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GRC Role: Some Interview Questions You Should Know


What is GRC in Cybersecurity?

GRC in cyber security ensures there are clear rules (Governance), proactive identification and mitigation of risks (Risk Management), and adherence to regulations and standards (Compliance). It combines Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance to create a structured approach to protect your online information.

What is Risk, Threat and Vulnerability?

Risk, threat, and vulnerability are three interrelated terms that are often used in the context of cybersecurity, but they represent distinct concepts:

Threat: A threat is a potential event or action that could cause harm or damage. Threats can be intentional, such as a cyberattacker trying to steal data, or unintentional, like a natural disaster causing a power outage.

Vulnerability: A vulnerability is a weakness or flaw in a system, network, or application that could be exploited by a threat. These vulnerabilities can exist in software, hardware, or even human processes. For example, an unpatched operating system or a weak password are both vulnerabilities.

Risk: Risk is the combination of the likelihood of a threat occurring and the potential impact of that event. It essentially represents the potential for loss or damage that arises from a specific threat exploiting a specific vulnerability. In simpler terms, risk = likelihood of threat x impact of threat exploiting vulnerability.

Here’s an analogy to help understand the difference:

  • Imagine your house is a system.
  • A threat could be a burglar trying to break in (intentional) or a storm damaging the roof (unintentional).
  • A vulnerability could be a weak lock on the door or a loose roof tile.
  • The risk is the likelihood of the burglar exploiting the weak lock (or the storm damaging the loose tile) and causing harm, such as stolen valuables or a damaged house.

By understanding these terms, individuals and organizations can better assess and manage the different types of risks they face. This allows for implementing appropriate security measures to mitigate vulnerabilities and reduce the likelihood of threats causing harm.

How do you keep yourself updated with current trends in Cybersecurity?

Consume information using reputable online resources.

Engage in continous learning (CPD).

Webinars and Events – from cybersecurity organisations.

Staying active – joining cybersecurity professional organisations and participating on open-source security projects.

What steps would you take to protect confidential information?

  1. Implement Access Controls:
    • Establish role-based access control (RBAC) to restrict access to information based on job requirements.
    • Enforce strong password policies and encourage the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts.
    • Regularly review and update access privileges to ensure they remain appropriate.
  2. Encrypt Sensitive Data:
    • Encrypt data both at rest (stored on devices) and in transit (being transmitted) using robust encryption algorithms.
    • Manage encryption keys securely and implement key rotation practices.
    • Be aware of different encryption methods and choose the most suitable one based on the data type and sensitivity.
  3. Educate Users on Security Awareness:
    • Conduct regular security awareness training for all employees to educate them on common threats, phishing attempts, and best practices for handling confidential information.
    • Encourage a culture of security awareness where employees are vigilant and report suspicious activity.
    • Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification on security protocols.
  4. Maintain System and Software Updates:
    • Regularly patch and update operating systems, applications, and firmware to address known vulnerabilities and prevent attackers from exploiting them.
    • Implement a vulnerability management program to identify, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities in a timely manner.
    • Stay informed about emerging threats and apply updates promptly to mitigate potential risks.
  5. Monitor and Log System Activity:
    • Implement security information and event management (SIEM) tools to monitor system activity, detect suspicious behavior, and identify potential security incidents.
    • Analyze security logs regularly to identify anomalies and investigate potential breaches.
    • Have a response plan in place to address security incidents effectively and minimize damage.

How would you break technical security concepts to non-technical users?

1. Use Analogies and Metaphors:

  • Relate security concepts to familiar everyday situations. For example, compare encryption to locking a door with a key or a firewall to a security guard at a building entrance. This helps users connect the technical term to something they already understand.

2. Focus on the “Why” and Not Just the “How”:

  • Explain the purpose and benefits of security measures instead of getting bogged down in technical details. Explain why strong passwords are important to protect personal information, or how firewalls help keep malicious actors out of the company network.

3. Keep it Simple and Concise:

  • Avoid technical jargon and use plain language. Explain concepts in short sentences and avoid overloading users with information. Focus on the most important points and avoid going too deep into technical details.

4. Visualize Whenever Possible:

  • Use diagrams, charts, and infographics to illustrate complex concepts in a visually engaging way. Visuals can help users understand the flow of information, the roles of different security components, and the potential consequences of security breaches.

5. Encourage Interaction and Questions:

  • Create an interactive environment where users feel comfortable asking questions and requesting clarification. Encourage open communication and address concerns in a patient and understanding manner. Provide real-world examples of security threats and breaches to further illustrate the importance of security practices.

