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Continuous Controls Monitoring: offering a unified approach to the 3 lines of defence.

In your organisation, who is responsible for cyber risk?

As organisations grow the answer to this question becomes less clear. In smaller organisations a single person inevitably looks after security and as decisions are mainly based upon perceived risk then they also manage cyber risk. But as organisations grow these roles get split.
Naturally the boundaries between different roles and responsibilities can become blurred. Similarly, the approaches to risk, and interpretations of the signals that indicate risk, can vary.

Everyone’s right, so what’s wrong?

Managing risk is all about making the right decisions with the information available but getting multiple teams to agree on risk is not an easy feat. Even if the teams have an agreed set of risks, how they perceive this risk, and its potential severity can be—and usually is—quite different. How they believe they can mitigate this risk is equally up for discussion. The challenge is further complicated in that all teams can be ‘right’ and carrying out their roles correctly. They just have different perspectives on the same problem.

Manual, error-prone, open to interpretation

For cyber risk we also need to take into account the unique skills of the security team who not only manage day-to-day the tools that lower risk but report back with data to be assessed on how these tools are operating. Generally speaking, this work but it’s often very manual in its approach, while also being prone to human error and perception. Ironically, this can heighten the very risks that security and cyber risk teams are meant to be jointly working on mitigating. In larger organisations, to avoid these pitfalls another team is often added to the mix to ensure that no other team incorrectly assesses a risk. Typically called audit, this team provides critical checks and balances.

Layers of defence, layers of complexity

Getting back to our initial question—who is responsible for cyber risk?—we can see how the whole subject of managing cyber risk can get increasingly complex. Yes, we need all these roles but getting them to work in unison and consistently is the key to having an effective cyber risk management strategy. If we break down the roles and responsibilities into more detail it helps us understand how to better manage risk.

The common three lines of defence

First there’s the CISO, together with their team. They’re often responsible for managing the controls, and managing the operation of the overall security process. In security terms, they’re the first line of defence. They have responsibility for deciding on the technology that is used, the companies they partner with, and overall investment areas where they wish to bolster their defences. Next, there are the organisation’s risk and compliance professionals, acting in concert with the CISO. These people advise on—or set—the organisation’s security tolerances. In short, they look at the relative criticality of the various security risks that the organisation faces, and the level of mitigation that is appropriate. They’re the second line of defence. Finally, there’s the third line of defence. This is made up of the relevant internal audit staff, who make sure that things are happening as they are supposed to and pull together risks from all over the organisation, not just IT.

Three different perspectives

As we’ve touched on earlier, there are several difficulties with all this. The first is that all of these lines of defence view IT security—and risk—slightly differently. And they don’t always speak the same language. So there isn’t a consistent means of monitoring and measuring and managing risk, which can obviously pose a problem. When risk-based decisions are being taken, clarity of communication—and clear and consistent risk-based criteria—are vital. Compounding this, all three lines of defence are making judgements, and reaching decisions, on a qualitative basis. It’s very subjective, based on ‘feel’, and experience, and a sense of what is important and what isn’t. So, not only can the three lines of defence all be speaking different languages when it comes to risk and IT security, they’re also viewing what they believe to be ‘facts’ very differently.

Is there a single unifying solution?

The answer: yes, thanks to a paradigm shift in how cutting-edge IT organisations can approach IT security—looking at it objectively and quantitatively, rather than subjectively and qualitatively. Put another way, it’s now possible for hard measurable facts to replace opinions, viewpoints, and ‘gut feel’. It means that all three lines of defence can finally speak the same language, and view risk and IT security from the same, fact-based quantitative viewpoint. And they can do it all thanks to automated data gathering from your organisation’s controls and via role-based dashboard views. That last point is critical. Each line of defence gets complete controls visibility for their organisation in a single pane of glass— and all from an advanced, automated, evidence-based platform. But they see it via role-specific dashboards tailored to their needs. This advanced, unifying solution is known as Continuous Controls Monitoring (or CCM for short). It’s an approach that is already in use among leading organisations, providing hard, quantified data on the performance of IT controls and risk management systems on a real-time basis, continually monitoring them via real-time telemetry. CCM is also a Gartner-recognised risk management technology with a “High” benefits rating.

Continuous Controls Monitoring: continuous compliance, reduced risk, automated assurance and more

That CCM has emerged as a solution for the security, risk and compliance and audit challenges we’ve outlined is a gamechanger. Even better, Quod Orbis has developed a unique CCM managed solution that is a CCM platform and managed service in one. So not only do you get complete, real-time controls visibility 24/7—from operational level to board level—via user-friendly dashboards, you also get a unique wrap-around service. This means the client organisation benefits from ongoing platform management and risk identification by Quod Orbis experts. Such a blend of technology and expert ongoing support can dramatically reduce your business risk and enhance your security posture, allowing you to manage risk with accuracy and confidence and make better business decisions. And that’s aside from the huge time and cost savings that flow from security compliance automation and audit automation, both of which are also compelling features of the solution.

Seeing CCM is believing

All of this becomes real and relatable when you see a CCM demo. Perhaps even go a step further? Arrange a simultaneous demo—online or on your premises—for the various lines of defence in your organisation. It’s a bold claim but we’ll stick our necks out anyway: we’re confident that every line of defence will be equally impressed and talking the same language afterwards.

To book a demo at a time that suits you, click here.

We also offer access to our demo platform, all it takes is a 15 minute call with one of our platform engineers to get you started. Click here to gain access.


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To find out more about cyber security and Continuous Controls Monitoring, please complete the form below with a short message and we’ll get right back to you. Alternatively, you can book a meeting directly.

