Governance Risk and Compliance Framework

GRC is the set of policies proposed and actions carried out by a business to ensure successful operations

Governance, Risk, and Compliance Framework (GRC) is the set of policies proposed and actions carried out by a business to ensure successful operations. This is often easier said than done, and modern businesses must now account for more risks and regulations than at any other time in history.

Even if you do not have formal education or training with the GRC system, you may have already factored these ideas into your business, as the tenets of GRC strategies are things you should consider when thinking like a business owner and operator anyway. Packaging these ideas into a neat system of thinking just made it easier for businesses to identify and develop strategies for improving their operational efficiency.

Even if you do have formal experience with GRC strategy, you may still be inexperienced with information security governance roles and responsibilities. These ideas aren’t always as simple as following a governance framework template, so you should be prepared to do some research to gain more complete knowledge on Governance, Risk and Compliance cybersecurity measures. Before you go searching for an IT governance framework PDF, read on to learn what the experts here at Trava can share about GRCs.

For more information on what exactly a GRC is, and how your business can maximize its use for growth and prosperity, we are going to use this post to define some key terms and explain the functions of Governance, Risk and Compliance. Cybersecurity also demands unique attention in GRC strategies, so we will provide some clarity regarding these requirements.

By the end of this post, you should be able to identify what GRC stands for, and what it means for businesses through provided examples. You should also be able to identify the difference between risk governance and risk management, and then finally determine if a GRC certification is right for you.

What is GRC

The acronym GRC stands for Governance, Risk, and Compliance, and refers to an organization's strategy for managing these different facets of their business. To help illustrate the concept, let’s go over the GRC roles and responsibilities and what each separate facet seeks to address.

Governance

Governance considers how you structure and operate your business. Good governance procedure includes making sure that your rules, practices, and standards are unified to guide the operations of your business successfully and efficiently. A governance body in an organization will set the policies that every level of the organization will follow. In theory, this is a great way for larger organizations to have the people at the top of the hierarchy stay connected with staff with fewer responsibilities.

Risk (Management)

Risk management considers all the potential risks that your organization may be affected by. You then move forward by measuring these risks and determining which ones take priority and devising a plan for mitigating these risks responsibly. Risk management will involve following through with actions defined by the policies determined by the governance body.

Compliance

Lastly, Compliance programs are concerned with how your business adheres to the rules of the industry in which you operate. Businesses in any industry must adhere to rules set by the government and standards set by their industry, or else they risk losing customers or their business entirely.

While this definition works for all industries, Cybersecurity has additional requirements when it comes to accounting for Compliance in your GRC strategy. In regard to information security GRC, the approach to compliance means guaranteeing that consumers can trust your organization to keep their data free from theft.

Governance Risks Examples

Governance may be the most important part of any GRC strategy, as poor guiding policies will make any actions taken thereafter poor as well. So, when setting up your GRC plan (which is also sometimes referred to as governance, risk and control), you need to ensure that your governance body is reliable, knowledgeable, and adaptable. Governance bodies will be exposed to a few different types of risks in the process of doing their work, so it is important to be prepared for these issues.

These risks can be financial, competitive, or involve information security for the organization and customers. Here at Trava, information security is our specialty, so let’s go over some governance risks examples pertaining to information security.

Information Security Risks

Information security risks can present as issues like data leakage and consumer protections failing due to poor risk management by a business. When outlining the risks posed to your organization, these issues should be at the forefront of your considerations, as they are essential not only for preventing disruption or damage to your business but oftentimes for complying with government and/or industry standards as well.

Learning more about governance risks will be a largely experiential process, as more experience in your industry will clue you into what you need to be concerned about moving forward. Therefore, it is important to stay on top of the issues facing your industry, especially when it comes to information and cyber security. 

Understanding governance risk and control per examples provided by organizations like OCEG is another way you can support your GRC education. OCEG is the organization responsible for coining the term “GRC” and by visiting their site you can gain access to valuable educational materials regarding topics like types of risks in corporate governance. PDF ebooks discussing GRC fundamentals are also offered on their site, so check it out if you have the time.

For maximum assurance for the success of your governance body, also consider a partner like Trava, as we have the tools and the personnel to help guide successful GRC strategies.

Risk Governance Vs Risk Management

Risk Governance and Risk Management are processes that are integrally related to each other, and help assess the risks to your business, develop plans for action, and then carry out these actions successfully.

Risk Governance

Risk Governance is about laying out the framework and policies that your organization will use to manage risk. When we mentioned Governance earlier, we briefly discussed how governance is concerned with how your business is structured for efficient and successful operation. The same concept applies here. When you ask yourself “what is risk governance structure?” think of policies trickling down to affect the rest of the business.

Risk Governance in an organization will be involved with identifying the risks to a business and devising a plan that the organization can take to mitigate them. These policies will then be diffused throughout the company, where active Risk Management techniques can take place.

So why is risk governance important? If your governance plan fails to address the crucial risks to your business, then your risk management efforts cannot succeed.

Risk Management

If you think of Risk Governance as the more passive part of the risk analysis process, then Risk management is the part where the action takes place. Using the policies put forth through risk governance, risk management procedures are then followed by the various levels of the company. Consider this two-part process like creating a recipe vs. cooking. When creating a recipe, you are observing the steps necessary to execute a final idea. However, this planning phase is passive, and no action has been completed. When you begin cooking, acting based on the recipe framework you laid out, then you are following through on the plan.

It is important to note that this is not a static procedure. A robust risk governance and management strategy will be using constant feedback to improve both layers of the risk assessment process. When policies laid out through risk governance are executed, your organization should be able to determine where more guidance is needed, or where certain policies have not been necessary. This feedback can then loop back around to the governance body, where they can lay out new policies for your company to move forward with.

For further examples of this concept, consider seeking out a compliance and risk management PDF created by an organization working in your industry.

Is GRC Certification Worth It

So, with this understanding of GRC, is GRC certification worth it for your business? We think so, and in fact, every business can improve by utilizing a strong and cohesive GRC strategy. The philosophies of the GRC system account for the fundamental issues you should consider when running a business. By organizing them in this convenient strategic approach, you are ensuring that your company has a cohesive way to address these issues.

If you are personally interested in pursuing GRC certification, then you’ll have a few different options to choose from when it comes to GRC certification courses. You can certainly find many paid options, but don’t count out the value of free GRC certification courses if you just want to see if this path is right for you. The top GRC certifications will be the ones that best prepare you for the reality of maintaining a GRC strategy, not whichever is the most expensive.

Alternatively, you can also turn to a partner that is well-versed in GRC and has the tools and experience necessary to help guide your organization's GRC strategy. If you are interested in this path, consider Trava as your partner for any GRC needs. Our staff has knowledge and experience in developing and maintaining GRC strategies for business, and our tools help utilize computer information in a way that helps businesses identify risks and plan to mitigate them accordingly. Achieving a certification and having knowledge on your side is one thing but having access to the right tools for the job completes the package.

Trava’s CEO and Co-founder made his name in developing successful GRC frameworks and executing them on an enterprise level. He then sought to scale down this knowledge to help assist small and medium businesses with achieving their own efficient GRC strategies.

For help establishing your company’s GRC framework, contact us today to learn more about our GRC initiatives, and how our suite of tools can help your company manage risk and successfully govern your business strategy.

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