CISO Checklist 2022: Digitizing Cyber Regulatory Compliance

Jun 21, 2022
Banking | 5 min READ
Top regulatory imperatives in the evolving cybersecurity landscape and why digitization will be inevitable in the future
Ayush Sharma
Ayush Sharma

Head of Banking and Capital Markets Segment Americas


Mark Weston
Mark Weston

Investor & Founder

As enterprises across the globe have been aggressively digitizing their businesses, the role of the CISO in safeguarding the new digital enterprise is unarguably one of its most challenging and exciting points. The number of attack surfaces .is rising with multi-cloud, edge computing, IoT, and 5G adoption, and geopolitical unrest has further stimulated malicious activity on the internet. However, cybersecurity is no longer just a question of digital safety - it is also one of the organization's financial standing, trustworthiness, and reputation. As a result, cybersecurity is now becoming another aspect of the organization's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) imperatives. All these factors point to an inevitable truth that must land on the CISO's checklist in 2022: that cyber regulatory compliance function must be digitized.
The Geopolitics of Cyber Regulations in 2022
While media reports have incessantly covered the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, parallel and equally intense unrest have followed over the internet. Cyber attacks are growing, and several cyber groups are carrying out federated cyber attacks. Moreover, a growing number of sanctions imposed by various nations on Russia and the subsequent polarization means that businesses are likely to get caught in cyber-warfare crossfires. As a result, the cybersecurity authorities of the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK have jointly issued an alert and a cybersecurity advisory in the wake of the Russia Ukraine crisis.
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The advisory warns enterprises of the possibility of distributed DoS attacks, brute-force attacks on consumer-facing digital infrastructure, advanced ransomware distribution mechanisms, and other attacks arising from multiple threat factors. In addition, the advisory identifies financial, e-commerce, healthcare, academia, government, and technology organizations' networks among businesses at risk and has issued directives to harden cyber defense mechanisms and due diligence procedures. Some of the key recommendations of this joint advisory include:
  • Use of virtualization to secure IT credentials
  • Use of endpoint detection and response (XDR) tools
  • Firewalls configured to zero-trust principles
  • Ensuring OT assets are not externally accessible
Cybersecurity and ESG: Two Sides of the Same Coin?
ESG strategies have increasingly attracted investor interest over the last few years - so much that the European Confederation of Directors Associations (ecoDa) mentioned how ESG factors play an essential role for investors in societal and business interests. While cybersecurity saw rare mentions in ESG audits and reports, this trend is altering rapidly.
Cybersecurity compliance is now an integral part of the organization's ESG strategy – especially since cyber incident response procedures and compliance with regulations such as the GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and other industry-specific mandates is a strong indicator of the social behavior at play within the enterprise. In addition, international bodies such as the World Economic Forum agree and believe that cybersecurity and compliance with cyber regulations should figure into ESG ratings.
Moreover, compliance with cyber regulations also affects customers in significant ways. For example, a breach of data can compromise their digital identities and put them at risk and being assured of the fair and legal treatment of data in alignment with regulations is a critical step in building trustworthiness amongst all stakeholders. Lastly, the interconnected nature of digital services means that cybersecurity concerns are not mutually exclusive from environmental ones, thereby placing cyber-regulatory compliance as a holistic, central aspect of an ESG strategy as we advance.
Digitize Cyber-regulatory Compliance
These factors point to two critical directions: first, the CISO must now collaborate with the CIO, the CDO, the CSO, and other board members as cybersecurity is emerging as a strategic dimension. Secondly, the compliance function must be digitized, especially in the wake of the web's evolving geopolitical and infrastructural developments.
Here are two critical aspects of cyber-regulatory compliance digitization.
How to Use AI and Automation to Transform Cybersecurity Regulatory Compliance in Financial Services Industry
#1 Automate Cybersecurity Compliance Functions
Staying compliant with several emerging and evolving cyber regulations across all geographies of business operations can create a need for significant resources that track developments, conduct assessments, track, fill, and generate reports, and submit information to the regulators. Digitizing cybersecurity regulatory compliance can eliminate these obstacles: AI- and NLP-assisted auto-generated reports can be filed to regulators on time while keeping humans in the loop. In addition, responses to changing report formats can be automatically generated, and fields are filled by using cyber-regulatory data that has been collated in a single place with secure APIs for fast-tracking processes.
#2 Digitize Cybersecurity Capabilities for Reformed Regulations
New-age regulations such as the GDPR require that organizations demonstrate an increased focus on preventive mechanisms that minimize the risk of security breaches. These preventive mechanisms include AI-powered threat modeling and XDR capabilities. In addition, reports on cyber incidents are increasingly accompanied by how long it took for an organization to notify affected stakeholders of a breach, and such depictions ultimately shape stakeholder opinion of the organization. This places a more significant premium on the need for automated monitoring, incident detection (or better yet, prediction), and reporting capabilities that can prompt the CISO's teams into action at the earliest. Finally, with global regulatory bodies issuing directives to report breaches at the earliest to them, organizations must treat such capabilities as operational constraints of the new digital ecosystem where the security interests of multiple organizations intersect and overlap.
What’s next?
As IT infrastructures of organizations become more complex, staying compliant with new cyber-regulations adds to massive costs, especially as these audits require extensive data collated from multiple systems. Moreover, because such audits are performed infrequently, they often keep the stakeholders in the dark about the real-time cybersecurity posture of the enterprise. Beyond the factors discussed above, financial imperatives will also prompt a shift to digitizing the cyber-regulatory compliance function. In collaboration with the CIO, CDO, and the CEO, the CISO can now play an integral role in positioning the digital enterprise within a strategically secure and compliant locus, ensuring the smooth functioning of the organization in the evolving digital scape.
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