Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) management is an increasingly common concern amongst companies of all sizes, particularly at the enterprise level where monitoring and compliance-related actions tend to be the most aggressive. Publicly-traded companies, in particular, experience a tremendous burden when it comes to meeting the various compliance and risk standards for their industry or business sector.
Governance, risk management, and compliance software — also known as “GRC software” — offers an efficient and cost-effective option for managing GRC-related issues within an organization’s IT landscape. From monitoring and capturing key data points, to data auditing, reporting and generating analytics and data visualizations, GRC software can perform many key functions.
Why Does a Company Need GRC Software?
When combined with a well-crafted governance risk management and compliance strategy, the best GRC software tools can do some remarkable things.
- Reduce risk of non-compliance and legal violations by facilitating and/or improving the processes that are used to achieve (and document) compliance.
- Promote more effective, data-driven decision-making at all levels within an organization.
- Reduce the degree of partitioning amongst a company’s various departments, creating a better sense of operational unity and cohesion.
- Drive smarter, more informed investments in technology — investments that bring a higher ROI and a greater benefit to the company as a whole.
- Centralize business data to allow for a bird’s eye view of a company’s GRC landscape, while also generating useful data-based business insights from in-built analytics tools.
Most importantly, this technology will help a company to avoid non-compliance and the impact of this benefit cannot be understated. Non-compliance can be extremely costly from a financial perspective, from a public relations perspective, and from a legal perspective. A single incident can quite literally destroy a company. As such, most business leaders would agree that any software solution that can help a company to avoid this unfortunate fate is well worth the investment.
When used properly, governance risk management software will empower a business to align its IT activities with its business strategies, while simultaneously mitigating risks and ensuring full compliance at all levels. That’s no small feat. Not all GRC tools are created equal; you need the right platform for your unique needs. But before delving into the search for the perfect GRC software solution, you’ll need to achieve a firm understanding of the GRC landscape and what this concept means for an organization.
GRC Frameworks and the Workings of Governance, Risk, and Compliance
GRC rose to prominence in the early 2000s following a series of rather spectacular corporate financial downfalls. Think Enron, Freddie Mac, HealthSouth, and Tyco. Collectively, these incidents spurred the creation of new laws and regulations across many industries. In response, company leaders sought to implement internal processes that could be used to identify and manage risk factors that might lead their enterprises down a path toward non-compliance, or worse, a scandalous headline-making financial downfall. And so, the GRC framework was developed. It centers around the three key concepts, which are as follows.
- Governance – Governance refers to the management and oversight of a company’s operations and activities. The objective is to remain compliant and within legal boundaries, while simultaneously supporting the company’s business objectives.
- Risk Management – Risk management refers to monitoring for and addressing any potential risks that threaten the company’s legal and regulatory compliance. An overarching GRC strategy may also include risks to data privacy, security, and intellectual property. Many potential risks are centered around an organization’s IT infrastructure and technology, so this area is a common focal point for a company’s GRC and risk management strategies.
- Compliance – Compliance refers to the development and implementation of strategies that ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and other set standards. GRC software is very effective at helping an organization to ensure that its data is handled, encrypted, and stored in a manner that minimizes risk while simultaneously maintaining compliance and allowing the company to leverage that data to its full potential.
GRC frameworks are developed around these three core concepts, allowing companies to create a robust GRC strategy with an established set of guidelines, policies, and protocols. Once these are in place, it’s time to select the perfect GRC software for your business.
What Does GRC Software Actually Do?
GRC software platforms include a diverse array of features and functionalities, including some of the following capabilities.
- Reporting – Reporting is a central element of GRC since reports are commonly required by regulatory bodies and in legal situations. Reporting is also necessary for in-house evaluations of a company’s processes and procedures — a task that may be required for anything ranging from framework and compliance evaluations to GRC strategy development.
- Auditing – Auditing is another key component of the compliance process. All of those efforts to achieve compliance are for naught if you cannot prove compliance when the need arises. You need to know when data was added, sent, deleted, modified, and by whom. Auditing capabilities are essential and GRC software gives you the power to perform these audits with ease.
- Regulatory Updates – The best GRC software solutions include integrations that generate regulatory update dashboards. On an annual basis, more than 900 legal and regulatory bodies worldwide issue over 55,000 alerts on new rules, regulations, and laws. The top GRC software platforms provide users with information on these alerts (which, notably, can be filtered by industry so you aren’t bombarded by 54,000 irrelevant alerts over the span of a year.) This simplifies the process of staying informed and up-to-date on the newest legal standards and regulations that may affect your business.
- Analytics – Analytics, and data visualization are key for making informed, data-driven business decisions. GRC software centralizes a company’s data in a manner that allows users to leverage in-built metrics, analytics, and data visualization tools.
- Collaboration and Awareness – With the proper integrations, GRC software can serve as a central platform where stakeholders can access and collaborate on all things related to risk management and compliance. From collaborating to managing a company’s policies and procedures, to viewing alerts on an organization’s data security risks, GRC software provides business leaders with an opportunity to get involved and informed in a way that promotes more efficient risk management and compliance.
Many GRC software solutions also feature some useful automation tools — tools that automate data handling in a way that positions your data to be more useful to the enterprise as a whole. Plus, human resources are freed to focus on higher-level projects, such as data analysis.
GRC software can be an extremely powerful tool for a company that is faced with the complex task of maintaining regulatory and legal compliance in the course of its operations. While many think “large publicly-traded enterprise” when they consider GRC software, smaller ventures can also see a benefit from these innovative software solutions. If your business is required to maintain regulatory compliance, then there is a good chance that you will see a strong ROI from a well-executed GRC software implementation.
Not all GRC software platforms are created equal and implementing that software solution requires expertise that extends beyond the skill set of a company’s in-house tech team. At iTech, we are positioned to provide clients with the right governance, risk management and compliance software for their enterprise needs. We invite you to contact iTech today to discuss your business and its GRC needs.