When creating a strong risk management program within your organization, your business processes need controls in place for maintaining security and mitigating risks. And to assure the continued effectiveness of these controls, the compliance team should also have continuous control monitoring in place.
Continuous control monitoring, or CCM, is a subset of continuous data assurance. It can be programmed within your GRC dashboard or risk management software solution. In this post we’ll explain what all that means and how to implement CCM at your organization.
Understanding Continuous Control Monitoring
Continuous control monitoring is the high-frequency tracking of the security and risk management controls you’ve established. CCM uses automated testing on these controls to confirm that they’re holding. Automation reduces the need for high-touch management by key stakeholders, and promptly flags any potential alerts for your review.
Depending on your industry, you may know CCM as something else. For example, in the financial sector, CCM is known as fraud monitoring or financial transaction monitoring. In manufacturing it’s called process control monitoring, and in the tech sector it’s referred to as network security monitoring.
Continuous monitoring of controls allows for real-time vulnerability management, as each of these controls impacts your business losses, as well as your risk and compliance protocols. Control testing helps to reduce your compliance costs while strengthening the same control processing procedures for future use.
How Do You Implement Continuous Control Monitoring?
There are a few fundamental steps for CCM implementation. They include:
- Identifying key objectives
- Identifying industry-specific frameworks for controls and processes
- Defining the scope of control assurance based on risk assessments and internal audits
- Prioritizing key controls
- Defining the automated metrics that will flag anything that fails
- Identifying the frequencies with which the controls are activated to improve test accuracy
- Outlining next steps when a control is activated or fails
What Is the Business Case for CCM?
CCM makes daily risk management protocols – that is, your controls – work more effectively. That, in turn, makes your annual audit more efficient, and reduces the leg work to implement fixes. CCM also helps you to reduce business losses and streamline daily operations. Done correctly, it’s an integral part of compliance management, helping you find control weaknesses before they hurt your bottom line or interrupt your daily operations.
Businesses should implement CCM due to the ceaseless proliferation of cybersecurity, operational, and daily risks. There is a rising demand for risk management protocols from business partners, stakeholders, and customers, especially when personal data or financial transactions are concerned. CCM makes sure that your control processes meet this demand without suffering any financial losses.
Other benefits of CCM include:
- More testing coverage
- Better testing timeliness
- Potential for reduced costs (for remediation efforts)
- Trend identification, which improves efficiency and timeliness
Control Monitoring vs. CCM
The major difference between control monitoring and continuous control monitoring is the amount of automation involved. “Ordinary” control monitoring can be performed by various stakeholders across lines of business at scheduled intervals. An example would be sharing quarterly risk audits with executive stakeholders to report on any risk incidences and what actions were taken to remediate risks.
This is helpful, but it’s still a manual process, subject to human error, incomplete data, and other other shortcomings. Continuous control monitoring is automated and is often controlled or programmed via a GRC dashboard.
What Can CCM Monitor?
CCM can be used to monitor financial, technological, and internal controls. For example, CCM can automatically test the integrity of the security controls protecting confidential data to avoid future data breaches or unauthorized access.
CCM can also detect any anomalous activity in internal controls and catch fraudulent incidents in financial transactions. If you’re conducting business online, especially in e-commerce, then you’ll want CCM implemented for any financial or transactional applications your organization may be using.
Implement Continuous Control Monitoring with ZenGRC
ZenGRC offers a suite of GRC products to make your compliance management and risk monitoring streamlined, shareable, and accessible. Multiple stakeholders can access the same dashboard with easily shareable reports, internal audit controls, and real-time metrics. Your risk management has never been easier or more cost-effective.
To learn more about how RiskOptics can help you to implement continuous control monitoring in your GRC dashboard, get in touch with us today to schedule a demo.