A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

It’s important that your GRC program grows with your business and can evolve as your operations change. In this article, we’ll explore how to assess your GRC program and how to optimize it as your business grows.

Moving up the GRC maturity model

OCEG (Open Compliance and Ethics Group) is a global authority on GRC and coined the term and concept of GRC. OCEG’s GRC maturity model was developed in 2016 as a way to classify how sophisticated a GRC program is and help organizations make incremental progress. This framework is structured into five levels, starting from the foundational to the most advanced:

  • Level 1 - Initial: At this level, there are minimal GRC activities and those that do exist are siloed.
  • Level 2 - Managed: At this level, GRC efforts become more strategic yet remain somewhat informal and disjointed.
  • Level 3 - Consistent: At this level, there is a unified framework that leads to consistent and formally managed practices across the organization.
  • Level 4 - Measured: At this level, there is a harmonized approach to GRC with measurable, data-driven outcomes and process automation.
  • Level 5 - Optimizing: At this level, there is a state of continuous improvement and real-time, risk-first decision-making across the company. This is the ideal state where your GRC program is scalable and future-proofed to withstand organizational changes.  

OCEG’s maturity model not only serves as a roadmap for developing a robust GRC program but also as a benchmark against which organizations can measure their progress. By evaluating your GRC maturity against this model, you can assess where your program stands today, what it may be lacking, and how you can improve it moving forward.

Building a scalable GRC framework

A scalable GRC framework changes as your business grows and as your business goals shift. A scalable GRC program should have:

  • Flexibility to adapt to changes quickly
  • Integrations with the other tools and platforms your organization uses
  • Alignment with new and existing business objectives

{{cta_withimage1}} | CTA-11: Scaling your compliance program guide

5 tips to optimize and scale your GRC program

Use these tips to optimize your GRC program to make it more scalable for your business’s future:

1. Enhance GRC processes with automation

Automation is the cornerstone of GRC scalability. When you take more GRC tasks and processes off your team’s plate and automate them, you save them time even as their scope increases or their tasks become more complex. There are a number of automatable aspects of GRC, such as compliance and control monitoring, managing audit documentation, and compiling GRC reports that can be streamlined by a GRC automation platform.

2. Foster a culture of compliance and security awareness

For GRC to be effective, it needs to be thoroughly integrated across your business. All departments play a role in your GRC, so it’s important to make security awareness part of each department’s daily operations and to demonstrate that this is a priority from the senior leadership. By making GRC a collaborative effort, you prevent tasks and requirements from falling through the cracks as the organization grows.

3. Leverage data analytics for insightful GRC decision-making

An essential element of scalable GRC is continuous improvement. You may not know the impact certain changes will have on your GRC framework until an issue presents itself. To ensure that your program can withstand business changes, have practices in place to routinely review the scope of your GRC, processes, and performance so you can make informed decisions about the direction of your program and ways you can strengthen it.

4. Manage third-party risks in a scalable manner

Third-party risk management is a time-consuming and error-prone aspect of manual GRC. It can be difficult to monitor all of the tools across your organization (also known as shadow IT) much less stay on top of the risks that these tools and vendors present. This challenge only grows as your organization grows.

Automated third-party risk management enables you to detect the vendors in use and analyze, prioritize, and mitigate their risks efficiently.

5. Measure and communicate the value of GRC

GRC scaling requires buy-in from senior leaders and other stakeholders. To ensure long-term investment in a mature, scalable GRC strategy, it’s important to continuously measure the success of your GRC program and highlight the value the program brings, such as its ability to lower your risks, save the organization money, and avoid potential fines and costs of a compliance breach if your program doesn’t scale well.

Overcoming the challenges in optimizing GRC programs

These are the key challenges you’re likely to face when optimizing your GRC program and solutions for how to navigate them:

  • Resource limitations: Making your GRC scalable requires significant time and resources for your organization. You can overcome budgetary constraints by communicating the potential long-term cost savings that come from making your program more scalable to the leaders of your organization.
  • Resistance to change: Stakeholders may be resistant to change the GRC program if they believe it’s working fine as is. But an unscalable GRC program will inevitably become a problem even if it isn’t today. Explain how an unscaled GRC can leave you vulnerable to problems and liabilities in the future.
  • Keeping up with regulatory changes: There may be concerns about whether the work you do to optimize your GRC program will become irrelevant when requirements for regulations change. To avoid this, invest in a GRC automation platform that updates continuously as these frameworks do, so your GRC program adapts with it.

