What is GRC?
When it comes to risk and compliance, the only constant is change. Every organization wants to be successful. To do so, they need to be prepared to manage evolving risks and an increasingly complex regulatory and compliance environment. This is why it is crucial for enterprises to have mechanisms in place that ensure that their legal team can work through new challenges successfully.
Governance, Risk, and Compliance refers to the set of procedures and processes that can help your business achieve its objectives, act with integrity, and address uncertainty. The goal of incorporating GRC is to ensure that your business follows good practices. Even though this isn’t a new concept, it has grown in importance . The reason behind this is the fact that with evolving technology and usage of big data, risks have become more numerous, more damaging, and more complex.
Today, GRC covers a wide range of disciplines, including compliance, internal audit, enterprise risk management, third-party risk management, and more. Even though each one of these disciplines has its own set of priorities, GRC professionals are now focusing on sharing data in order to get better results.
Now, to get a better understanding of GRC, let’s break down each of its elements:
Governance refers to the way an organization is controlled and directed. It is a crucial aspect of running a business as it sets direction through policy and strategy, evaluates outcomes, and monitors controls and performance.
Risk refers to any possible event that might lead to loss or harm and make it difficult for you to achieve your business objectives. Risk management can ensure that you are able to identify, analyze and control the risks capable of derailing your growth.
Compliance refers to the set of guidelines that must be followed in your organization. This can include ensuring consistent accounting or following the data privacy standards. Depending on the context, you have to implement controls that can make sure that the compliance requirements are consistently met.
What are GRC Drivers?
When it comes to risk and compliance, the only constant is change. Every organization wants to be successful. To do so, they need to be prepared to manage evolving risks and increasingly complex regulatory and compliance environments. This is why it is crucial for enterprises to have mechanisms in place that ensure that their legal team can work through new challenges successfully. Regulation is the biggest GRC driver. When it comes to traditional industries like insurance, banking, telecom, and healthcare, they have always had to follow regulations because of the potential risks their industries face. However, thanks to the digital age, all organizations face potential data management risks. When a company uses data, especially personally identifiable information, it puts the business at risk of being targeted by bad actors. This is why governments and agencies all over the world are paying close attention to data management by businesses. The growing awareness and rise in cyberattacks have put all businesses under the light. If your business collects data as well, you have to be transparent about how you manage information in order to meet respective regulatory requirements.
Your business will need a GRC Officer responsible for supporting your company’s control environment. To do this, they will have to ensure that all the processes, procedures, and policies have been defined and updated, all controls have been tested, risks have been identified and managed, data has been analyzed to be used for optimization and continuous improvement, and exceptions have been remediated. Apart from this, here are some other responsibilities of a GRC officer:
- Review the decisions of the governing bodies, performance indicators, and alignment between tactical and strategic plans
- Oversee the periodic identification of risk exposures and threats, assess and manage risks, monitor the implementation of the mitigating controls, and update the risk records
- Design, implement and improve compliance programs, manage and improve business operations through external assessments and internal edits, and document quality and compliance review
- Use acontinuous improvement process to identify processes that require improvement, coordinate implementation and prioritization using different tools and techniques
What is Risk Compliance Management?
Efficient risk compliance management will help ensure that your business procedures are in compliance with the external and internal guidelines, laws, and regulations while reducing operational risks. It ensures that you are able to distance yourself from the devastating risks of noncompliance. You need a process-centered approach that implements and operates a risk and compliance management system in your enterprise. This includes the following:
1. Identify Risk
This includes identifying, analyzing, and documenting the potential risks.
2. Ensure GDPR Compliance
You need a system that can help you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can sustain compliance through policy management, impact assessments, and surveys.
3. Manage Incidents
This covers creating comprehensive documents to track incidents right from how they occurred to how they were managed.
4. Establish Internal Controls
It is crucial to map your business processes to regulatory requirements and define all the relevant controls. Make sure that all the results are documented.
5. Conduct Enterprise Audits
This includes planning, managing, and executing your audit. You also have to create a document trail of the same.
6. Confirm New Procedures
You have to make sure that your employees are following the standard operating procedures. You can create a process that confirms that they know the new guidelines, policies, and procedures.
Implementing a GRC strategy is easier said than done, which is why businesses are seeking the help of technology solutions. Through these solutions, leadership will be able to monitor GRC across the organization. This includes ensuring that the information technology and business processes are aligned to the organization’s GCR requirements. Any GRC solution offers the following basic capabilities:
However, it is important to note that using a tool doesn’t guarantee an effective GRC strategy. Technology doesn’t understand ethics. So, before you consider technology, it is crucial to address governance, risk, and compliance strategy from the perspective of people. What technology can help you with is gathering and managing records that are required for proving that your company is meeting the GRC requirements. This will also ensure that your employees aren’t overburdened and can focus on creating value instead.