6. Offer Practical Tips and Actionable Steps:

  • Instead of focusing solely on broad concepts, provide users with concrete steps they can take to improve their own security posture. Examples include creating strong passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, being cautious of suspicious emails, and reporting any suspicious activity.

What does the ISO 27001 assessment signify?

1. Commitment to Information Security:

* Undergoing an ISO 27001 assessment demonstrates an organization’s commitment to information security. It shows that the organization takes protecting its data and information systems seriously.

2. Defined Information Security Management System (ISMS):

* The assessment process involves establishing and documenting an Information Security Management System (ISMS). This system outlines a structured approach to managing information security risks, including policies, procedures, and controls.

3. Risk Identification and Management:

* The assessment helps organizations identify, assess, and prioritize information security risks. This allows them to take proactive steps to mitigate these risks and protect their information assets.

4. Compliance with Standards and Regulations:

* While not a guarantee of compliance, achieving ISO 27001 certification can demonstrate adherence to relevant information security standards and regulations. This can be beneficial for businesses operating in industries with strict data protection requirements.

5. Improved Security Posture and Confidence:

* Successfully completing an ISO 27001 assessment can lead to an improved overall security posture by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities. This can boost internal confidence in the organization’s ability to protect sensitive information and demonstrate trustworthiness to external stakeholders like clients and partners.

It’s important to note that:

  • An assessment alone doesn’t guarantee complete security, but it represents a significant step towards establishing a robust information security framework.
  • Maintaining ISO 27001 certification requires ongoing commitment to continuously improve and update the ISMS and address evolving threats.

Overall, an ISO 27001 assessment signifies an organization’s dedication to information security, helps manage risks, and demonstrates a commitment to protecting sensitive data.

Give an example of how you supported the implementation of the ISO 27001 Standard.

  • Provided technical expertise throughout the implementation process, explaining complex security concepts to non-technical stakeholders and ensuring everyone understood their responsibilities.
  • Participated in internal audits to assess the effectiveness of implemented controls and identify areas for improvement.
  • Collaborated with other departments to ensure consistency and alignment of security policies across the organization.
  • Actively participated in planning meetings, providing insights on IT infrastructure, data classification, and potential security risks.
  • Played a key role in developing and implementing IT-related security policies and procedures, such as password management, access control, and incident response.

Explain the risk anagement process.

1. Identify the Risk:

  • This is the first and crucial step. It involves actively searching for and brainstorming potential threats that could impact the organization’s objectives, assets, or reputation. This can be done through various methods like workshops, brainstorming sessions, scenario planning, or industry research.

2. Analyze the Risk:

  • Once identified, each risk needs to be assessed based on its likelihood of occurrence and its potential impact if it materializes. Techniques like qualitative assessments (scoring based on severity and likelihood) or quantitative analysis (using historical data or statistical models) can be used to determine the risk’s severity.

3. Evaluate and Prioritize the Risk:

  • Based on the analysis, each risk is then evaluated and prioritized. This involves considering factors like the potential consequences, available resources, and legal or regulatory requirements. This prioritization helps determine which risks require immediate attention and resource allocation.

4. Treat the Risk:

  • After prioritizing risks, various strategies can be implemented to address them. These strategies can be categorized into four main approaches:
    • Avoid: Completely eliminate the risk by avoiding the activity or situation that creates it.
    • Reduce: Mitigate the likelihood or impact of the risk through various controls like implementing security measures, training employees, or diversifying investments.
    • Transfer: Share the risk with another party through insurance or outsourcing agreements.
    • Accept: Acknowledge and monitor the risk, potentially implementing contingency plans in case it occurs.

5. Monitor and Review:

  • The risk management process is not a one-time activity. It’s crucial to continuously monitor and review the identified risks and implemented controls. This involves staying updated on the changing environment, emerging threats, and the effectiveness of existing controls. Regular reviews ensure the risk management plan remains relevant and adapts to evolving circumstances.

Give an example of how you supported an organisation to respond to a major security incident.

1. Incident Detection and Containment:

  • I was the first to detect suspicious activity on the network, noticing unusual file encryption patterns and a spike in outbound traffic.
  • I immediately alerted the security team and relevant stakeholders, initiating the incident response plan.
  • I played a vital role in containing the attack, promptly isolating infected systems and shutting down non-essential network access points to prevent further lateral movement of the ransomware.

