8 Steps That Drive GRC Success

By Eric Noonan • February 19, 2016

GRC is neither a project nor a technology, but a corporate objective for improving governance through more-effective compliance and a better understanding of the impact of risk on business performance. GRC can vary dramatically depending on the businesses vertical market (e.g. Healthcare, Finance, Information Technology, etc.) and even further complexity can be found from one business unit to another. This complexity drives the need for different, highly specialized tools, which raises a huge set of cost, integration, and management issues. To address this challenge, many businesses are opting for a single enterprise GRC (eGRC) solution and, when necessary, integrating the many points and functional solutions to satisfy specific needs.

An Integrated and automated GRC aims to resolve the challenges associated with scattered and disconnected operational security processes through the centralization of data, alignment and automation of processes and workflows, and clear enterprise-level visibility with trend and analysis metrics and reporting. The benefits of an integrated and automated GRC are substantial however; businesses should not look to integration and automation without first having a mature GRC environment in place.

Throughout my years of helping businesses improve security and GRC processes, I’ve noticed common trends in businesses striving to build and integrate automated GRC processes. I have compiled a list of 8 critical steps that any business should accomplish before trying to automate and integrate their GRC with technology:

1: Understanding the GRC Business Driver

Why are you doing this? Establish the need and convey the value of GRC to the business.  GRC reduces risk, helps demonstrate the value of security, makes compliance a natural outcome, and optimizes your businesses people, processes, and technologies. Most importantly, GRC helps tell the compliance and security story in a language that the business can understand through the language of numbers and metrics.

2: Establish GRC Scope with Business Context

Understanding the context of your business is critical to the successful application of GRC goals. The internal context (e.g. systems, applications, networks, organizational structure, etc.) and the external context (e.g. customer impact, legal or regulatory compliance requirements, etc.) define the GRC scope with a clear understanding of constraints and opportunities.

3: Current State vs. Future State

A clear understanding of the current state of your GRC and the desired future state of your GRC will allow you to develop a roadmap that is aligned with the mission, value, and strategic agenda of your business.

4: Get Leadership Support and Sponsorship

Senior executive backing is critical to ensuring GRC activities (e.g. compliance initiatives, risk assessments, policy creation, etc.) are not executing in silos and that business units are working towards the GRC future state.

5: Define the GRC Strategy

Clear Business Objectives are the destination for any project and provide a guidepost for the many decisions that will be made along the way. In order to eliminate surprises and ensure directional correctness, the successful PM will work with project sponsors and stakeholders to develop and articulate the business objectives early and often in a project.

6: Cross-Departmental Collaboration

GRC impacts every business unit in some capacity and will inevitably drive a culture change throughout the business. Getting the right people at the right times is critical to creating change that deeply impacts the culture and ensures success in GRC activities.

7:  Define What Success Means

Develop a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of GRC activities. KPIs should be in the common language of the business, not technology, or security centric. KPIs should provide a clear picture of how GRC is integrating into the activity and rhythm of your business operations.

8: Continuous Improvement and Optimization

GRC must adapt to the accelerated and dynamic pace of business. Environment changes occur rapidly and data is more fluid than ever before thus in In order for GRC to be a truly effective continuous improvement is a must! Leveraging the results from your KPIs, you can steadily optimize the GRC activities, one at a time, to increase the efficiency, agility, and effective with managing your risk and compliance.

Effective GRC doesn’t start with a GRC technology solution and successful completion of these steps will ensure that when you are ready to integrate and automate your GRC activities into technological solutions, your valuable time and resources won’t be wasted. Let the experts at CyberSheath help your business maximize the efficiency of processes, connecting operational tasks with strategic objectives.

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