A Guide to Automating GRC

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GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) encompasses a range of tasks related to business and IT for an entire enterprise. Vendor risk management is also an aspect of GRC. While there are a range of solutions out there that provide different degrees of value for money, automation should be a no-brainer as it provides better control and transparency, as well as massive savings.

The numbers speak for themselves. On average, ServiceNow customers who have automated GRC ended up reducing their audit costs by 80%.

Here’s a guide to the steps necessary to automate GRC.

1. Definition of business rules

Clear definition of business rules is essential to your GRC application. They should be defined early and specified in your implementation plan. Some of the common rules that need to be defined are:

  • Frequency of tests and controls.
  • Expected results of tests and controls.
  • Controls and ownerships.
  • Risk and impact of risk.
  • Roles that will interact with the GRC system.
  • Mapping of sources, policies, controls, risks and procedures to each other.
  • Vendors who are critical. 
2. Control Rationalization

As your business evolves, so does its risk profile. Hence, review and rationalization of your controls at regular intervals is necessary. This entails questions such as:

  • How does a particular control support business objectives?
  • Does a control actually prevent or detect risk?
  • Can a simpler control do the job of a more complicated control?
  • Will a different control protect your business better?
3. Control Consolidation

When you have to comply with multiple regulatory authorities or frameworks such as SOX, GDPR, HIPAA and PCI, you might notice that there are common controls that repeat for them. This leads to multiple audits, and redundant testing and evidence collection that can cost your company many extra work hours and auditing fees per year. Consolidation of controls eliminates this wastage. Consolidation and cross-mapping of controls allows you to test once but stay compliant with many frameworks. You can either manually cross-map controls or use tools like the Unified Compliance Framework® for this task.

4. Define Scope

Controls are intended to safeguard what’s important, things of value. This raises the question of scope of importance – what is important, and what’s not? If controls are applied to everything, that’s a lot of unnecessary effort and the amount of data and noise generated can distract from the real risks. So clearly defining the scope of importance and applying controls to that scope is necessary.

5. Risk Identification

Identify the risks your business faces, and consider the impact and likelihood of those risks actually taking place. This will direct focus to risks that deserve your attention, and will also help you understand the actual business impact if a control fails. Risk identification allows you to prioritize control testing and remediation steps, and this is essential when you have finite resources for risk management.

6. Baby Steps

Baby steps are generally the better way to go about any technology deployment, rather than a large-scale complex implementation. The latter approach can struggle with competing business demands and tax resources to their limits. It is a better idea to build a GRC roadmap with your implementation partner that has an incremental approach to adding GRC functionality between audit cycles. This also minimizes business disruption and leads to higher and more successful rates of adoption.

7. Ongoing Monitoring

The next step is to ensure ongoing or continuous monitoring so that you can identify issues as they occur and take remediation action quickly. This proactive approach enables you to nip problems in the bud, before they snowball into bigger issues. This drastically reduces risk and the effort necessary to stay compliant.

 

These steps will help you establish a GRC system that is aligned with your business and can scale with it. In addition, it will reduce compliance costs and resources required, while boosting operational efficiency and providing real-time insights for all aspects of your GRC system.

If you’re interested in GRC and Vendor Risk management with ServiceNow, please feel free to contact us. Our experts at abhra Inc. are experienced ServiceNow implementation partners for all things ServiceNow such as ServiceNow implementations, MSPs, CMDB and modules for GRC, SAM and more.

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