GRC Automation: How to Get Started

Gowsika

Gowsika

Sep 30, 2023

GRC Automation: How to Get Started

Everyone has a strategy for managing governance, risk management, and compliance with industry/government regulations. Businesses refer to these strategies as their GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) program. With the very nature of these concepts constantly evolving, it begs the question—are the strategies in your GRC program equipped to handle enterprise risk management and compliance? Or do you need to reimagine your approach to include automation? 

In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about GRC automation and what you need to do to get started. 

What is GRC automation?

GRC automation is the process of streamlining GRC processes which includes creating and implementing governance, risk, and compliance frameworks through automation. It is generally achieved by integrating risk and compliance management frameworks and creating a forum that brings together multiple teams to work on common themes such as security, regulation, and compliance.

A GRC automation solution helps in reducing costs and improving productivity by enabling collaboration and making workflows pertaining to these functions more efficient.

Why is GRC automation required?

GRC automation is required because it helps organizations seamlessly work their way around complex compliance processes and risk management to attain an effective security posture. The integrated framework can easily automate risk assessment processes to identify, analyze, monitor, and mitigate every aspect of risk.

When GRC frameworks were introduced in 2007 through a scholarly research paper, it didn’t seem that hard to manage. In fact, using spreadsheets and manual data-capture methods was good enough for most businesses.

Fast forward to 2023, and we realize that businesses find themselves in an increasingly stringent regulation-driven world that has a plethora of compliance and reporting requirements. Spreadsheets simply aren’t enough to keep up with these obligations. And that’s where GRC automation is required to make both compliance and risk management seamless.

How to automate GRC?

GRC automation is a systematic process that organizations can easily implement. However, you need to plan it effectively. 

Let’s look at the basic steps involved in GRC automation:

How to automate GRC?

1. Plan and set objectives

Just like any major IT initiative, implementing GRC automation also involves the planning phase, where you need to define the criteria for automating GRC processes. Having clear objectives will empower you to set the right expectations from the exercise and pinpoint areas that require attention.

You can conduct interviews with the current GRC analysts and your IT team to gather information regarding GRC activities. This will be helpful in defining the scope and specifications of the GRC system.

2. Identify and analyze risks

This step requires a two-pronged approach—you need to identify the risks that need to be addressed on priority and look into the issues impacting your GRC performance. You can define your requirements based on these concepts.

Understanding these aspects will help you identify gaps in controls, address these risk factors, and maximize performance within the scope of function. It is also important to accommodate the need to implement a monitoring mechanism that helps in smart reporting within the list of requirements.

3. Choose the right GRC tool

Well, there are a lot of vendors out there, and you need to pick the right one to implement a GRC system in place. The best thing to do is shortlist the top GRC tools and then compare their features to see which one fits your requirements (the ones that you listed in the above step).

You can try multiple tools or book a demo to understand how effective the tool is. You can even request customized features as per your requirements. However, it is crucial to note that many businesses go beyond the GRC scope to opt for a compliance automation platform. This helps in meeting complex and ever-changing compliance requirements effectively.

4. Test the GRC Automation Software

Whether you have developed your automation platform or purchased one, it is important to test it before deployment. This helps in understanding whether the software works as intended and whether there is any scope for improvement.

It is often wise to go for a trial run or demo session to understand the software’s features and compatibility with your existing systems before making the purchase decision.

5. Bring Change Experts to Approve the Software

The higher management has the final say in such large projects. However, if you have convinced the leaders to automate GRC, you need to bring in some experts to analyze the changes you will implement. Why so? Changes come with potential barriers and pitfalls. You need to avoid these for a seamless implementation of the GRC automation platform.

Bring in the change experts and tell them about your GRC automation process. They will help you minimize and eliminate any risks/downfalls in your approach.

6. Deploy GRC Automation Platform

The final step in this how-to guide is the deployment phase. All the concerned employees need to be trained well regarding the new system you are deploying. Also, ensure your IT infrastructure is ready to adapt to the GRC platform.

