be wondering… 

Why Choose an Interoperable Cybersecurity Solution?

I’ll give you three reasons. 

The 1st is that the threat landscape is expanding with no end in sight. Consequently, the skills and knowledge required to answer the simple, but crucial question, “are we secure,” will only get broader. Johan Bogema, a Cybersecurity Expert, observed this in a report for ON2IT. 

He wrote

Johan Bogema - Quote

As cyber threats broaden with more sophisticated attacks, mitigating them in one interoperable platform that works well together is optimal. That’s because your team can tackle threats without losing sight of others. 

The 2nd reason has to do with wasted spend and exposure to vulnerabilities resulting from tools that don’t play well together. Matt Kakpo, a veteran Reporter at Cybersecurity Dive, corroborates

Matt Kapko - Quote

The 3rd reason is a consequence of the 1st two.

Due to wasted spend and difficulties with implementing separate solutions that don’t work together, executives are opting for solutions that tackle a wide range of threats in one pane. 

Take Delta Air’s Global CISO:

Debbie Wheeler - Quote

Interoperable, One Pane View

In addition to replacing most point solutions highlighted, Cyber Sierra works well with cybersecurity tools used by enterprise companies. I mean those for tackling advanced threats like: 

  • Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). 

This built-in interoperability means you can cut down on vendors, while getting a one-pane view with detailed intel of your company’s cyber posture. It also means you can identify endpoints across your organization’s network with potential threats faster. 

Continuous security controls monitoring and the entire process of securing cyber insurance is streamlined into Cyber Sierra. This means you (and your team) can address a broad range of threats in one place:  

illustration background

Tackle Cyberthreats, Automate Compliance Certifications. Right-size Cyber Insurance. All In One Interoperable Solution Suite

  • Governance & Compliance
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

The Busy CTOs Checklist Guide to Automating GDPR Compliance

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


The Busy CTOs Checklist Guide to Automating GDPR Compliance

Look at this:

escalating GDPR

As shown, fines issued by the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) are escalating. Notably, it leaped tenfold from €295.9 million in 2021 to over €2.77 billion as of February 2023. 

At this rate, CTOs and IT executives must stay GDPR-compliant (even after initial compliance) to avoid getting fined. But achieving this requires automating the gruesome pre- and post-GDPR compliance processes. 

You’ll see how to accomplish both in the ongoing GDPR compliance checklist explored below. Before we get there…

Start by Knowing the 7 GDPR Principles

Article 5.1-2 of the GDPR privacy law outlines seven protection and accountability principles organizations must adhere to when processing personal data. 

As captured below:

7 GDPR

Continuous adherence to all principles outlined above is how you become (and stay) GDPR-compliant. Unfortunately, it’s easier said because implementing their requirements leaves a lot to interpretation. 

CSO’s Micheal Nadeau corroborates

Michael Nadeau - Quote

To emphasize, fines for non-compliance could be as high as 20 million or 4% of your company’s global revenue. So to close every leeway that could lead to one, comprehensive and continuous implementation of GDPR principles is crucial. 

Our 10-step checklist guide details how to do that. As we proceed, you’ll also see how Cyber Sierra automates crucial processes involved.

Download the checklist to follow along:

illustration background

Ongoing GDPR Compliance Checklist

Become ( and stay) GDPR – compliant with Cyber Sierra’s actionable checklist.

card image

The 10-Step Ongoing GDPR Compliance Checklist

Does GDPR, an EU law, even apply to you? 

Organizations outside of Europe might ask this question. So before jumping into the checklist, here’s to re-clarify who must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): 

Does GDPR, an EU law, even apply to you? Organizations outside of Europe might ask this question. So before jumping into the checklist, here’s to re-clarify who must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

Explaining further, the GDPR’s official site notes:

GDPR.EU - In-content highlight design

And now, the GDPR Cyber security checklist guide. 

 

1. Map All Collected & Processed Data

The first step for becoming compliant with GDPR is taking a holistic inventory of all the data your company collects or processes. 

Three things you should do here are: 

  • Identify all databases, applications, networks, etc., within your organization. 
  • Document all collected, processed, and stored personally identifiable information (PII) in those mapped systems. 
  • Outline who has access to each mapped data (i.e., employees or third-party vendors, partners, etc.) 

These actions create a birds-eye view of all personal data your company collects, stores, or processes. Matt Fisher, an IT thought leader, shared why this first step is crucial for simplifying the entire project of becoming GDPR-compliant. 

In his words:

Matt Fisher - Quote

 

2. Document Justification for Data Processing

Collecting, storing, or processing personal data is illegal under the GDPR law. Therefore, all companies must justify why they are doing so, subject to one or more conditions listed in GDPR’s Article 6

So as a 2nd step, create a process that documents your company’s justification for processing personal data. This should include a lawful basis for processing data approved by the GDPR such as: 

  • Consent given by the data subject, where the data subject is the owner of the data. 
  • Contract entered with the data subject. 
  • Necessary for fulfilling a legal obligation. 
  • Necessary for protecting the interests of the data subject or an associated third party. 
  • Necessary for legitimate purposes pursued by the data controller (i.e., the organization collecting data) or associated third parties. 

Next, add a consent box to all forms and switch to double opt-ins to ensure you only collect data with expressed consent. Then, create (or recreate) and publish your company’s privacy policy. In it, provide clear information on how you process data and justify why. 

According to the GDPR’s official site

GDPR.EU

 

3. Perform Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) 

A data protection impact assessment uncovers how your product could jeopardize the personal data your company collects, stores, or processes. This step also helps you identify risks associated with personal data being processed. 

Consider using a cybersecurity suite to effortlessly achieve both. Fortunately, this is one area where the Cyber Sierra interoperable cybersecurity and gdpr compliance automation platform comes in.

For instance, connect your cloud assets, network systems, etc., and our cybersecurity suite will scan everywhere your company collects, stores, or processes data. 

You get a Scan Dashboard with:

  • Descriptions of all identified risks and vulnerabilities across everywhere your company collects, stores, or processes data. 
  • Critical risks to personal data identified and prioritized. 
  • Ability to assign identified threats to teammates with summarized remediation tips for mitigating risks:

Perform Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

 

4. Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

If the steps above look overwhelming, it’s because they are. 

Hence, this official statement:

Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

In addition to overseeing the steps up to this point, a DPO eases you of responsibilities outlined by the GDPR law. 

Some crucial ones are: 

  • Respond to comments and questions from data subjects related to how your company processes their personal data.
  • Cooperate with the data protection supervisory authority and inform executives and employees of their GDPR obligations.
  • Continuously monitor your organization’s GDPR processes and maintain documentation to prove compliance.
  • Train employees on compliance and perform ongoing audits.

Before we proceed…

Imagine your appointed data protection officer (or maybe, you) could continuously monitor your company’s GDPR compliance and train employees from one place. As you’ll soon see, you can do both with Cyber Sierra’s cybersecurity and compliance automation platform.  

 

5. Launch Ongoing Employee Awareness Training

Punit Bhatia, author of ‘Be Ready for GDPR,’ advised:

Punit Bhatia - Quote

Punit is spot on because, as you can imagine, implementing and maintaining the GDPR law is complex. Therefore, regular data privacy training is needed to help employees handle personal data securely. 

Ticking off this crucial step of the GDPR compliance process is easy with Cyber Sierra. You can launch, track completion, and manage ongoing employee security training necessary for implementing GDPR procedures and staying compliant from the same place.

