A Beginner’s Guide to GRC Framework

Anwita

Anwita

Feb 29, 2024

GRC framework

Small organizations or startups usually lack streamlined processes to manage and track their workflows. Such disorganized structures result in scattered data, poorly managed human resources, low or no visibility into risks, and manually managed audit trails. The solution to all these issues is a GRC framework that operationalizes organizational chaos into a well-managed set of functions. 

Let’s understand what GRC framework is, how to implement it, associated challenges, and benefits. 

What is GRC Framework?

A GRC framework is a model that helps companies manage governance, compliance, and risk. It helps to identify and implement policies that impact the bottom line. GRC frameworks enable users to proactively mitigate risks, make informed decisions, boost internal and external collaboration, and comply with legal obligations.

A key objective of the GRC framework is to ensure business best practices in everyday operations. It is used across functions like compliance officers, strategy makers, legal teams, IT departments, finance executives, data analysts, auditors, and more. 

Implementing a GRC Framework

Putting a GRC framework in place means unifying business components from bottom up to the implementation. While there is no right or wrong way, you may use these as a starting guide.

  • Know where you stand: Understand where you currently stand in relation to people, process, data, and technology. This will help you avoid complications such as data duplicity or process workflows.

  • Set a target: Chalk out a clear roadmap on where you want to be and the goals you want to achieve using GRC. Collaborate with all involved parties to know their roadblocks, where they struggle the most, and get more visibility on other deliverables.

  • Analyze gaps: Now, determine the existing gaps within your structure. Look into missing data, duplicate data, redundant processes, and look for opportunities to automate manual tasks.

  • Discuss: Ensure that key stakeholders and top management are on the same page with your GRC implementation project. Discuss budget, responsibilities, deadlines, proposals, and other crucial information before making crucial decisions.

  • Select stakeholders: Choose your GRC partner. Consider if the solution is easy to use, what percent of workflow it automates, if it integrates with your tools, if the vendor offers support post deployment, and if it has good feedback on trusted sources like G2.

  • Keep improving: Adopting a GRC framework is not a one-time task – you can’t set it up and forget about it. As market dynamics change, so are your targets. This means you should document new features, requirements, changes, and more.

GRC framework examples

GRC framework is  a set of technologies that help businesses implement policies, assess risks, eliminate silos, and get compliant. You can use these common frameworks to achieve these:

GRC solution

GRC software combines core business processes, risk management, auditing requirements, and internal controls into a single integrated application. It helps organizations systematically manage and implement functionalities centered around GRC to unify multiple business operations. 

User management

Stakeholders, employees, consultants, and other business associates need access to certain tools and files to carry out their tasks. These functions need access to specific systems using privileged or role based access control. User management helps to manage, control, and monitor access authorization to restrict everyone from accessing more than they need. 

Virtual CISO Services

A virtual or a vCISO offers remote services on a variety of security related tasks. It conducts risk assessments, improves the overall security posture, strategizes policies, implements controls, and more. vCISOs work with IT admins and top management to protect people, data, and the overall infrastructure from security threats. 

Auditing system

When you adopt a GRC framework, it is crucial to measure its efficiency to simplify compliance assessment. Audit managing tools help you map usage, manage controls, and collect evidence. You can use it to measure if your performance aligns with your goals. 

SIEM tools

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Tools help to gain a comprehensive insight into the information security ecosystem. It provides real time visibility into breach attempts, creates a log of system events consolidated from various sources, assists to investigate breaches, and alerts in case of incidents. Some SIEM tools can add to the system’s intelligence using historical data to draw correlation between events. 

Also. check out: Guide to implementing GRC compliance

Benefits and challenges of GRCs

Implementing GRC sure makes your life easier, but does not come without challenges. Expect to face these issues while adopting this framework:

Clash between existing practices and GRC 

Resistance is the natural outcome to change that can be expected in every organization – it is not a simple process. Implementing company wide GRC involves transformation at every stage – from employees to stakeholders. So if you expect a drastic shift overnight, it is crucial to change that mindset. 

Overestimating existing processes

Many leaders erroneously believe that their existing processes are mature enough to integrate with a GRC automated system. While a fully mature system is by no means a necessity, having a basic understanding of where you want your processes to be in the long run. This is because strong starting points lay the foundation to help you avoid errors and rework. So start by knowing your processes, people, and policies well. 

Siloed data

Companies without a centralized system for managing data across functions have separate processes to store and access data. As GRC changes the siloed data systems, many companies find themselves in a cesspool of duplicate data. This often ends up creating more challenges in managing information. 

Slow adaptation

As previously discussed, getting everyone onboard with new changes is easier said than done. Businesses depend on a number of processes for each operation – it is a complex system of IT, data, policies, assignees, ect. With GRC consolidating the use of spreadsheets, documents, and other tools, at times, we find a lack of visibility into who is accountable for what – and thus manual processes often continue.

Need for clarity

Your GRC journey won’t be successful if you fail to communicate relevant information with concerned parties. It is essential that you have a strategy to communicate policies, planning, and roles with employees and stakeholders. 

Once you overcome the challenges, you can reap the benefits. These include: 

Automation

A key goal of the GRC framework is to reduce manual efforts. Pre-GRC scenarios in most organizations involve using spreadsheets, documents, emails, and calls to manage daily functions. With GRC, companies experience a shift in reduced manual efforts to eliminate repeat tasks, automate workflows, analyze metrics, and process role based access. 

Transparency

Siloed functions within the infrastructure impedes full visibility into processes as departments work independently. GRC helps users gain comprehensive visibility for all involved parties to enhance their understanding of processes, data, risks, projects, and more. 

Efficiency

Assessing risks, managing compliance, and tracking internal audits are time-consuming, complex processes. GRC frameworks centralize these processes using a single tool. Additionally, it helps users manage and improve IT compliance and controls. 

Risk and security

GRC frameworks help businesses manage, implement, monitor, track, and automate risks. This empowers top management to make better decisions, set goals that align with dynamic market demands, and distribute resources to eliminate risks. 

A robust GRC program is particularly helpful for organizations that have previously struggled with compliance failure or security incidents. 

Onboarding and offboarding

Poor onboarding processes lead to bad employee experience and first impressions. GRC helps organizations automate the end to end onboarding and offboarding process for a seamless experience. 

Conclusion

While GRC frameworks offer a wide range of capabilities, it does not offer proactive risk assessment, continuous security monitoring, prioritize compliance requirements, scope risks and control measures. 

This is where comprehensive solutions like Sprinto squares up – this comprehensive solution essentially puts compliance on autopilot. It consolidates risks, maps controls, runs automated checks, trains employees, and simplifies access management. Talk to our experts about your business requirements. 

FAQs

What are the components of GRC security frameworks?

The components of the GRC framework are broadly divided into three major categories: governance, risk, and compliance. 

How to build a GRC framework?

You can build a GRC framework by following these steps: 

  • Understand your existing processes and resources. 
  • Set clear targets and goals. 
  • Analyze existing gaps. 
  • Discuss the plan with key stakeholders and top management.
  • Choose a GRC partner
  • Keep working on the necessary changes
Anwita

Anwita

Anwita is a cybersecurity enthusiast and veteran blogger all rolled into one. Her love for everything cybersecurity started her journey into the world compliance. With multiple certifications on cybersecurity under her belt, she aims to simplify complex security related topics for all audiences. She loves to read nonfiction, listen to progressive rock, and watches sitcoms on the weekends.

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