A Proactive Approach to Governance, Risk, and Compliance Using Automation

GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) is a crucial discipline that helps organizations maintain integrity, achieve objectives, and address uncertainty. However, the ever-growing complexity of GRC poses operational challenges, making it difficult for businesses to realize its benefits. To overcome this, proactive companies are turning to automation to improve efficiency, reduce risks, and fully leverage the promises of GRC.

Automating GRC tasks frees up resources and allows teams to focus on higher-value activities, while reducing errors, simplifying processes, and increasing productivity. By achieving compliance more efficiently using automated controls, companies can improve their bottom line and gain a competitive edge in a challenging sales environment. Automation is the cheat code that frees companies from operational chores, allowing them to unlock the full potential of GRC. With automation systems in place, businesses can achieve their objectives more predictably and maintain a high standard of integrity. As we take a closer look, there are several areas where GRC automation can have an impact:

Due Diligence

Performing due diligence is crucial to mitigating risk, maintaining compliance, making informed decisions, and safeguarding your organization’s reputation. However, the process can be time-consuming and laborious. Fortunately, automation can streamline due diligence in several ways, such as consuming and summarizing external reviews, filling in questionnaires based on known information, and enabling continuous third-party monitoring instead of periodic checks.

By automating due diligence, businesses can save time and devote their resources to deriving the benefits of new partnerships and using third-party tools and services that enhance their products and services. This shift to more efficient and effective due diligence can help businesses make better decisions, mitigate risks, and maintain compliance while freeing up resources for more valuable activities.

Compliance Operations

Several compliance processes are repetitive and time-consuming, making them ideal candidates for automation. Control testing and monitoring, reporting, and regulatory change management are just a few examples of processes that can benefit from automation, reducing the risks associated with human error and increasing efficiency.

Automating regulatory change management is particularly beneficial, as it acts as a watchdog that continuously monitors for regulatory changes that may affect your organization. This can help identify the requirements applicable to your organization, update your policies and controls, and ensure ongoing compliance. With automation in place, businesses can streamline their compliance processes, reduce the risks associated with human error, and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements more efficiently.

Risk Management

Automation is a game-changer for risk management, enabling organizations to proactively identify, assess, and quantify their risk exposure. By mining vast amounts of data from multiple sources in real-time, automation can identify and surface potential risks, allowing businesses to respond quickly and effectively.

With the ability to continuously monitor changes in customer, partner, and third-party risk profiles, companies can maintain constant vigilance and receive instant alerts if a change exceeds their risk tolerance. By developing a data-driven, agile, and proactive risk management posture, automation can help businesses stay ahead of potential risks and reduce their impact. With automation in place, businesses can streamline their risk management processes, identify potential risks more efficiently, and respond quickly to reduce their impact.

Policy Management

Effective GRC programs rely on robust policy management, but traditionally, this has been a manual and time-consuming process. With automation, policy management can be improved by focusing on three key areas: policy coverage, operations, and updates.

As new regulations emerge and risk profiles evolve, it can take time to ensure that policies adequately address all applicable requirements. Automation tools can map regulations and risks to existing policies, flagging any gaps that need to be filled and ensuring a comprehensive and up-to-date policy landscape.

Manual processes for rolling out policies and ensuring employee attestations can be frustrating and time-consuming. Automation can simplify these processes by automatically assigning policies to employees based on their roles, sending reminders, and tracking attestations, leaving an auditable trail at every step.

Keeping track of changes in regulations and business imperatives is an ongoing challenge. Manual processes impede proactive updates to policies that reflect these changes. Automation tools can help by tracking policies due for review, identifying policies impacted by regulatory changes, and suggesting updates to reflect new requirements. This approach helps organizations ensure that their policies are current and aligned with regulatory requirements.

Scalability

As your company expands its products, services, and locations, it may come under increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies. This requires a corresponding expansion of your GRC efforts to ensure compliance across different standards and regulations. However, the growing number of regulations within each compliance standard can make this a daunting task.

Scaling up your GRC team may seem like the obvious solution, but it is often impractical and unrealistic. Automation offers an easier answer to this challenge, streamlining the extension of GRC processes to new business units, geographies, and functional areas. Automated GRC platforms provide a unified system of record that can grow with your organization and adapt to its future ambitions.

By automating GRC processes, businesses can simplify scalability, ensuring that compliance efforts keep pace with organizational growth. With a unified system of record, businesses can ensure consistent compliance across different areas, reducing risk and improving efficiency. By leveraging automation, businesses can streamline their GRC efforts and focus on growth and innovation.

Final Thoughts

While automation can streamline repetitive tasks, it is important to maintain some level of manual oversight. Automation can identify gaps in compliance, but the responsibility to resolve these gaps still rests with the GRC team. Combining human collaboration with automation can create a stronger and more effective compliance program than relying solely on automation.

Despite this, the potential benefits of automation are too compelling to ignore. Automation can improve operational efficiencies, enhance risk management, and enable a proactive approach to compliance. As GRC teams are expected to do more with less, automation is becoming an essential tactical tool and a strategic pillar for companies that want to grow quickly and sustainably in an increasingly challenging business environment.

By leveraging automation, businesses can streamline their compliance efforts, reduce risk, and improve efficiency. The combination of human collaboration and automation can create a more effective and efficient compliance program, enabling businesses to focus on growth and innovation.

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