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Governance & Compliance

Top 10 Alternatives to AuditBoard in 2024

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Top 10 Alternatives to AuditBoard in 2023

Are you searching for a perfect compliance management tool capable of boosting your data protection and compliance handling methods?

AuditBoard, though a frequently adopted choice in the business sphere for compliance issues, may not necessarily be the optimal match for every organization’s unique needs. 

With a wide range of options available in the market, it is only natural that many businesses are still at a loss over the ideal compliance management solution for their business. 

If you are one of those looking for an AuditBoard alternative with similar features but more benefits, here’s our list of 10 popular options to consider.

 

Top 10 AuditBoard Alternatives: Key Features, Pricing Plans, and More

Here are the top 10 alternatives to AuditBoard that we have shortlisted for you:

  1. Cyber Sierra
  2. Vanta
  3. Scrut
  4. Drata
  5. Sprinto
  6. Secureframe
  7. Wiz
  8. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
  9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud
  10. Duo Security

Let’s look at them one by one.

 

1. Cyber Sierra

 

Cyber Sierra - alternatives to AuditBoard

Source

 

Cyber Sierra delivers a unique cybersecurity platform, developed to focus on the needs of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), tech trailblazers, and others related to data safety.

What stands out about Cyber Sierra is its excellent integration of varied security elements, resulting in a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.

It consolidates governance, risk management, cybersecurity rules compliance, cyber insurance offerings, threat monitoring, and personnel training programs into a single, simplified platform, effectively minimizing the usual division often seen in managing cybersecurity.

 

Key Features

  • Universal Control: Assists businesses in upholding compliance standards recognized globally – like ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and PDPA.
  • Cybersecurity Health Audit: Manages detailed examination and detects threats associated with your digital presence.
  • Staff Security Training: Furnishes a study course to teach employees how to identify and counteract phishing schemes.
  • Third-party risk management: Effortlessly handles the process of security clearance for partners and ensures consistent surveillance of possible risks.
  • Continuous controls monitoring: Monitors in near real-time the security controls, flagging off controls breaks and risk mitigation strategies.

 

Strengths

  • Integrated Security Solution: Unites governance, risk management, cybersecurity compliance, cyber insurance offering, threat observation, and employee training modules onto a single platform.
  • Constant Vigilance: Continuous risk management, threat prediction, and risk scoring.
  • Third-party risk management: Makes handling third-party risks less complicated and brings down associated risks.

 

Weaknesses

  • The platform is relatively new in the market.

 

Ideal For

Cyber Sierra is an excellent choice for both flourishing businesses and startups dealing with regulatory compliance, data safety, and related issues.

Moreover, it offers an advantage to businesses set to merge their cybersecurity, governance, and insurance strategies, shifting from several vendors to a unified platform.

 

2. Vanta

 

Vanta

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Vanta is a specialized platform focusing on security and compliance management, zealously easing the pathway to SOC 2 compliance. It underscores the relevance of secure technology within a business, enabling the convenience of routine monitoring and automation of compliance procedures.  

 

Key Features

  • Continuous Monitoring: Vanta’s continuous security monitoring ensures constant compliance, enabling firms to stay current and secure continuously.
  • Automation: To optimize the SOC 2 certification procedure, Vanta automates compliance activities, thereby simplifying workflows and minimizing the need for manual work.
  • Integration: It allows for easy integration with popular services and platforms, including AWS, GCP, and Azure. This assortment of integration choices fosters adaptability to variable tech situations.

 

Strengths

  • Time Efficiency: Vanta effectively curtails the duration and human effort required to meet SOC 2 compliance, offering companies much-needed resource savings.
  • Integration: Its ability to integrate with various established platforms enhances its adaptability to different technological environments.

 

Weaknesses

Limited Scope: As Vanta specializes in SOC 2 compliance, it might not cater to other security frameworks or standards necessary for some businesses.

Customization: With restricted customization options, Vanta might not offer sufficient flexibility for businesses with unique compliance requirements.

 

Ideal For:

Vanta is an excellent fit for mid-scale to large businesses, notably those operating in sectors demanding stringent security compliance standards, such as tech, healthcare, or finance. Compliance with rigorous security standards like SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, PCI, and GDPR is inevitable in these sectors.

 

3. Scrut Automation

 

Scrut Automation

Source

 

A dedicated cloud security solution for automating cloud configuration testing, Scrut Automation provides potent cloud-native protection layers for AWS, Azure, GCP, and other platforms.

 

Key features

  • Automated cloud configurations testing: Constantly verifying cloud configurations against 150+ CIS benchmarks, Scrut Automation ensures compliance.
  • Historical records: A history of your security state helps track improvement over time, providing valuable insights.
  • Integration: Enjoy seamless integration with major cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

 

Strengths

  • In-depth security coverage: Over 150 CIS benchmarks are employed to guard your cloud environment effectively.
  • Time-efficient: As it automates time-consuming tasks and ranks remediations, your information security progression speeds up.

 

Weaknesses

  • Learning curve: Users new to cloud security configurations may require time to grasp and utilize certain functionalities.
  • Limited customization: The platform has limited customization and personalization options, depending on specific user requirements.

 

Best for

Scrut Automation is ideal for organizations using cloud computing services from providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. Thanks to comprehensive security and compliance coverage, it serves large enterprises in need of dependable cloud security. Medium and small businesses looking for cloud security reinforcement via automation will also benefit significantly.

 

4. Drata

 

Drata

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Drata acts as a security and compliance management platform that delivers all-encompassing support to companies endeavoring to achieve and maintain SOC 2 compliance. The platform’s audit management software automates the tracking, administration, and supervision of necessary technical and operational controls for SOC 2 certification.

 

Key Features

  • Asset management: Drata allows organizations to detect and manage assets such as servers, devices, and applications for more effective control.
  • Policy & procedure templates: Companies benefit from pre-built templates on the platform, enabling efficient generation of pertinent compliance documentation.
  • User access reviews: Systematic user access assessments by Drata help maintain appropriate access controls.
  • Security training: The platform grants continuous employee education and phishing simulations to elevate security threat awareness and best practices.

 

Strengths

  • Automated evidence collection: Drata’s evidence collection process automation minimizes manual labor and chances of human error.
  • Exceptional customer support: Its highly responsive and knowledgeable customer support team guides users throughout the compliance process.

 

Weaknesses

  • Onboarding process: A longer and more complex onboarding process, as reported by users, may cause initial setup delays.
  • Complex functionality: Drata’s wide range of functions could be challenging for non-technical users to comprehend.
  • Scalability: Being a relatively recent market addition, Drata might face growth-related challenges when catering to larger organizations with intricate compliance needs.
  • Pricing: Budget-constrained smaller businesses might find the pricing model of Drata a hindrance.\

 

Best For

Organizations looking to secure and preserve SOC 2 compliance while diminishing manual tasks can greatly benefit from Drata. Its sophisticated automation functions make it an appealing choice for businesses in pursuit of a more efficient audit process.

