GRC: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance


  • Information – (1) Facts or ideas, which can be represented (encoded) as various forms of data; (2) Knowledge (e.g., data, instructions) in any medium or form that can be communicated between system entities.
  • Information Security – The protection of information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
  • Security Controls – The management, operational, and technical controls (i.e.,
    safeguards or countermeasures) prescribed for a system to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of the system and its information.
  • A vulnerability is a weakness in a system, system security procedure, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited by a threat source
  • A threat event is an incident or situation that could potentially cause undesirable consequences or impacts.
  • Information security policy is defined as an aggregate of directives, regulations, rules, and practices that prescribes how an organization manages, protects, and distributes information.
  • Because policy is written at a broad level, organizations also develop standards, guidelines, and procedures that offer users, managers, system administrators, and others a clearer approach to implementing policy and meeting organizational goals. Standards and guidelines specify technologies and methodologies to be used to secure systems. Procedures are yet more detailed steps to be followed to accomplish security-related tasks. Standards, guidelines, and procedures may be promulgated throughout an organization via handbooks, regulations, or manuals.
  • Information assurance is the degree of confidence one has that security measures protect and defend information and systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation.
  • Access is the ability to make use of any system resource.
  • Access control is the process of granting or denying specific requests to: 1) obtain and use information and related information processing services; and 2) enter specific physical facilities (e.g., federal buildings, military establishments, border crossing entrances).
  • An audit is an independent review and examination of records and activities to assess the adequacy of system controls and ensure compliance with established policies and operational procedures.
  • An information security contingency is an event with the potential to disrupt system operations, thereby disrupting critical mission and business functions. Such an event could be a power outage, hardware failure, fire, or storm. Particularly destructive events are often referred to as “disasters.”
  • A contingency plan is a management policy and procedure used to guide organizational response to a perceived loss of mission capability. The System Contingency Plan (SCP) is used by risk managers to determine what happened, why, and what to do. The SCP may point to the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) or Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) for major disruptions. Contingency planning involves more than planning for a move offsite after a disaster destroys a data center. It also addresses how to keep an organization’s critical functions operational in the event of disruptions, both large and small. This broader perspective on contingency planning is based on the distribution of system support throughout an organization.
  • Incident handling is closely related to contingency planning. An incident handling capability may be viewed as a component of contingency planning because it allows for the ability to react quickly and efficiently to disruptions in normal processing. Broadly speaking, contingency planning addresses events with the potential to interrupt system operations. Incident handling can be considered that portion of contingency planning specifically that responds to malicious technical threats.



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