What do some of the world's biggest organizations have in common? Is it a superior product, better management, or more funding? While all of these factors can play a role in the success of an organization, ultimately what leads organizations to success is better decision making to avoid any potential risks. But how do you know which factors to consider when assessing risk? Generally, risks fall into a variety of categories, but the one that can be the most cause for concern are an organization's legal and compliance challenges.
Without a way to accurately measure and ascertain your compliance requirements, you will have a tough time making the correct decisions. The legal landscape being the way it is today, there are a lot of various requirements that organizations need to sort through. Most successful organizations are now leveraging automated tools to help them manage their risk and compliance obligations. These tools now fall under a new category of product called “GRC” which stands for governance, risk and compliance.
The Importance of Compliance Requirements
As the Director of Data Protection for KnowBe4, I have many compliance challenges on a daily basis. There are many security and privacy requirements imposed on us by either customers, countries, or regulatory bodies. Being able to accurately navigate these requirements can be tough, especially when you're an organization that needs to do it at scale. The way we manage this internally is by leveraging a GRC tool (that also happens to be one of our platforms). This was neat to me, because at my previous organizations I utilized other GRC tools and I was able to see the benefits and pitfalls of a variety of products. What it really comes down to is this: “what is the most useful benefit a product can provide for me?”. Depending on your industry and legal challenges you may find that some may work better for your organization.
Features You Should Look For in Your Next GRC Platform
Leveraging a GRC platform helped tremendously with making our team be SOC 2 and ISO 27001, 27701, 27017, and 27018 certified. This isn’t to say you can’t do it without one, but managing a variety of controls and requirements in a spreadsheet (or alternative) becomes very difficult to do at scale - especially with the amount of audits we perform annually. Below are highlighted features you should be looking for in your next GRC Platform:
- Ability to effectively manage controls, requirements, and tasks. The ability to set annual, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly tasks allows us to automate the management of our controls and free up our time to be spent elsewhere.
- The fluidity of allowing your organization to easily adapt to new requirements without having to put a lot of manual effort into developing the policy or control.
- Efficiently managing third-party risk. The process of assessing and conducting remediation to continually monitor and keep track of your vendors’ risk requirements is essential for any GRC platform.
Realistically, many GRC tools are able to perform basic functions that allow organizations to manage their GRC programs. Notwithstanding, I believe that every organization should research acquiring a GRC tool. Trust me - this will make your auditors happy, internal audit departments happy, and ultimately make you happy since you’ll be free to work on other high value projects for your organization.