 

5. Sprinto

 

sprinto

Source

 

Sprinto functions as a security and compliance automation platform. It is designed to support businesses in maintaining compliance with notable frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. Its capacity for customization and real-time monitoring lets companies consistently scrutinize and manage their security and compliance state efficiently.

 

Key Features

  • Asset Management: Sprinto’s security compliance tool allows businesses to aggregate risk, streamline entity-level controls, and run fully automated checks.
  • Policy Implementation: The platform pronounces automated workflows, policy templates, and custom training modules for multiple security compliance needs.
  • Exceptional Support: With Sprinto, businesses get guidance through every compliance process stage, from risk assessment to audit requirements fulfillment.
  • Cloud Compatibility: Sprinto flawlessly integrates with a wide range of modern business cloud services, enabling exhaustive risk assessment and control mapping.

 

Strengths

  • Automation: The automation offered by Sprinto notably reduces the effort and time needed to accomplish compliance.
  • Broad Compliance Coverage: Sprinto caters to a wide range of compliance frameworks, empowering businesses to manage multiple compliances in tandem.
  • Expert Support: From day one, Sprinto provides expert-guided support, guaranteeing that appropriate controls and practices are established.
  • Integration Capability: The platform harmonizes effortlessly with many business cloud services, facilitating efficient control mapping and well-rounded risk evaluation.

 

Weaknesses

  • Adaptive Requirements: To fully utilize the benefits of automated checks and continuous monitoring, businesses might need to first adapt to the Sprinto platform.
  • Customer Support: A section of users suggest that Sprinto’s customer service could improve, especially concerning response times.

 

Best For

Sprinto is optimally suited for burgeoning cloud companies striving to simplify their security compliance processes. 

Its advanced automation features and extensive compliance coverage positions it as a prime choice for companies in search of an efficient and hands-off method to uphold security compliance.

 

6. Secureframe

 

Secureframe

Source

 

Secureframe is a compliance management platform that empowers businesses to simplify SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliances. The platform emphasizes efficient, ongoing monitoring for several services, including AWS, GCP, and Azure.

 

Key features

  • Continuous Compliance Monitoring: Facilitates ongoing compliance for a variety of services.
  • Automation: Enhances security compliance tasks by minimizing the required time and resources.
  • Integration Features: Interacts smoothly with widely-used cloud services like AWS, GCP, and Azure.

 

Strengths

  • Efficiency in Time Saving: Drastically reduces the duration typically required for documenting and overseeing compliance that can span weeks.
  • Integrated Approach: Works seamlessly with popular cloud services, providing potential advantages to companies utilizing these platforms.

 

Weaknesses

Inadequate Customization: According to some users’ feedback, Secureframe might benefit from more sophisticated customization options, indicating it may not provide the flexibility some businesses necessitate.

 

Best for

Secureframe is an optimal solution for businesses of all sizes aiming to simplify their SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliances. It’s particularly beneficial for companies that rely on AWS, GCP, and Azure for their cloud services, thanks to its strengthened integration capabilities.

 

7. Wiz

 

wiz

Source

 

Wiz is an advanced cloud security solution that grants businesses a comprehensive outlook on security risks throughout their entire cloud ecosystem. This innovative Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool surpasses agent-based approaches by scanning the full cloud stack to identify vulnerabilities, configuration mishaps, and latent dangers.

 

Key features

  • Full Spectrum Visibility: Wiz delivers all-encompassing visibility for entire multi-cloud settings, presenting a unified look at security matters.
  • Intelligent Risk Mitigation: Wiz pinpoints vulnerabilities and provides practical guidance to alleviate security hazards.
  • Team Collaboration: Wiz encourages collaboration across DevOps, cloud infrastructure, and security teams via a singular platform.
  • Real-Time Security Monitoring: Wiz examines cloud ecosystems continuously, detecting and alerting users of any security concerns or misconfigurations as they occur.

 

Strengths

  • Thorough Security Review: Wiz conducts extensive security assessments involving all primary cloud platforms.
  • Streamlined Automation: Users can implement effective security processes due to role automation and clear dashboards.
  • Effortless Setup and Usage: Wiz is reportedly easy to execute, requiring minimal configuration prerequisites.

 

Weaknesses

  • Inadequate Documentation: Some users have suggested that Wiz’s documentation could benefit from being more thorough and detailed.
  • Unclear Pricing: A portion of reviewers remarked that pricing details are not readily available, posing challenges when estimating the cost of Wiz’s deployment.
  • Excessive Notifications: As Wiz actively monitors cloud conditions, a few users may perceive the notifications as excessive.

 

Best for

Wiz is optimal for businesses operating within multi-cloud contexts that value a detailed, all-encompassing perspective of their cloud security posture. Those with complex cloud infrastructures will appreciate Wiz’s aptitude for rendering a harmonized security view.

 

8. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

 

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

Source

 

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is a sweeping cybersecurity suite that consolidates backup, disaster recovery, AI-driven malware and ransomware defense, remote aid, and security in a unified system. It aims to provide a well-rounded approach to safeguarding data across an array of devices and settings.

 

Key Features

  • Backup and disaster recovery: Acronis secures data by offering dependable backup options and disaster recovery tools in the event of severe setbacks.
  • Cyber security: Employs AI-and machine learning-powered techniques to detect and tackle new menaces.
  • Patch management: Assesses and automatically upgrades outdated software versions to mitigate risks posed by vulnerabilities.
  • Remote assistance: Features remote support, enabling users and administrators to swiftly resolve issues from any point.

 

Strengths

  • Holistic Protection: Furnishes multi-layered security by melding backup, disaster recovery, and security provisions.
  • Easy to Navigate: The platform receives praise for its straightforward, easy-to-use interface.
  • Trustworthy Backup and Recovery: Users express satisfaction with Acronis’ performance regarding data backup and restoration.

 

Weaknesses

  • Potential Performance Constraints: A few users reported stuttering, particularly during resource-intensive backup operations.
  • Support Team Challenges: Some customers experienced less-than-stellar service and delays when engaging with the support team.
  • Inadequate Reporting: Some users pointed out that the reporting functionalities could offer more granular detail for deeper analysis.

 

Best for

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is particularly well-suited for businesses prioritizing solid, comprehensive cybersecurity postures. Given its all-encompassing nature, the solution proves valuable for firms in industries such as IT, retail, healthcare, finance, and any other field where data security is crucial.

 

9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud

 

Druva

Source

 

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is a cloud-native data protection and management solution using a SaaS model. It offers robust backup, disaster recovery, and information governance across different environments, including endpoints, data centers, and cloud-specific applications.

 

Key Features

  • Holistic Data Protection: Druva furnishes a solid, comprehensive backup and recovery solution for endpoints, data centers, SaaS applications.
  • Disaster Recovery: It offers a time-efficient, cost-saving strategy for on-the-spot disaster recovery.
  • Global Deduplication: With Druva’s deduplication feature, users can ensure effective storage and bandwidth usage, expediting backups, and curbing costs.
  • Security and Compliance: The solution complies with a range of data protection regulations, including GDPR, with provisions for encryption, access control, and audit trails.

