GRC Reference Architecture

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Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) represents a business oriented approach to establishing ownership and accountability throughout the organization to improve decision making. While this may seem straightforward, establishing a GRC program within an organization is not a simple task. It is also not a new concept.

Since GRC programs have many moving parts, organizations are implementing an overarching vision of how things fit together to maximize value.

Spotlight

Blackstone Technology Group

Blackstone Technology Group (www.bstonetech.com) is a privately-held, global IT services and solutions firm founded in 1998. We are headquartered in San Francisco with additional offices in Denver, Houston, Colorado Springs and Washington, DC. Blackstone’s mission is to implement innovative IT and business process solutions that help clients address industry challenges, achieve cost containment, and transform client’s business models within the commercial and public service marketplaces. Blackstone has garnered an impressive track record of delivering successful results, with a noteworthy client list that includes many Fortune 1000 businesses and the US Federal Government.

OTHER ARTICLES

Cybersecurity: Five Key Questions The CEO Must Ask

Article | December 15, 2020

Just about every single day, somewhere in the world, a company falls victim to cyber attackers, even with millions spent on cybersecurity. Every company is a target because they have data and there are too many doors, windows and entryways for cyber attackers to get in, whether on-premise or in the cloud. It is not a question of if, but when, the attackers will get in. Prevention efforts are of course important, but since attackers will get in, equal attention must be on detection going forward. And the focus must be on early detection, otherwise, it will be too late. My book, Next Level Cybersecurity, is based on intensive reviews of the world’s largest hacks and uncovers the signals of the attackers that companies are either missing or don’t know how to detect early, apart from all of the noise. So, the attackers are slipping by the cybersecurity, staying undetected and stealing data or committing other harm. In the book I explain the Cyber Attack Chain. It is a simplified model that shows the steps that cyber attackers tend to follow in just about every single hack. There are five steps: external reconnaissance; intrusion; lateral movement; command and control; and execution. At each step, there will be signals of the attackers’ behavior and activity. But the signals in the intrusion, lateral movement and command and control steps provide the greatest value because they are timely. The external reconnaissance step is very early and the signals may not materialize into an attack, while detecting signals in the execution step is too late because by this time the data theft or harm will have already occurred. My research uncovered 15 major signals in the intrusion, lateral movement and command and control steps that should be the focus of detection. My research of the world’s largest hacks reveals that if the company had detected signals of the attackers early, in the intrusion, lateral movement or command and control steps, they would have been able to stop the hack and prevent the loss or damage. My book shows how to detect the signals in time, using a seven-step early detection method. One of the key steps in this method is to map relevant signals to the Crown Jewels (crucial data, IP or other assets). It is a great use case for machine learning and AI. There is a lot of noise, so machine learning and AI can help eliminate false positives and expose the attackers’ signals early to stop the hack. There are two blind spots that just about every single company world-wide faces that cyber attackers will exploit, beginning in 2019, that companies must get on top of. One blind spot is the cloud. There is a false sense of comfort and lack of attention to detection, thinking the cloud is safer because of the cloud provider’s cybersecurity or because the cloud provider has an out-of-the-box monitoring system. However, if the company fails to identify all Crown Jewels and map all relevant cyber attacker signals for the monitoring, the attackers will get in, remain undetected and steal data or commit other harm in the cloud. The other blind spot is Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices (e.g. smart TVs, webcams, routers, sensors, etc.), with 5G on the way, will be ubiquitous in companies world-wide. While IoT devices provide many benefits, they are a weak link in the chain due to poor built-in security and lack of monitoring. Cyber attackers will focus on IoT devices to make the intrusion, then pivot to get to the Crown Jewels. Detecting early signals of cyber attackers trying to exploit IoT devices will be critical. Companies world-wide need to make cybersecurity a priority, starting in the board room and with the CEO. It all starts at the top. My intensive reviews of the world’s largest hacks reveal in each case a common theme: inadequate or missing CEO and board cybersecurity oversight. Here are five key questions from my book that the CEO must take the lead on and together with the board ask of the management team to make sure the company will not become the next victim of cyber attackers and suffer significant financial and reputational harm: Have we identified all of our Crown Jewels and are not missing any? Do we know where all of the Crown Jewels are located? Have we identified all of the ways cyber attackers could get to the Crown Jewels? Have we mapped high probability signals of cyber attackers trying to get to the Crown Jewels with each Crown Jewel? Are we sifting through all of the noise to detect signals early and reporting to the CEO and the board in a dashboard report for timely oversight? If your answer is No to any of the questions or you are unsure, you have a gap or blind spot and are at risk, and you must follow up to get to a high confidence Yes answer. In my book, Next Level Cybersecurity, I provide other key questions to ask and a practical seven-step method to take cybersecurity to the next level to stay one step ahead of the attackers. It is written in plain language for boards, executives and management, so everyone can get on the same page and together mitigate one of the most significant and disruptive risks faced today, cybersecurity.

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Guide to Cloud Security Certification: Which Ones Are the Best of the Best?

Article | December 15, 2020

As your organization looks to move to cloud computing, security certification will become more critical. Cloud solutions have unique security considerations that are different from an on-premise solution. IT professionals that are managing these solutions should be well-versed in multi-layered protection, encryption, monitoring, and more. Not only is certification important for your own IT staff, but it should also be part of your recruiting strategy. Experience combined with certifications can be invaluable foclr protecting your cloud environment. You want to ensure that the data you store in the cloud is protected from security threats.

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Data Privacy Problem: Are Home Genealogy Kits a Security Threat?

Article | December 15, 2020

Surprising news recently emerged from the personal genetics business. The two leading direct-to-consumer companies in North America, 23andMe and Ancestry.com, announced within a week of each other that they were laying off a significant proportion of their workforce as a result of a steep drop in sales. This past Christmas, the sales of testing kits were expected to take a sharp hike — nothing says family like a gift that says prove it. But sales plummeted instead. According to Second Measure, a company that analyzes website sales, 23andMe’s business plummeted 54 per cent and Ancestry kits sales declined 38 per cent. Industry executives, market watchers and genealogists have all speculated about the causes of the drop in consumer interest. Market saturation? Early adopters tapped out? Limited usefulness? Recession fears? Whatever the theory, everyone seems to agree on one factor: privacy concerns.

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The Coronavirus is Already Taking Effect on Cyber Security– This is How CISOs Should Prepare

Article | December 15, 2020

Cynet has revealed new data, showing that the Coronavirus now has a significant impact on information security and that the crisis is actively exploited by threat actors. The Coronavirus is hitting hard on the world’s economy, creating a high volume of uncertainty within organizations. Cynet has revealed new data, showing that the Coronavirus now has a significant impact on information security and that the crisis is actively exploited by threat actors. In light of these insights, Cynet has shared a few ways to best prepare for the Coronavirus derived threat landscape and provides a solution (learn more here) to protect employees that are working from home with their personal computers, because of the coronavirus. Cynet identifies two main trends – attacks that aim to steal remote user credentials, and weaponized email attacks:

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Spotlight

Blackstone Technology Group

Blackstone Technology Group (www.bstonetech.com) is a privately-held, global IT services and solutions firm founded in 1998. We are headquartered in San Francisco with additional offices in Denver, Houston, Colorado Springs and Washington, DC. Blackstone’s mission is to implement innovative IT and business process solutions that help clients address industry challenges, achieve cost containment, and transform client’s business models within the commercial and public service marketplaces. Blackstone has garnered an impressive track record of delivering successful results, with a noteworthy client list that includes many Fortune 1000 businesses and the US Federal Government.

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