GRC vs Integrated Risk Management 

grc integrated risk management

What is GRC  

GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) is an organizational strategy for managing governance, risk management, and compliance with industry and government regulations. GRC also refers to an integrated suite of software capabilities for implementing and managing an enterprise GRC program. 

GRC’s set of practices and processes provides a structured approach to aligning IT with business objectives. GRC helps companies effectively manage IT and security risks, reduce costs, and meet compliance requirements. It also helps improve decision-making and performance through an integrated view of how well an organization manages its risks. 

What is Integrated Risk Management?  

Integrated risk management (IRM) is a set of practices and processes supported by a risk-aware culture and enabling technologies, that improve decision making and performance through an integrated view of how well an organization manages its unique set of risks. 

Under the Gartner definition, IRM has certain attributes: 

Strategy: Enablement and implementation of a framework, including performance improvement through effective governance and risk ownership 

Assessment: Identification, evaluation and prioritization of risks 

Response: Identification and implementation of mechanisms to mitigate risk 

Communication and reporting: Provision of the best or most appropriate means to track and inform stakeholders of an enterprise’s risk response 

Monitoring: Identification and implementation of processes that methodically track governance objectives, risk ownership/accountability, compliance with policies and decisions that are set through the governance process, risks to those objectives, and the effectiveness of risk mitigation and controls 

Technology: Design and implementation of an IRM solution (IRMS) architecture 

To understand the full scope of risk, organizations require a comprehensive view across all business units and risk and compliance functions, as well as key business partners, suppliers and outsourced entities. Developing this understanding requires risk and security leaders to address all six IRM attributes. 

How are GRC and IRM different  

From a side-by-side comparison, GRC and IRM aren’t too different. The differences they do have are very subtle. 

The birth of the term IRM happened a few years ago when it was first introduced by Gartner. Since then, there has been a shift in the industry that has brought about an identity crisis. With some tools being marketed as GRC and others as IRM. Some believe that this shift occurred when Gartner published their magic quadrant for Integrated Risk Management. GRC didn’t just switch to being called IRM because it sounded better. The fact is new risks, new technologies, more complex regulatory requirements and new demands from business forced a market evolution. It is true that before the industry shift GRC tools only focused on regulatory compliance and not risk management in its entirety. However, a lot of the IRM tools and services you see in the market today are the same tools that were marketed for GRC in the past. On top of that, the tools that are still being marketed as GRC also do the same thing these IRM tools do. 

Today’s governance, risk, and compliance managers must think beyond the board and regulators and start to think about how they handle things like third-party risk, business continuity, and cybersecurity. Knowing and understanding risks across the organization as a whole – including subsidiaries and operations in other jurisdictions – can create opportunities for cost savings, competitive advantage, and alignment.

Using OpenPages for all your GRC Integrated Risk Management needs 

IBM OpenPages with Watson is an AI-driven, highly scalable governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution that runs on any cloud. Centralize siloed risk management functions within a single environment designed to help you identify, manage, monitor, and report on risk and regulatory compliance, especially in today’s changing business landscape. 

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