Compensating Controls in Cyber Security

Compensating Controls in Cyber Security

Taking preventive measures and implementing strategies that are useful in providing protection for the systems from cyber threats is one of the important things that organizations should focus on. It involves taking preventive measures and analyzing, identifying, checking, and mitigating risks and vulnerabilities. Compensating controls in cyber security involves the development of controls to implement for the detection and prevention of attacks.

These compensating controls are used to ensure the safety and protection of the systems from cyber attacks that otherwise can damage and create threats to security. Here, this guide will talk specifically about compensating control (alternative control) cyber security and its relevant information so you can have an idea about why they are important and why you should focus on them to take the most benefit out of them. Let’s look at the details below.

What ARe Compensating Controls In Cyber Security?

The guide talks about compensating control cyber security, its importance, the difference between compensating and mitigating controls, and examples of compensating control so you can have detailed knowledge about how to use compensating controls for your benefit. We will first start with what compensating control is and then will look at its relevant information.

What Is Compensating Control?

Compensating controls assists in managing and minimizing the risks that are linked with threats and are not addressed with standard security controls and tools. Compensating controls are basically the steps that are taken to notice and address the weaknesses of already present controls in order to compensate for the security requirements that are not fulfilled due to multiple limitations or restrictions.

They are implemented to limit the risk of security threats and vulnerabilities that otherwise can harm your system and cause serious damage. Let’s talk about the importance of compensating controls in cyber security.

The Importance Of Compensating Controls In Cybersecurity

In cybersecurity, compensating controls have their importance and are one of the essential implementations that you should not ignore. Following are some of the key benefits that compensating controls provide.

  • They are helpful in minimizing the risk of cyber incidents.
  • They provide organizations with the flexibility to notice threats and vulnerabilities, mainly those that are not addressed by general security controls.
  • Compensating controls also helps in managing and limiting the risks of cyber threats.

Well, since they address unaddressed vulnerabilities and threats, they are one of the essential controls that you should pay attention to if you really want to stay safe and under protection. Let’s talk about what is the difference between compensating controls and mitigating controls.

What’s The Difference Between Compensating Controls and Mitigating Controls?

The simplest and most understandable difference between compensating controls and mitigating controls is that the compensating controls are put in to address the issues that are not addressed by standard controls. Alternatively, mitigating controls are used to minimize the threat changes that are happening. Moreover, mitigating controls are permanent, whereas compensating controls are just temporary and work only when there is a need.

Examples Of Frequently Used Compensating Controls

1. The need for a secondary signature to authorize sensitive transactions that are critical and quite complicated. For example, high dollar values for purchase orders.

2. Exception reports are created in a reporting tool. They are then settled on a scheduler in order to make sure that they run with proper intervals and timings. The output is then checked and analyzed against the applicative process.

When Designing Compensating Controls, Consider These Tips

Following are the four important tips that you need to consider when designing compensative controls. This includes,

  • Documentation
  • Approval
  • Training
  • Review


Make sure to create a formal and appropriate document because it has to be reviewed by the management system. Ensure the development of a clear and understandable document outline and instructions. It should also explain the steps that are going to be followed to execute the compensating control in an understandable way.


You also need to make sure that the document you have made is reviewed regularly and properly. It should be approved by the management after proper review.

Keep in mind the people, systems, functionality, and access are constantly changing, so you have to make sure that the control you are designing is suitable and relevant. Moreover, it should serve the exact purpose that it was designed for.


Another thing that you have to pay attention to and fulfill is the training of the staff. You need to make sure that the staff is properly trained and understands everything related to the control you are designing. They should know about the proper procedure, risk, execution of the method, and timings.


Keep in mind to review the control’s effectiveness and efficiency periodically, mainly at the very start of its implementation. This will let you know whether there is a need for change or whether there is something that should be checked again or not.

The Compensating Controls Worksheet

Another part of successfully designing the compensating controls comes down to the compensating controls worksheets that are designed for organizations that have already undergone the risk analysis process. These companies usually have technical constraints for which they need modern security setups. Completing these worksheets can help you identify risks, find suitable compensating controls, and validate and maintain them in the long run.

Identify and Apply Compensating Controls in OT Security

Now, let us discuss proactively applying compensating controls as a replacement for traditional ICS patch management. The first important step is to identify the admin accounts and unused software already present in the system. In addition, it is equally important to maintain a strong industrial profession so that it does not get frequent attacks. Here is how it works.

Let us say an emerging threat is recognized, called “M”. When its vulnerability is released; the team will disable all the desktops and emails associated with a system. Next, the central team patches files and prepares the action plan by analyzing the location and the absence of compensating controls, followed by successful execution.

Be Proactive with Compensating Controls

Now, there is no doubt that ICS patch management compensating controls are harder, but being consistent and prioritizing important things can help you with successful implementation. Having a clear idea of why and how you are applying these controls helps you correct and protect the system.


What is considered a compensating control?

A compensating control is an alternative control that is used to address the concerns, threats, and vulnerabilities that are not easy to address with the use of standard controls. Compensating controls ensures the safety and protects the IT systems from cyber threats and attacks.

What is a compensating control for encryption?

A compensating control for encryption is an alternative solution to manage the security threats and vulnerabilities that your organization cannot manage. For example, if it is not possible for you to encrypt the cardholder data, you need to make sure that IP address filtering and internal network segmentation types of controls are implemented.

What is the difference between compensating and mitigating controls?

The mitigating controls are aimed at minimizing the chances of threats and vulnerabilities. Alternatively, compensating controls are aimed to provide extra control for specific purposes but are put into place when the security requirements are not fulfilled by already existing or standard control tools. Keep in mind mitigating controls are permanent, whereas compensating controls are temporary.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have gone through this above-mentioned article that tells you the details related to compensating controls cyber security. The information above tells you why compensating controls are necessary and how you can take the most benefit out of them. Make sure to pay attention to the details so you do not miss anything important.


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