 

Strengths

  • SaaS Model: As a SaaS-based offering, Druva is easy to roll out, maintain and scale, which minimizes stress on IT departments.
  • Efficient Data Management: Druva presents a centralized interface for overseeing data protection tasks across various platforms, streamlining data management.
  • Cost-Friendly: The elimination of hardware and infrastructure costs contributes to Druva’s cost-effectiveness.
  • Customer Support: Druva’s customer support team scores high in responsiveness and usefulness.

 

Weaknesses

  • Performance with Large Data Sets: It has been noted that the performance may dip when processing with large data sets.
  • Pricing Structure: Users have pointed out that Druva’s pricing model could be more straightforward and clear.

 

Best for

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is highly recommended for businesses of all sizes seeking a SaaS-based, cost-effective, user-friendly data protection service. It is especially useful for organizations managing distributed systems, including endpoints and various data center applications.

Companies with extensive data processing requirements might wish to explore other options or test Druva’s performance before making a long-term commitment.

 

10. Duo Security

 

Duo

Source

 

Operating under the umbrella of Cisco, Duo Security is a cloud-oriented access security platform shielding users, data, and applications from potential security risks. It ascertains users’ identities and the condition of their devices prior to granting access to applications—a step that helps comply with business security protocols.

 

Key Features

  • Two-factor Authentication (2FA): Extending beyond just the primary password, Duo strengthens the security framework by requiring an additional authentication form to access networks and applications.
  • Device Trust: Through Duo, businesses can obtain a comprehensive understanding of each device accessing their applications, thereby ensuring adherence to security standards.
  • Adaptive Authentication: It utilizes adaptive strategies and machine learning to enhance access security based on user behavior and device insights.
  • Secure Single Sign-On (SSO): Users experience uninterrupted, secure access to all applications through the SSO feature provided by Duo.

 

Strengths

  • Intuitive Use: Duo receives appreciation for its ease of use, easy deployment process, and an intuitive user interface.
  • Robust Security Framework: The two-factor authentication feature by Duo significantly mitigates the likelihood of unauthorized access.
  • Broad Integration Potential: Duo interfaces smoothly with a variety of existing VPNs, cloud-based applications, and other network infrastructures.
  • Responsive Customer Support: Duo’s customer support is renowned for their prompt and efficient problem-solving.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited Customizability: Duo Security can be perceived lacking in granular control, especially for users needing specific controls or advanced customizability options.
  • Software Updates: Some users reported potential hiccups or difficulties following software updates.
  • Cost Considerations: For smaller businesses or startups, Duo’s pricing structure may appear to be on the steeper side.
  • User Interface Improvements: Although user-friendly, some users have indicated that the interface could be more engrossing and modernized in its appeal.

 

Best for

Businesses with diverse software applications and device integrations will benefit significantly from Duo, thanks to its wide-ranging compatibility.

 

Top 10 AuditBoard Alternatives: Comparative Analysis

Here is a comparative analysis of the top 10  alternatives to AuditBoard, tailored to assist you in identifying the optimal software specific to your needs.

 

AuditBoard Alternatives table comparision

 

Selecting the Best Software 

Now, the task of identifying the right software for your needs can be simplified by meticulously considering relevant features, cost factors, and user feedback.

Given the breadth of software solutions proposed to enhance your organization’s management functions, it’s essential to choose one that resonates with your specific necessities.

Among security systems, Cyber Sierra distinguishes itself by integrating high functionality and robust protection within a single platform.

Cyber Sierra’s simple design enables the prompt and straightforward application of needed security controls, giving your business fortified protection against potential cyber threats.

Schedule a demo today and learn how Cyber Sierra can optimally secure your business.

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Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Governance & Compliance

Everything You Need to know about SOC 2 Controls List

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Starting a SOC 2 journey is a proactive measure to enhance your organization's security posture.

To maximize its effectiveness,  it’s crucial to carefully select and implement SOC 2 controls that are well-suited to your specific organizational needs.

The selection of these controls should be based on a comprehensive risk assessment that evaluates potential security threats specific to your business operations and stages of growth. It's also important to consider your customers' security expectations and requirements, as meeting these can significantly boost trust and satisfaction.

By choosing SOC 2 controls thoughtfully, you can strategically prioritize which aspects of your information security to strengthen first. This prioritization should be based on your most pressing risks and vulnerabilities.

Such a targeted approach makes your efforts more efficient and ensures that resources are utilized effectively, thereby enhancing security measures while supporting ongoing business operations.

As you systematically tackle these areas, your company can develop a strong security posture that evolves with your business and adapts to new threats. This strategic focus on security protects sensitive data and establishes your company as a dependable and secure entity in your industry.

In this article, we write about  SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria, delve into SOC 2 controls, and pinpoint the key controls necessary to meet these criteria.

What are SOC 2 Controls?

SOC 2 controls are a broad spectrum of protocols, policies, and technological systems specifically designed to bolster your organization's information security management. 

These controls are integral to the SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria (TSC) and undergo a thorough evaluation by auditors during the SOC 2 audit and report preparation.

These controls span a wide array—from administrative safeguards that dictate data management and access control to technical defenses that protect against unauthorized access and data breaches. Key elements include encryption techniques, secure data storage options, and robust firewall setups.

SOC 2 controls also manage operational procedures like data backup execution, data recovery protocols in case of data loss, and the routine updating and patching of software systems. An essential component of SOC 2 controls is the training of employees on security awareness and operational procedures, ensuring they understand their roles in upholding security.

Each control is customized to mitigate specific risks pertinent to the services your company offers, safeguarding sensitive information from both external and internal threats. 

This holistic approach demonstrates your organization's commitment to security best practices, thereby enhancing trust with your clients. 

SOC 2 Control Examples

SOC 2 controls are designed to enhance data security across various processes within your organization. Key examples include:

SOC2-Controls-Examples

1. Password Management: 

Establishing strong password policies is essential for securing system access within your company. This control ensures that you implement comprehensive guidelines for creating and managing passwords, significantly enhancing the protection of your organization's data and systems. 

By enforcing these policies, you effectively guard against unauthorized access, safeguard sensitive information and maintain operational security.

2. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): 

Implementing multi-factor authentication introduces a critical layer of defense for your company by demanding more than just a password for access. 

Before granting access, this method requires you to verify your identity through multiple proofs, such as a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan. 

This approach greatly enhances your security posture by reducing the risk of unauthorized entry, ensuring your company's data remains protected.

3. Access Control: 

By establishing specific permissions and defining roles, you ensure that only authorized members of your organization can access sensitive information. This targeted approach helps maintain the security and integrity of your data.

4. Onboarding:

When onboarding new employees, ensure they are thoroughly familiar with your organization's security practices and protocols. This step is crucial in equipping them with the knowledge they need to uphold your company's security standards.

5. Offboarding: 

Ensure your offboarding procedures are secure by revoking access to critical systems and data for departing employees. This practice protects your company from potential security threats by preventing unauthorized access after their departure.

These controls serve as the foundation of SOC 2 compliance, ensuring that you protect sensitive data and uphold the integrity of your organization.

SOC 2 Control List

The list of SOC 2 controls originates from the five Trust Service Criteria, which auditors use to evaluate companies during a SOC 2 audit.

