A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A laptop with a lock on the screen and multiple compliance icons

GRC is a methodology that integrates governance, risk management, and compliance into your organization’s day-to-day processes to better align your security strategy with your business objectives.

Effective cybersecurity and GRC go hand-in-hand as protecting the business, its data, and systems has become increasingly important in daily business operations. Today, a strategic GRC implementation is an important element of a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

This guide explores the relationship between GRC and cybersecurity and how to implement GRC strategies for your cybersecurity program.

Importance of GRC in cybersecurity

GRC and cybersecurity can often work together. While you need to incorporate cybersecurity controls into each component of your GRC framework, implementing GRC will also make your cybersecurity program more effective as this methodology integrates security best practices into the daily operations of the organization. This makes your organization's cybersecurity efforts more effective and makes security a core part of the organization’s culture. 

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Components of GRC in cybersecurity

You may already be familiar with the three components of GRC: governance, risk management, and compliance. But how do each of these impact your cybersecurity and how do they function together in the context of a cybersecurity program? Let’s look at each one.

GRC and cybersecurity: Governance 

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of the entire organization, not just one team. It must be a part of the day-to-day culture of the organization. This is what makes governance such an important aspect of your cybersecurity.

Governance is a set of policies, rules, or frameworks a company creates to achieve its goals. Every department, including senior leadership, needs to understand what role they play in cybersecurity and have documented policies and practices that make security part of their daily workflows. 

GRC and cybersecurity: Risk management

There are countless risks that your business could face — and the number of potential risks only grows as technology becomes an increasingly integral part of doing business. 

Within GRC, your risk management strategy must involve continuous screening for cybersecurity risks — such as phishing attempts or malware attacks — and have policies in place that ensure that your organization is secure. These could be practices like using and protecting log-in credentials, communicating in secure channels, and multi-factor authentication.

GRC and cybersecurity: Compliance

Compliance can refer to a wide range of laws, regulations, or frameworks your organization has committed to. There are many cybersecurity and data privacy regulations required by law — such as GDPR which requires implementation of data protection strategies to protect the privacy rights of EU and UK residents. CCPA and HIPAA require similar safeguards for the sake of US data privacy

Compliance frameworks can also be used to demonstrate trust with customers and stakeholders within certain sectors of business. These standards often focus on the broader operations of security across an organization — some examples include SOC 2 and ISO 27001. Many compliance frameworks incorporate cybersecurity and GRC controls which are important to maintain a secure organization.

Cybersecurity challenges addressed by GRC

There are always new challenges to solve with any cybersecurity program, but GRC can make managing these easier and strengthen the overall security posture of the organization. 

A GRC implementation can improve your cybersecurity program in the following ways: 

  • Reduce third-party risk: GRC incorporates practices for vetting and selecting vendors, which reduces the risk that one of your third-party tools will provide an opportunity for unauthorized access to your data.
  • Improve collaboration: Cybersecurity requires teams across your organization to collaborate. GRC fosters better collaboration and makes it easier to coordinate each department’s responsibilities and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. 
  • Close compliance gaps: You could fall out of compliance with the standards you’ve committed to at any time due to software updates, changing practices, or other oversights. GRC helps you integrate compliance tasks and reviews into routine operations to reduce the likelihood of a breach in compliance. 
  • Enhance visibility: Leaders and other organizational stakeholders need ongoing visibility into your cybersecurity to ensure that it’s being properly maintained. Your GRC implementation can help you establish processes to enhance visibility across the organization.
  • Centralize security and compliance operations: GRC implementation can unify your cybersecurity implementation and risk management efforts across the business by providing a centralized pane of glass for operating protections of an organization. 

