Governance & Compliance

Why CISOs are Ditching the Regular for Smart GRC Software

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Legacy GRC tools get a bad rap.


For instance, when someone asked members of the r/cybersecurity subreddit community for their primary use of GRC software, the overwhelming response was negative. As you can see below, most respondents called the GRC tools they’ve used ‘shitty:’


GRC software


Wondering why many people think GRC tools are ‘shitty,’ I dug deeper. My findings can be summarized by one of the many comments to the Reddit post above. The second comment, to be specific. As noted, most legacy GRC tools are basically prettier, more expensive versions of Excel spreadsheets with reminders and folders.


Smart GRC software is different.


But what exactly is it, you ask?


A smart, enterprise GRC solution is purposefully designed as one, unified cybersecurity governance, risk management, and compliance regulatory (GRC) suite. Across these tenets, an excellent one works interoperably. This means that you, your security team, and teams across your company can use it to automate mundane GRC processes while getting near real-time, actionable cybersecurity insights.


Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) opt for them because exceptional ones fill the voids of legacy GRC tools. Specifically, instead of a prettier spreadsheet with basic reminders, smart GRC consolidates the entire enterprise cybersecurity infrastructure under one technology roof, enabling your core team, organization, and security processes to work in sync.


And to cut the long story short…


It’s How You Create a Strong GRC Program


A major challenge in enterprise organizations is the presence of silos, where the core security team and teams across other departments work independently. This often leads to misalignment and inefficiencies in implementing holistic cyber risk measures.


Smart GRC software reduces such unwanted silos. This enables company-wide perspective and real-time implementation of programs across governance, risk management, and regulatory compliance. More importantly, it helps your team evolve with the ever-growing threat landscape, creating a strong GRC program.


But what makes GRC software smart?


According to CSO’s report, smart GRC is one with integrated cybersecurity capabilities, resulting in company-wide alignment:


what makes GRC software smart


Based on this, the rest of this article will explore benefits of adopting smart GRC software. In the end, you’d also see why the interoperable nature of Cyber Sierra makes it a more reliable, smart GRC platform for tackling enterprise cybersecurity holistically.


Benefits of Smart GRC in Enterprise Cybersecurity


Consider this illustration:


Smart GRC Software Benefits


As shown, due to the interconnectedness of enterprise GRC, a core benefit of smart GRC software (like Cyber Sierra) is its interoperability. Meaning that from implementing governance frameworks to ongoing risk management measures and compliance regulations, your enterprise security team and organization can achieve everything below from one place.


1. Centralized, Optimized Workflows


Getting everyone involved —from stakeholders who provide executive oversight to your core cybersecurity team and employees across the organization— is a crucial benefit of smart GRC software.


But centralization is only the starting point.


The real value is that you’re also able to create, manage, and optimize critical cybersecurity workflow processes collaboratively. This gives you, the executive or security leader, a more comprehensive view of your company’s tech infrastructure and cybersecurity processes.


As was the case with Hemant Kumar, COO at Aktivolabs.


More on that later.


2. No Cumbersome Spreadsheet Versioning


Excel can’t handle modern GRC complexities.


But most people don’t realize this until there are multiple sheets with multiple tabs and hundreds of columns and rows to deal with. At which point you either have to deal with cumbersome versioning problems or train your team to become spreadsheet ninjas.


Because smart GRC software is unified, it solves most, if not all, manual errors and frustrations from using Excel or its cloud-based alternative, Google Sheets. For instance, leveraging a smart GRC platform removes:


  • The risk of users overwriting various critical data
  • Leadership forgetting to change access permissions when employees leave your company, and
  • Dealing with data breaches due to the inherent lack of security on spreadsheets generally.

In addition to eliminating these inefficiencies, smart GRC software also offers massive scalability advantages. Say your organization was expanding and you needed to comply with various new compliance regulations. With a smart GRC platform, for instance, no need to create and manage new versions of sheets manually.


An excellent one comes pre-built with popular compliance programs, giving your team a streamlined process of becoming compliant.


3. Seamless Policy Creation & Maintenance


Across governance, risk management, and regulatory compliance are hundreds, and in many cases, dozens of hundreds of policies to be created and maintained with timely updates. Attempting to do any of the three —create, maintain, and update— with traditional word documents introduces lots of inefficiencies.


For instance, important policy documents may be spread across multiple employees’ computers and not accessible by others on your security team when needed. This creates inaccuracy, redundancy, and policy violations if, say, you needed to update such inaccessible policy documents to keep your company compliant.


Smart GRC solution solves this.


For instance (with Cyber Sierra), all policies across governance, risk management, and compliance are created and consolidated into a unified view automatically. This gives you, your security team, and relevant stakeholders across your organization a centralized pane for creating, managing, and updating policy documents.