The Trust Services Criteria are a set of principles and criteria established by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) that pertain to SOC 2 reports. They are designed to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a service organization's system. By adhering to these criteria, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high standards of data protection and operational integrity.

These controls encompass all the processes, procedures, and systems you implement to protect customer data in compliance with SOC 2 standards.

SOC2-Controls-List

1. Control Environment:

This approach highlights the critical role of integrity and ethical values in your organization. It necessitates the active participation of your board of directors and senior management in developing and overseeing internal controls. 

Moreover, it ensures that each individual is held accountable for fulfilling their part in meeting the organization's goals.

2. Monitoring and Control Activities: 

Regular evaluations are conducted to quickly identify and rectify any control deficiencies, ensuring that these findings are clearly communicated to stakeholders. You establish policies and procedures to maintain strong governance and ensure strict compliance with security protocols.

3. Logical and Physical Access Controls: 

This control mandates that you protect your information assets by implementing stringent measures for logical access, such as issuing and managing credentials and authorizations. It also involves regulating physical access to your facilities to prevent unauthorized entry.

4. System and Operations Controls: 

This approach centers on detecting and monitoring changes in your systems that could pose security risks. Additionally, it involves establishing a clearly defined incident response program to handle any security breaches that occur efficiently.

5. Change Management Controls: 

These controls encompass the entire process from authorizing to fully implementing changes in your infrastructure, data, software, and procedures. They guarantee that all modifications align with your organization's objectives and maintain security integrity.

6. Risk Mitigation Controls: 

This process requires you to identify and develop strategies that minimize potential disruptions. This includes creating and implementing comprehensive incident response plans that effectively manage and mitigate security incidents.

Steps to Implement SOC 2 Controls Effectively

To effectively implement SOC 2 controls, you need a strategy customized to your organization's unique requirements. Here's how to begin:

  1. Select the Trust Service Criteria: 

Gain a clear understanding of how each of the five Trust Services Criteria specifically relates to your company’s operations, systems, and the various types of data you manage. The five TSCs are Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy, with Security being a mandatory criterion. 

Recognize the unique impact of these criteria on different aspects of your business, from daily operational procedures to long-term data security strategies. For instance, the Security criterion focuses on protecting information and systems from unauthorized access, while Availability ensures that systems are operational and accessible as needed. Processing Integrity ensures that system processing is complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized. Confidentiality addresses the protection of sensitive information, and Privacy concerns the management and protection of personal information.

This deeper insight will help you select the relevant TSCs and tailor your compliance efforts effectively, ensuring they are not only thorough but also directly aligned with your organization's specific needs and challenges.

  1. Determine the scope of compliance: 

Determine the specific systems, processes, and types of data involved in your operations, taking into account their roles in your business functions and any interactions with third parties. 

You need to consider how these elements integrate with your overall business strategy and how they might be impacted by external partners.

This comprehensive assessment helps ensure that your approach to managing these areas is strategic and effective, enhancing overall operational security and efficiency.

  1. Select appropriate controls: 

Select SOC 2 security controls that closely fit the specific needs of your business operations, meet industry standards, and address the type of data you manage. You need to customize these controls to handle your industry's particular risks and compliance requirements effectively. 

This tailored approach improves your compliance and strengthens your organization's data protection, ensuring a solid defense against potential threats. 

  1. Focus on risk management: 

Choose controls that effectively reduce the risks and vulnerabilities you've identified. Assess the potential impact and likelihood of each risk to accurately prioritize your control strategies.

It’s important to focus on risks that pose the greatest threat to your operations and allocate resources to controls that will offer the most significant protection. For instance, if your organization deals with sensitive customer data, implementing robust encryption methods and strict access controls would be critical. Alternatively, if you face significant cyber threats, investing in advanced intrusion detection systems and regular security training for employees could be the most effective measures.

This strategic prioritization ensures that your efforts are both efficient and effective, safeguarding your organization’s assets and operations against the most critical challenges.

  1. Align controls with compliance requirements: 

Choose controls that not only comply with SOC 2 standards but also address additional regulatory requirements specific to your industry. This holistic approach strengthens your security and extends your compliance coverage.

You must integrate these controls seamlessly into your operations, ensuring that you are not only meeting the necessary legal standards but also proactively protecting your organization from potential security breaches. For example, in the healthcare industry, implementing HIPAA-compliant encryption for patient data and conducting regular privacy audits are crucial. In the financial sector, adhering to PCI DSS requirements by using secure payment processing systems and conducting frequent vulnerability assessments is essential. These measures not only ensure compliance but also enhance your organization's security posture.

This strategy enhances the overall resilience of your business against risks and aligns with best practices in your sector.

How much does SOC 2 Control Implementation Cost?

The costs associated with implementing SOC 2 controls vary widely, depending on several critical factors. Here’s a breakdown of typical expenses you might encounter:

1. Readiness Assessment: 

Costs typically vary between $5,000 and $15,000 for this initial evaluation, which plays a crucial role in pinpointing areas that require enhancement before you proceed to the final audit. It’s important for you to consider this as an investment in your company’s future compliance and security posture. 

By identifying and addressing these areas early, you can streamline the audit process, potentially reduce future compliance costs, and better prepare your organization for rigorous external scrutiny.

2. Consulting and Software: 

You should expect to spend between $10,000 and $50,000 in professional SOC 2 consulting services and specialized compliance software. This range reflects the varying scope and complexity of services and tools required to meet your specific needs.

By allocating funds towards expert guidance and advanced software, you enhance your organization's ability to meet SOC 2 requirements effectively. 

This investment not only helps secure your data but also streamlines your compliance processes, making them more efficient and reliable.

3. Other Tools and Software Investment: 

When setting up new systems for asset inventory, compliance monitoring, and cybersecurity, you can expect costs to range from $5,000 to $40,000. 

The variation in costs largely depends on the sophistication of your current infrastructure. Investing in these systems is crucial for enhancing your organization's ability to track assets, monitor compliance, and protect against cybersecurity threats. 

This financial commitment aids in fortifying your operations and aligns with best practices in risk management and regulatory compliance.

4. Legal and Policy Setup: 

Establishing and reviewing policies and contracts to align with Trust Service Criteria could incur costs up to $10,000. Moreover, training your employees on these policies and other compliance aspects may add up to $5,000, though the total expense can vary depending on your company's size. 

These investments are essential for ensuring that your operations comply with industry standards and for equipping your staff with the necessary knowledge to uphold these standards effectively.

5. Audit Expenses: 

Certified Public Accountants perform these audits, which may cost you between $5,000 and $50,000. The specific cost depends on the scope and objectives of your SOC 2 certification efforts. 

This range allows you to anticipate budgeting according to the depth and breadth of the audit required to meet your certification goals effectively.

Overall, these figures underscore the importance of thorough budget planning to cover all aspects of SOC 2 compliance.

Getting SOC 2 compliant with Cyber Sierra

Getting SOC 2 compliant using Cyber Sierra's platform is an easy and error-free experience. From identifying controls and control gaps to mapping them to the required trust services criteria (TSC), your SOC 2 journey with Cyber Sierra is streamlined from the get-go.