Here’s a peek: 

Employee awa

illustration background

Automate Ongoing GDPR compliance from one place.

Perform data assessments, train employees, automate, and continuously monitor GDPR compliance from one place.

card image

6. Implement Company-wide Safeguards

Companies are mandated to establish ‘appropriate technical and organizational measures,’ ensuring all processed customer data is properly secured. The GDPR doesn’t specify what safeguards must be implemented, allowing organizations to implement those relevant to their business needs. 

However, crucial safeguards to consider are: 

  • Multifactor authentication for employees and customers 
  • Data encryption for all processed data
  • User access controls to monitor unauthorized accesses.

 

7. Enforce the Security of Data Transfers

To become compliant with GDPR, ensure that all personal data shared between your company, partners, and third parties is adequately transferred and secured. 

Enforcing this requires: 

  • Putting unavoidable technical controls (i.e., implementing data security measures) in place. 
  • Having company-wide controls (i.e., implementing data governance measures) to guide employees handling data. 
  • Creating Data Processing Agreements (DPA) with contractual clauses mandating third-party vendors to secure shared data. 

 

8. Assess and Manage Third-Party Vendor Risks

Risks to personal data from third-party vendors aren’t left out of the GDPR compliance equation. In short, it is mandated for organizations to regularly assess and manage 3rd-party vendor risks. 

So to ensure third-parties don’t sabotage your efforts toward becoming (and staying) GDPR-compliant, you must:

  • Conduct a thorough evaluation of the risk associated with every vendor within your organization’s ecosystem.
  • Have standard security questionnaires 3rd-party vendors must complete to prove compliance with data handling.
  • Implement measures for identifying and remediating third-party vendor risks swiftly. 

Our tool makes these processes more efficient. 

For instance, you can easily add vendors to our Assessments suite. And when doing so, choose from our prebuilt risk assessment templates and share it with your vendors to prove their compliance with handling personal data. 

You can manage everything from one dashboard:

Assess and Manage Third-Party Vendor Risks

 

9. Create Breach Notification Policies

As cybercrime evolves, unauthorized access to personal data you control or process can still happen despite your company’s best effort. 

In case it does: 

  • How will your company’s security team handle it? 
  • Specifically, who on the security team will handle it? 
  • How will you monitor against such events and swiftly remediate them when they happen? 

Creating and implementing breach notification procedures and policies addresses these concerns. And they are a mandatory requirement for becoming (and staying) GDPR-compliant. 

Specifically, the EU GDPR mandates that all breaches be reported less than 72 hours after they occur. Data processors must report to data controllers. Data controllers, in turn, must report to a supervisory authority, often called the Data Protection Association. 

You can also create, assign, and manage these essential GDPR policies and procedures with the Cyber Sierra compliance automation suite: 

notify policy

 

10. Implement Continuous Monitoring of GDPR Controls

Becoming GDPR-compliant is tough. 

But staying compliant is even tougher. 

And that’s because the process isn’t a one-time affair. Cybercriminals are endlessly on the hunt for new ways to breach the personal data you control or process. This explains why non-compliance fines continue to escalate, jumping tenfold from two years ago: 

escalating GDPR

To avoid this, continuously: 

  • Monitor GDPR safeguards, controls and policy implementations
  • Train employees on emerging risks relevant to GDPR compliance
  • Track if employees and third-party vendors are monitoring safeguards and properly securing personal data they handle
  • Detect, score, prioritize, and remediate emerging data risks. 

You can do all these with Cyber Sierra

Take detecting and remediating risks as they emerge. Our Risk Register feature handles both effectively and efficiently. It can continuously scan and monitor all your connected cloud systems. 

You get an always-updated dashboard with detected risks scored and prioritized based on likelihood to cause a data breach

Conduct Risk Assessments

illustration background

Automate Ongoing GDPR compliance from one place.

Perform data assessments, train employees, automate, and continuously monitor GDPR compliance from one place.

card image
  • Governance & Compliance
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

GRC in Cyber Security: 5 Reasons to Consolidate Cyber Security, Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Insurance

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


GRC in Cyber Security: 5 Reasons to Consolidate Cyber Security, Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Insurance

Cybersecurity is an indispensable requirement for businesses today. With the uptick of cybercrimes due to the pandemic, there is an apparent need to secure computer networks and data from hackers. Unfortunately, it has even been predicted that global cybercrime damages will amount to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

Given the plethora of threats and attacks, it stands to reason that the GRC framework in cyber security is needed now more than ever.

slider

What is GRC in Cybersecurity?

What is GRC in Cybersecurity?

 

CIO explains that the GRC in cybersecurity is a strategy for managing an organization’s overall governance, enterprise risk management, and compliance with regulatory requirements. It aligns information technology (IT) with business goals to effectively manage cyber risk.  

Breaking it down further:

  • Governance: This relates to the organizational plan for cyber and information security.
  • Risk management: Any gaps, vulnerabilities, and security risks will be identified and strengthened through a comprehensive IT risk management process.
  • Compliance: Following the industry’s cybersecurity rules and requirements, such as the NIST Framework or ISO 27001.

To ensure the implementation of the GRC, organizations utilize some form of cyber insurance. Cyber insurance offers a safety net for businesses against cybercrimes. Likewise, it ensures data security and cybersecurity compliance, by requiring these to be in place.

Unfortunately, there is a problem.

Since managing cybersecurity is getting more difficult because of reasons such as the digitalization of businesses and the increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices being connected to the business’ network, around 47% of enterprise organizations use 11 or more cybersecurity technology vendors and 25 or more different cybersecurity products.

This unbundled governance, security, compliance, and insurance offerings from different vendors make people and organizations waste time and energy weathering problems like interoperability issues and high costs.

As such, it would be better to take a consolidated approach to cybersecurity by limiting the number of cybersecurity vendors an organization does business with.

5 Reasons to Take a Consolidated Approach to Your Security:

Consolidating your approach to security would not only limit cybersecurity problems but also ensure that your GRC framework is implemented and you are insured. Thus, here are 5 reasons to take a consolidated approach.

 

5 Reasons to Take a Consolidated Approach to Your Security-

 

  1. Ease of Use

Choosing certain vendors that would provide the best possible security to your business will increase its ease of use as interoperability issues are curbed. In addition, having fewer vendors/products can simplify the end-user experience. As such, buying from vendors like Cyber Sierra would be beneficial as they have a solution for interoperability issues. Thus, simplifying the end-user experience.

  1. Threat Detection Will Be Much More Efficient

An IBM study found that companies that utilize more than 50 cybersecurity tools scored 8% lower in their ability to mitigate threats and 7% lower in their defensive capabilities. As such, by consolidating your approach to security, reporting security incidents would be streamlined, and threat detection would be much more efficient. In addition, you would increase your organization’s overall security as you limit the chances of exploitable vulnerabilities.

  1. Faster Response to Threats and Attacks

In a 2018 study, an average enterprise handles at least 174,000 weekly threat alerts. Unfortunately, they can only respond to 12,000, rendering at least 90% to be left uninvestigated. This can cause serious harm to the organization. As such, organizations can better respond to risks, threats, and attacks by limiting and choosing security vendors that encompass a broad range of tools.

