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Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Platforms: 101

Gain a comprehensive understanding of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) platforms, from the four components of GRC to the common features and benefits.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Sep 6, 2023
Table of contents

The global economy is undergoing some rocky times, affecting small businesses everywhere. Big security breaches, prices going up (hello, inflation!), disruptions in the supply chain, and even whispers of a recession. Business is hard enough without all the external ups and downs to manage.

The IT Compliance and Risk Benchmark Report found that 57% of surveyed organizations expect to spend more time on risk compliance management in 2023. This is up from last year’s 35%. Increased cyber security risks and privacy breaches are having a significant impact on businesses everywhere.

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) give you the tools and strategies to tackle these challenges head-on and emerge stronger. By being proactive, you can manage risks in advance and make informed decisions that keep your business on track.

What is governance, risk, and compliance (GRC)?

GRC is a set of guidelines businesses follow to ensure they’re doing things the right way. It involves creating policies, processes, and controls to ensure you’re following the rules and regulations laid out by your industry. GRC also helps you identify and manage risks that might affect you. In business, as in life, uncertainties and things can always go wrong. GRC enables you to analyze and plan for these risks to prepare for them and minimize their impact on your business.

A venn diagram of three circles on a colored background

‎Another part of GRC is compliance. Businesses need to comply with various laws, regulations, and industry standards. GRC helps you understand these regulatory requirements and implement measures to meet them. This allows you to make sure that you operate within legal boundaries.

What is a GRC platform?

A GRC platform is software that helps you manage your GRC activities. GRC processes and tasks can be streamlined, automated, and monitored on this platform or hub.

What is the purpose of a GRC platform?

You can use a GRC platform to manage different aspects of your business operations. You’ll be able to keep track of relevant laws and regulations and ensure that your business adheres to them to maintain compliance.

You can create and enforce company policies and set clear employee guidelines. In case of incidents like data breaches, you’ll have one central place to manage and resolve these situations in an organized way. Store important documents, like your business impact analysis, in your platform for easy access when needed.

Generate reports through the platform to gain insights into risk, compliance, and incidents. These reports will help you make well-informed decisions for your business. The best part? You can also use your GRC platform to communicate and document incidents. It’s your one-stop shop for addressing concerns and coordinating any necessary actions.

The GRC platform will help you allocate resources to address risks and meet compliance requirements. The platform can be adjusted and scaled as your business grows and encounters new challenges. GRC platforms simplify what can often feel overwhelming to manage. Organize your risk management, rule adherence, and business continuity plans without the stress. All while helping you stay compliant with the latest industry laws and regulations.

What are the four components of GRC capability?

The Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG) is a global nonprofit think tank. They provide standards, guidelines, and online resources to help you understand and implement GRC in your business. Their approach to compliance is called the GRC capability model. It’s also known as “the Red Book.”

Their capability model is made up of four key components:

A table detailing the four components of GRC

‎1. Learn about your organization’s context, culture, and key stakeholders

In this first important step, your GRC platform helps you understand your business better. You’ll learn how your business works, what it’s like to work there (culture), and who’s essential to it. This helps you set goals that matter and make sense for your business. You’ll learn about what’s happening in the market, what your customers like, and how your business works. This helps you plan what to do next in a way that fits your unique business context.

2. Align strategy with business objectives and actions

After you’ve learned the important stuff in the beginning, the GRC platform keeps helping you by ensuring your plans fit your business goals. Through effective decision-making processes, you’ll navigate your values, business opportunities, threats, and regulatory requirements. The platform is your strategic compass that shows you the way forward, even in challenging economic conditions.

3. Perform actions that promote, prevent, remediate, and detect

The third part is all about turning your big decisions into real actions. With the GRC platform, you can encourage and reward ‌behaviors in your business that match your values and goals. It also helps you deal with actions that go against these standards. This keeps your business honest. The platform also helps catch problems. It’s like having a watchful guard telling you something isn’t right. This way, you can ensure everyone takes responsibility, handles challenges, and lives continuous improvement.

4. Review strategy, actions, and objectives for ongoing improvement

The final component revolves around a continuous cycle of evaluation and enhancement. In this stage, you’ll review the design and operating effectiveness of your strategic decisions and actions. Through systematic assessments (such as internal and external audits), you’ll identify areas of strength and opportunities for refinement. This extends to your business objectives as well. You’ll assess their ongoing relevance in light of evolving conditions. This commitment to regular review and improvement ensures that your organization remains agile and adaptable no matter what the world throws at you.

What is the difference between GRC and security?

GRC is about following the rules and doing things ethically and lawfully. It’s a framework that helps keep your operations running. It involves setting up policies and processes to ensure everyone is doing the right thing. While security is a vital part of GRC, it is a separate concept in this context.