Here's a look at how Cyber Sierra helps:

Streamlined Compliance Journey: Cyber Sierra's comprehensive platform simplifies the SOC 2 implementation and management process. Automated evidence collection and workflows also significantly reduce manual work and ensure accurate documentation, a must-have for SOC 2 compliance.

Real-Time Monitoring: With Cyber Sierra's intuitive dashboards, organizations can continuously monitor compliance and identify control gaps and breaks quickly. Real-time alerts help you stay ahead of potential security risks.

Expert Guidance and Best Practices: Cyber Sierra offers tailored guidance to help you navigate SOC 2 requirements specific to your organization. By implementing industry best practices, you can effectively strengthen your compliance posture.

Enhanced Data Security: Cyber Sierra's platform is enabled with two-factor authentication (2FA), ensuring data protection and controlled access. Protecting sensitive information is paramount with Cyber Sierra's integrated risk management tools.

Seamless Integration: Cyber Sierra integrates easily with your existing systems, facilitating efficient data flow and minimizing disruptions during the compliance process. This ensures a smooth transition to SOC 2 compliance.

Market Differentiation: What sets Cyber Sierra apart from competitors is the access to a host of other features on its platform. You can run vulnerability scans, access our robust third-party risk management modules, continuous control monitoring feature, and employee security training module, eliminating the incremental costs of investing in individual tools for each of these.

Schedule a demo to see how Cyber Sierra's unique features can expedite your SOC 2 compliance journey and enhance your overall governance framework.

- FAQs

  • Is SOC 2 certification necessary?

While SOC 2 certification is not mandatory, it verifies that your organization implements robust security measures to protect sensitive data. 

  • What are the consequences if an organization fails to implement SOC 2 controls?

If an organization does not meet SOC 2 standards, the auditor will issue a report indicating deficiencies. This adverse report highlights the urgent need to address these issues to improve security controls for future evaluations.

  • Are all Trust Service Criteria required for SOC 2 compliance?

Not all Trust Service Criteria need to be selected to get SOC 2 compliance. Organizations should choose relevant criteria based on the services they provide and their customers' requirements. Of the five TSCs, security is mandatory. 

  • How often should SOC 2 compliance be reassessed?

SOC 2 compliance typically requires annual reassessment to ensure continuous adherence to the selected criteria and security controls. This ongoing evaluation helps identify any new risks or gaps in control measures, and maintain compliance

  • Can small businesses benefit from SOC 2 compliance?

Yes, even small businesses can benefit from SOC 2 compliance. It enhances trust and credibility with customers by demonstrating a commitment to security, which can be particularly valuable in competitive or sensitive market sectors.

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Governance & Compliance

How to perform a robust GRC audit in 2024?

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Staying compliant with regulations and managing risks effectively is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. A Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) audit is a vital tool for organizations, providing a structured approach to aligning IT with business objectives while effectively managing risk and meeting compliance requirements.

According to a recent Compliance, Governance, and Oversight Council survey, nearly 65% of organizations report that implementing a thorough GRC strategy has significantly reduced their legal liabilities and improved operational efficiency.

A GRC audit evaluates an organization's strategies and processes for overseeing and controlling its adherence to legal and regulatory requirements, managing risks, and ensuring effective governance practices.

By conducting these audits, companies safeguard themselves against potential fines and penalties and gain valuable insights into their operational weaknesses, enabling them to make informed decisions that foster sustainable growth.

Understanding the importance of a GRC audit is the first step in enabling businesses to thrive. It’s not just about compliance but about building a resilient foundation that will support long-term success.

This article will delve into the nuances of GRC audits, offering clear, actionable insights that can help organizations confidently navigate this complex yet critical area.

Whether you are a seasoned executive or a newcomer to corporate governance, the insights provided here will empower you to leverage GRC audits as a strategic tool for your business.

What is GRC audit?

A Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) audit rigorously examines an organization's policies and procedures to ensure they comply with requisite regulatory and compliance standards.

This evaluation is critical in identifying and mitigating potential risks arising from security gaps or procedural deficiencies. Organizations often undertake GRC audits internally to refine and enhance their operational frameworks.

Alternatively, they might engage external, independent auditors to perform these assessments annually.

This external review not only helps in obtaining necessary certifications but also in transparently communicating the organization’s compliance status to stakeholders and clients, reinforcing trust and accountability.

Here’s how:

1. Governance:

This process involves guiding and overseeing your organization with clear, well-defined policies and a structured hierarchical system.

You need to set firm policies that outline your organization's expectations, responsibilities, and procedures. This structure is essential for streamlining communication and command, ensuring that decisions flow efficiently from upper management to the operational level without ambiguity.

It's important to keep yourself updated regularly with reports on your organization’s performance, market conditions, and other critical factors to stay on top of changes and adapt accordingly.

This approach not only helps in maintaining compliance but also enhances the effectiveness of governance within your department.

2. Risk Management:

This process involves identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing the risks that could negatively affect your organization's daily operations. These risks can range from financial uncertainties and legal liabilities to management errors, accidents, natural disasters, and strategic management flaws.

Your role is to first identify each risk, then evaluate its likelihood of occurrence and potential impact. Based on this evaluation, you prioritize the risks. This prioritization allows you to allocate resources effectively, focusing first on preventing or mitigating the most critical risks.

The strategies you may consider include avoiding, reducing, sharing, or retaining the risk. Each strategy should be chosen based on its potential effectiveness in addressing specific risks. It's crucial to regularly review and adjust these strategies to remain effective over time, especially in response to new or evolving risks. This proactive approach ensures that your organization can maintain resilience against adverse events, protecting its operational integrity.

3.Compliance:

This process requires you to adhere to regulations set by industry bodies, government entities, or market authorities to foster a secure and equitable environment for both consumers and businesses, particularly in the realm of cybersecurity.

Start by thoroughly understanding all relevant regulations that affect your organization. This includes keeping current with any changes to laws and standards that govern cybersecurity and data protection practices.

With this knowledge, your organization then takes steps to ensure compliance. This may include updating security protocols, training employees on new regulations, and incorporating compliance checks into everyday operations.

Consistent monitoring is crucial to ensure that all parts of the organization continually meet regulatory requirements. This involves conducting internal audits, reviewing security measures, and evaluating the effectiveness of compliance protocols.

As regulations change, your organization must be flexible enough to adapt quickly. This requires revising policies, procedures, and technologies to stay aligned with new legal and regulatory frameworks as they emerge.

Educating stakeholders plays a vital role in cultivating a culture of compliance and ensuring that everyone understands their role in maintaining a secure and fair operating environment.

Modern GRC audits challenge the inefficiencies of past practices by promoting unified strategies that enhance visibility across business functions. This approach helps avoid the segmented and resource-intensive methods of legacy systems, which often lead to errors and increased risk.

How to Leverage GRC Audit Standards?

Anchoring your strategy in widely accepted standards and frameworks is essential to effectively conducting GRC audits in 2024. Adopting these as a foundation ensures a structured approach for precisely assessing your controls and helps streamline your compliance checks and risk management processes.