  1. Lower the Cost of Security

Paying for too many security vendors can accumulate and raise the cost of security. Unfortunately, it fails to provide businesses with the best protection against attacks. IBM reported that data breaches on businesses could amount to $3.92 million per attack. As such, having your cybersecurity streamlined and integrated can lower the products’ costs and mitigate breaches/attacks.

  1. Tighter Protection

Overall, through a consolidated approach, you can be assured that your system and data privacy are protected as vulnerabilities are exposed, threats are contained, and attacks are dealt with. Fortunately, vendors like Cyber Sierra champion a consolidated approach to security. As such, you will receive optimal protection to safeguard your business from costly breaches.

Final Thoughts

Given the volatility of the threat landscape, organizations must maintain a high level of cyber resilience. Through GRC in cybersecurity, organizations can ensure that their data and systems are secure from threats and attacks. That said, given the state of how companies tackle their cyber security, it poses some problems. As such, it is key to take an integrated approach to security to maximize its protection.

This is where Cyber Sierra comes in. With its consolidated approach to cybersecurity, GRC in cybersecurity is assured. Given that Cyber Sierra tailors its products to suit your organization’s needs, you can be assured that all compliance regulations will be met, employees will be trained, risks will be mitigated, and data will be protected. Essentially, with Cyber Sierra, all your key security needs will be looked out for.

 

  • Governance & Compliance
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.

Find out how we can assist you in completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

How Compliance With Cybersecurity Frameworks Improves Business Functioning

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Compliance with cybersecurity frameworks can improve business functioning by reducing the risk of data breaches, protecting customer information, and enhancing reputation. Frameworks such as NIST, PCI DSS, GDPR, CCPA, and ISO/IEC 27001 provide guidelines for managing cybersecurity risks and implementing appropriate security controls. Compliance can demonstrate a business’ commitment to cybersecurity and privacy, which can improve customer trust and loyalty. 

We spoke to business heads across industries and here’s what they had to say on the adoption of cybersecurity frameworks and how it has had a transformative effect on their businesses. 

TL;DR

Here are the five ways compliance with cybersecurity frameworks has helped businesses:

  • Upgraded control and understanding
  • Enhanced data privacy awareness
  • Improved data protection and enhanced trust among stakeholders
  • Opened opportunities for growth and development
  • Increased operations visibility
slider

Upgraded Our Control and Understanding

We now have a level of understanding and control we have never had. It has improved not only our security but also our business processes. Going through this process has made me realize cybersecurity is a crucial area I should focus on as CEO.

Paul Blunden
Founder and CEO, UX247 Ltd
quote_by

We are a small UX agency, but with blue-chip clients like eBay and Shopify, as well as FS clients like NatWest. We needed to improve our security infrastructure in order to comply with the requirements of some of our customers’ master services agreements (MSAs). 

I had also noticed someone had hacked several smaller clients, sometimes with devastating consequences. And we had experienced hacking attempts through WhatsApp messages to new starters and of our website.

It has taken a lot of effort to implement the required policies, and most importantly the practices. It has also cost a lot, in terms of new software, upgrading our Office 365 licensing, and adding a new IT partner and an external consultancy. But it has been worth it.

We now have a level of understanding and control we have never had. It has improved not only our security but also our business processes. Going through this process has made me realize cybersecurity is a crucial area I should focus on as CEO.

Paul Blunden, Founder and CEO, UX247 Ltd

Enhanced Data Privacy Awareness

Compliance with cybersecurity frameworks has enabled us to create awareness of the importance of data privacy and the implementation of other cybersecurity measures.

Liam Liu
Co-founder and CMO, Parcel Panel
quote_by

Compliance with cybersecurity frameworks has enabled us to create awareness of the importance of data privacy and the implementation of other cybersecurity measures. This awareness has not only helped to improve the measures we implement to protect our customer data but has also enhanced their awareness of threats, thus providing more protection for our company systems.”

Liam Liu, Co-founder and CMO, Parcel Panel

Improved Data Protection and Enhanced Trust Among Stakeholders

Compliance with frameworks such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, and GDPR has helped us improve our data protection practices and establish a trust-based relationship with our stakeholders. 

Basana Saha
Founder and Editor, KidsCareIdeas
quote_by

“Compliance with frameworks such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, and GDPR has helped us improve our data protection practices and establish a trust-based relationship with our stakeholders. 

In addition, the implementation of PCI DSS has enabled us to safeguard our customers’ payment card data and enhance their confidence in our services. Compliance with these frameworks has not only improved our cybersecurity posture but also helped us stand out in a competitive marketplace by demonstrating our commitment to safeguarding our customers’ data.”

Basana Saha, Founder and Editor, KidsCareIdeas

Opened Many Doors for Growth and Development

Adopting cybersecurity frameworks reminds organizations that security is a priority and that other vital improvements can be achieved by prioritizing security. And with clients’ trust, many doors for growth and development get opened.

Marco Genaro Palma
Co-founder, TechNews180
quote_by

“Adopting cybersecurity frameworks reminds organizations that security is a priority and that other vital improvements can be achieved by prioritizing security. It is not only important to secure our company’s data but also to conform to global standards and regulations, thereby building clients’ trust. And with clients’ trust, many doors for growth and development get opened.”

Marco Genaro Palma, Co-founder, TechNews180

Increased Operations Visibility

Implementing these frameworks has helped increase visibility into our operations and help identify potential risks.

Aviad Faruz
CEO, FARUZO
quote_by

“Complying with cybersecurity frameworks has had a positive impact on business by improving our ability to protect data assets and networks from potential threats, maintaining the security of customer information, and ensuring compliance with industry standards for IT systems.

Implementing these frameworks has helped increase visibility into our operations and help identify potential risks.”

Aviad Faruz, CEO, FARUZO

  • Governance & Compliance
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.

Find out how we can assist you in completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

Top 10 Alternatives to Scrut in 2024

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Top 10 Alternatives to Scrut in 2024

Are you on the lookout for a robust compliance management software that could enhance your data security and compliance management processes?

Scrut has certainly carved a niche for itself in the business world as a preferred choice for handling compliance matters, but it might not be the perfect fit for every organization’s specific needs. It’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate all accessible alternatives before settling on your final choice.

In this guide, we will shed light on 10 promising alternatives to Scrut and delve into the unique advantages they hold over their rivals.

 

Top 10 Scrut Alternatives: Key Features, Pricing Plans, and More

Here are the top 10 alternatives to Scrut that we have shortlisted for you:

  1. Cyber Sierra
  2. Vanta
  3. Secureframe
  4. Drata
  5. Sprinto
  6. AuditBoard
  7. Wiz
  8. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
  9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud
  10. Duo Security

Let’s look at them one by one.

 

1. Cyber Sierra

 

Cyber Sierra - Alternatives to Scrut

Source

 

Overview

Cyber Sierra offers a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind cybersecurity suite, created specifically to fulfill the requirements of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), technology pioneers, and other personnel engaged in the realm of data protection.

One notable attribute of Cyber Sierra is its seamless convergence of various security modules, forming an all-in-one security solution.

It unifies governance, risk management, cybersecurity compliance, cyber insurance offerings, threat landscape, and staff security training programs into its consolidated platform, effectively reducing the fragmentation often found in the many cybersecurity solutions in the market.

