The past decade has seen governments around the world introduce significant new legislation covering data, cybersecurity, and technology. This has been part of a sustained effort to regain some influence over big tech and impose good governance practices on how businesses capture, protect, and manage data.
This shift towards greater regulation has been largely led by the EU, which implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. More recently, the EU introduced the NIS2 directive which organisations need to apply measures for before October 2024, as well as several other pieces of legislation—such as the EU AI Act and Cyber Resilience Act—that are set to come into force in the near future.
While the specific requirements of each piece of regulation vary, the overarching message is clear. Regulators are increasingly requiring organisations to instil good data governance practices and a more considered attitude to risks and threat intelligence in order to protect both citizens and organisations that are critical to national infrastructure and economies.
The result is that CISOs now face greater responsibility for Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) than ever before. As businesses continue to expand into the cloud and work to secure their digital infrastructure, embracing automation by adopting security service edge (SSE) technologies is a positive step to face up to the challenge.
Accepting this greater accountability, CISOs often feel the huge weight of responsibility to personally manage and address every requirement. In reality that is impossible; the volume of data, threats, and vulnerabilities is insurmountable for a single person or a resource restricted team. However, we also have the technology to automate many of these processes and I expect we will see a wave of new tools over the coming year to support CISOs with GRC requirements.
There are many existing capabilities under the umbrella category of SSE that perform these functions, and as we continue to integrate AI and machine learning solutions they will continue to advance. Here are four ways SSE can help with GRC:
Data classification and management:
- The identification and classification of sensitive data is paramount for implementing policies that ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and so on.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools can help automate sensitive data identification and classification by using machine learning tools that can distinguish personal data, financial information, and intellectual property.
Employee coaching and training:
- Many regulators and cyber insurance providers require companies to hold regular employee training on cyber threats and security best practices. While annual training can be valuable, technologies, and threats change rapidly creating a need for more frequent “just-in-time” interventions, powered by machine learning to spot the moment and deliver the right coaching message to employees. Automated “just-in-time” employee coaching can help instil best practices around cloud app usage in the moment. There are many solutions beyond just blocking access that can help encourage employees to use preferred applications or take the desired actions to prevent data loss.
- Under regulations like GDPR, there are expectations that companies will regularly audit their data use, where it’s stored and which policies are being applied. As the usage of cloud applications, devices, and infrastructure increases, this process becomes more complex. Tools such as a cloud access security broker (CASB) allow security leaders to build customised dashboards and reports to help understand activity-level usage of cloud services and websites and detect non-compliant behaviour and anomalies.
- A core component of NIS2 is encouraging organisations to actively manage cyber risks, both through the sharing of threat intelligence and understanding the risks within your supply chain. With the wealth of cloud applications available, using SaaS security posture management (SSPM) helps a security team proactively assess, approve, and actively manage the use of cloud applications within an organisation and—in coordination with real-time user training—direct employees to preferred tools.
With all of these capabilities, it’s possible to offer security leaders greater visibility over their infrastructure and the corresponding threats that help feed into regular reporting and audits.
As the regulatory and threat landscape becomes increasingly complicated, IT and security leaders need to embrace intelligent solutions to automate compliance processes and help keep pace with expectations. Regulations will change and evolve in pace with the advancements in technology (or near enough) and ensuring you have the flexibility to respond dynamically to these changes will mark businesses out for success.