Prioritizing areas like cybersecurity and regularly reviewing compliance keeps your organization aligned with essential regulations and addresses key stakeholders’ expectations.

Embracing frameworks such as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) from the Department of Defense, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and ISO/IEC 27001 not only enhances your cybersecurity measures but also bolsters your information security management.

Adopting these recognized benchmarks in your GRC audits sharpens governance outcomes and reduces various risks, ensuring comprehensive compliance throughout your operations. This approach leads to detailed audit findings that inform your cybersecurity audits and other areas.

Integrating a risk management program empowers your team to handle these challenges more effectively, solidifying your overall governance and compliance structure.

Importance of GRC audits

Conducting regular GRC audits is crucial for identifying weaknesses or gaps that could undermine your GRC program's effectiveness and increase the risk of data breaches or non-compliance incidents.

GRC Audit Importane

By integrating document management into your audit component, you enhance the scrutiny of your operational processes.

Key reasons for auditing your GRC program include:

1. Optimize GRC Controls:

Begin by establishing clear objectives, defining the scope, and setting criteria for the audit. This foundational step is vital to ensure your evaluation is focused and effective.

Then, assess how controls are implemented in daily operations, evaluate their effectiveness, and pinpoint any gaps that may impede compliance or risk management. It's crucial to look for patterns that could suggest systemic issues or insufficient risk mitigation.

Your report should analyze how well the controls fulfill the needs of governance, compliance, and risk management, and it should include recommendations for enhancements. Based on these findings, develop and implement strategies to reinforce existing controls or add new ones as necessary.

Consistently evaluating these controls is crucial to ensure their ongoing effectiveness. Adjust them as necessary to respond to changes in the organization or the regulatory landscape. This proactive stance is key to maintaining the integrity and resilience of your organization’s compliance and risk management frameworks.

2. Ensure Policy Adherence:

During audits, ensure that each component of your GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) program adheres to the organization's security policies. Identify any discrepancies between the implemented controls and the policies.

Use the findings from these audits to enhance the effectiveness of your GRC program. Demonstrating a commitment to security and compliance can significantly boost the confidence of your stakeholders.

Additionally, leverage the results from these audits to inform strategic decision-making within your organization. This approach not only improves compliance but also aligns your operational strategies more closely with organizational goals and regulatory requirements.

3. Identify Improvement Areas:

Through detailed examinations, identify any deficiencies in your current GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) processes. Take note of any redundant steps, outdated procedures, or poorly allocated resources that may exist.

Utilize insights from these audits to pinpoint where to focus your efforts for the most significant impact. This targeted approach helps you address the most critical areas needing improvement.

Leverage these insights to proactively adjust and refine your GRC processes. Making these adjustments can help you stay ahead of potential issues and maintain regulatory compliance.

Regular audits are crucial as they promote ongoing enhancements within your organization. By continually assessing and improving your processes, you ensure the robustness and resilience of your governance and compliance frameworks.

4. Demonstrate Due Diligence:

Regular audits demonstrate to stakeholders that governance, risk management, and compliance are top priorities for your organization. Routine assessments show your commitment to due diligence.

These audits provide valuable feedback on the effectiveness of your risk management strategies, allowing you to make timely adjustments. By staying proactive, you can address compliance issues before they lead to penalties.

Additionally, the insights gained from audits support strategic enhancements, ensuring that your GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) program remains dynamic and effective. This continuous improvement helps keep your organization aligned with both current regulations and emerging risks.

The GRC Auditing Process

When you audit your GRC processes, you evaluate their implementation against a specific GRC framework or set of standards. Under the guidance of audit supervisors, track the progress of audit tasks and conduct thorough audit tests.

grc importance

1. Evidence Collection:

Auditors actively collect various forms of evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of the GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) controls implemented in your organization. They meticulously review these documents to ensure they are comprehensive and current.

Furthermore, auditors examine these materials to confirm that procedures are clearly communicated and consistently followed across the organization. This scrutiny helps ensure that your systems are robust and safeguarded against potential vulnerabilities.

Additionally, auditors analyze logs to detect any unusual or unauthorized activities that could indicate risks or breaches of compliance. This vigilant oversight is crucial for maintaining the integrity and security of your organization’s operations.

2. Control Testing:

Auditors play a crucial role in assessing the effectiveness of your organization's security controls in managing cybersecurity risks. They employ a variety of tests and simulations to ensure that your defenses are robust and effective. These assessments might include penetration testing, where auditors simulate an attack on your systems to test their ability to withstand intrusions.

Such simulations provide a practical evaluation of how your controls would perform during an actual cyber attack, assessing the system's defensive capabilities. This includes verifying that antivirus software is regularly updated, evaluating the effectiveness of firewalls, and checking the adequacy of encryption practices.

Auditors also review your incident response plans to ensure they are actionable and effective in minimizing damage during a security event. This continuous oversight is essential for maintaining the integrity of your security measures over time.

3. Compliance Verification:

The compliance of each department with relevant regulatory frameworks and industry standards is meticulously reviewed and validated by your team. Initially, it’s crucial for you to determine which regulations and standards each department must adhere to, based on their specific functions and the industry in which your organization operates.

You need to examine how well policies are understood and followed by departmental staff. This scrutiny helps confirm that each department consistently meets all required standards. These evaluations not only highlight areas of success but also pinpoint where improvements are needed, providing clear guidance for future compliance efforts.

This may involve revising procedures, enhancing training programs, or implementing other changes to ensure full compliance. By maintaining this focus, you help safeguard the organization’s adherence to necessary regulations and enhance overall operational integrity.

4. Reporting:

Auditors meticulously document their findings, recommendations, and a detailed action plan for remediation in a comprehensive audit report. This documentation is crucial for giving you a clear picture of the current state of compliance and system integrity. The recommendations are designed to guide your organization in correcting deficiencies and enhancing overall compliance and security measures.

The action plan is crafted to ensure that all recommendations are implemented effectively and promptly. It serves as a tool for management to track progress on remediation efforts and to confirm that all issues have been resolved. This systematic approach helps you maintain oversight and ensures that your organization adheres to required standards.

5. Follow-up:

You are responsible for actively overseeing the implementation of recommended actions and ensuring the continuous improvement of your organization's GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) program.

Regularly check the progress of the actions being implemented across the organization. This evaluation helps you determine whether the changes are effectively addressing the identified issues and improving the overall compliance and risk management frameworks.

You may need to revise timelines, introduce new measures, or reallocate resources to ensure that the goals of the GRC program are met. These reports are crucial for keeping senior management and relevant stakeholders informed and engaged in the GRC improvement process. Encourage open communication and continuous learning to help embed GRC principles at all levels of the organization, strengthening the culture of compliance and risk awareness.

GRC Audit Best Practices

GRC audits are vital for ensuring compliance and managing risks effectively. Here are streamlined best practices for conducting successful GRC audits:

grc-audit-best-practices

1.Strategic Planning:

Start by establishing clear audit goals and broader business objectives. Effective communication with all stakeholders is essential to align everyone's understanding and expectations.