 

Key features

  • Omni governance: aids firms in achieving compliance standards recognized globally – ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and PDPA.
  • Cybersecurity health check: performs thorough assessment and identification of threats linked to your digital entities.
  • Staff security education: provides a curriculum to empower employees in detecting and deflecting phishing attempts.
  • Third-party risk oversight: simplifies the process of security clearance for vendors and ensures routine monitoring of potential risks.
  • Continuous control monitoring: Monitors in near real-time the security controls, flagging off controls breaks and risk mitigation strategies.

 

Strengths

  • All-in-one security solution: brings together governance, risk management, cybersecurity compliance, cyber insurance offering, threat landscape, and personnel training modules in one consolidated platform.
  • Continuous surveillance: active, 24/7 risk monitoring, threat anticipation and risk grading.
  • Vendor risk command: simplifies the complexity of managing third-party associates and brings down associated risks.

 

Weaknesses

  • The platform is relatively new in the market.

 

Optimal for:

Cyber Sierra provides perfect resonance for both established corporations and startups confronted with regulative compliance, data protection, and similar concerns.

Additionally, it benefits corporations aiming to harmonize their cybersecurity, governance, and insurance methodologies, transitioning from multiple vendors to an integrated, intelligent platform.

 

2. Vanta

 

Vanta

Source

 

Overview

Vanta is a platform that specializes in security and compliance management, with a focus on simplifying the processes involved in achieving SOC 2 compliance. It underscores the importance of security in a company’s technology environment by enabling continuous monitoring and automation of compliance processes. This functionality significantly decreases the amount of time and resources needed to prepare for SOC 2 certification.

 

Key features

  • Continuous Monitoring: By offering continuous security monitoring, Vanta ensures real-time compliance, enabling companies to remain updated and secure at all times.
  • Automation: To make the SOC 2 certification process faster and more efficient, it automates compliance efforts, streamlining workflows and reducing manual intervention.
  • Integration: It provides seamless integration with popular services and platforms like AWS, GCP, Azure, and more. This wide range of integration options makes it more adaptable to different technology environments.

 

Strengths

  • Time efficiency: Reduces the time and effort required to achieve SOC 2 compliance, saving companies valuable resources.
  • Integration: Integrates easily with numerous popular platforms, making it adaptable to various technology environments.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited Scope: As a specialist in SOC 2 compliance, Vanta may not cater to other security frameworks or standards that some businesses might need.
  • Customization: With restricted customization options, Vanta may be less flexible for businesses that have unique compliance needs or those seeking to tailor their experiences.

 

Best suited for

Vanta serves as an excellent solution for mid-sized to large businesses, especially those from industries that necessitate strict security compliance standards. This makes it relevant for sectors such as technology, healthcare, or finance, where compliance with stringent security standards (like SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI and GDPR) becomes unavoidable.

 

3. Secureframe

 

Secureframe

Source

 

Overview

Secureframe is a distinct compliance platform precisely developed to ease the process of achieving SOC 2 and ISO 27001 certifications. The tool’s strength lies in delivering thorough and consistent monitoring across multiple cloud platforms, including AWS, GCP, and Azure.

 

Key Features

  • Compliance monitoring: Secureframe offers continuous compliance monitoring across a diverse suite of services, ensuring round-the-clock security.
  • Automation: Through automation, Secureframe can dramatically decrease the time and resource requirements typically associated with security compliance tasks.
  • Integration capabilities: The platform operates smoothly with leading cloud services like AWS, GCP, and Azure, promoting harmonious operations.

 

Strengths

  • Robust reporting: Secureframe provides comprehensive and easy-to-understand reporting functionality, making it easier for businesses to keep track of compliance and security statuses.
  • User-friendly interface: The platform boasts a simplified, intuitive interface that makes navigation and task execution easy for users without technical expertise.
  • Multi-cloud support: Its ability to seamlessly work across multiple commonly used cloud services, including AWS, GCP, and Azure, is an added boon for businesses operating within these environments.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited customization: Certain users have indicated a need for complex customization opportunities, suggesting that the platform might not provide enough versatility to meet the needs of all businesses.

 

Best suited for

Secureframe is especially beneficial for businesses, regardless of their size, that are aiming to simplify the process of obtaining SOC 2 and ISO 27001 certifications. Its superior integration abilities with popular cloud platforms make it particularly advantageous for companies that are reliant on AWS, GCP, and Azure for cloud services.

 

4. Drata

 

Drata

Source

 

Overview

Drata is a security and compliance management platform that offers comprehensive support to companies striving to accomplish and sustain SOC 2 compliance.

The platform’s audit management software mechanizes the process of tracking, managing, and overseeing the necessary technical and operational controls for SOC 2 certification.

 

Key Features

  • Asset management: Drata enables companies to identify and track all assets such as servers, devices, and applications, making their management more effective.
  • Policy & procedure templates: Pre-built templates for policies and procedures on the platform allow companies to efficiently generate internal compliance documentation.
  • User access reviews: The platform ensures adequate access controls with regular user access reviews.
  • Security training: Drata offers continuous employee training and phishing simulations to heighten awareness of existing security threats and practices.

 

Strengths

  • Automated evidence collection: By automating the collection of evidence, Drata reduces the manual effort and potential for human errors.
  • Exceptional customer support: The platform boasts a responsive and knowledgeable support team that guides clients throughout the compliance process.

 

Weaknesses

  • Onboarding process: Users have reported finding the onboarding process long and convoluted, possibly resulting in a slower initial setup.
  • Complex functionality: The broad functionality offered by Drata may prove complicated for non-technical users.
  • Scalability: Being a relatively new player in the market, Drata could face challenges when scaling up to address the needs of larger organizations with more complex compliance requirements.
  • Pricing: The pricing model of Drata might be a hurdle for smaller businesses with restrictive budgets.

 

Best Suited For

Drata is particularly beneficial for organizations wishing to earn and maintain SOC 2 compliance while minimizing manual tasks. Thanks to its advanced automation features, it appeals to businesses in search of a more streamlined audit experience.

 

5. Sprinto

 

sprinto

Source

 

Overview

Sprinto is a security and compliance automation platform that helps businesses maintain compliance with a variety of frameworks including SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.

With its customization and real-time monitoring capabilities, Sprinto equips companies to continuously check and efficiently manage their security and compliance state.

 

Key features

  • Asset management: Sprinto’s security compliance lets businesses consolidate risk, map entity-level controls, and run fully automated checks.
  • Policy implementation: The platform offers automated workflows, policy templates, and training modules that cater to various security compliance needs.
  • Exceptional support: Sprinto’s experts guide businesses through every step of the compliance process, right from risk assessment to meeting audit requirements.
  • Cloud compatibility: Sprinto integrates seamlessly with most modern business cloud services for comprehensive risk assessment and control mapping.

 

Strengths

  • Automation: Sprinto’s automation capabilities significantly reduce the effort required to achieve compliance.
  • Wide compliance coverage: Supports a broad range of compliance frameworks, enabling businesses to manage multiple compliances simultaneously.
  • Expert support: Sprinto provides expert-led implementation support from day one, ensuring appropriate controls and practices are in place.
  • Integration capability: Works seamlessly with many business cloud services, allowing for efficient mapping of controls and comprehensive risk assessment.

 

Weaknesses

  • Adaptive requirements: Businesses have to adapt to the platform to fully take advantage of automated checks and continuous monitoring.
  • Customer support: There is room for improvement in Sprinto’s customer service, as reported by some users regarding response times.

