Your Business News

Office of the CISO: Managing risk virtually

March 15, 2023

Authored by RSM Canada LLP

Joel A. Humphrey, CPA, CA shared this article

ARTICLE | March 15, 2023

Risk assessment has emerged as a crucial element in the business and IT landscape. A rapidly changing cybersecurity environment—and constantly shifting vulnerabilities and defense methods—have introduced hazards for organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Assessing and addressing cyber risk factors is no longer optional. The task must be embedded into an organization’s fabric. Yet, protecting a business involves more than surviving attacks, navigating public relations disasters and avoiding regulatory penalties. Organizations that establish effective controls and oversights are also better equipped to manage digital transformation.

Yet, the task isn’t becoming any easier. In the aftermath of the pandemic, an uncertain economy and evolving technology requirements are introducing new and formidable challenges for organizations. Unfortunately, many businesses lack the internal expertise and bandwidth to appropriately evaluate risk and identify a clear strategic path forward.

It’s critical to get a handle on this challenge—and address real-world risks and remedies in a practical and affordable way. One way that organizations are tackling the task is through a managed approach that delivers enterprise governance, risk and compliance (eGRC) as-a-service.

The right controls are critical

A starting point for any discussion about cybersecurity is the recognition that complexity is unavoidable—and taming it requires a clear strategy and the right controls. Acknowledging risk, while crucial, isn’t enough. Frequently, organizations fall short, despite the best of intentions and generous budgets focused on the task.

It’s important to gain broad and deep visibility into the organization. Silos and gaps can transform data security from a challenge into a seemingly impossible morass. Repetitive systems and processes along with the resulting inefficiency can lead to security woes, but also an escalation in costs. In the end, a CISO can lack critical information such as:

  • Who and what are creating risk?
  • How are groups putting controls around risk?
  • How are groups managing and evolving risk management initiatives to fit a changing business, IT and security landscape?

All of this is overlayed by the fact that it has become more difficult to attract and retain an internal CISO and other critical staff in today’s highly competitive labor environment. The typical length of employment for a CISO is about two years, and the chaos, disruption and inconsistency that results from frequent changes often leads to gaps, vulnerabilities and real-world consequences.

Moving to a best practice framework

Data security doesn’t stand still, of course. It requires continuous improvement. Best practices revolve around four key areas:

  • Reporting. Ideally, an organization has a single pane of glass for viewing resources and analyzing security protections. With strong reporting functions in place, it’s possible to monitor and detect problems quickly and effectively.
  • Workflows. Optimized workflows break down data silos and ensure that business processes are taking place smoothly, without introducing new risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Audits. A thorough and ongoing review of people, processes and technologies ensures that potential problems do not fly under the radar. An organization is thereby equipped to make the necessary adjustments along the way.
  • Automation. With a single pane of glass and automated controls in place, tasks such as identity access management and DevSecOps are greatly simplified. It’s possible to introduce privileged access, improve testing and monitoring, and tie risk and maturity assessments into technical and regulatory standards and frameworks, such as NIST, eGRC, SOX and HIPAA.

Ultimately, an approach supported by these best practices leads to improved involvement across groups and business units that touch data, digital services, security, tax and audit functions, and other areas. An organization can build a security framework that’s both holistic and designed for resilience over time. In the end, this leads to improved workflow management, reduced overhead and, ideally, the elimination of technical debt.

Why eGRC-as-a-service is a smart choice

While it’s entirely possible for your organization to manage data security services on your own, many organizations are turning to a virtual framework. That’s because eGRC-as-a-service delivers a complete set of tools and resources needed to rein in cybersecurity risk. eGRC-as-a-service tames technical challenges and practical obstacles by putting various tasks and services under a single umbrella.

No less important: eGRC-as-a-service helps manage costs and reduces the need for constant point solution upgrades—as well as rip-and-replace scenarios. The value of this managed framework lies in its ability to provide deep and broad visibility into the status of controls along with the remediation status for these various controls.

The result is improved visibility into gaps and what’s needed to address them. An eGRC-as-a-service provider also should possess a broader view of the overall risk landscape. A trusted provider knows from experience what works and what doesn’t work well in various situations—and across companies and entire industries.

Equally attractive is the fact that an organization gains these capabilities on Day 1. There’s no ramp up time for a CISO and a data security program. The eGRC-as-a-service provider has built-in knowledge and turnkey virtual systems.

Of course, eGRC-as-a-service providers aren’t all equal. Finding the right provider is paramount. This requires a focus on four critical factors:

  • Knowledge. It’s important to look for broad experience across industries and technologies. It’s also vital that the managed services provider understands and supports critical security and regulatory standards.
  • Metrics. The provider should understand what metrics and KPIs really matter for a specific company—and customize these yardsticks appropriately.
  • Experience. A provider should work with other major companies, thus demonstrating a high level of knowledge and performance.
  • Flexibility. The company should be agile enough to adapt and adjust to changing conditions fast and responsively. This includes providing highly customized solutions to problems that arise.

To be certain, risk assessment and a need for more advanced data protection requirements aren’t going away in the months and years ahead. With a single pane of glass and a best-in-class provider for eGRC, it’s possible to elevate risk management and establish a digital data management strategy that’s custom designed for these challenging times.

Let's Talk!

Call us at 1 855 363 3526 or fill out the form below and we'll contact you to discuss your specific situation.

  • Topic Name:
  • Should be Empty:

RSM Canada Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM Canada Operations ULC, RSM Canada LLP and certain of their affiliates (“RSM Canada”). RSM Canada Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM Canada. RSM Canada LLP is the Canadian member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms. Members of RSM Canada Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM Canada but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit for more information regarding RSM Canada and RSM International. The RSM trademark is used under license by RSM Canada. RSM Canada Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM Canada.

FCR a proud member of RSM Canada Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms across North America. RSM Canada Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM Canada LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the Canadian member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.

Our membership in RSM Canada Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise, and technical resources.

For more information on how FCR can assist you, please call us at 1 855 363 3526

Important Notice:

FCR will now redirect you to CCH Portal where your FCR Client Portal login is located.

Share This