A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A spreadsheet in a browser to manage a GRC program

Many businesses use manual processes and spreadsheets to manage their GRC program and activities. According to SimpleRisk, nearly half of organizations use spreadsheets for risk management. 

This approach comes with its challenges, from making it more difficult to scale, to presenting more opportunities for human error, and lowering visibility. In this article, we’ll cover the shortcomings of using spreadsheets to manage your GRC and offer alternatives of what to use instead.

How spreadsheets are setting your GRC back

A GRC program is an organization-wide approach that integrates security best practices into the daily operations of the business. Given that a GRC implementation is such a large-scale project, spreadsheets just don’t cut it.

Here are some ways spreadsheets hinder your GRC program:

  • Lack of scalability: GRC management becomes significantly more difficult, time-consuming, and resource-heavy when managing it via spreadsheets, especially as your business grows. When managing your GRC manually, business initiatives like expanding to a new market, adding a new compliance framework, or managing additional risks from new vendors becomes all the more difficult. 
  • Human error: According to a 2020 study done at Stanford University, 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. No matter how knowledgeable or attentive your staff is, mistakes are inevitable when your processes are manual. And those mistakes can be costly when related to security and compliance.
  • Limited collaboration: A GRC program should increase the organization’s visibility into your security program, but this enhanced visibility is hard to achieve with spreadsheets. Spreadsheet data is often updated by a team member rather than in real time, meaning it’s often out-of-date. This becomes even more delayed with offline spreadsheets.
  • Difficult tracking changes: Your GRC program must be continuously updated as your organization changes. With spreadsheets, it’s hard to track the changes being made and when those changes occurred, making it difficult to know whether your GRC is up-to-date with your current organizational needs.
  • Data integrity risks: There are many ways critical data can be lost with manual spreadsheets, such as typing over an existing cell, accidentally deleting the file, or another mistake that corrupts the file. Your data integrity and reliability are at risk with manual spreadsheets.
  • Lack of integration: Spreadsheets often don’t integrate with the other tools you use to manage your GRC. This leaves your team to transfer data from those tools into your spreadsheet manually, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. 

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Move beyond the GRC spreadsheets

If you’ve felt the limitations of managing your GRC with spreadsheets, there’s a solution: GRC software. A GRC solution is a dedicated software platform that serves as a singular source for managing your GRC program. While each tool is different, GRC platforms can track the data, progress, and tasks that go into managing your GRC. These tools allow you to create automated reports, offer customizable dashboards, and provide real-time data analytics. 

To give you a better understanding of the impact of GRC solutions, let’s look at three ways they can benefit your GRC program:

Enhanced efficiency and accuracy

Automation is a key component of GRC solutions. These tools can automate repetitive tasks within your GRC program and create less manual work for your team. Automation will save your organization time and resources, reduce the potential for human error, and improve the accuracy of your data and reporting.

Improved risk management

Manual risk management comes with expensive consequences. Effective GRC tools help you implement a strategic and consistent risk assessment framework, facilitate risk identification, and propose mitigation measures. This makes your risk management process more effective, reliable, and better protects your organization from harm.

Scalability and adaptability

GRC software can make scaling your program easier as your business grows, often with limited additional work for your team. Some examples include making it easy to add additional frameworks to your compliance program and detecting new vendors and tools that connect to your systems.

Best practices when moving from spreadsheets to a GRC solution

Follow these best practices to get the most out of a GRC tool:

  • Choose a GRC solution carefully: There are numerous tools out there, each with its own features and capabilities. Determine what your organization needs are and choose a GRC platform that can meet those needs.
  • Get buy-in ahead of time: Get all stakeholders on board before you begin implementing. Explain the limitations of your current system, the benefits of an automated solution, and the financial benefits of the tool you’ve selected.
  • Clearly communicate responsibilities and roles: Switching to an automated platform will change who in your organization is responsible for which tasks in your GRC program. Ensure teams have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities as you transition.

Bolster your GRC program with Vanta

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your GRC 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. 

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Optimizing a GRC program

Manual GRC: How to move beyond spreadsheets

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.
A spreadsheet in a browser to manage a GRC program

Many businesses use manual processes and spreadsheets to manage their GRC program and activities. According to SimpleRisk, nearly half of organizations use spreadsheets for risk management. 

