GRC Metrics: KPIs, KRIs, & KCIs Explained + Sample Checklist

Anwita

Anwita

Apr 01, 2024

GRC Metrics

As you scale, the amount of people, processes, and technology you add to your infrastructure increases. This not only adds a number of risks into the mix but also creates an unprecedented level of compliance chaos. The emergence of GRC helps to close these gaps. 

This module heavily depends on certain metrics – KPIs, KRIs, and KCIs. But what are these metrics, and how do they work?

Read on to understand GRC metrics—the basics on which this system functions, its importance, and the types of metrics. We also explore some common metrics you need to track for your business. 

What are GRC Metrics?

GRC metrics are the quantifiers of the effectiveness of a GRC program that help organizations track, monitor, measure, and improve their governance, risk, and compliance initiatives. These measurable indicators are used to track the overall progress, evaluate performance, and identify gaps. 

Also, GRC metrics help organizations track, monitor, and measure the effectiveness of their compliance programs. By tracking KPIs, KCIs, and KRIs you can identify gaps and proactively address them. 

The main components of GRC metrics are: 

  1. Goals: Compliance and performance targets for the entire organization or functions 
  2. Type: What the metric quantifies; effectiveness, rate of completion, or timeliness 
  3. Formula: How you calculate the specific metric
  4. Target: What milestone you are trying to achieve – a number in terms of percentage or value 

You can track these metrics using GRC tools to streamline the process. 

Why are GRC metrics important?

GRC metrics help to monitor the effectiveness of compliance programs against regulatory obligations, legal requirements, and policies. It assists the management in making the right decisions by discovering growth opportunities, identifying areas for improvement, and facilitating strategic deployment of in-house resources. 

Using data to track performance, eliminating siloed structures, and adding efficiencies to governance and operations are key factors to drive the adoption of the GRC framework

However, at its core, the need for GRC modules emerges from the need to implement data compliance standards to survive an increasingly disorganized environment that is hyperfocused on data protection. 

For example, the ISO/IEC 27001 standard requires you to track the effectiveness of the ISMS. Section 9.1 (monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation) of the 9th chapter, “performance evaluation,” is specifically concerned with the results, analysis, and evaluation of assets. 

Another example is the NIST 800-55 special publication “Performance Measurement Guide for Information Security.” It aims to help organizations develop, select, and implement measures to evaluate security controls’ effectiveness. It lists four types of measures – implementation, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact as indicators of control performance. 

Seven GRC metrics to monitor

Using GRC metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that help you ensure compliance with regulations, demonstrate good compliance practices to key stakeholders, and gain valuable insights in the gaps. Here are the GRC metrics to measure: 

1. Compliance progress

Measures the progress of your implemented controls and other requirements like documentation against what is required or the goals you have set. Remember, here you don’t just track what you have implemented, but also its effectiveness. Keep track of:

  • Number of control failures/violations
  • Compliance maturity level 
  • Percentage of automated controls implemented
  • Number of compliance incidents resolved
  • Percentage of critical assets covered by controls
  • Rate of control effectiveness improvements
  • Percentage of compliance issues addressed on time

2. Training programs

Your employees, stakeholders, and even consultants should be on board with the metrics you are trying to meet. This will translate to measurable progress when everyone knows their responsibilities and understands the compliance framework. Track the number of employees who have completed the training and the violations of policies. Keep track of: 

  • Training completion rate 
  • Skill improvement rate
  • Impact on compliance adherence 
  • Time to desired competency
  • Rate of risk reduction
  • Contribution to auditing results

3. Risk exposure

Evaluate your organization’s IT infrastructure and systems to understand the level of risk exposure and get an idea of the existing risks against the acceptable levels. Establish tolerance levels using industry benchmarks – accept, mitigate, transfer, and avoid. Keep track of: 

  • Risk impact on operations and finances
  • Probability of risk recurrence
  • Risk exposure score
  • Risk severity based on potential consequences
  • Risk tolerance thresholds
  • Risk appetite based on tolerance level
  • Risk dashboard metrics (KRIs)
  • Risk correlation between different risks
  • Risk resilience to absorb shocks

4. Risk assessment

The scope of GRC risk assessment should be based on the requirements of applicable government or industrial regulations as well as compliance standards. Measure the coverage of your assessment for the critical assets and systems. Additionally, keep track of:

  • Risk identification rate
  • Risk classification accuracy
  • Comprehensiveness of risk assessment 
  • Completion of improvement initiatives 
  • Frequency of risk assessment review
  • Risk assessment consensus 
  • Frequency of risk register update 

Risk assessment and management often become rife with assumptions and disconnected from reality, leading to weak risk registers and poor decisions. Sprinto helps you build risk resilience with high speed and accuracy. Talk to our experts

5. Risk remediation and response rate

The next step to risk assessment, the measurement of remediation efforts includes how fast your team implemented the corrective actions to mitigate the accepted risks. Also, track the number of completed actions against the acceptable level. Here’s a quick checklist for thorough coverage: 