2. Investigation and Analysis:

  • I collaborated with forensics specialists to investigate the scope of the attack, identify the affected systems and data, and determine the entry point of the ransomware.
  • I analyzed log files and system activity to understand the attacker’s actions and gather evidence for potential legal proceedings.

3. Recovery and Restoration:

  • I worked closely with the IT operations team to restore critical systems from backups, prioritizing business continuity and minimizing downtime.
  • I ensured data integrity by verifying the restored data and implementing measures to prevent re-infection.

4. Communication and Reporting:

  • I kept senior management and affected employees informed throughout the incident, providing regular updates on the situation and the recovery progress.
  • I documented the incident response process and prepared a detailed report that included the timeline of events, lessons learned, and recommendations for future improvements.

5. Post-Incident Activities:

  • I actively participated in post-incident reviews to identify vulnerabilities that allowed the attack and strategize future prevention measures.
  • I collaborated in strengthening the organization’s security posture by advocating for additional security tools, implementing stricter access controls, and conducting enhanced security awareness training for employees.

How do you manage competing deadlines?


  • Identify urgency and importance: Classify tasks based on their urgency (time-sensitive) and importance (impact on organizational goals).
  • Estimate task duration: Accurately estimate the time required to complete each task. This allows for realistic scheduling and avoids overloading yourself. Allocate buffer time between tasks to account for unexpected issues or interruptions.
  • Create a clear to-do list: Maintain a comprehensive to-do list containing all outstanding tasks and their deadlines.
  • Schedule time effectively: Block out dedicated time slots in your calendar for each task based on estimated duration and urgency.
  • Negotiate deadlines when possible: If feasible, discuss and negotiate deadlines with stakeholders to find a mutually agreeable timeframe, especially for non-critical tasks

Explain the ISO 27001 domains.

1. Information Security Policies: This domain focuses on establishing and maintaining documented information security policies that define the organization’s overall approach to information security.

2. Organization of Information Security: This domain covers the organizational structure for information security, including roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines for managing information security risks.

3. Human Resource Security: This domain emphasizes the importance of raising awareness and educating employees on information security best practices to minimize human error risks.

4. Asset Management: This domain deals with identifying, classifying, and managing all information assets within the organization, ensuring their proper protection based on their sensitivity.

5. Access Control: This domain focuses on implementing controls to restrict access to information systems and resources based on the principle of least privilege, granting access only to authorized users.

6. Cryptography: This domain covers the use of encryption and decryption techniques to protect sensitive information at rest and in transit, ensuring confidentiality and integrity.

7. Physical and Environmental Security: This domain emphasizes physical safeguards to protect information assets from environmental threats like fire, flooding, power outages, and unauthorized physical access.

8. Operations Security: This domain addresses the security of operational processes related to information systems, including change management, incident handling, and backup procedures.

9. Communications Security: This domain focuses on securing communication channels and protecting information during transmission and reception, mitigating risks like eavesdropping or data tampering.

10. System Acquisition, Development, and Maintenance: This domain emphasizes secure development practices throughout the lifecycle of information systems, including secure coding, vulnerability assessments, and patching.

11. Supplier Relationships: This domain addresses information security considerations in vendor and supplier relationships, ensuring that third-party services and products align with the organization’s security posture.

12. Information Security Incident Management: This domain outlines a structured approach to identifying, reporting, investigating, and addressing information security incidents effectively.

13. Information Security Awareness and Training: This domain emphasizes the importance of ongoing awareness and training programs for employees to keep them informed about security threats and best practices.

14. Compliance: This domain focuses on aligning the ISMS with relevant information security laws, regulations, and industry standards to ensure compliance and mitigate legal risks.

What soft skills would you bring to this role, if hired?

1. Communications skill

2. Collaboration Skill

3. Problem-solving skill

4. Adaptability

5. Time Management and Organisation skill

6. Negotiation skill

7. Leadership

Give an example of a major risk you identified in a project or organization and how you managed it?

I identified a major IT risk in a hypothetical organization related to phishing attacks. These malicious emails attempt to trick employees into clicking on a link, downloading an attachment, or revealing sensitive information. A successful phishing attack could lead to data breaches, malware infections, financial losses, and reputational damage.