With everything in one place, you can see who was assigned a specific policy document, the current version, the last time it was updated, the last time it was reviewed by leadership, and much more.


4. Real-time Cybersecurity Controls’ Audit Logs


Post-GRC implementation effectiveness is as, if not more, crucial as centralizing pre-GRC implementation. It’s how your security team ensures implemented GRC controls are all functioning effectively.


Failure to swiftly identify and fix broken cybersecurity controls across governance, risk management, and regulatory compliance programs can lead to data breaches and hefty fines. This creates a dire need for real-time cybersecurity controls’ audit logs with the goal of spotting and fixing control breaks as they happen.


Smart GRC software streamlines the process.


It can log, audit, and monitor all cybersecurity controls in near real-time. It also gives your team a dedicated view where all control breaks can be immediately tracked and remediated. More importantly, with an exceptional one, you can assign remediation tasks to members of your security team from the same pane.


Crucial Steps In Implementing Enterprise GRC


Get the right people —executive stakeholders and core cybersecurity team— involved, and implementing enterprise GRC comes down to creating and training them on critical processes. Next, empower them with an interoperable, GRC platform, and they will more easily streamline the work involved collaboratively.


As illustrated below:


Crucial Steps In Implementing Enterprise GRC




People, as they say, are your first line of cybersecurity defense. This saying applies so much to enterprise GRC implementation because you need the combined efforts of:


  • Executives experienced in choosing the right GRC governance frameworks and providing leadership oversight
  • Cybersecurity operators versed in implementing and maintaining implemented GRC frameworks, and
  • Employees trained on doing their bits to avoid data breaches that could lead to GRC implementation failures and hefty fines.


Smart GRC software brings you and everyone needed to implement and maintain your GRC program into one centralized pane. But to ensure this, the platform must be pre-built with major GRC frameworks and compliance programs like SOC2, PCI DSS, and others across the US, Europe, and Asia. This is crucial because it makes choosing GRC frameworks and initiating the process of implementing your GRC program a few clicks for members of your leadership team.


Another benefit of a smart GRC platform is that you can train your core cybersecurity team and employees across the company on GRC implementation best practices from the same place. This is crucial, as it helps to keep everyone aligned on necessary security awareness.




Creating and managing policies, which can be dozens or hundreds, in many cases, forms the bulk of enterprise GRC implementation. Typically, your team must create, upload, and provide evidence of corresponding cybersecurity controls for each policy.


As you can imagine, the processes involved can be overwhelming if done manually. But with a smart, interoperable GRC platform, the processes and steps involved are all streamlined.


Each GRC policy your team needs to implement gets a unified view for streamlining all processes and steps involved. For instance:


  1. Details of the policy,
  2. Evidence of controls, and
  3. Version history


…will all be in one place.


Consolidating everything related to each GRC policy this way reduces the implementation processes required to a few clicks. Say you wanted to assign the implementation of a policy to one person and its corresponding controls to others in your team.


It takes just a few clicks to do that.


Why Choose Cyber Sierra’s Smart GRC Platform?


Enterprise organizations choose a smart GRC platform like Cyber Sierra for its inbuilt interoperability. Essentially, this means, instead of point cybersecurity tools for different GRC implementation steps, you and your team can do everything from one place.


Why Choose Cyber Sierra’s Smart GRC Platform?


Starting with cybersecurity governance.


Our platform has various compliance programs across the main global jurisdiction pre-built. With this, your team can just choose a program (or add a custom one) and have the entire process of becoming compliant streamlined from one place:


But becoming compliant is just a start.


Your team will often need to track and update policies, identify and remediate compliance control breaks to stay compliant to ever-changing regulations. Doing these requires two things:


  • A centralized pane for managing all policies:

A centralized pane for managing all policies

  • Near real-time audit logs for identifying and remediating cybersecurity compliance control breaks:

cybersecurity compliance control breaks


As shown above, these crucial capabilities are all pre-built into Cyber Sierra’s interoperable, smart GRC suite.


Scalability is another reason we often see. Growing organizations using Cyber Sierra are able to implement international security and compliance regulations as they emerge and become inevitable.


One example is Aktinolabs:


One example is Aktinolabs

  • Governance & Compliance
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Pramodh Rai

Meet Pramodh Rai, a technology aficionado and Cyber Sierra's co-founder, whose zest for innovation is fuelled by a cupboard stacked with zero-sugar Redbull. With a nimble footwork through the tech tulips across Asia Pacific, he's donned hats at Hmlet (the proptech kind) and Funding Societies | Modalku, building high-performing teams and technologies. A Barclays prodigy with dual degrees from Nanyang Technological University, Pramodh is a treasure trove of wisdom, dad jokes, and everything product/tech. He's the Sherpa in sneakers you need.

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