Ensure that your staff are thoroughly trained on the audit procedures, tools, and standards they need to adhere to. Well-trained auditors are crucial for identifying issues and maintaining the integrity of the process. This foundational preparation helps ensure that your audits are conducted efficiently and effectively, supporting the overall health of your organization's compliance and governance frameworks.

2.Defining the Audit Scope:

Focus your audit effectively by identifying essential processes within your governance, risk management, and compliance frameworks.

Evaluate all critical IT systems and databases that support your GRC efforts, including the software and data storage solutions used. This careful assessment ensures that your organization's technological resources align with and robustly support your compliance and risk management objectives, enhancing the overall security and efficiency of your operations.

3. Risk Assessment:

Identify potential risks affecting your GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) frameworks, ranging from operational to technological aspects. Assess the severity and likelihood of these risks to prioritize them effectively.

Design audit tests specifically to address the most significant risks, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit. This targeted approach ensures that your resources are focused where they are most needed, strengthening your organization's risk management and compliance efforts.

4. Audit Testing:

Perform a detailed assessment of potential risks to refine your audit strategy. This careful evaluation helps you understand which areas are most vulnerable and require immediate attention.

Customize your audit tests based on this clear understanding of prioritized risks to focus on critical areas. This targeted approach improves the impact and relevance of the audit, ensuring that your efforts are efficiently addressing the most significant concerns within your organization's governance, risk management, and compliance frameworks.

5. Outcome Reporting:

Record detailed findings from the audit, noting any discrepancies and vulnerabilities. Analyze these results to understand their implications and assess the effectiveness of existing controls.

Create actionable plans to address identified issues, specifying steps for remediation and assigning responsibilities. This approach ensures that each concern is systematically addressed, enhancing the overall security and compliance of your organization.

Communicate these findings and action plans with key stakeholders to align efforts and promote a culture of continuous improvement in your governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) practices. This collaborative communication is essential for maintaining transparency and fostering a proactive approach to managing organizational risks.

Adhering to these practices ensures that GRC audits are not only compliant but also strategic tools for enhancing organizational operations. The adaptability of these practices allows them to evolve with the organization's needs, maintaining their effectiveness and relevance over time.

How Cybersierra can help

CyberSierra offers a range of features to streamline your GRC audits:

cybersierra-grc-auditing
  • Advanced Compliance Automation: Simplifies routine regulatory tasks, promoting a continuous compliance framework.
  • Real-Time Health Dashboard: Allows continuous monitoring of your organization’s security and compliance status from a single platform.
  • Automated Evidence Collection: Facilitates seamless preparation for both internal and external audits.
  • Regular Compliance Reports: Keeps you audit-ready by ensuring all compliance documentation is current and accessible.

CyberSierra's automated evidence collection and reporting capabilities streamline your preparation for internal and external audits, ensuring you're always audit-ready with up-to-date compliance reports.

Conclusion

Conducting a GRC audit provides insights into the effectiveness of your governance, risk, and compliance processes. Successful audits require careful planning, thorough testing, and clear reporting.

Effective GRC software facilitates the collection of evidence, tracks compliance, and enhances the impact of audits.

CyberSierra, a robust GRC audit and compliance automation software, streamlines compliance processes and strengthens auditing procedures while providing real-time insights into your security and compliance status. Contact our experts to see CyberSierra in action.

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Governance & Compliance

How Much Does GRC Implementation Cost in 2024

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The Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) market is expected to reach USD 27.1 billion by 2027, growing from an estimated value of USD 14.9 billion in 2022 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.6% from 2022 to 2027.

This trend stems from the complexities in cybersecurity, stricter regulatory requirements, and heightened competition among solution providers in the marketplace.  As your company shifts from older GRC systems to newer, automated technologies, evaluating the return on investment becomes crucial.

This blogpost provides a comprehensive analysis of the costs involved in GRC implementation, including expenses for training and compliance, to help you effectively manage your budget for GRC initiatives in 2024.

What Does GRC Software Do?

GRC software provides technological solutions to manage business risks, implement security best practices, facilitate decision-making, and ensure compliance. By centralizing vital functions, it streamlines processes, enhances visibility, and promotes efficiency.

Here are the key capabilities of GRC software:

capabilities-of -GRC-software

1. Risk Assessment

GRC software helps organizations identify and assess high-impact risks, recognizing indicators that lead to these risks. It includes managing internal risk factors and vendor or third-party risks. Organizations can create risk response workflows to initiate remediation actions and prioritize potential risks based on criticality. 

2. Compliance Functions

   GRC platforms continuously monitor business processes to ensure adherence to corporate policies and regulatory requirements. They manage findings from internal and external audits, making it easy to present these findings to third-party auditors for seamless audit management. 

3. Workflow Management

   Modern GRC tools offer workflow automation capabilities that streamline compliance tasks and processes. They standardize procedures for task assignment and tracking, incident response management, policy reviews, approvals, and more. These tools automate repeatable tasks, gather insights, and facilitate change management. 

4. Document Management

   GRC tools assist in creating, tracking, and storing vital documentation such as digitized policies, SOPs, and audit logs. They include a version control system, making it easy to locate and access both the latest and historical documents. 

5. Data and Analytics

   GRC software features reporting dashboards that provide insights into governance, risk, and compliance activities. The analytics function supports data-backed decision-making, and capabilities like data visualization enhance stakeholder understanding.

How much does GRC software implementation cost?

When you're determining the cost of GRC software, you'll need to navigate a complex pricing landscape tailored to your company's specific needs. Factors such as your company's size, the number of users, the chosen software version and features, and the required compliance frameworks you consider also heavily influence pricing. While this customization allows organizations to align their GRC solutions with operational demands closely, it also adds complexity to cost assessment.

For instance, here's a glimpse into the pricing strategies of some well-known GRC platforms:

Furthermore, platforms like ServiceNow Governance Risk and Compliance, Enablon, SAI Global Compliance 360, Riskonnect, and Fusion Risk Management prefer to offer custom quotes, tailoring their pricing to suit each client's unique specifications perfectly.

When you're assessing the cost of GRC software, it's essential to take into account not only the initial expenses but also additional costs related to customization, software integrations, implementation, and user training.

These factors can significantly impact the overall financial commitment and should be carefully considered in your budget planning for 2024.

Different pricing of GRC tools (breakdown)

Different-pricing-GRC-tools

When you're considering GRC implementation, remember that the total cost extends beyond just buying the software. It includes various factors such as license fees, the scale of implementation, security tools, and consulting charges. So, as you plan, make sure to account for all these elements to get a clear picture of the overall expenses involved.

1. Licensing:

You'll find that costs can differ widely depending on the vendor you choose and how they structure their licensing. 

Some might charge per user, per module (such as risk management or compliance management), or even per managed vendor or organization. 

Some vendors offer GRC as a subscription service. So, when you're considering options, it's important to weigh these factors carefully to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

2. Implementation Costs:

When you're looking at the expenses, keep in mind that the scale of deployment plays a big role. Larger deployments, especially at the enterprise level, usually demand more customization, which means they can be pricier. 