This approach comes with its challenges, from making it more difficult to scale, to presenting more opportunities for human error, and lowering visibility. In this article, we’ll cover the shortcomings of using spreadsheets to manage your GRC and offer alternatives of what to use instead.

How spreadsheets are setting your GRC back

A GRC program is an organization-wide approach that integrates security best practices into the daily operations of the business. Given that a GRC implementation is such a large-scale project, spreadsheets just don’t cut it.

Here are some ways spreadsheets hinder your GRC program:

  • Lack of scalability: GRC management becomes significantly more difficult, time-consuming, and resource-heavy when managing it via spreadsheets, especially as your business grows. When managing your GRC manually, business initiatives like expanding to a new market, adding a new compliance framework, or managing additional risks from new vendors becomes all the more difficult. 
  • Human error: According to a 2020 study done at Stanford University, 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. No matter how knowledgeable or attentive your staff is, mistakes are inevitable when your processes are manual. And those mistakes can be costly when related to security and compliance.
  • Limited collaboration: A GRC program should increase the organization’s visibility into your security program, but this enhanced visibility is hard to achieve with spreadsheets. Spreadsheet data is often updated by a team member rather than in real time, meaning it’s often out-of-date. This becomes even more delayed with offline spreadsheets.
  • Difficult tracking changes: Your GRC program must be continuously updated as your organization changes. With spreadsheets, it’s hard to track the changes being made and when those changes occurred, making it difficult to know whether your GRC is up-to-date with your current organizational needs.
  • Data integrity risks: There are many ways critical data can be lost with manual spreadsheets, such as typing over an existing cell, accidentally deleting the file, or another mistake that corrupts the file. Your data integrity and reliability are at risk with manual spreadsheets.
  • Lack of integration: Spreadsheets often don’t integrate with the other tools you use to manage your GRC. This leaves your team to transfer data from those tools into your spreadsheet manually, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. 

{{cta_withimage1}}

Move beyond the GRC spreadsheets

If you’ve felt the limitations of managing your GRC with spreadsheets, there’s a solution: GRC software. A GRC solution is a dedicated software platform that serves as a singular source for managing your GRC program. While each tool is different, GRC platforms can track the data, progress, and tasks that go into managing your GRC. These tools allow you to create automated reports, offer customizable dashboards, and provide real-time data analytics. 

To give you a better understanding of the impact of GRC solutions, let’s look at three ways they can benefit your GRC program:

Enhanced efficiency and accuracy

Automation is a key component of GRC solutions. These tools can automate repetitive tasks within your GRC program and create less manual work for your team. Automation will save your organization time and resources, reduce the potential for human error, and improve the accuracy of your data and reporting.

Improved risk management

Manual risk management comes with expensive consequences. Effective GRC tools help you implement a strategic and consistent risk assessment framework, facilitate risk identification, and propose mitigation measures. This makes your risk management process more effective, reliable, and better protects your organization from harm.

Scalability and adaptability

GRC software can make scaling your program easier as your business grows, often with limited additional work for your team. Some examples include making it easy to add additional frameworks to your compliance program and detecting new vendors and tools that connect to your systems.

Best practices when moving from spreadsheets to a GRC solution

Follow these best practices to get the most out of a GRC tool:

  • Choose a GRC solution carefully: There are numerous tools out there, each with its own features and capabilities. Determine what your organization needs are and choose a GRC platform that can meet those needs.
  • Get buy-in ahead of time: Get all stakeholders on board before you begin implementing. Explain the limitations of your current system, the benefits of an automated solution, and the financial benefits of the tool you’ve selected.
  • Clearly communicate responsibilities and roles: Switching to an automated platform will change who in your organization is responsible for which tasks in your GRC program. Ensure teams have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities as you transition.

Bolster your GRC program with Vanta

It’s important to choose the right tools to help you manage your GRC 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. 

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Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

Upgrade to continuous, automated GRC

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

Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

Upgrade to continuous, automated GRC

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

Scaling your compliance doesn't have to SOC 2 much.

Learn how to add new frameworks to your compliance program without adding to your workload.

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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