Prepare the deployment schedule and roll out the changes in phases to effectively deploy your new GRC automation software. Post-deployment, you can gather regular user feedback to improvise and maintain the new system.

Also check out: A complete guide to GRC Compliance.

Benefits of GRC automation

GRC automation is important for businesses in this compliance-heavy world. The benefits of automating your GRC ventures are endless. Let’s have a look.

Benefits of GRC automation
  • Reliable and robust approach: Risk monitoring and automated data collection make GRC automation a good system to have. The audit team will feel assured of your GRC strategy with automation in place.

  • Cost-effective solution: Automation reduces manual work and eliminates the need for filling and managing spreadsheets for endless hours. This not only trims down your costs but also boosts efficiency.

  • Always stay compliant with industry regulations: With ever-changing compliance needs, you need to stay on top of industry regulations to avoid the risk of non-compliance. With a compliance-oriented solution, you can avoid hefty fines.

  • Identify and mitigate risks quickly: Identifying and managing risks is easier with GRC automation in place. The system has security controls and mitigation plans so you can effectively mitigate the risks.

  • Gain visibility into risk profile: With the automation platform, you can access a centralized dashboard to get a 360-degree view of your organization’s risk profile. This helps you make informed and data-driven decisions.

Challenges of GRC automation

While looking at the positive sides of GRC automation, we should recognize the challenges that you might face. Let’s have a look at some challenges.

  • Costs can prove to be a roadblock: Automating can be a costly venture for some organizations. If you choose an enterprise-level customized solution, there might be better choices from a financial point of view. You need to consider your organization’s size, requirements, and features to choose the right software.

  • GRC automation is a major undertaking: GRC automation is a big project, and shifting from manual processes and spreadsheets to a data-driven centralized dashboard requires some major changes. An ineffective implementation can lead to critical issues.

  • Senior leaders may need more convincing: Automation projects like this require approval from senior leaders, and accomplishing buy-in for GRC automation is a challenging task.. Automation can be overwhelming, so you need to list the clear benefits to convince the leadership.

Where to Start: The Sprinto Way

When it comes to governance, risk, and compliance, you need to have a solid and winning strategy. Well, how to have one, as it is quite challenging and cumbersome to implement a framework for keeping up with the latest regulations and risk management requirements.

There’s a need for a more tactical approach to mapping controls to requirements, managing the risks, and understanding the changes in frameworks. This is where Sprinto steps in to help you stay compliant with popular industry standards!

Sprinto is a compliance automation platform that helps organizations automate the repetitive tasks involved in the compliance process. The platform supports multiple compliance frameworks, and when compared with other GRC tools in the market that take months to help you achieve compliance, Sprinto gets it done in 14 business days!

The centralized dashboard helps you stay on top of the compliance requirements and aligns with your risk management needs. Book a demo now to see how Sprinto can be a great and cost-effective solution in your GRC strategy!

FAQs

Is GRC automation beneficial for small and medium-sized organizations?

Yes, GRC automation is beneficial for small and medium-sized organizations as it eliminates manual work and improves operational efficiency in a cost-effective manner.

How do I choose the best GRC automation platform for my business?

To pick the best automation platform for your company, you need to understand the requirements and specifications. Try to align these with the price and compatibility and make the right decision. If you are looking for a compliance automation platform, try Sprinto – a cost-efficient solution.

Which is the best GRC automation platform to meet compliance requirements?

The best automation platform to meet major compliance requirements is Sprinto. It helps you automate tasks and streamline the compliance process and helps you effectively monitor and manage risks.

Gowsika

Gowsika

Gowsika is an avid reader and storyteller who untangles the knotty world of compliance and cybersecurity with a dash of charming wit! While she’s not decoding cryptic compliance jargon, she’s oceanside, melody in ears, pondering life’s big (and small) questions. Your guide through cyber jungles, with a serene soul and a sharp pen!

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