A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A GRC graphic with a green wrench

Whether you’re embarking on your organization’s first GRC implementation or you’re optimizing your current GRC strategy, the right tools make all the difference. In this article, we’re exploring how these solutions work and how to choose the right tool for your GRC program.

What is a GRC tool?

A GRC tool is a purpose-built application that serves as the foundation for your governance, risk, and compliance program. It tracks the practices, policies, and tasks required to manage your GRC program, tracks your progress, and provides visibility into your program via one unified platform.

There are many GRC tools available today, each with different features and functions. Some focus on specific aspects of your GRC program, like guiding your risk management process, minimizing vendor and third-party risks, or monitoring compliance. Some are built for specific GRC frameworks while others can be customized to any strategy. It’s important to evaluate GRC tools based on their features and functions to identify the best fit for your organization's needs and workflows.

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12 features to look for in a GRC tool 

Start your search for the ideal GRC solution by identifying your organization’s needs. Consider these factors:

  • Organization size: Some tools are made for smaller businesses while others are built for large enterprises.
  • Compliance needs: Know which regulations and standards you adhere to, such as HIPAA, GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 2 and identify tools that offer help with these frameworks.
  • Areas needing to be improved: Consider what about your current GRC program isn’t working or could be improved, including aspects like visibility, efficiency, and compliance.

Depending on your organization’s needs, here are the key features to look for:

1. Basic features of the software

There are some features of a GRC tool that are essential. Make sure any solution you consider has these features:

  • Policy management
  • Compatibility with the regulations and standards you’ve committed to
  • Risk management tracking
  • Audit management
  • Metrics and analytics
  • Dashboards and data reporting

2. Advanced features of the software

On top of the basics, evaluate the more specialized features of the GRC solutions you’re considering. Some particularly desirable features include:

  • Automated compliance screening and gap detection alerts 
  • Task tracking and workflow management
  • Risk mitigation suggestions
  • Smooth scalability

3. Onboarding and implementation support

How much guidance does the software and the support team provide for implementing the tool? Do you have access to support staff to help you along the way or is the onboarding entirely self-guided? Access to support can make it easier to onboard and get value out of the platform.  

4. Customization

Every organization’s GRC implementation depends on the structure of the business, the industry and the unique risks involved, and compliance requirements. An effective GRC tool should be customizable to your organization's needs. It should allow for custom GRC frameworks and facilitate testing customization.

5. Local language capability

It’s important to keep in mind that not every tool may be compatible with the language you and your team speak. Verify that the tool can be operated in your local language and that there are support staff available in your time zone.

6. Scalability and future-proofing

You need your GRC solution to grow with your organization. Look for a tool that can easily scale with you. Some examples include a tool that can easily implement new compliance requirements or adapt to changes in your risk management needs without adding more manual work for your team.

7. Partner ecosystem

A well-implemented GRC allows for clear visibility for all stakeholders, including partners and clients. Choose a GRC tool that has an ecosystem which allows you to grant access and information to partners and clients, such as a trust center offering. This enhances trust and keeps stakeholders informed.

8. Cloud monitoring

A suitable GRC solution must be cloud-capable. It should be able to monitor and assess your GRC operations that take place in the cloud, such as access management, identity management, and activity logging.

9. Task management

Maintaining your GRC program requires you to complete ongoing tasks and projects. Your GRC tool should track the tasks involved in managing your GRC and your progress. This could include audit preparation tasks, assessing a new risk, and risk mitigation tasks.

10. Third-party risk management

Thorough risk management must include assessing the risks that are presented by your vendors and other third parties. Ensure that your GRC solution can efficiently screen third-party risks and guide you in mitigating them.

11. Automation capability

Automation within your GRC program takes much of the manual work off of your team’s plate, which makes your program more cost-effective and maintainable. Look for a GRC solution that automates tasks such as compliance screening, gap analyses, controls and evidence mappings, document preparation, and so on.

12. AI capability

Artificial intelligence can improve GRC management by more intelligently detecting and evaluating risks, suggesting risk mitigation strategies, processing vendor security reviews, and completing compliance questionnaires.

Choosing the best GRC software for your organization

After comparing the features of each GRC solution you’re considering, how do you make a decision for your business? Find the ideal fit with these tips:

  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis by comparing the cost of each solution to the value it would add to your organization. Be sure to take into account that each tool could bring different value based on the amount of tasks it can automate, the compliance reliability it offers, and so on.
  • Get key decision-makers involved in the selection and evaluation process. This will ensure that you have their buy-in so you can move forward as soon as you’ve made your decision.
  • Consider how well each of the GRC tools you're considering integrates with the software and workflows you currently use. This makes a significant difference in the onboarding process and impacts ongoing usability.
  • Look beyond GRC and consider tools that can manage your GRC program but also have further capabilities that will benefit your business, like a client-facing trust center, automated security questionnaires, and security program management.

Go beyond GRC with Vanta

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. 

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Implementing a GRC program

How to choose a GRC solution

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A GRC graphic with a green wrench

Whether you’re embarking on your organization’s first GRC implementation or you’re optimizing your current GRC strategy, the right tools make all the difference. In this article, we’re exploring how these solutions work and how to choose the right tool for your GRC program.

