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Transforming GRC with CSMA: 6 Key Changes in Security Governance

GRC teams need new tools, more timely information, and better processes for gaining the data they need to do their jobs

John Morello | May 2, 2024

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Implementing a Cyber Security Mesh Architecture (CSMA) significantly impacts Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) best practices. By broadly modernizing cybersecurity governance, CSMA offers many new opportunities and approaches for GRC teams.

Here are six essential ways CSMA, when properly implemented, reshapes GRC.

Enhanced Governance Through Decentralized Control

CSMA's decentralized approach aligns well with the concept of distributed governance. It empowers GRC teams to enforce policies and controls closer to the individual assets, enabling more granular governance. By aligning security protocols closely with organizational governance structures, this approach can improve the precision and effectiveness of security management.

Decentralized control also allows for real-time decision-making by people and teams closest to the information. CSMA empowers teams to strengthen their governance muscle and move governance earlier by reducing the gap between decision-making and information. While this requires trust and some training, shifting governance left ultimately creates a more holistic, responsive, and timely governance capability for an organization.

Improved Risk Management and Continuous Compliance with Real-Time Data

Related to decentralized control, CSMA facilitates the collection and analysis of security data from various sources across the network. This real-time data gathering enhances the risk management process. GRC and security teams can identify and respond to threats more quickly and accurately.

The decentralized nature of CSMA also means risk assessments can be more localized and specific. This lets the human operators most familiar with the terrain and potential risks to tailor risk mitigation strategies that better incorporate context and insights.

Compliance Management Across Diverse Environments

With CSMA, GRC teams can more effectively manage compliance across a range of environments, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid models. CSMA is designed to “mesh” all security, risk, and governance tools and connect them (usually via APIs).

CSMA is also designed to be environment agnostic, functioning equally well across on-prem, cloud, serverless, PaaS, hybrid-cloud, and multi-cloud landscapes. The architecture's flexibility allows for the consistent application of compliance standards across various platforms and devices. This addresses the challenge of maintaining compliance in a distributed IT landscape in the present and the future.

Scalability in GRC Processes

CSMA's scalable nature aligns with the dynamic requirements of GRC. As organizations grow and evolve, their governance, risk, and compliance needs also change. CSMA allows GRC practices to scale with the organization, ensuring that security and compliance measures are always proportionate to operations' current scope and nature.

A good CSMA is modular in design and built on standards, interfaces, and common APIs. It can scale quickly and expand horizontally or vertically to match the needs of a growing organization.

Agility in Adapting to Regulatory Changes

The agility and modularity of CSMA enables GRC teams to adapt quickly to changes in the regulatory landscape. The separation of concerns built into CSMA allows new policies to be implemented as separate functions from measurements and observability. Whenever a new regulation takes effect, the single management API for a CSMA can push proper compliance steps out to all security controls and tools.

As new laws and regulations emerge, CSMA facilitates the quick integration of these changes into the organization's security framework, ensuring continuous compliance. CSMA also simplifies increasingly diverse compliance requirements at the state, national, and regional levels. This is important for compliance with different laws across Europe, Japan, India, and the United States.

Enhanced Collaboration Between Security, IT, and GRC Teams

CSMA encourages a more integrated approach to security. The CSMA design enables the meshing of security controls, observability of security findings and control behaviors, and mining security processes to ensure better compliance visibility.

By instrumenting security controls and processes in a single data plane and managing them through a single control plane, security can facilitate cooperation between IT, security, and GRC teams. CSMA can automate core GRC processes, programmatically and continuously collect GRC information to create reports and dashboards that streamline GRC workflows. With a shared single source of truth, GRC, security, and IT teams can more easily collaborate to properly enforce GRC policies, identify and mitigate risks, and improve security and risk management processes based on accurate data and behavioral observations.

Leveraging CSMA To Improve GRC

Governance, risk, and compliance have become far more critical for organizations over the past five years due to numerous new regulations and changes in the global risk environment. Old ways of monitoring GRC can no longer keep up with the new security governance realities.

GRC teams need new tools, more timely information, and better processes for gaining the data they need to do their jobs.

For the same reasons that CSMA can improve security outcomes and insights — modularity, agility, interoperability, scalability — the observability and process mining of CSMA can deliver similar benefits to GRC teams without incurring significant additional costs or requiring additional tools.