 

Best for

Sprinto is best suited for fast-growing cloud companies looking to streamline their security compliance processes. Its automation capabilities and broad compliance coverage make it an ideal choice for businesses seeking a more efficient, hands-off approach to maintaining security compliance.

 

6. AuditBoard

 

Auditboard

Source

 

Overview

AuditBoard serves as a sophisticated audit, risk, and compliance management platform devised to deliver user-friendliness. The platform aids corporations in handling intricate audit, compliance, and risk management tasks, presenting uninterrupted accessibility and collaboration utilities.

 

Key features

  • Holistic control management: AuditBoard encompasses end-to-end audit management, encapsulating capabilities such as risk appraisal, control test management, issue tracking, and report generation.
  • Operational auditing provisions: The platform furnishes an integrated toolkit, purposed to streamline and enhance internal and operational audits.
  • Risk evaluation: It aids in effortless detection and supervision of risks across various departments within an organization.
  • Real-time reports: It ensures prompt insights and custom report generation for audit progress tracking and issue management.

 

Strengths

  • User-friendliness: The intuitive interface of AuditBoard receives commendations for making audit and risk evaluations much simpler.
  • Collaboration: Its efficient collaboration tools bolster communication among internal teams and between organizations and external auditors.

 

Weaknesses

  • Customer assistance: Some incidences reflect dissatisfaction with the timely and effective response of AuditBoard’s customer support.
  • Navigation complexity: Few users find navigating through the platform somewhat complex, especially when handling multiple projects concurrently.
  • Cost: The high cost associated with its comprehensive features may not be affordable to small- and medium-sized businesses.

 

Best Suited For

AuditBoard stands as an optimal choice for large-scale organizations in search of a robust, all-in-one audit and risk management solution. It works exceptionally well for companies frequently conducting internal and operational audits, and those requiring real-time insights into their audit and risk undertakings.

 

7. Wiz

 

wiz

Source

 

Overview

Wiz serves as a holistic cloud security solution, granting enterprises an extensive perspective of security risks within their entire cloud ecosystem. This advanced Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool surpasses agent-based solutions by scanning the complete cloud infrastructure for potential weaknesses, and configuration problems, and detecting concealed threats.

 

Key features

  • All-encompassing visibility: Wiz delivers a comprehensive outlook of multi-cloud environments, providing a centralized overview of security concerns.
  • Intelligent remediation: The solution identifies vulnerabilities and presents actionable insights for addressing security risks.
  • Collaboration: Wiz fosters cooperation among DevOps, cloud infrastructure, and security teams through a unified platform.
  • Ongoing security monitoring: Wiz persistently observes cloud environments to detect and notify users of security issues or misconfigurations.

 

Strengths

  • Thorough: Wiz offers extensive security evaluation, encompassing all major cloud platforms.
  • Efficient automation: The solution facilitates role automation and showcases user-friendly dashboards to enhance security procedures.
  • Simple setup and usage: Wiz is reputed to be easy to implement with minimal configuration prerequisites.

 

Weaknesses

  • Insufficient documentation: Some users have noted that Wiz’s documentation could be more in-depth and comprehensive.
  • Ambiguity in pricing: A few reviewers have remarked that pricing information is not easily accessible, complicating cost-related decision-making.
  • Possibly overwhelming notifications: While Wiz monitors cloud environments, the frequency of its alerts might inundate some users.

 

Best Suited For

Wiz is an ideal choice for businesses operating in multi-cloud environments, necessitating a comprehensive, all-inclusive view of their cloud security posture. Its competence in delivering a centralized security perspective is particularly beneficial for companies with intricate cloud infrastructures.

 

8. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

 

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

Source

 

Overview

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that amalgamates backup services, disaster recovery capabilities, AI-empowered protection against malware and ransomware, and remote support. With its multi-layered approach, the solution safeguards data across multiple environments and devices.

 

Key features

  • Backup and disaster recovery: The service delivers constant data protection along with backup services, also equipping businesses with disaster recovery strategies for critical situations.
  • Cybersecurity: Leveraging AI and machine learning technologies, the platform can preemptively spot and ward off evolving threats.
  • Patch management: Acronis identifies and automatically updates outdated software builds reducing potential vulnerabilities.
  • Remote support: It offers remote assistance for swift problem resolution from any place.

 

Strengths

  • Holistic protection: Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud brings together backup, security, and recovery within a single framework to provide multi-tiered security.
  • User Friendliness: Several users praise the platform for its intuitive interface and seamless navigation.
  • Reliable backup and recovery: Many users commend its reliable performance when it comes to data backup and recovery.

 

Weaknesses

  • Potential performance issues: Some users noted that the software may become slow, particularly during large-scale backup operations.
  • Customer support: Some customers have reported disappointing experiences with delayed responses from the support team.
  • Lack of comprehensive reports: A handful of clients have expressed a need for a more robust reporting feature that could elaborate on a comprehensive analysis.

 

Best Suited for

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is ideal for organizations that put strong emphasis on extensive, integrated cybersecurity measures. Given its diverse features, it acts as a versatile solution for various sectors—be it IT, retail, healthcare, finance, or any other industry necessitating stringent data security.

 

9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud

 

Druva

Source

 

Overview

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is a service-driven data management and protection system, providing secure backup, disaster recovery, and data governance across various environments like data centers, endpoints, and cloud applications.

 

Key Features

  • Unified data protection: Druva delivers dependable and consolidated backup and recovery solutions for data centers, endpoints, and SaaS applications.
  • Disaster recovery: It offers a straightforward, rapidly responsive, and cost-efficient method for on-demand disaster recovery.
  • Global deduplication: Druva’s global deduplication feature facilitates efficient storage and bandwidth usage, leading to reduced costs and quicker backups.
  • Security and compliance: The solution provides data protection in adherence with multiple regulations such as GDPR, featuring encryption, access control, and audit trails.

 

Strengths

  • SaaS deployment: As a service-oriented solution, Druva is easy to install, maintain, and scale, relieving the IT teams’ burdens.
  • Efficient data management: Druva provides a centralized console for managing data protection tasks across diverse environments, simplifying data management procedures.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Druva dispenses with hardware and infrastructure expenses, resulting in a more budget-friendly solution.
  • Customer support: Druva’s support team has received positive feedback for their quick response time and helpfulness.

 

Weaknesses

  • Performance with large datasets: Some reports indicate a slowdown in performance when processing extensive datasets, suggesting it might not be the best fit for businesses with large-scale data processing needs.
  • Confusing pricing structure: Some users have indicated that the pricing structure might be a bit convoluted and lacks clarity.

 

Best Suited For

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is ideal for enterprises of all sizes seeking a service-driven, budget-friendly, and straightforward data protection solution. It’s particularly advantageous for businesses functioning in distributed environments, involving numerous data center applications and endpoints.

Contrarily, businesses required to deal with large-scale datasets or those with specific customization needs may want to explore other solutions or test Druva’s performance before choosing a final course.

 

10. Duo Security

 

Duo

Source

 

Overview

Duo Security, now integrated with Cisco, is a cloud-based access security platform that defends users, data, and applications from potential threats. It authenticates user identities and verifies the device health status before granting access to applications, ensuring compliance with enterprise security standards.

 

Key Features

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA): Duo enhances network and application access security by necessitating a secondary authentication method in addition to the primary password.
  • Device trust: Duo provides visibility into all devices attempting to access your applications and grants them access only after meeting your security criteria.
  • Adaptive authentication: Duo employs adaptive policies and machine learning to deliver secure access based on user behavior and device information.
  • Secure single sign-on (SSO): Users can securely and effortlessly access all applications through Duo’s SSO capability.

