In today’s regulatory compliance landscape, many organizations experience what’s known as “gap assessment fatigue.” This frustration stems from the repetitive and time-consuming task of manually collecting evidence (e.g., screenshots) to identify and assess compliance gaps. Often times, this resembles an endless game of whac-a-mole.  

Thankfully, there’s a solution that turns this mundane task into one that significantly reduces the overhead costs of compliance: Automated Collection of Evidence (ACE).  

What Makes Automated Collection of Evidence Valuable? 

Automated Collection of Evidence (ACE) takes the grunt work out of compliance processes and refocuses the team’s efforts on reducing risk and strengthening cybersecurity posture. It automates the often cumbersome and error-prone task of gathering data from organizational stakeholders and subject matter experts, all while ensuring the information is accurate and aligned to meet an assessor’s expectations. 

Evidence collection is crucial, as it helps avoid the hefty fines or loss of revenue associated with non-compliance. Automating the collection of evidence with the power of Continuous Controls Monitoring (CCM) strengthens your ability to meet assessors’ requests for samples, populations, or live tests of evidence to objectively prove the effectiveness of your security controls.  

How Does ACE Differ From CCM? 

Continuous Controls Monitoring requires a complex rules engine to determine if an organization’s actual state meets the desired state consisting of requirements, policies, and controls. Automated Collection of Evidence, on the other hand, utilizes an organization’s system data to prove the organization’s actual state, and it packages the evidence in an objective, consumable manner to meet the needs of an independent assessor.  

How Does ACE Work with ASCERA? 

Automated Collection of Evidence with ASCERA leverages system data through existing security technology investments. This maximizes the effectiveness of your organization’s solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) platforms by integrating and analyzing data across these systems.  

This data is considered actual state – i.e., the actual state of your system in the form of logs and machine-readable data.  

This data feeds into the ASCERA compliance rules engine consisting of regulatory requirements, organization-specific policies, and tailored security control frameworks making up your desired state.  

As a result, ASCERA is able to provide data-centric reporting of the actual state, or evidence, of your system’s security control effectiveness. Utilizing system data, these reports can be customized to meet an assessor’s request based on traditional sampling techniques or quickly provide populations of evidence, all while providing confidence in your cybersecurity compliance posture.  

Challenges and Considerations with ACE 

To make ACE effective, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed. 

The first challenge is managing large evidence populations. For ACE to work effectively, large amounts of historical data need to be gathered and presented in a consumable manner for assessors. ASCERA, founded by SIEM experts with previous experience building boutique solutions, brings a depth of consulting and engineering background in both security analytics and big data to manage and present large amounts of evidence to ensure objective and complete evidence populations.  

The second major challenge is establishing trust. As with any disruption in an industry that is resistant to change, there is a trust barrier that needs to be bridged. “Trust but verify” is nothing new to the compliance world. Built with security analytics and cybersecurity compliance expertise, ASCERA reports on the status of system data sources to ensure your organization’s Automated Collection of Evidence remains accurate and up to date. Furthermore, ASCERA ensures all data sources are accounted for when evidence is being presented.  

Get Started with Automated Collection of Evidence (ACE)

Ready to reduce the manual labor of CMMC / DFARS compliance through Automated Evidence Collection? Schedule a demo of ASCERA today.