Implementing GRC strategies for cybersecurity

If you’re preparing for a GRC implementation in your cybersecurity program, a helpful strategy to follow is the Capability Model, developed by OCEG (Open Compliance and Ethics Group)

The Capability Model has four parts to building a cybersecurity-focused GRC implementation:

  • Learn: This is the fact-finding, assessment, and goal-setting stage. Explore and understand what best practices are, identify your stakeholders, determine your business objectives, and learn where your cybersecurity and GRC currently stands. 
  • Align: This is the design phase where you’ll look at your GRC components and determine how to connect them while incorporating cybersecurity controls. Plan and strategize ways to integrate your GRC with cybersecurity best practices.
  • Perform: Put your plan into action by implementing the GRC strategy and the aligned cybersecurity controls. Communicate what each department's role is in upholding cybersecurity.
  • Review: Check your work. Assess how your cybersecurity-centric GRC implementation is working on a regular basis and look for ways to improve it by making operations more efficient or strengthening your cybersecurity.

How Vanta helps with cybersecurity GRC implementation

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your GRC and cybersecurity program. GRC tools should make managing your program easier, more sustainable, and transparent as your business grows. Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to coordinate your GRC controls, manage regulations, track your implementation, and offers continuous monitoring. 

Unlike traditional GRC tools, Vanta takes it a step further with automated GRC management, including automated evidence collection and alerts, AI-powered risk questionnaires, and simplified audit preparation. 

Schedule a demo with our team to see if adding trust management to your GRC program is right for you.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

Introduction to GRC

What is the role of GRC in cybersecurity?

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A laptop with a lock on the screen and multiple compliance icons

GRC is a methodology that integrates governance, risk management, and compliance into your organization’s day-to-day processes to better align your security strategy with your business objectives.

Effective cybersecurity and GRC go hand-in-hand as protecting the business, its data, and systems has become increasingly important in daily business operations. Today, a strategic GRC implementation is an important element of a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

This guide explores the relationship between GRC and cybersecurity and how to implement GRC strategies for your cybersecurity program.

Importance of GRC in cybersecurity

GRC and cybersecurity can often work together. While you need to incorporate cybersecurity controls into each component of your GRC framework, implementing GRC will also make your cybersecurity program more effective as this methodology integrates security best practices into the daily operations of the organization. This makes your organization's cybersecurity efforts more effective and makes security a core part of the organization’s culture. 

{{cta_withimage1}}

Components of GRC in cybersecurity

You may already be familiar with the three components of GRC: governance, risk management, and compliance. But how do each of these impact your cybersecurity and how do they function together in the context of a cybersecurity program? Let’s look at each one.

GRC and cybersecurity: Governance 

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of the entire organization, not just one team. It must be a part of the day-to-day culture of the organization. This is what makes governance such an important aspect of your cybersecurity.

Governance is a set of policies, rules, or frameworks a company creates to achieve its goals. Every department, including senior leadership, needs to understand what role they play in cybersecurity and have documented policies and practices that make security part of their daily workflows. 

GRC and cybersecurity: Risk management

There are countless risks that your business could face — and the number of potential risks only grows as technology becomes an increasingly integral part of doing business. 

Within GRC, your risk management strategy must involve continuous screening for cybersecurity risks — such as phishing attempts or malware attacks — and have policies in place that ensure that your organization is secure. These could be practices like using and protecting log-in credentials, communicating in secure channels, and multi-factor authentication.

GRC and cybersecurity: Compliance

Compliance can refer to a wide range of laws, regulations, or frameworks your organization has committed to. There are many cybersecurity and data privacy regulations required by law — such as GDPR which requires implementation of data protection strategies to protect the privacy rights of EU and UK residents. CCPA and HIPAA require similar safeguards for the sake of US data privacy

Compliance frameworks can also be used to demonstrate trust with customers and stakeholders within certain sectors of business. These standards often focus on the broader operations of security across an organization — some examples include SOC 2 and ISO 27001. Many compliance frameworks incorporate cybersecurity and GRC controls which are important to maintain a secure organization.

Cybersecurity challenges addressed by GRC

There are always new challenges to solve with any cybersecurity program, but GRC can make managing these easier and strengthen the overall security posture of the organization. 

