There has been an increase in the number and sophistication of data breaches raising concern to the data environment. Protecting information has to be a top priority. Establishing a secure compliance program means securing your landscape to ensure you comply with the required regulations. Continuous monitoring, therefore, enables you to both protect your data and enable continuous compliance.
Continuous compliance monitoring
Security first compliance approach
This approach commences with securing your environment. Information security experts argue that tracking assets, assessing risks, assessing threats and establishing controls first allows you to develop a stronger security stance. You need to develop IT security controls before persuading the frameworks that will enable you to align better protection and compliance as these function overlap.
How continuous monitoring enables security first compliance
If your main objective is security, then continuous monitoring allows you to track the threats that hackers pose to your system and network in real time. Monitoring notifications that detect attempted breaches into your system offer a shallow defense mechanism. In addition, you also need information into external controls that maintain the system and network integrity.
How artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data enable continuous assessment
With modern information technology, there is a variety of cloud-data solutions. As compliance increases the places and people interacting with their data, they increase the likelihood of attacks. The more you assess your data surface, the more likely it is you will find a point of vulnerabilities. Closing these weak points in your data security necessitate the need for automation enabling faster scanning of large amounts of data.
Predictive statistical and big data collection models allow you to automate information collection and help you detect the most significant risks to your environment. For instance, security ratings enable an organization to assess their external controls the way hackers would. As the firm collects public data from across the internet, they organize it and run it through mathematical programs hence providing insight into how well your data is protected.
How continuous monitoring aligns with risk management
Risk management means evaluating your information assets and assessing potential risks to their integrity, accessibility, and confidentiality. Continuous monitoring in combination with big data and predictive analytics enables you to determine both current and potential risks to your environment.
Malicious hackers are continuously updating their techniques in finding new vulnerabilities. A secure system remains secure as long as it takes hackers to detect a new vulnerability. These threats are known as “zero days”, vulnerabilities previously unknown, pose a huge current risk to your environment as hackers continuously attempt to penetrate your system.
Continuous monitoring, therefore, allows you to maintain your current controls and also predict potential future threats. As threats change, risk management needs to continuously assess new risks to the environment.
How continuous monitoring relates to compliance
Risk compliance and governance are the main pillars of data security. If you are focusing on compliance as the documentation of your security stance, then c continuous monitoring gives evidence of effective controls. Compliance with the best practices means aligning your controls to a set of standards. If a control breaks, then you are not compliant.
To begin with, continuous monitoring allows you to design a more streamlined risk mitigation process. Annual risk evaluation only offers insight into current threats to your environment. Most compliance standards require risk rating of your information assets and continuous monitoring enables easy compliance.
Secondly, many standards and regulations need continuous update and protection against new malware and ransomware threats.
Maintaining a security first compliance, therefore, means that you maintain a secure IT environment ensuring you are the complaint. By prioritizing data integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility, you can align controls and activities easily ensuring a clean audit.
Software platforms that ease continuous monitoring for compliance
Continuous monitoring without proper documentation is pointless. After ensuring that you have mitigated threats to your environment with proper controls, you need to ensure that you have mapped these controls across the various frameworks and regulations. Once you map these controls you need to document the continuous monitoring appropriately.
Some software platforms make data collection for auditing process easy. They offer a unified control management feature that allows forms to map controls across multiple frameworks and regulations in order to determine whether gaps to compliance exist. By mapping, you ensure consistency that results in stronger audit results.
Such software platforms enable firms to concentrate on significant issues of compliance while doing away with tedious tasks that make compliance feel overwhelming. This enables an organization to make the process of governance and continuous monitoring more effective.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.