 

Strengths

  • Ease of use: Duo is renowned for its user-friendly interface and simple deployment.
  • Robust security: Duo’s two-factor authentication considerably lowers the odds of unauthorized access.
  • Wide Integration: Duo seamlessly integrates with various existing VPNs, cloud applications, and other network infrastructures.
  • Customer support: Duo’s customer service team stands out for its promptness and effectiveness.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited granular control: Users seeking specific controls or advanced customization might find Duo Security lacking granularity, particularly when configuring policies.
  • Software updates: Occasionally, users have cited challenges or temporary interruptions following software updates.
  • Cost: Duo’s pricing structure might be prohibitive for startups or smaller businesses.
  • User interface: Despite being user-friendly, some users suggest the interface could benefit from a more contemporary and visually appealing upgrade.

 

Best Suited For

Duo Security is an ideal fit for businesses with diverse software ecosystems, as it effortlessly operates across a variety of applications and devices. Organizations requiring a flexible access security solution will find Duo’s features advantageous.

 

Top 10 Scrut Alternatives: Comparative Analysis

Here’s a comparative analysis of the top 10 Scrut alternatives to find the best platform that suits your needs:

 

Top 10 Alternatives to Scrut in 2023 with table of comparison

 

Stick With The Best

Selecting suitable software for your organization can be an intricate task. However, by scrutinizing the features, costs, and user experiences associated with each option, the decision-making process can be substantially easier.

Despite the availability of various software solutions capable of aiding your organization’s management functions, it is crucial to opt for one that closely aligns with your needs.

Among security systems, Cyber Sierra distinguishes itself by integrating high functionality and robust protection within a single platform.

The platform’s uncomplicated design facilitates the rapid and easy implementation of security measures, thereby providing additional shielding against potential cyber threats.

Book a demo to see how Cyber Sierra can help your business.

  • Governance & Compliance
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

SOC 2 Compliance Simplified for Busy Tech Executives

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


SOC 2 Compliance Simplified for Busy Tech Executives

Ron has to choose from two startups. 

Both offer identical services at significantly different price points. Out of the two, only startup B is certified in security compliance. As the CTO of an enterprise firm, evidence of being able to protect his organization’s data from breaches is crucial to Ron. 

So despite startup A’s lower price, he chose startup B:

soc2 compliant

This scenario highlights just one advantage of being SOC 2 compliant. It makes prospects see your growing startup as a security-conscious partner, giving you an edge in competitive enterprise deals. 

But meeting requirements and passing independent CPA audits to achieve SOC 2 compliance is no easy feat. To increase your chances…

Early Preparation for a SOC 2 Audit is Key

A Cybersecurity Writer at CSO said it best

Mary K. Pratt - Quote

Demanding tasks are simplified if broken into small steps. Since the same applies to earning SOC 2 attestation, an optimal early preparatory path is knowing what steps to take. 

Some crucial ones include: 

  • Having the core SOC 2 compliance requirement in place
  • Creating a checklist to help you automate the process
  • Knowing how much a SOC 2 report will cost you. 

To help you prepare and ace the audit, this guide will explore these steps. You’ll also see how to build a solid cybersecurity posture and automate the SOC 2 compliance process with Cyber Sierra: 

illustration background

Improve your company's cybersecurity posture and automate SOC 2 compliance processes from one place.

desktop tablet mobile

The Core SOC 2 Compliance Requirement

SOC 2 compliance has two types.  

And requirements depend on the one you seek. SOC 2 Type I checks if you are SOC 2 compliant at a particular point in time. It’s like a snapshot. Type II, on the other hand, reviews your company’s cybersecurity compliance over a longer period (i.e., have you been compliant in 6–12 months?)  

Per the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the organization behind this compliance certificate, companies should consider a SOC 2 Type II report when: 

  • Stakeholders, investors, and fellow executives need to gain confidence and trust in their company’s security processes.
  • Prospects (and existing customers) seek to understand their ongoing security processes and controls:

consider a SOC 2 Type II report

SOC 2 Type II is therefore more comprehensive, carries more weight, and is the one often requested by security-conscious prospects. Getting it revolves around AICPA’s five Trust Services Criteria (TSC)

  1. Security,
  2. Availability, 
  3. Processing integrity,
  4. Confidentiality,
  5. Privacy. 

SOC 2 Type II five Trust Services Criteria (TSC)

Out of these five, security is the core and compulsory. 

And veteran CPA, Bernard Gallagher, stressed why

Bernard Gallagher - Quote

In other words, to appease SOC 2 Type II auditors, you must prioritize managing security risks effectively across your organization. For this, consider a cybersecurity platform that can:

  • Automatically scan your cloud assets 
  • Detect risks and vulnerabilities in real-time 
  • Assess and score the impact of those risks, and 
  • Enable you to assign remediation tasks to relevant members of your security team from one risk register. 

You can do all these with Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register: 

Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register

But it doesn’t end there. 

Ongoing employee security awareness training is also a core requirement of SOC 2 Type II. This means you must continuously train employees to remain compliant when it’s time for audits again.

SOC 2 Compliance Checklist, Automation Guide

Many CTOs and IT executives have become SOC 2 compliant in record time through our interoperable cybersecurity platform. For some, the scenario (recall this blog’s intro?) of startup A losing a big deal to startup B for not having security compliance is common. 

We believe no startup should suffer that. 

So based on our experience working with numerous businesses to automate the various processes involved, we’ve created this SOC 2 compliance checklist for your reference.

illustration background

The SOC 2 Compliance Checklist

A checklist to help you automate most processes involved in becoming SOC 2 compliant.

1. Scope Your SOC 2 Project Plan

A crucial first step is ensuring team members get the same sense of priority as you journey towards becoming SOC 2 compliant. You don’t want them treating tasks related to it as just another to-do. 

So start the project with a description that addresses:

  • Why your startup needs SOC 2 compliance. 
  • How it will bolster your company’s security posture.
  • The type of SOC 2 audit you’re going for (and why).

Still in the scoping step, outline and briefly explain components within your org that must meet AICPA’s attestation standards. They include infrastructure, data, procedures, software, and people. 

The TSC that applies to your business is next. 

As stated earlier, security is the core SOC 2 requirement, so it must be included in your scope. Selecting other TSCs should be based on demands and regulations pertinent to your organization. 

For instance, choose: 

  • Availability if prospects and existing customers have concerns about your product’s downtime.
  • Confidentiality if prospects and customers have specific requirements for confidentiality or if your startup stores sensitive info protected by NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).
  • Processing Integrity if your company executes critical operations like financial processing, tax processing, payroll services, and related ones.
  • Privacy if prospects and existing customers store PII (personal identifiable information) like birthdays, healthcare data, and social security numbers.

2. Implement SOC 2 Policies and Procedures

Across the five TSCs, there are: 

  • 26 mandatory policies, and
  • About 196 security controls. 

Defined procedures for implementing the policies and their respective security controls that apply to your organization are needed. Typically, this requires expertise and involves a lot of manual work.

You need: 

  • The expertise to know what policies to prioritize
  • Lots of manual work uploading evidence of security controls for each policy, which can be draining for everyone involved. 

This is where technology comes in. 

