GRC Viewpoint

The Fabulous Destiny of Compliance: Time for a Paradigm Shift in GRC

In an era of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks and rising cyber-risks, one might assume that companies would be safer than ever. Instead, the security industry often exacerbates issues, leaving businesses vulnerable and burdened. However, the complex reality of implementing and leveraging Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) effectively calls for a deeper analysis and new approach.
Take, for example, our approach to automobile safety.

We don’t hire a security specialist to get us safely from point A to point B. Instead, we rely on the safety that’s inherently designed into the vehicle, backed by regulations mandating extensive testing by manufacturers. As drivers, we do have responsibilities like maintenance and repairs, but these tasks are manageable for most of us. Similarly, the complexity of security systems shouldn’t be an overwhelming burden on businesses, but rather a manageable part of their operation.

Given this, it’s perplexing why our security industry seems to generate more problems than it solves. From struggling to identify significant risks, to deploying cloud software only to discover pre-existing issues with cloud security posture management (CSPM) solutions, to creating endless tickets for engineers due to security products’ incompatibility with developers’ workstations — the complexity and inefficiency are undeniable. The rising tide of government regulation isn’t surprising but is, in fact, a natural response to an industry that has struggled to provide adequate protection for businesses. Our challenge now is to transition from this reactive approach to a more proactive and streamlined one.

An open foundation in GRC technology is one that encourages and facilitates adaptability, integration, and user control. It creates systems that are not rigid or closed off but can be molded to fit the unique needs and technological infrastructure of each organization. It allows for the avoidance of fragmentation and the reduction of cognitive load for users, making it easier for them to identify, understand, and manage risks.

Implementing an open foundation approach has several key benefits. It encourages the use of integrated security solutions rather than isolated ‘best of breed’ tools. This results in fewer gaps in security coverage and a more unified view of the organization’s risk landscape. Furthermore, it reduces complexity, making it easier for organizations to maintain and manage their security systems. This, in turn, enables quicker and more effective responses to security incidents, reducing potential impacts.

In practical terms, an open foundation might mean integrating security products with the tools your developers are already using, allowing them to address security issues without having to shift contexts. It might mean creating a central dashboard where risks from various sources are aggregated, giving you a holistic view of your risk landscape. It could also mean implementing automated evidence collection across your entire IT infrastructure, from IoT to Cloud to Workstations, enabling more proactive risk management.

Building on this open foundation, it’s time to embed the craft of security into the work of all teams in a company, from developers and operations to security and compliance. These teams need to work together, using the same dataset to ensure everyone is aligned and speaking the same language. After all, we all share the common goal of securing our companies and technical products.
We must step forward boldly, shifting our mindset from reactive to proactive, from fragmented to integrated, from complex to simple. By harnessing the power of an open and extensible foundation, we can automate evidence collection across our IT infrastructure and make informed decisions faster and more accurately.

As we move forward in this increasingly interconnected world, we cannot afford to maintain the status quo. It’s time to shift our perspective and rewrite the rules of the security industry. We must move from the disjointed, problem-generating practices of the past to a future that embraces an open foundation approach.

This means integrating security into all aspects of business, making it not just a protective layer but an intrinsic part of our organizational fabric. Let’s not just aim for compliance, but strive for a comprehensive, holistic understanding of our security posture that fosters resilience and adaptability. The stakes are too high, and the potential benefits too great, for us to hesitate. Let us take that crucial first step towards creating a safer, more secure world for all businesses today.

By Christoph Hartmann, CTO and Co-founder of Mondoo

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