How Continuous Security Validation Improves Collaboration

By: Dan Baylis, September 9, 2021

I would like to focus this blog on how Continuous Security Validation technology can help improve and build collaborative relationships within risk management functions when focusing on security.

I have operated in both a first (running security, IT, and operational resilience controls) and second-line (overseeing security) capacity, with much of this spent in a heavily audited environment, along with our rather steadfast friends in the third line (completing the trio of the three lines of defense model) watching over us.

I have witnessed many strained and tense relationships due to technical misunderstanding or (on both sides) overdue actions leading to unnecessary escalation to senior management or board-level execs.

 

When Communication Breaks Down

Often these issues are caused by conversations that whilst at face value appear joined-up between all the relevant parties, are often disjointed and result in the delivery of wrong outcomes. Wrong outcomes can leave the very control gaps you sought to remedy in place, due in part to the delivery of ineffective controls. All while increasing an organization’s risk and a lack of return on investment.

As I’m sure you’ll agree… not a great place to be.

Having first-hand experience in situations like these, I have found the inclusion of a Continuous Security Validation platform to really help drive a more harmonious culture within an organization’s risk management. Continuous Security Validation is not just a security tool, it provides visible early indicators that will identify when a control is not sufficient or effective, using trend data that allows you to pinpoint security control deviation and failure.

 

Getting on the Same Page

Introducing Continuous Security Validation has hugely aided my own organization through changing the conversation between our lines of defense - from subjective opinion-based thinking to a more data-driven, risk-assessment scored approach. An approach that all parties can then utilize effectively to meet their own requirements.

Having the data and ongoing oversight provided by Continuous Security Validation in place can help an organization in a multitude of ways:

  • Empower the first-line function to communicate inconsistent and concise risk language, identifying measurable improvements.
  • Provide a pulse check and trend per vector that shows if your security controls are keeping pace or losing the race with the flurry of active threats that inundate our industries daily.
  • Remove the burden on BAU by empowering first-line teams to self-identify changes that may impact the organization’s security posture early. BAU teams are often measured by ticket numbers and closure rates, sometimes the quickest route to resolution can carry unforeseen consequences. This can be a high-risk hot spot when working on perimeter-facing controls such as the Endpoint, Email, and Web gateways.
  • Remove the resource overhead on 2nd/3rd line teams who provide manual assurance or audit activity. Providing 2nd and 3rd line teams access to the data can avoid tying up already busy first line teams providing evidence.
  • For organizations with fewer 2nd & 3rd line resources, it can provide always-on assurance as opposed to relying on sample-based testing to identify issues. These conversations can often be difficult as IT teams may feel you are criticizing and calling their baby (IT estate) ugly. Having fact-driven evidence for risk management helps remove the emotion.

Summary

This technology helps by embedding a culture of “operate securely” which in turn, drives control maturity through knowing there is automated oversight against the ever-evolving threat landscape facing technology and industry today.

Helping businesses keep risk-return submissions accurate and accountable where their organizations are concerned.

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Dan Baylis
Dan Baylis

Dan heads up Security Operations at Quilter, overseeing all aspects of security operations including security breach attack simulation, security incident and vulnerability management for all areas of the Quilter group. Dan has over 20 years’ experience of leading Security, IT and IT Risk Management & Operational Resilience functions for multiple sectors including financial services, healthcare and retail.