Chief information security officers (CISOs) wear many hats within their organizations – and those hats just seem to keep piling on. For example, “organizational risk leader” is one of three new roles ascribed to CISOs in a 2020 survey, along with “business leader” and “evangelist for the security program.”

What is the Purpose of a CISO?

In most organizations, the CISO is the executive responsible for the security of information and data, and works closely with the chief information officer (CIO) and reports to the board of directors. Although a relatively new addition to the C-suite, CISOs play an important role. In fact, a 2020 study found that organizations without a CISO are more likely to report inadequate employee security training and an insufficient security strategy as opposed to their counterparts.

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a CISO include:

  • IT security operations such as cybersecurity, cyber risk, cyber threat and cyberattack prevention;
  • Data protection and data security;
  • Security architecture and cyber intelligence; identity and access management;
  • Security awareness training;
  • Program and security team management; incident response; and
  • IT governance.

For some top security professionals, the list of CISO responsibilities doesn’t stop at information technology. One 2020 survey found that 42 percent of CISOs had physical security duties added to their plates in the past three years.

What are the Top Concerns for CISOs?

On top of their already large portfolios, CISOs have become even more important as digital transformation continues to dictate the modern business environment and security risks continue to grow.

According to a one CISO survey, the top concerns for CISOs in 2021 were network and cloud security threats, and identity management. In the context of remote working arrangements and online customer interactions, that’s unsurprising. As enterprises digitize all their business processes, the CISO is increasingly responsible for keeping the entire operation safe and secure.

That’s no easy task; it requires strong leadership in every sense of the word. It’s also bringing about yet another hat CISOs might find on their head: governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) expert.

The New CISO: GRC Expert

The new CISO needs to be able to work with people across multiple business units, breaking down silos of activity to assure that decisions around cybersecurity benefit the enterprise as a whole, rather than just the IT department. Plus, those “security-aware” processes should improve business performance rather than slow it down.

A number of regulatory and industry-standard frameworks can help orient management processes to include considerations of risk, and also assure the enterprise’s compliance with important cybersecurity laws and standards.

A good GRC program – one that uses GRC technology rather than spreadsheets – can go a long way towards keeping your business and its IT environment (including all your data) safe. GRC software solutions from the Reciprocity Product Suite make the complex task of cybersecurity much easier, as they:

  • Streamline tasks;
  • Measure and monitor compliance;
  • Collect audit-trail evidence; and
  • Stop non-compliance before it starts, among other features.

But the list doesn’t stop there. A CISO and its organization can benefit from a good GRC program and GRC solutions in many ways. So what do CISOs care about for good GRC?

5 Key Benefits of GRC Programs for CISOs

An enterprise-wide view of assets and security challenges

A holistic view of the enterprise is essential to effective enterprise risk management. A GRC program connects with all your hardware, software, data, and other IT assets, to give you a complete inventory. It also provides data from vulnerability scans, configurations, SIEM activity and alerts, threat intelligence feeds, and more; all to provide a complete map of your systems and networks – essential for IT resilience and for meeting compliance requirements.

Streamlined Business Processes

A good GRC solution helps to streamline business processes, even automating much of the work of risk management for you. The best GRC solution should automatically collect and organize data, generate third-party vendor surveys and compile results, track workflows, assure that you aren’t duplicating efforts, and keep all of your documentation in a readily available repository. With risk and compliance data readily available in a central location, reporting suddenly becomes much easier.

More Effective Compliance

GRC solutions should also contain the requirements of your regulatory and industry-standard frameworks and reveal where your control gaps are; the best GRC solutions should also tell you how to fill them. Consider a GRC platform that can incorporate multiple security frameworks, and check and cross-check your control environment to help you avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel with each new framework you implement.

Lower Costs

Compliance via spreadsheets is a time-consuming, labor-intensive (read: expensive) job, and one fraught with the potential for error. A quality GRC tool can reduce the costs of your GRC initiatives by automating many of your GRC tasks, which reduces the need for staff. Some GRC solutions even offer unlimited self-audits in one click, which not only helps you avoid the costly non-compliance fines and fees; it helps you to be ready at audit time, saving the costs of a lengthy audit.

Fewer Data Breaches

GRC platforms should show you in one glance where your control gaps are and how to close them, improving your compliance with security frameworks including NIST, SOC, ISO, PCI DSS, HIPAA and more. Meeting the requirements of these often-stringent regulations and standards helps keep your enterprise safe from hackers.

Manage GRC with the Reciprocity Product Suite

For the best GRC solution, consider the Reciprocity Product Suite, built on the Reciprocity ROAR Platform – a modern way to manage risk posture that gives you the power to be more strategic with IT risk management by putting your business activities front and center.

Underpinning both Reciprocity ZenComply and Reciprocity ZenRisk, Reciprocity ROAR provides an intuitive user experience paired with in-application expert guidance, so you can assess, manage, and communicate risks and their potential business impact.

Using AI, the relationships between assets, controls and risks are automatically created, alerting you to changes in your risk posture and making it simple to grow and manage your risk programs. Dashboards and reports provide contextual insights, so it’s easier to communicate with key stakeholders and make informed business decisions with the Reciprocity ROAR platform.

Become more strategic with your IT risk management and talk to an expert today to learn more about how the Reciprocity Product Suite can help your organization confidently manage risks and compliance.

The Experts Guide to Evaluating GRC Tools