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What is GRC? A brief look into Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Dr. Heather Buker Dec 26, 2022

GRC helps align IT activities, risk management, and compliance with governance processes to achieve business goals.

What is GRC?

GRC stands for Governance, Risk, and Compliance and refers to the strategy to implement policies that protect the organisation from existing risks and has a process to proactively identify and reduce emerging risks in order to improve overall efficiency.

Governance: Governance refers to the overall operations at an organization such as planning, prioritization, IT management and cybersecurity management that are established to support organizational goals.

Risk: Risk is any uncertainty that can potentially harm the business and interfere with the business goals. Risk management is a set of activities carried out to identify, assess, mitigate, and respond to risks. 

Compliance: Compliance refers to the organisation’s adherence to all the rules and regulations relevant to its system and procedures.  

Why is GRC important?

In the early 2000s, organisations faced a number of challenges with information and financial security. This prompted the need for a framework that would bring more consistency to the security strategy and overall operations that would reduce the risk exposure. This is how ‘GRC’ as a term came into existence. 

Due to its association with risk and compliance, GRC is also closely connected to enhanced cybersecurity maturity.  It also drives improved decision-making and efficiency in the organisation and breaks down the silos between different departments in an enterprise to bring more consistency to the operations.

How does GRC work?

GRC typically works in a 'top-down' manner. A GRC framework is developed to give the leadership a roadmap to include the right policies and encourage the right practices that support information security and business goals. The framework defines measurable goals in the path of GRC execution. 

Today, businesses are becoming increasingly complex. What they need is an effective way to identify and manage key activities in the organisation. And of course, in organisations with multiple departments and systems, it becomes important to manage all activities in a cohesive and consistent manner to have better control over the overall organisational operations. GRC software and processes help achieve this. It brings efficiency and transparency to the table and makes people, processes, and technology more productive. 

Defining a GRC strategy can be a mammoth task. However, you don’t have to do it from scratch. With an automation-enabled platform such as 6clicks, you get ready-to-use content embedded in the platform and the functionality you need for automation that can be customised for the unique needs of your organisation.  

Who needs GRC software?

GRC software can be implemented by any business big or small across the private and public sectors. Any business that wants to align cybersecurity with business goals, manage risk, and maintain compliance needs to implement GRC. 

The need for GRC software is now more important than ever. With horror stories of businesses facing financial losses, penalties, and bad reputation, it has become imperative to allocate dedicated resources for GRC planning and execution. 

What are the strengths and limitations of GRC software?

Implementing GRC software is no longer an optional value-add to the business but a mandatory requisite. However, as you set forth to plan the GRC program, you should know the strengths and limitations of GRC. Simply put, a well-planned and executed GRC program offers several benefits. At the same time, improper implementation can lead to problems.

Benefits of a proper GRC implementation

  • Better governance and effective leadership
  • Increased visibility into risks, vulnerabilities, and threats
  • Streamlined compliance with regulations and standards
  • Reduced chances of penalties and litigation
  • Reduced business risk, financial risk, operational risk, and security risk

Problems due to improper GRC implementation

  • Reduced risk visibility
  • Reduced performance productivity
  • Fragmented departments and workforce
  • High costs due to increased threat exposure

How can you ensure successful GRC implementation?

Proper implementation of a GRC program requires a shift in the mindset of the people and in the culture of the organisation. This shift can only be effectively brought about when the senior leadership is involved in the GRC planning. The other prerequisite for successful GRC is more awareness among the staff. Proper education, training, and frequent initiatives to keep the staff invested and accountable towards the GRC activities are critical to the success of a GRC program.

What is GRC certification?

GRC planning and execution need understanding and expertise. An organisation needs trained GRC professionals to build expertise. Further, professionals with GRC certifications are useful to enforce a commitment to quality and expertise. All job roles such as CIO, CSO, IT analyst, IT auditor, and security engineer can benefit from a GRC certification. Below are some of the top GRC certifications.

  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Expert
  • Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance Professional (GRCP)
  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
  • Project Management Institute - Risk Management Professional (PMI - RMP)

What is GRC software and what does it do?

GRC software implementation can be a challenge for most organisations because of the complex and volatile requirements. GRC software is a cloud-based solution that simplifies implementation by automating certain processes and providing the means to coordinate and collaborate. It reduces complexity and improves efficiency. 

The good news is there are a number of GRC software solutions available on the market. If you are looking for help in evaluating different GRC solutions, our GRC evaluation checklist might help. The 6clicks platform for GRC is one of the most efficient and affordable platforms that revolutionise the GRC implementation experience. With a vast content library, dashboard, analytics, automation, and AI, 6clicks brings all GRC activities to a single platform for regulatory compliance.

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