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How Continuous Controls Monitoring helps to mature your cyber security strategy

There is little debate about most facets of an effective cyber security strategy. Should it dovetail with the IT strategy, for instance? Of course. Should it complement the overall business strategy? Without doubt. Should it secure as many IT and data assets, end points and services as is pragmatically possible? Naturally.

And so on, and so on. Few security professionals would disagree with such basic tenets of cyber security.

But there’s one area of cyber strategy where unanimity doesn’t prevail. And it’s this: how best to obtain reassurance that the cyber security strategy is progressing to plan and coming to fruition? Are we on course to meet the goals and objectives or are we off course?

Meaningful metrics and milestones

Clearly, there will be metrics to assess, milestones to reach, and meetings at which these metrics and milestones are reviewed. Any self-respecting cyber security strategy has those.

But here, doubts and differences start to emerge. Are the metrics granular enough? Are they even the right metrics? Is a given milestone a genuine contribution to enhanced cyber security, or chosen simply because it is a box that is easy to tick?

Or, put another way, are the meetings to assess the progress of the cyber security strategy looking at reporting points that are genuinely meaningful, or just convenient?

A deeper dive

As an example, consider a milestone couched in terms of the establishment of a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) capability, as a pivotal function of the Security Operations Centre (SOC). Clearly, an organisation either has a SIEM, or it doesn’t. And from that point of view, the existence—or not—of a SIEM is a perfectly valid milestone.

But is the SIEM operating effectively and configured correctly? Is it delivering what it is supposed to be delivering? Is it actually even operating at all?

These are more searching questions. And also questions to which the answers, in terms of an organisation’s security posture, are far more meaningful. Milestones expressed in terms of questions such as these are far more informative, and provide far more insight into the genuine progress that is—or isn’t—being made towards enhanced cyber security.

Granular data, firmer evidence

But suppose that it was possible to express—and monitor—progress in terms of such granular detail. And suppose that it was possible to do that continuously, in almost real-time.

Suppose no longer: enter Continuous Controls Monitoring.

At its simplest, Continuous Controls Monitoring is easily understood. In essence, it is continuous, real-time monitoring of an organisation’s security controls and systems, via its data and telemetry. It instantly provides value by enabling the rapid maturity of an organisation’s cyber security strategy.

Rightly, Continuous Controls Monitoring is being regarded as transformative. Forget monthly meetings to track milestones. Instead, via telemetry, organisations using Continuous Controls Monitoring obtain real-time monitoring of their security controls and systems of choice— at very granular level, and via easy-to-use, highly visual dashboards.

In short, doubts and differences disappear. The ongoing development of an organisation’s cyber security isn’t guessed at—it is seen, known and understood in fine detail, underpinned by hard evidence and data.

Beyond the basics

Nor is Continuous Controls Monitoring limited to the interrogation of devices and systems via telemetry. The principles of Continuous Controls Monitoring can be extended to other areas, and can be augmented by other sources of data.

Cyber security training for employees, as part of the wider security strategy, for instance. How effective is such training? Few organisations have much of a clue, and certainly not in real-time.

Yet if cyber security training is being effective, then organisations should expect to see a lower percentage of click-throughs to phishing emails, for instance. This, in addition to the complimentary higher pass rate on cyber security sessions. Such things can be measured—and via Continuous Controls Monitoring, ceaselessly monitored.

Digging a little deeper, we could for example measure and compare security training ‘passes’ or ‘fails’ for those directly responsible for sensitive data – such as senior personnel or perhaps those with many administrative privileges – as the behaviour of those individuals clearly poses a higher level of risk to the business.

But it doesn’t stop with cyber training. Take all, or any, of your cyber investments. With Continuous Controls Monitoring you can start to look at whether the people or the process around the ‘product’ in which you have invested are performing adequately. Are SLTs being adhered to? Is risk prioritised? All of this becomes possible, because now you can see it.

Having a complete understanding of your cyber hygiene, as enabled by Continuous Controls Monitoring, means a better ‘culture of security’ and better investment planning. Whether it’s highlighting a blatant gap like no vulnerability management solution at all, or lacking the resource or time to act upon the alerts (a very big NIST ‘no-no’, to use just one example), means the scope for improvement and assurance is huge.

That reference to a ‘culture of security’ is key. Ultimately, it’s about how security is handled or prioritised in the business. It’s not just “Oops, our AV isn’t up to date”; Continuous Controls Monitoring can really shape an overall security posture, the roadmap of security, and the on-going efficacy of that security.

A better and more mature solution

The bottom line is clear. If your organisation is serious about its cyber security aspirations—and it ought to be—then Continuous Controls Monitoring merits equally serious examination.

It is, we believe, a whole new way to approach and mature a cyber security strategy.

Critically, on a practical level it’s also relatively easy to get started. With the Quod Orbis Continuous Controls Monitoring managed platform we can start by identifying critical controls and metrics, growing out over time to include wider areas, and helping you track and monitor as you go. This is vital for the many organisations who cite a lack of controls being measured or documented as an acknowledge sign of immaturity.

As always, please get in touch if you’d like to know more. Call Agwu Nwoke on 020 3962 2206.

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A very experienced and respected Senior Leadership Executive, with over 30 years’ experience in Information Technology, Information/CyberSecurity and Risk. Specialises in delivering business transformation, leading people through change and taking them on a journey to deliver and exceed company expectations. Highly regarded by his peers and colleagues across the globe. A very confident and effective communicator at CXO level, and valued as an expert presenter at numerous worldwide forums  . Across his career been in Senior CISO and leadership positions in Banking, Telco, Network & Utilities, Several UK Government Departments, 

Has extensive Cyber Security, Operational Risk, Compliance and Business Transformation expertise, gained across a broad range of industries. Former Director of Cybersecurity for CGI and CapGemini and Ex CISO for O2.

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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!

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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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