Risk Management:

To address this risk, the following steps were implemented:

  1. User Awareness Training: All employees underwent mandatory training sessions to raise awareness about phishing tactics, red flags to identify suspicious emails, and best practices for handling them. This included practical exercises to simulate real-world phishing attempts.
  2. Technical Controls: Implemented email filtering solutions to automatically detect and block phishing emails containing malicious links or attachments. Additionally, multi-factor authentication (MFA) was enforced for all user accounts, adding an extra layer of security beyond passwords.
  3. Reporting and Incident Response: Established a clear reporting process for employees to report suspicious emails. A dedicated incident response team was formed to investigate reported incidents, contain them if necessary, and implement corrective actions.
  4. Regular Review and Updates: The effectiveness of these controls was regularly reviewed and updated based on evolving threats and new phishing tactics. Ongoing training sessions were conducted to reinforce awareness and adapt to the latest trends.

What are the pros and cons of the phishing campaign exercise?


  • Increased awareness: Phishing simulations expose employees to realistic phishing attempts, helping them learn to identify red flags and avoid falling victim to real attacks. This can significantly improve their ability to protect themselves and the organization from cyber threats.
  • Improved reporting: Simulations encourage employees to report suspicious emails, which can help identify and address potential security gaps within the organization’s systems and processes.
  • Identification of vulnerable users: Simulations can highlight employees who are more susceptible to phishing attempts, allowing targeted training and support to address their specific needs.
  • Testing security controls: Phishing simulations can test the effectiveness of existing technical controls like email filtering and multi-factor authentication in preventing phishing attacks.


  • Reduced trust: If not conducted transparently, phishing simulations can erode trust between employees and the IT security team. Employees may feel tricked or deceived, leading to resentment and resistance towards future training efforts.
  • Stress and anxiety: Receiving a simulated phishing email can be stressful and cause anxiety for some employees, especially those unfamiliar with such exercises. It’s crucial to communicate the purpose of the simulation beforehand and provide resources for employees to report any negative experiences.
  • Cost and time: Developing and implementing effective phishing simulations can require significant time and resources, which might not be available to all organizations.
  • Limited effectiveness: Phishing simulations may not accurately reflect the most sophisticated phishing techniques used by real attackers. Over time, employees might become accustomed to the simulation format and become less vigilant in identifying real phishing attempts.

What approach would you take to champion information security in the organization?

1. Lead by Example:

  • Adhere to security policies and procedures: Demonstrate a strong commitment to information security by consistently following all established policies and procedures. This sets a positive example for colleagues and encourages adherence across the organization.
  • Stay informed and up-to-date: Continuously learn about emerging threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices in information security. Share this knowledge with colleagues through informal discussions, presentations, or internal knowledge-sharing platforms.

2. Foster a Culture of Security Awareness:

  • Initiate or participate in security awareness training programs: Advocate for the development and implementation of engaging and informative security awareness training programs for all employees. This can involve collaborating with the security team or HR department to design and deliver training sessions.
  • Promote open communication: Encourage colleagues to report suspicious activity or potential security breaches without fear of reprimand. Foster an environment where information security is a shared responsibility and everyone feels comfortable raising concerns.

3. Integrate Security into Daily Work:

  • Integrate security considerations into project planning and development: Advocate for security to be a key consideration throughout the entire software development lifecycle, from design and coding to deployment and maintenance.
  • Promote the use of secure development practices: Encourage the adoption of secure coding practices, vulnerability scanning, and secure configuration management to minimize risks during development and deployment.

4. Advocate for Investment in Security Measures:

  • Identify and research potential security solutions: Stay informed about the latest security technologies and tools. Research and present cost-benefit analyses of potential solutions to decision-makers to advocate for investment in strengthening the organization’s security posture.
  • Collaborate with the security team: Build strong relationships with the security team and collaborate on initiatives to improve overall security across the organization. This can involve providing technical expertise, identifying gaps in existing security measures, and brainstorming solutions.

5. Stay Positive and Proactive:

  • Focus on the benefits of security: When discussing security measures, emphasize the benefits they offer beyond just preventing breaches. Highlight how strong security fosters trust with clients, protects sensitive information, and ensures business continuity.
  • Maintain a positive and collaborative approach: Avoid using fear-mongering tactics to raise awareness. Instead, focus on collaborative efforts to build a culture of security where everyone feels invested in protecting the organization’s information assets.

How did you overcome a major challenge that you experienced in your career?

1. Define the Challenge:

2. Analyze the Cause:

3. Seek Resources and Support:

4. Develop a Plan of Action:

5. Take Action and Persevere:

6. Reflect and Adapt:

What would you do in your first three months in the organization, if hired?

Develop a comprehensive IT policy for the organization.

Curated: DESTINY YOUNG | IT Operations and Technology Infrastructure Engineer



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