A GRC implementation can improve your cybersecurity program in the following ways: 

  • Reduce third-party risk: GRC incorporates practices for vetting and selecting vendors, which reduces the risk that one of your third-party tools will provide an opportunity for unauthorized access to your data.
  • Improve collaboration: Cybersecurity requires teams across your organization to collaborate. GRC fosters better collaboration and makes it easier to coordinate each department’s responsibilities and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. 
  • Close compliance gaps: You could fall out of compliance with the standards you’ve committed to at any time due to software updates, changing practices, or other oversights. GRC helps you integrate compliance tasks and reviews into routine operations to reduce the likelihood of a breach in compliance. 
  • Enhance visibility: Leaders and other organizational stakeholders need ongoing visibility into your cybersecurity to ensure that it’s being properly maintained. Your GRC implementation can help you establish processes to enhance visibility across the organization.
  • Centralize security and compliance operations: GRC implementation can unify your cybersecurity implementation and risk management efforts across the business by providing a centralized pane of glass for operating protections of an organization. 

Implementing GRC strategies for cybersecurity

If you’re preparing for a GRC implementation in your cybersecurity program, a helpful strategy to follow is the Capability Model, developed by OCEG (Open Compliance and Ethics Group)

The Capability Model has four parts to building a cybersecurity-focused GRC implementation:

  • Learn: This is the fact-finding, assessment, and goal-setting stage. Explore and understand what best practices are, identify your stakeholders, determine your business objectives, and learn where your cybersecurity and GRC currently stands. 
  • Align: This is the design phase where you’ll look at your GRC components and determine how to connect them while incorporating cybersecurity controls. Plan and strategize ways to integrate your GRC with cybersecurity best practices.
  • Perform: Put your plan into action by implementing the GRC strategy and the aligned cybersecurity controls. Communicate what each department's role is in upholding cybersecurity.
  • Review: Check your work. Assess how your cybersecurity-centric GRC implementation is working on a regular basis and look for ways to improve it by making operations more efficient or strengthening your cybersecurity.

How Vanta helps with cybersecurity GRC implementation

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your GRC and cybersecurity program. GRC tools should make managing your program easier, more sustainable, and transparent as your business grows. Vanta’s trust management platform allows you to coordinate your GRC controls, manage regulations, track your implementation, and offers continuous monitoring. 

Unlike traditional GRC tools, Vanta takes it a step further with automated GRC management, including automated evidence collection and alerts, AI-powered risk questionnaires, and simplified audit preparation. 

Schedule a demo with our team to see if adding trust management to your GRC program is right for you.

{{cta_testimonial2}}

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

Get step-by-step guidance for auditing and updating your inefficient security processes.

Vanta gives us broad visibility across our business. We are immediately alerted to any critical vulnerabilities so we can deal with them straight away. It’s a single pane of glass for us.”

Nathan Miller, Head of Information Security & Compliance | Dovetail

Role:GRC responsibilities:
Board of directors
Central to the overarching GRC strategy, this group sets the direction for the compliance strategy. They determine which standards and regulations are necessary for compliance and align the GRC strategy with business objectives.
Chief financial officerPrimary responsibility for the success of the GRC program and for reporting results to the board.
Operations managers from relevant departmentsThis group owns processes. They are responsible for the success and direction of risk management and compliance within their departments.
Representatives from relevant departments
These are the activity owners. These team members are responsible for carrying out specific compliance and risk management tasks within their departments and for integrating these tasks into their workflows.
Contract managers from relevant department
These team members are responsible for managing interactions with vendors and other third parties in their department to ensure all risk management and compliance measures are being taken.
Chief information security officer (CISO)Defines the organization’s information security policy, designs risk and vulnerability assessments, and develops information security policies.
Data protection officer (DPO) or legal counselDevelops goals for data privacy based on legal regulations and other compliance needs, designs and implements privacy policies and practices, and assesses these practices for effectiveness.
GRC leadResponsible for overseeing the execution of the GRC program in collaboration with the executive team as well as maintaining the organization’s library of security controls.
Cybersecurity analyst(s)Implements and monitors cybersecurity measures that are in line with the GRC program and business objectives.
Compliance analyst(s)Monitors the organization’s compliance with all regulations and standards necessary, identifies any compliance gaps, and works to mitigate them.
Risk analyst(s)Carries out the risk management program for the organization and serves as a resource for risk management across various departments, including identifying, mitigating, and monitoring risks.
IT security specialist(s)Implements security controls within the IT system in coordination with the cybersecurity analyst(s).

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