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-10: GRC demo landing | {{cta_simple2}}

Optimizing a GRC program

How to optimize your GRC program

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

It’s important that your GRC program grows with your business and can evolve as your operations change. In this article, we’ll explore how to assess your GRC program and how to optimize it as your business grows.

Moving up the GRC maturity model

OCEG (Open Compliance and Ethics Group) is a global authority on GRC and coined the term and concept of GRC. OCEG’s GRC maturity model was developed in 2016 as a way to classify how sophisticated a GRC program is and help organizations make incremental progress. This framework is structured into five levels, starting from the foundational to the most advanced:

  • Level 1 - Initial: At this level, there are minimal GRC activities and those that do exist are siloed.
  • Level 2 - Managed: At this level, GRC efforts become more strategic yet remain somewhat informal and disjointed.
  • Level 3 - Consistent: At this level, there is a unified framework that leads to consistent and formally managed practices across the organization.
  • Level 4 - Measured: At this level, there is a harmonized approach to GRC with measurable, data-driven outcomes and process automation.
  • Level 5 - Optimizing: At this level, there is a state of continuous improvement and real-time, risk-first decision-making across the company. This is the ideal state where your GRC program is scalable and future-proofed to withstand organizational changes.  

OCEG’s maturity model not only serves as a roadmap for developing a robust GRC program but also as a benchmark against which organizations can measure their progress. By evaluating your GRC maturity against this model, you can assess where your program stands today, what it may be lacking, and how you can improve it moving forward.

Building a scalable GRC framework

A scalable GRC framework changes as your business grows and as your business goals shift. A scalable GRC program should have:

  • Flexibility to adapt to changes quickly
  • Integrations with the other tools and platforms your organization uses
  • Alignment with new and existing business objectives

{{cta_withimage1}} | CTA-11: Scaling your compliance program guide

5 tips to optimize and scale your GRC program

Use these tips to optimize your GRC program to make it more scalable for your business’s future:

1. Enhance GRC processes with automation

Automation is the cornerstone of GRC scalability. When you take more GRC tasks and processes off your team’s plate and automate them, you save them time even as their scope increases or their tasks become more complex. There are a number of automatable aspects of GRC, such as compliance and control monitoring, managing audit documentation, and compiling GRC reports that can be streamlined by a GRC automation platform.

2. Foster a culture of compliance and security awareness

For GRC to be effective, it needs to be thoroughly integrated across your business. All departments play a role in your GRC, so it’s important to make security awareness part of each department’s daily operations and to demonstrate that this is a priority from the senior leadership. By making GRC a collaborative effort, you prevent tasks and requirements from falling through the cracks as the organization grows.

3. Leverage data analytics for insightful GRC decision-making

An essential element of scalable GRC is continuous improvement. You may not know the impact certain changes will have on your GRC framework until an issue presents itself. To ensure that your program can withstand business changes, have practices in place to routinely review the scope of your GRC, processes, and performance so you can make informed decisions about the direction of your program and ways you can strengthen it.

4. Manage third-party risks in a scalable manner

Third-party risk management is a time-consuming and error-prone aspect of manual GRC. It can be difficult to monitor all of the tools across your organization (also known as shadow IT) much less stay on top of the risks that these tools and vendors present. This challenge only grows as your organization grows.

Automated third-party risk management enables you to detect the vendors in use and analyze, prioritize, and mitigate their risks efficiently.

5. Measure and communicate the value of GRC

GRC scaling requires buy-in from senior leaders and other stakeholders. To ensure long-term investment in a mature, scalable GRC strategy, it’s important to continuously measure the success of your GRC program and highlight the value the program brings, such as its ability to lower your risks, save the organization money, and avoid potential fines and costs of a compliance breach if your program doesn’t scale well.

Overcoming the challenges in optimizing GRC programs

These are the key challenges you’re likely to face when optimizing your GRC program and solutions for how to navigate them:

  • Resource limitations: Making your GRC scalable requires significant time and resources for your organization. You can overcome budgetary constraints by communicating the potential long-term cost savings that come from making your program more scalable to the leaders of your organization.
  • Resistance to change: Stakeholders may be resistant to change the GRC program if they believe it’s working fine as is. But an unscalable GRC program will inevitably become a problem even if it isn’t today. Explain how an unscaled GRC can leave you vulnerable to problems and liabilities in the future.
  • Keeping up with regulatory changes: There may be concerns about whether the work you do to optimize your GRC program will become irrelevant when requirements for regulations change. To avoid this, invest in a GRC automation platform that updates continuously as these frameworks do, so your GRC program adapts with it.

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-10: GRC demo landing | {{cta_simple2}}

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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