When you integrate GRC technology with your business, it unites the roles and processes all across your organization in order to promote seamless collaboration. With it, you will have intelligent insights supporting data-driven decisions. Most importantly, your operations will become more accurate and efficient and will have reduced costs. The GRC solutions will help you with the following:
- GRC solutions automate your routine workflows, tasks, and follow-ups, which reduce the number of required manual hours. Also, since the data is stored in one place, it eliminates extra work done to gather all the information.
- Integrated GRC technology has been designed to keep up with the new laws and regulations. Apart from this, it can help you stay ahead of your compliance risk and the impact it has on your organization.
- When you have all your data in one place, you can use robust tracking capabilities to get an audit trail that documents every modification.
- With an integrated GRC solution, you will have all your enterprise risks, procedures, and legal and corporate policies in one place that can be easily accessed by the stakeholders. It establishes consistent controls and processes across the enterprise while simultaneously creating a culture that is aware of the risk.
- GRC solutions help you connect data and initiatives to gain real insights into how your processes affect one another. It will help you understand how these procedures precisely impact your organization. By gaining a better insight into the inner workings of your organization, you will be able to identify and address issues before they turn into major problems.
- GRC technology will streamline your processes and provide built-in analytics and real-time data. Because of this, it will be easy for you to create reports that help you make data-driven decisions. The GRC dashboard will give you insight into how effective your programs are. The advanced analytics will pull out detailed information from raw data providing you with a whole new level of insight. Through these reports, your risk and compliance teams will be able to provide predictive insights and strategic counsel to leadership.
Implementing a Legal GRC Strategy in Practice
Now, let’s get into how you can implement a GRC strategy in legal practice.
Over the past few years, the priorities among IT, legal, compliance, privacy, and security teams in a global enterprise have changed. Thanks to the evolving laws and regulations, legal departments have more influence over technologies and processes that mitigate compliance, privacy, and cybersecurity risks. Overall, all these risks can be boiled down to data management.
So, apart from overseeing the legal operations, the legal teams also have to ensure that the firm is compliant with privacy and data governance regulations. It is their responsibility to understand the risks the company is facing, implement processes to prevent these risks, and, in case the risks occur, address them efficiently and quickly.
There are a lot of challenges faced in legal practice while implementing data minimization policies and complying with privacy laws. These challenges can be divided into three major threats:
Reputational risk and fines associated with data breaches
Data privacy laws granting new rights to consumers over their personal data
Preserving relevant data for civil or criminal litigation
Now that laws and regulations are evolving, a siloed approach to address these threats effectively won’t work. A single-point solution is not capable of solving these complex problems. What your law firm needs is a new strategy that unifies different technologies and processes to reduce risk, optimize operations, and, most importantly, ensures compliance.
A centralized solution framework will be able to orchestrate all tasks and activities involved with data privacy, data retention, data security, legal operations, and litigation while also integrating the existing infrastructure. This technology will be the centerpiece of your GRC platform.
What Does a Legal GRC Platform Look Like in Practice?
It is important to note that there isn’t any single platform that covers every single risk. However, it is possible to have a universal command center that manages all these processes. Most of the GRC concerns are because of data. So, the center of your strategy should be bringing insight and transparency into organizational data. Casepoint can help you find crucial data on a platform that is powered by AI.
Apart from a new strategy, you will also need a technology framework that can orchestrate these activities across all the departments. It should also meet the requirements of critical functions of data privacy and compliance. Here are a few critical components that your company’s legal GRC platform should have:
- Data inventory – A data inventory is the foundation of processes that helps you meet your legal and regulatory obligations. It provides you insight into how much data you have, where it is located, and the laws governing the storage and use of that data.
- Integrated platform – You will need a central solution capable of sharing data and integrating with other tools and technologies you use in your firm.
- Process orchestration – Your GRC solution should be able to automate workflows while ensuring that tasks are assigned and delivered to the right team at the right time. It should also help you address potential issues.
- Easy accessibility – All the correct stakeholders should be able to access the platform anytime and anywhere, with privacy and security controls.
In most cases, risks, regulatory, and compliance issues fall under the legal teams’ jurisdiction. However, it is important to have all the departments interconnected in order to develop the right risk management strategy that protects your practice. Casepoint’s end-to-end legal discovery platform fits perfectly into a GRC technology infrastructure. Built-in AI and advanced data analytics can preserve and collect data. This allows legal teams to find relevant data related to regulatory response, government audits, internal investigations, or data breach response. Our robust and secure platform will protect your data and ensure a highly efficient and accurate process.
The increased emphasis on GRC strategy is due to data security concerns as well as the legal changes surrounding the rights of people all over the world. Creating a legal GRC strategy will lay the foundation to successfully mitigate risk today and be better prepared to adapt as new risks evolve.