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Niall Flavin

DevOps Engineer -

Uttamkurmar Lakhani

Technical Analyst -

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2nd & 3rd Floor,
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Liam Flavin

Intern Developer -

Ekaterina Kuzevanova

Back End Developer -

Mohamed Mohamud

Front End Developer -

Juan Morales

DevOps Engineer -

Luke Bakare

DevOps Engineer -

Rutvik Belapurkar

Technical Analyst -

Harman Singh Malhotra

Technical Analyst -

Jason Wilkes

Technical Lead -

Annie Greenfield

Marketing Executive -

Will Tonge

Head of Recruitment -

Will has spent the last 9-years embedded in Cyber Security working with global, household names and innovative start-ups.

Passionate about bringing people and technology together, Will has worked in various settings, helping build high-growth organisations across multiple sectors. During this time, he has built an extensive network with access to some of the best talent out there.

Outside of QO, his young daughter keeps him well on his toes!

Shaun Barnes

DevOps Team Lead

Mark Hudson

Non-Exec Director -

Mark works with SMEs and charities to develop strategies to help them grow and access development capital. He is a NED, charity trustee and mentor to a wide range of people. His plural career started in 2017 after 16 years at pwc as a Deals partner working with large corporates and PE houses; at pwc he also ran the Retail and Consumer practice and was Chairman of the pwc UK Supervisory Board. Prior to pwc he was an executive director at Welcome Break and Iceland Group, and a partner at Bain and Company. He trained as an engineer at Imperial College and has an MBA from INSEAD. 

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Eamon Flavin

Non-Exec Director -

Eamon is a highly regarded and massively respected technology career professional as well as serial entrepreneur. He has started, grown and successfully taken to market three technology business.

Genuinely expert in technology, Eamon has enjoyed long-term working relationships with many of the world’s top companies and organisations in finance, banking, government, manufacturing, engineering, technology and the charities sector.

He draws on unparalleled contacts and experience and provides advice, solutions and recommendations, as well as helping respond to emergencies. Eamon has grown in-house and client teams and has a gift for hiring great people.

Peter Martin

Non-Exec Director -

Peter has the ability to do what many fail to and that is to consistently bring together highly professional teams and build a business environment that is supportive, agile, professional and where everyone enjoys coming into the office.

Bringing a unique blend of business acumen and technical knowledge to the role of non-exec director, Peter has already demonstrated his ability to bring an exceptional flair for dealing with complex situations with a clear, considered approach.

Personally, Peter brings humility and a strong moral compass to the team. His disarming and self-deprecating approach wins everyone over.

Anwen Haynes

Head of Marketing -

Anwen has worked in B2B and B2C marketing for over 20 years. From transforming end-to-end customer journeys in retail with strategic customer-centric plans to target driven focused strategies for B2B sales. With extensive experience in digital marketing including SEO, as well as Brand development, she loves to develop a cohesive approach to brand image and communications to drive and develop the business proposition and perception.

Alice Walker

Head of Customer Success -

Alice has worked in the IT industry for 20 years. Starting in Procurement, she moved into Software Asset Management before transitioning into Customer Success Management. Working across a variety of roles for different industries as both a customer and a service provider has given her a great understanding of what makes a great service. She has always been passionate about building and maintaining great customer relationships and helping her customers achieve their goals.

Owain Rowley

Lead Developer -

Owain has spent nearly a decade building software solutions and products within the cyber security sphere for the likes of government entities, large telecommunication companies, banks and card transaction companies.

This level of experience allows him to swiftly identify business and security processes that can be streamlined with automation, increase the efficiency of existing processes, as well as generate insightful data visualisations and models for members of an organisation at each different level.

Ami Penolver

Head of HR & Legal -

Ami is a finance sector career professional, with many years’ experience working in financial services, both in London and throughout the UK. In addition to financial control, she looks after HR and legal for the company.

Being a mother of two also equips her with the basic skills required to manage a senior team of management and technology consultants.

Ami’s sense of balance and perspective is an essential ingredient of the Quod Orbis culture.

Alastair Dickson

Commercial Director -

Alastair has spent the last 20 years working in Cyber Security and Risk Management. He is a passionate believer that security solutions should enable a business to take advantage of all the benefits of the digital world, while not putting the organisation’s data or productivity at risk.

Alastair has developed high-performing teams in some of the industry’s most competitive markets and launched new innovative technologies to market.

Being a rugby coach, and also having four sons at home, means he has lots of experience in keeping a passionate team in order but always has time for some fun!

Gary Penolver


Gary has 15 years’ experience in senior technology roles, and has already been closely involved in starting and taking two technology companies to market.

Totally comfortable with a fast-moving, state-of-the-art technical landscape, he helps his clients maintain and improve security and compliance.

He has a reputation for delivering pragmatic and easy to maintain solutions – business owners and managers enjoy knowing that the security and compliance is well managed and automated, properly instrumented and reported at a competitive cost point.

Honest, open, unflappable and very social, Gary is trusted by many household-name organisations to protect their, and their client’s data.

Martin Greenfield


Martin is an experienced technology and organisational transformation specialist and an excellent, proven leader and communicator in mission-critical operations, particularly in security technology.

Over the past 20 years, multi-billion pound commercial organisations, including global banks, utilities and major investment funds have trusted Martin to transform their operations to meet financial, operational and compliance targets.

Martin optimises operations, managing and transforming operational teams of between 50 and 500 people, to deliver the highest levels of audit compliance, risk management and financial efficiency.

Often working with other major consultancies and suppliers for new global corporate owners or management teams, Martin will help integrate and streamline operations on a global basis.

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