Security is a part of GRC that protects essential things like data, systems, and valuable information. It’s all about keeping your client and business data safe and secure from anyone wanting to access them.

While GRC is about managing business risks and following rules, security is a protection measure. GRC covers risk management, compliance requirements, and business culture. Security is just one part of the bigger GRC puzzle.

What are the benefits of using a GRC platform?

In addition to helping you run your business ethically and within the rules and regulations of your industry, GRC platforms have several key benefits, such as:

  • A centralized platform that manages GRC for efficient oversight and control.
  • Streamlined workflows and automation that boost efficiency and optimize your business processes.
  • AI that helps you assess and mitigate risks. This strengthens your resilience and business performance with real-time insights you can trust.
  • Compliance processes for better regulatory compliance and industry standards that help you minimize legal risks.
  • A place for compliance teams to collaborate. Better communication means better GRC alignment.
  • Internal and external audits are simplified, ensuring your internal and external auditing processes are effortless.

A list of the seven benefits of GRC platforms

‎What are the common features of GRC platforms?

GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) tools should include the following features:

Risk assessment and management capabilities

Risk assessment and management capabilities include identifying potential operational risks, evaluating their impact, and creating risk mitigation plans. For example, tools that allow businesses to assess cyber risks and develop strategies to protect sensitive data.

Compliance management and tracking functionalities

Compliance management and tracking functionalities to ensure adherence to regulations and industry standards. Your compliance solution should include features like compliance checklists, automated compliance workflows, and document management systems. For example, tools that help businesses track and demonstrate compliance with data privacy laws like GDPR or HIPAA. See how Motion does this.

Policy and document management capabilities

Policy and document management capabilities for easy access, version control, and collaboration on policies and important documents. These features enable businesses to maintain an organized repository of policies, procedures, and compliance documentation. An example could be tools that allow businesses to manage and update their employee code of conduct.

Workflow automation

Workflow automation to streamline manual processes, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure consistency. This includes features like automated notifications, task assignments, and approval workflows. For example, tools that automate the approval process for vendor onboarding or policy updates.

Reporting and analytics features

Reporting and analytics features that provide insights into governance, risk, and compliance activities. These features allow businesses to generate reports, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and monitor trends. An example might be tools that provide visual dashboards to track compliance metrics and identify areas of improvement.

Integration capabilities with other systems and data sources

Integration capabilities with other systems and data sources enable seamless data exchange and collaboration across platforms. For instance, integration with HR systems to ensure compliance with employee regulations or integration with cybersecurity tools to monitor threats.

Collaboration and communication tools

Collaboration and communication tools that help your team work better together. These features make sharing information, assigning tasks, and collaborating on risk and compliance initiatives easier. Look for tools for discussion forums or task management boards for cross-functional teams. Think of it like project management software for risk management.

Audit management functionalities

Audit management functionalities to support internal and external audits and assessments. These features help plan, schedule, and track audit activities and manage findings and remediation plans. For instance, tools that assist in conducting financial audits or IT security assessments.

Regulatory change management capabilities

Regulatory change management capabilities to keep businesses updated on relevant changes in laws, regulations, and industry standards. This includes features that track regulatory updates, provide alerts, and facilitate the implementation of necessary changes. An example might be tools that monitor changes in tax regulations and help businesses adjust their financial processes.

User-friendly interface and customization options

User-friendly interface and customization options that allow businesses to tailor the tool to their specific needs and preferences. This ensures ease of use and adaptability for different organizations. For example, tools that offer customizable dashboards or flexible reporting templates.

How is Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacting GRC platforms?

A human and robot high-fiving

‎We’ve all heard the suggestion that AI is coming to steal our jobs when the reality is far more interesting. A recent report by Forbes outlines how AI is making GRC management much simpler. However, there is a paradox to overcome. In using AI for your GRC management, you must also account for AI in your GRC. This AI paradox makes the question “How is AI impacting GRC?” even more interesting. Tools like Motion are already bringing AI to project management. It’s a matter of time before generative AI streamlines GRC and auditing tools for your business.

So, what‘s next for your GRC management?

GRC platforms empower you by simplifying enterprise risk management. They help you with compliance while enhancing your operational efficiency. They also help you address risks, stay on the right side of regulations, and make smarter decisions to achieve business success.

If you’re just starting with GRC, don’t overcomplicate it. Simplify your GRC planning tasks using Motion project management software. You can use the software to schedule your planning meetings, collaborate across departments, and centralize your GRC documentation in one easy-to-use place. Track GRC management activities by status and priority, and assign task owners with one click! Try Motion free today.

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog