Automate Governance, Risk, and Compliance Processes in 8 Steps

Governance, Risk & Compliance

Why is it useful to automate Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) processes?

Automation saves money and time in most cases — including in the area of Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC). There are a number of highly administrative, repetitive, or complex GRC processes that save significant time through automation. One example is collecting evidence. Audit costs can be significantly reduced by using an automation solution, by up to 60% when using ServiceNow.

Other benefits include reducing risks, preventing problems through continuous automated monitoring, and the ability to react quickly to business and regulatory changes. Automation generally leads to greater visibility of GRC initiatives.

Procedure recommendation: Automating processes in the GRC sector

We will show you how you can automate your GRC processes in 8 steps. By following these eight simple steps, you get a GRC system that scales with your business, significantly reduces compliance costs and resource requirements, improves operational efficiency, controls risks, and provides real-time insights into your entire GRC program.

Step 1: Define guidelines for your business!

Your GRC application is only as good as the guidelines you set. These must be defined in advance and then included in the implementation plan. For example, the following must be defined:

  • Which controls are required and who is responsible for them?
  • Control tests and expected results
  • Frequency of tests and checks
  • Risks, effects of risks and probability of occurrence
  • Critical suppliers
  • Test procedures, questions and required evidence
  • Who needs to get in touch with the GRC system or look at the content of the GRC system and why?
  • How does your organization want to map sources of authorization, policies, procedures, controls and risks?

Step 2: Streamline your controls!

Your business and risk profile are constantly evolving, so you need to regularly review and adjust your controls. As part of this process, ask the following questions about each control:

  • How does this control support my business goals?
  • Does this control actually prevent or recognize risks?
  • Is there any other control I can incorporate to better protect my business?
  • Can I build in control that minimizes process overhead and improves IT performance while reducing risk?
  • Can complicated control be replaced by simpler, more effective control?

Step 3: Consolidate your controls!

If you're required to carry out controls across multiple agencies or frameworks (such as BAIT, MaRisk, or GDPR), then you've probably noticed that there are joint, repetitive controls. Yet most companies still take care of every regulation and set of rules independently of each other; in most cases, integration does not take place - this leads to redundant testing, repetitive activities and thus to many unnecessary working hours and excessive costs every year.

A better and less costly cost-intensive approach is to establish a single consolidated set of controls. By cross-mapping controls, you can test a joint control and prove that it meets the requirements of multiple regulatory requirements and best practice frameworks. We call this concept: “Test once, fulfill many.” You can assign controls manually or use tools such as the Unified Compliance Framework® to do this work for you.

Step 4: Define what's important!

Controls are there to protect the assets that are important to us. If companies haven't defined what's important, then controls are applied to everything, regardless of relevance. This results in a lot of unnecessary work and may divert attention away from the real risks.

Step 5: Identify your risks!

Identifying your risks, their likelihood of occurrence and impact helps your organization focus on the right and important points. It can also help you understand the true business impact of failed control. With limited resources, identifying risks can help you prioritize your control testing and remediation efforts.

Step 6: Start small!

Experience has shown that large-scale and complex implementations that take months rarely meet expectations. This applies to GRC implementations as well as to technology implementations in general. It is often very challenging to maintain daily business operations during such a complex project. Resource fatigue and competing business requirements are also a burden. Work with us to build a GRC roadmap that allows you to add GRC features between audit cycles to minimize business disruptions. This approach has the added advantage that the technology is introduced gradually, which usually increases adoption.

Step 7: Rely on continuous monitoring!

Continuous monitoring means that you can immediately identify weaknesses in controls when they occur and start fixing them immediately. In other words, you can identify problems when they're still small and prevent them from getting bigger. This significantly reduces the overall risk and effort required to comply with regulations.

Step 8: Choose the “low hanging fruits”!

When creating your GRC roadmap, look for the “quick win,” i.e. ways to quickly reduce administrative costs in the GRC area and/or reduce a risk. This means: start automating GRC processes that require a high level of administrative effort, or tackle processes related to current audit findings or control deficiencies first.

Do you have any questions or are you interested in further information?

Governance, risk and compliance is one of exccon AG's key topics. We help our customers implement requirements and regulations by optimizing processes, laying a basis for IT risk management, carrying out GAP analyses to identify weak points, and much more. We have experience using ServiceNow as a GRC solution. As a “single system of record”, the ServiceNow platform offers many advantages by using data that already exists in the system — without having to reinvent the wheel. Talk to our colleagues and build on their experience:

Online events in the GRC area

At regular intervals, we offer “¡DO!” as part of our event series also offers events related to GRC, in the past, for example “Audit Management in ServiceNow” or “Risk Management with ServiceNow.” In this series, we present a different current topic from the IT world in a practical way at each event. Our focus is on implementation and solutions — true to the motto “Don't just talk — do! “We look forward to seeing you at the next event!

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