With Cyber Sierra, for instance, ticking this step off your SOC 2 checklist is easy. There’s an expert to help you choose the mandatory policies you should prioritize. Our technology also has these policies and security controls built into it and updated regularly. 

So from one dashboard, you can:

  • Assign policies (and their controls) to relevant team members
  • Track their progress in implementing those controls:

Assign policies (and their controls) to relevant team members

3. Complete SOC 2 Compliance Documentation

Is there evidence to show that your company has implemented security controls for policies based on the chosen TSC? 

Saying ‘yes’ isn’t enough.

To pass auditors’ scrutiny and earn SOC 2 compliance, you must show proof by uploading appropriate documentation. The final number of documentation you’ll need to provide to a CPA depends on the TSC chosen in the scoping step. 

However, as with TSC, there are mandatory ones like: 

  1. Change Management
  2. Application and Software Change
  3. Data and Software Disposal
  4. Detection and Monitoring Procedures
  5. Incidence Response Policy
  6. Logical and Physical Address
  7. Third Party Risk Management
  8. Risk Mitigation.

The procedures for providing evidence of security controls for each required documentation above are also built into Cyber Sierra: 

security controls for each required documentation above are also built into Cyber Sierra

And it doesn’t end there. 

Cyber Sierra also simplifies the process of uploading evidence for the compulsory SOC 2 documentation and TSC security controls. For instance, click on any policy, say, Risk Mitigation, and in addition to succinct descriptions of what it (and its controls) entails…

You can edit a policy per your needs and upload evidence: 

Complete SOC 2 Compliance Documentation

4. Conduct SOC 2 Readiness Assessments

 This step comes down to two things: 

  1. An internal risk assessment to ensure that cyber posture and uploaded security controls’ evidences are accurate. 
  2. Remediation of identified risks and vulnerabilities, ensuring your organization is ready to pass strict SOC 2 audit reviews. 

Ticking both off your SOC 2 checklist starts with scanning your cloud assets and network environments to identify vulnerabilities. Then, remediating each to boost your confidence of passing the audit. 

 Cyber Sierra automates both. 

In a few clicks, you can connect and scan your cloud, repository, Kubernetes, and network environments. Each scan prompts a dashboard with your company’s cybersecurity posture, from where you’ll find all vulnerabilities and descriptions of critical risks. 

You also get instructions on how to remediate each vulnerability and can assign remediation tasks to relevant people on your security team: 

SOC 2 Readiness Assessments

5. Monitor Security Controls for Upto 12 Months

Adhering to the four steps above snapshots your company’s cybersecurity posture. They are enough for SOC 2 Type I audit reviews. But for SOC 2 Type II certification that’s often-requested by prospects and customers, you must be compliant for up to 12 months. 

So you must continuously monitor for at least 12 months to ensure evidence uploaded for each security control is intact. This boils down to detecting, assessing, and remediating risks that could render the evidence you upload for security controls worthless. 

Technology can simplify this process.

For instance, and as I shared earlier, connect your tech stack to a good cybersecurity platform, and it will: 

  • Automatically scan your cloud assets 
  • Detect risks and vulnerabilities in real-time 
  • Assess and score the impact of those risks, and 
  • Enable you to assign remediation tasks to relevant members of your security team from one risk register. 

Again, Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register does these out of the box: 

Cyber Sierra’s Risk Register

How Much Does SOC 2 Report Cost?

SOC 2 compliance is a huge undertaking. 

Hiring an auditor for the review alone starts at about $5k and could exceed $30k, depending on the auditing company. It doesn’t end there. In no particular order, you’ll also incur costs to: 

  • Scope and manage the project
  • Train employees on cybersecurity awareness
  • Train security team members on remediating risks
  • Commission legal review of uploaded documentation
  • Perform readiness assessments and ongoing monitoring of security controls of chosen policies. 
  • Manage third-party vendor risks.

Depending on company size, these steps could take 6–12 months and can cost $50-$110k in lost time and productivity if done manually. On the flip side, these costs reduce drastically if your team can manage and automate most of the requirements above from one place. 

And that’s why we built Cyber Sierra

illustration background

Improve your company’s cybersecurity posture.

Automate 90% of SOC 2 compliance processes from one place.

  • Governance & Compliance
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

blog-hero-background-image
Governance & Compliance

Busy Tech Executives’ ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist

backdrop
Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Busy Tech Executives’ ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist

Ron’s startup started expanding globally, going upmarket to enterprise three months ago. In that time, they encountered 63 security questionnaires, but all slowed or blocked the sales process.

Sounds familiar? 

Well, you can’t blame prospects fixated on security compliance to win their business. No one wants to suffer data breach costs from working with a company not taking information security (infosec) seriously:

data breach costs

This leaves tech executives (like Ron) with two options: 

  1. Spend weeks filling out prospects’ security questionnaires every time (and still risk losing deals due to inadequate infosec), or 
  2. Get a globally-recognized compliance certificate to ease security questionnaires (and facilitate the sales process).

The latter is where ISO 27001 compliance comes in. But before our checklist to help you ease the process, knowing the mandatory requirements is crucial.

Mandatory ISO 27001 Requirements

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is behind the ISO 27001 compliance. They updated the certification requirements in 2022, highlighting mandatory documentation such as: 

  • Internal Audit Report
  • Risk Assessment Report
  • Statement of Applicability
  • Information Security Policy
  • Information Security Management (ISMS) Scope 

Across these compulsory requirements, many security controls must be in place to pass an auditor’s review. But implementing those controls mostly starts with real-time insight into a company’s cybersecurity posture. 

This means you’ll need to: 

  • Navigate the many controls in ISO 27001
  • Have a checklist for implementing each, and
  • Incorporate a way to automate most processes involved. 

This checklist guide will explore all three. So download our ISO 27001 compliance checklist for reference as you follow along: 

illustration background

The ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist.

A checklist to help you implement the right controls and automate ISO 27001 Compliance.

card image

Navigating the Many Controls in ISO 27001

Although down from 114, the ISO 27001 compliance updated in 2022 still has a whopping 93 security controls across four (4) categories:

  1. People controls (8)
  2. Physical controls (14)
  3. Technological controls (34)
  4. Organizational controls (37):

Navigating the Many Controls in ISO 27001

Not all controls are mandatory. Called Annex A, companies are free to implement those relevant to their business. 

However, you need sufficient controls to demonstrate how you establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve your company’s information security management system (ISMS). 

So knowing what controls to choose is crucial. 

And tracking implementation across teams needs more than a checklist, but a centralized platform that can automate most ISO 27001 compliance documentation processes. 

That’s where Cyber Sierra comes in. 

Our interoperable cybersecurity platform has the mandatory ISO 27001 policies built into it. Also, across teams, you can assign, track, and automate implementation from one place: 

Navigating the Many Controls in ISO 27001

illustration background

Implement the right controls and automate ISO 27001 Compliance from one place.

desktop tablet mobile

Checklist to Implement ISO 27001 Compliance Standards

Many CTOs, CISOs, and tech executives leverage Cyber Sierra to achieve ISO 27001 compliance in record time. They achieve this by streamlining the excessive paperwork required, automating the implementation of controls, and managing everything from one place.

So based on our experience, we’ve created this 7-step ISO 27001 compliance certification checklist guide for your reference.  

1. Scope an ISO 27001 Project Plan

ISO 27001 certification is a team effort. 

