GRC stands for Governance, Risk and Compliance.  All three are important in protecting a company’s sensitive data and trade secrets.

Governance: Corporate governance encompasses the guidelines, procedures and practices used to run the organization.  Governance encompasses all the controls (structure, activities, rules) that a company implements to meet corporate goals and to manage risk.

Risk:  Refers to the consequence to the organization if process and procedures are not followed correctly.  Risk measures the impact that a bad event can have on the organization and the likelihood that such an event would occur over a given timeframe.

Compliance: Defines the controls necessary to adequately manage risk; compliance is the practice of ensuring those controls are well implemented and consistently executed.

The GRC software market is quite diverse, with products on the market addressing many types of organizations and business risk.   There are GRC tools developed and priced for the Fortune 100 (e.g., RSA Archer) and then there are GRC tools that are focused on specific industries and some are focused on specific areas of business operations, such as legal or HR.  One of the most in-demand focus areas for GRC software is in platforms that can help organizations identify and manage their cybersecurity risk and associated regulations.  Complyify falls into that final category; our GRC platform guides companies through establishing and maintaining a strong security posture and ensuring they meet their ever- increasing cybersecurity compliance obligations.


Top 5 features to look for in a cybersecurity GRC solution:

1. Ease of use and time to deploy

The most challenging aspect of working with GRCs is that they are complicated and often impossible to use without substantial training and integration efforts.  You’ll often see vendors advertise that their platforms can be effective in managing risk after “only months” of implementation work (in reality, they often take years of effort from domain experts, key stakeholders, and process owners in your company).  Try and find a GRC that is somewhat intuitive (although that can seem like an oxymoron), easy-to-deploy (Software-as-a-Service) and doesn’t require everyone to become a risk management professional to use it.


2. Enables inter-office collaboration

No company worthy of considering a GRC works in a silo (unless you are a grain company).  Teams work together all day long.  Regulatory frameworks measure requirements that span across all organizations within a company.  A good GRC must enable collaboration across and among teams.


3. Plays nicely with assessors and service providers

A good GRC must enable the company to work efficiently with their security assessor when audit time rolls around.  The assessor should be able to request evidence and history of compliance seamlessness within the GRC as to cut down the time that the company representative needs to spend sitting across the table and answering questions from the assessor. Service providers likewise need the ability to collaborate, as often-times they will share responsibility for implementing security controls and helping to meet your company’s regulatory obligations.


4. Easy to read dashboards

GRCs can be a useful tool or an unbearable burden and waste of time.  A good GRC will give you useful data that is easily accessible and can give you real time feedback about how you and your team are doing.  The purpose of a good GRC is to replace the unwieldy task of using shared spreadsheets to attempt to track corporate compliance.


5. Merges different frameworks

There are dozens of compliance and regulatory frameworks.  It is important that your GRC can effectively address your compliance burden by merging different frameworks into a unified set of controls for your business.  For example, PCI DSS for credit card security and HIPAA that governs protections for US-based health records both have requirements that govern how sensitive data needs to be protected when transmitted over a network.  As an organization you want a single objective that can address both PCI DSS and HIPAA.  It is very inefficient to have to go to each framework and develop controls, policies, and technological solutions once for PCI DSS and again for HIPAA.

Choosing a GRC tool can seem like a daunting task.  There are many GRCs that claim to do everything but make coffee.  Make sure that you choose the right tool that is tailored for what you are trying to accomplish.

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