  • Risk mitigation completion rate
  • Average time to remediate critical risks
  • Rate of success for remediation efforts
  • Rate of recurrence
  • Average time to incidence response 
  • Cost of remediation
  • Percentage of due remediation actions
  • Rate of stakeholder satisfaction 

6. Audit results and closure

Audit findings show the status of your current posture against the expectations. If you are trying to get certified and fail the audit check, that is a serious indication that you are meeting the target metrics. Additionally, the progress of the gaps you have closed is a success metric that demonstrates your efficiency. Keep track of: 

  • Number of non-compliance issues
  • Severity of the issues discovered 
  • Closure rate of audit findings 
  • Effectiveness of remediation actions/controls
  • Acceptance rate of remediation actions
  • Percentage of evidence collection completed
  • Level of compliance readiness before the next cycle
  • Audit report timeliness

How Sprinto helped CareStack streamline compliance and multi-framework audit in 3 months

7. Non-compliance and penalties

Finally, track the fines, penalties, legal notices, and sanctions issued for non-compliance. If you face legal trouble frequently due to violations, you are failing the success metric and should consider following security best practices. You should measure the:

  • Number of non-compliance incidents
  • Number of repeat incidents
  • Cost to remediate non-compliant issues
  • Frequency of non-compliance incidents
  • Impact assessment of reputational damage
  • Litigation rate of issues resulting in legal complications
  • Exceeded cost to implement corrective actions 
  • Non-compliance benchmarking against industry peers

Sprinto helps you eliminate compliance blind spots through continuously monitoring controls, scanning vulnerabilities in real-time, triggering remediations, and accurately collecting evidence – so you always stay compliant and keep legal issues away. Talk to our experts now

The trinity of GRC metrics: KPIs, KRIs, and KCIs

Now that you know which metrics to monitor, let’s understand the common terms used to measure them. 

KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), as the name suggests, are quantitative metrics of your performance against the goals and objectives of your GRC program. Use this metric to identify risks, compliance gaps, areas of improvement, and the overall effectiveness of the controls. 

An example of KPIs is the percentage of employees and stakeholders who have completed the training program or passed security tests. 

KRIs

Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) are the metrics that aid in the risk management process to monitor and measure the existing and potential risks and vulnerabilities. 

KRIs help your team and stakeholders understand the organization’s risk exposure to identify action items to reduce or mitigate them. In contrast to KPIs that act as a success metric of goals, KRIs can be compared to safeguards or signals against risks. 

Examples of KRIs are the results of your risk assessment that indicate the effectiveness of your risk management program or the number of successful breaches. 

Effortless, Efficient Risk Evaluation. Talk to an expert.

KCIs

Key control indicators (KRIs) are metrics that identify the effectiveness of your security controls that are required by regulations or mandated in the frameworks. Unlike KRIs which focus on monitoring the risks, KCIs help to evaluate the performance of the controls used to mitigate those risks. 

KCI examples include the number of failing, passing, and critical control checks implemented to mitigate or minimize risks. 

Manage and measure your GRC program without missing a beat

Keeping track of GRC metrics without losing a beat is no easy task. Siloed systems, erroneous manual efforts, and risk assessments can be a recipe for chaos without the right systems. 

Sprinto helps you set up a GRC program that comprehensively and correctly helps you manage and monitor GRC metrics without missing a beat. 

Using Sprinto, you can: 

  • Effectively scope out gaps, risks, and non-compliance using a pre-built risk library and quantitative risk assessment using KRIs
  • Get a comprehensive overview of your controls and risk reports to get the current status of progress against the target metrics 
  • Consolidate compliance processes from a siloed system to save the cost of multiple tools, eliminate the chance of human error, automate system access and adopt a data-driven strategy backed by metrics
  • Streamline compliance efforts using a highly responsive and fully automated tool that collects evidence for you and offers real-time monitoring to help you meet the metric goals

That’s not all. Sprinto can do much more. Talk to our GCR experts today

FAQs

What are the components of GRC metrics?

The components of governance, risk, and compliance metrics are the goals of your compliance efforts, the type of metric, the formula used to measure compliance risks or potential threats, and the program’s target. 

What are the key metrics that indicate the success of a GRC program?

The metrics that help you assess GRC’s success are the number of compliance violations, the progress of your compliance status, cases of reputational damage, the average time to address security incidents, gaps closed after internal audits, and the business performance against regulatory requirements. 

What factors influence my business’s risk metrics?

GRC KPIs and metrics are unique to each business. It depends on the applicable industry standards, risk profiles, compliance requirements, business objectives, potential cyber risks, history of security breaches, compliance strategy, and more. These governance metrics play a pivotal role in assessing your overall compliance performance. 

How to measure the effectiveness of a GRC program?

You can measure the effectiveness of the GRC program by tracking your progress of set goals and requirements against metrics like Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Key Risk Indicators (KRIs), and Key control indicators. An example of KPIs is the effectiveness of implemented controls and an example of KRIs is the rate at which identified risks are mitigated.

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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