What is a GRC tool?

A GRC tool is a purpose-built application that serves as the foundation for your governance, risk, and compliance program. It tracks the practices, policies, and tasks required to manage your GRC program, tracks your progress, and provides visibility into your program via one unified platform.

There are many GRC tools available today, each with different features and functions. Some focus on specific aspects of your GRC program, like guiding your risk management process, minimizing vendor and third-party risks, or monitoring compliance. Some are built for specific GRC frameworks while others can be customized to any strategy. It’s important to evaluate GRC tools based on their features and functions to identify the best fit for your organization's needs and workflows.

{{cta_withimage1}}

12 features to look for in a GRC tool 

Start your search for the ideal GRC solution by identifying your organization’s needs. Consider these factors:

  • Organization size: Some tools are made for smaller businesses while others are built for large enterprises.
  • Compliance needs: Know which regulations and standards you adhere to, such as HIPAA, GDPR, ISO 27001, SOC 2 and identify tools that offer help with these frameworks.
  • Areas needing to be improved: Consider what about your current GRC program isn’t working or could be improved, including aspects like visibility, efficiency, and compliance.

Depending on your organization’s needs, here are the key features to look for:

1. Basic features of the software

There are some features of a GRC tool that are essential. Make sure any solution you consider has these features:

  • Policy management
  • Compatibility with the regulations and standards you’ve committed to
  • Risk management tracking
  • Audit management
  • Metrics and analytics
  • Dashboards and data reporting

2. Advanced features of the software

On top of the basics, evaluate the more specialized features of the GRC solutions you’re considering. Some particularly desirable features include:

  • Automated compliance screening and gap detection alerts 
  • Task tracking and workflow management
  • Risk mitigation suggestions
  • Smooth scalability

3. Onboarding and implementation support

How much guidance does the software and the support team provide for implementing the tool? Do you have access to support staff to help you along the way or is the onboarding entirely self-guided? Access to support can make it easier to onboard and get value out of the platform.  

4. Customization

Every organization’s GRC implementation depends on the structure of the business, the industry and the unique risks involved, and compliance requirements. An effective GRC tool should be customizable to your organization's needs. It should allow for custom GRC frameworks and facilitate testing customization.

5. Local language capability

It’s important to keep in mind that not every tool may be compatible with the language you and your team speak. Verify that the tool can be operated in your local language and that there are support staff available in your time zone.

6. Scalability and future-proofing

You need your GRC solution to grow with your organization. Look for a tool that can easily scale with you. Some examples include a tool that can easily implement new compliance requirements or adapt to changes in your risk management needs without adding more manual work for your team.

7. Partner ecosystem

A well-implemented GRC allows for clear visibility for all stakeholders, including partners and clients. Choose a GRC tool that has an ecosystem which allows you to grant access and information to partners and clients, such as a trust center offering. This enhances trust and keeps stakeholders informed.

8. Cloud monitoring

A suitable GRC solution must be cloud-capable. It should be able to monitor and assess your GRC operations that take place in the cloud, such as access management, identity management, and activity logging.

9. Task management

Maintaining your GRC program requires you to complete ongoing tasks and projects. Your GRC tool should track the tasks involved in managing your GRC and your progress. This could include audit preparation tasks, assessing a new risk, and risk mitigation tasks.

10. Third-party risk management

Thorough risk management must include assessing the risks that are presented by your vendors and other third parties. Ensure that your GRC solution can efficiently screen third-party risks and guide you in mitigating them.

11. Automation capability

Automation within your GRC program takes much of the manual work off of your team’s plate, which makes your program more cost-effective and maintainable. Look for a GRC solution that automates tasks such as compliance screening, gap analyses, controls and evidence mappings, document preparation, and so on.

12. AI capability

Artificial intelligence can improve GRC management by more intelligently detecting and evaluating risks, suggesting risk mitigation strategies, processing vendor security reviews, and completing compliance questionnaires.

Choosing the best GRC software for your organization

After comparing the features of each GRC solution you’re considering, how do you make a decision for your business? Find the ideal fit with these tips:

  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis by comparing the cost of each solution to the value it would add to your organization. Be sure to take into account that each tool could bring different value based on the amount of tasks it can automate, the compliance reliability it offers, and so on.
  • Get key decision-makers involved in the selection and evaluation process. This will ensure that you have their buy-in so you can move forward as soon as you’ve made your decision.
  • Consider how well each of the GRC tools you're considering integrates with the software and workflows you currently use. This makes a significant difference in the onboarding process and impacts ongoing usability.
  • Look beyond GRC and consider tools that can manage your GRC program but also have further capabilities that will benefit your business, like a client-facing trust center, automated security questionnaires, and security program management.

Go beyond GRC with Vanta

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. 

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Have you outgrown your security processes?

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

Upgrade to continuous, automated GRC

Request a demo to see how Vanta automates compliance, streamlines security reviews, and saves you time.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

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

Upgrade to continuous, automated GRC

Request a demo to see how Vanta automates compliance, streamlines security reviews, and saves you time.

Have you outgrown your security processes?

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

Upgrade to continuous, automated GRC

Request a demo to see how Vanta automates compliance, streamlines security reviews, and saves you time.

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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