As such, you’d need contributions from relevant team members across your organization. We’ve also found from experience that things move way faster when teammates prioritize the process.

So to create the needed sense of priority, scope a project plan specific to preparing for (and becoming) ISO 27001 compliant. 

It should outline: 

  • Why your startup is pursuing ISO 27001 compliance. 
  • How it will bolster your company’s security posture.
  • Who on your team will be doing what within deadlines.

In addition to these, define the scope of your Information Security Management (ISMS). Like a house depends on its foundation, achieving ISO 27001 compliance depends on this. 

And that’s because an ISMS scope succinctly documents the information your startup wants to protect and exclude. The ISMS scope of a software company may include a: 

  • List of departments/organizational units
  • List of processes and services they cover
  • List of physical assets/locations
  • List of exclusions not in scope.  

To give you an idea, here’s a section of GitLab’s

Scope an ISO 27001 Project Plan

2. Create ISMS Policies

Your ISMS scope determines what ISO 27001 policies need to be created. But there are mandatory ISMS policies such as:

  • Incident Management Policy
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Access Control Policy
  • Assets Management Policy
  • Backup Management Policy
  • Business Continuity Policy
  • Change Management Policy
  • Cloud Services Security Policy
  • And 15 others. 

Documenting these policies and implementing their corresponding controls takes heavy paperwork. To help automate the process, Cyber Sierra comes prebuilt with these mandatory policies. 

And you can even assign them to relevant teammates, track status, and implementation progress in one pane:

Create ISMS Policies

It doesn’t end there. 

You can also create policies unique to your ISMS scope, upload corresponding documentation, and assign them to teammates: 

3. Conduct Risk Assessments

This step has two objectives:

  1. To detect data security risks across your company’s systems, networks, and cloud assets. 
  2. To evaluate identified risks based on their potential impact on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data accessed by your company.

Passing the ISO 27001 audit review and becoming certified depends on how well your company manages cybersecurity threats. So the goal of this assessment is to develop a risk register for managing… risks.

And technology can simplify things here. For instance, with Cyber Sierra, connect your tech stack prone to cybersecurity risks, and it’ll: 

  • Automatically scan your cloud assets 
  • Detect risks and vulnerabilities in real-time 
  • Assess and score the impact of those risks, and 
  • Enable you to assign remediation tasks to teammates. 

All that from one Risk Register pane: 

Conduct Risk Assessments

4. Define Statement of Applicability

A Statement of Applicability (SoA) is required for ISO 27001. As the name suggests, it is a document stating the Annex A security controls that are applicable —or aren’t applicable— to an organization.

So in defining one, you should: 

  • List the security controls your company wants to manage and mitigate against based on your risk assessment.
  • Explain why you chose those security controls for your information security management system (ISMS).
  • State the status of your chosen controls (i.e., have they been fully implemented? If no, why not?).
  • Briefly explain excluded controls and why they aren’t applicable to your organization. 

As the points above show, the SoA document summarizes your ISMS policies and risk assessment. So a good place to start is revisiting steps 1-3 of this checklist. And this is crucial because your SoA is what ISO 27001 auditors rely on during audit reviews. 

5. Implement Policies & Controls

This step is where you begin to implement the security controls for your chosen ISMS policies. And you do this by providing appropriate documentation of each control. It’s typically the most difficult part of the project, requiring loads of implementation evidence to be uploaded ahead of an audit review. 

Take the mandatory Cloud Services Security (CSS) policy. 

You’ll need to implement: 

  • A document describing this policy per your ISMS, and 
  • Twelve (12) documents as evidence to show you’ve implemented its corresponding 12 controls. 

Cyber Sierra streamlines this cumbersome process. For instance, you can quickly edit a pre-built CSS policy document to suit your ISMS scope and upload evidence of controls, all from one place: 

Implement Policies & Controls

6. Establish Employee Security Awareness & Training

Ongoing security awareness and training for employees is indispensable for becoming (and remaining) ISO 27001 compliant. 

And that’s for three reasons: 

  1. To train relevant employees on how to implement your ISO 27001 policies and security controls to maintain your ISMS. 
  2. To make them aware of security risks your company is currently facing and the processes for mitigating them. 
  3. To continually educate them about emerging security threats and the best practices for defending against them.  

These ongoing training programs should cut across cloud security, common cybersecurity threats, anti-phishing, and others. And you can launch and manage them all with Cyber Sierra: 

Establish Employee Security Awareness & Training

7. Perform Internal & External Audits

Without an external audit spearheaded by an accredited ISO 27001 compliance auditor, an organization can’t be certified. 

But before that, a series of internal audits are necessary. These prepare your company for the external one, and hiring consultants to review all implemented ISO 27001 documentation is also advised. 

Typically, your team should: 

  • Double review internal policies and procedures’ documentation
  • Sample all uploaded evidence as part of the internal review to demonstrate correct implementation of policies and controls
  • Analyze findings from all document reviews to ensure they meet your ISMS scope and ISO 27001 certification requirements
  • Implement improvements, as needed, based on audit findings ahead of the external certification audit review.

After the internal audit comes the external one. 

So request an accredited auditor to review your company’s implementation of ISMS policies and security controls against the official ISO 27001 standard. Then proceed to the Certification Audit for a final review of your company’s business processes, policies, and security controls to get certified in ISO 27001 compliance. 

8. Implement Continuous Security Controls’ Monitoring

ISO 27001 compliance isn’t a one-time affair. 

Certification must be renewed every three years. And to meet requirements when recertification is due, companies must undergo and pass yearly Periodic Surveillance Audits. 

The annual surveillance audits follow the same process as the final audit before the initial ISO 27001 certification. It seeks to identify and correct nonconformities in the maintenance of implemented ISMS policies and security controls. And here’s how you ensure that:

  1. Continuously scan your cloud assets, repository, Kubernetes, and network environments to identify security risks as they emerge. 
  2. Assign critical risks to relevant team members with tips on how to remediate them to pass periodic surveillance audits and retain your ISO 27001 compliance.

Your team can do both of these with Cyber Sierra:

Implement Continuous Security Controls’ Monitoring

The Advantage of ISO 27001, Without the Hassle

Imagine you had all the steps in this gruesome ISO 27001 compliance certification checklist in one interoperable cybersecurity platform. 

Imagine in one pane, your team could: 

  • Understand each step of the process 
  • Manage the completion of each step
  • Implement ISMS policies and security controls
  • Automate evidence collection to show proof of compliance, correction of non-conformities, if any found during audits.
  • Perform risk assessment and assign remediation tasks 
  • Establish ongoing employees’ security awareness & training
  • Go through the various audit reviews required without going back and forth with teammates and auditors over spreadsheets
  • Implement continuous monitoring of security controls, manage emerging threats, and mitigate critical ones to stay compliant. 

Imagine the benefits of ISO 27001 (i.e., no need to fill security questionnaires or miss competitive deals) without the hassle of the steps above. As shown throughout this checklist guide, Cyber Sierra makes it possible by automating most processes involved in becoming (and remaining) ISO 27001 compliant.

Why not talk to one of our ISO 27001 experts? 

illustration background

Implement the right controls and automate ISO 27001 Compliance from one place.

desktop tablet mobile
  • Governance & Compliance
  • 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.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


Thank you for subscribing!

Please check your email to confirm your email address.

Find out how we can assist you in
completing your compliance journey.

toaster icon

Thank you for reaching out to us!

We will get back to you soon.