For smaller-scale setups, you might be looking at costs ranging from $75,000 to $150,000. However, if you're considering enterprise solutions, be prepared for a starting point of $250,000, with potential costs surpassing $500,000. 

So, as you plan, consider both the scale of your deployment, the extent of implementation across the org,  and the corresponding budget implications. 

3. Internal Costs:

As you plan your GRC implementation, remember to budget for various expenses. These may include hardware costs, especially if you're setting up on-premise systems, as well as investments in security tools, data migration, training, and software integration.

 Integration expenses, for example, can range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 or more. The final figure depends on the complexity of your current tech setup and the specific needs of the GRC software you choose.

 So, it's crucial to factor in these additional costs when planning your budget.

4. Maintenance and Support:

When calculating the total cost of GRC, consider ongoing support and maintenance fees. These expenses are important because they cover updates, technical assistance, and renewals. 
For example, vendors such as SAP might require you to pay 17%-22% of the maintenance cost of the license.

So, as you plan your GRC implementation, include these ongoing fees in your budget calculations.

5. Consulting Services: 

When planning your GRC implementation, consider consultancy fees, which are often underestimated.

Consulting rates can vary greatly, with the average hourly fee for a GRC consultant in the USA being around $63. 

For a project lasting 3-4 months, you might expect consultancy fees to range from $20,000 to $35,000. So, as you budget for your GRC project, account for these potential additional costs.

Understanding these various components helps better budget and evaluate the real cost of implementing GRC solutions in 2024.

GRC training cost

GRC training is a vital organizational initiative that educates employees about governance, risk, and compliance processes, emphasizing the importance of regulatory adherence, risk management strategies, and internal policies. 

GRC-training-cost

Training costs can start as low as $250 and can rise to over $12,000, influenced by various factors:

1. Training Provider: 

When considering training options for your GRC implementation, keep in mind that costs can differ based on whether you opt for in-house training or online courses. 

 Different providers offer varying rates, so it's essential to research and compare options to find the most suitable and cost-effective training solution for you.

2. Training Scope and Coverage: 

 When you're considering training options for your GRC implementation, remember that the price can be influenced by the depth and coverage of the training content. Basic courses typically have lower costs, while more extensive, advanced training tends to require a higher fee. 

 So, as you plan your training program, consider the level of expertise needed and weigh it against your budget.

3. Number of Employees: 

 When budgeting for training, remember that costs are typically based on the number of participants. 

If your company has over 1000 employees, you might see prices go up. However, some providers offer discounts for bulk registrations, so it's worth exploring options to maximize your training budget.

4. Certification Needs: 

 If your organization decides to invest in certified training programs for its employees, this will add to the overall cost of your training package.

GRC training programs are typically priced between $1.5 and $2.5 per employee per month, billed annually. 

This means annual training costs range from $18 to $30 per employee. Here's a rough breakdown of estimated costs based on the number of employees:

  •  Up to 100 employees: Around $250
  •  100-500 employees: Approximately $1,000
  •  500-1,000 employees: Over $2,000
  •  More than 1,000 employees: Between $4,000 and $12,000, depending on the training provider and the specific program chosen.

So, as you consider your training options, consider the potential costs associated with certified training programs and how they align with your budget and organizational needs.

This pricing structure helps organizations budget effectively for their GRC training needs, ensuring employees are well-prepared to manage compliance and risk effectively.

GRC Compliance cost

For sectors like healthcare and finance, compliance through GRC is especially crucial. It combines various practices, processes, and tools to ensure adherence to regulations and prevent penalties or damage to brand reputation.

When you're considering investing in GRC software specifically for compliance, remember that the initial software cost is just one part of the overall expense. You'll also need to budget for additional costs on security measures like mobile device management (MDM), vulnerability scanners, and antivirus software. Plus, there are expenses related to awareness training, auditing tools, and setting up monitoring systems.

Taking these factors into account, the estimated cost of GRC for compliance typically ranges from $10,000 to $60,000 for small businesses. For larger enterprises, costs usually start at over $150,000, with an average over five years ranging between $450,000 and $500,000. 

This cost range reflects the significant investment necessary to maintain compliance and ensure smooth operations in highly regulated environments.

 Why should you choose CyberSierra?

Why-should-you-choose-CyberSierra

Choosing CyberSierra for your compliance needs offers a comprehensive, cost-effective solution designed specifically for modern, cloud-centric businesses.

CyberSierra is a unified platform that simplifies all compliance tasks without extra charges for additional features. By choosing cyber sierra, you gain instant access to a range of essential features at no extra cost:

  1. Integrated Risk Assessments and Third-Party Risk Management: Seamlessly handle internal and external risks.
  2. Policy Management: Utilize pre-designed templates tailored for cloud-based operations.
  3. Security Training Modules: Access built-in training resources to enhance your team's security awareness.
  4. Real-Time Compliance Reports: Enjoy full visibility with unlimited monitoring of your infrastructure entities and the ability to add custom controls or frameworks.
  5. Additional Support: Benefit from 24x5 customer support services to address any queries or issues.

CyberSierra offers diverse plans, ranging from Standard to Enterprise, catering to various needs. Whether you require basic compliance and risk management for smaller setups or extensive controls, unlimited assessments, and specialized customer support for larger enterprises, CyberSierra's adaptable plans ensure efficient compliance fulfillment, fostering a secure and resilient operational environment.

 When evaluating GRC solutions for your organization, it's essential to consider both your unique needs and budget. 

 At CyberSierra, we recommend conducting a thorough assessment, including trial periods and engaging key stakeholders, to identify the best GRC solution for your organization. Our GRC system offers many essential and optional features, eliminating the need for multiple other security tools.

 CyberSierra stands out not just for its cost-effectiveness but for its comprehensive capabilities. Our solution includes integrated risk management, dynamic reporting dashboards, automated workflows, real-time monitoring, and robust audit support. This ensures your organization is well-equipped to handle compliance, risk, and governance needs efficiently and effectively.

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Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Governance & Compliance

Automating Governance, Risk, and Compliance: Revolutionizing Management with GRC Automation

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The importance of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) cannot be overstated in today's ever-evolving enterprise ecosystem.

Companies face an ever-growing array of regulations, risks, and governance challenges that can affect their operations, reputation, and bottom line.

Automating GRC manual processes has become a critical strategy for organizations aiming to enhance efficiency, ensure compliance, and manage risk effectively. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global GRC market size was valued at USD 32.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5% from 2022 to 2030.

This statistic underscores the increasing reliance on and investment in GRC automation as businesses strive to navigate a complex regulatory environment more efficiently.

What is GRC Automation?

GRC automation refers to integrating technology to streamline and enhance the processes involved in an organization's governance, risk management, and compliance frameworks.

By leveraging software and tools, companies can automate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, and provide real-time insights into risk and compliance status.

This technological approach saves time and allows for more strategic decision-making, freeing resources to be redirected to more critical areas of the business.

GRC automation is crucial for organizations to navigate complex compliance programs and risk management effectively, enhancing their security posture. When GRC frameworks and regulatory requirements emerged in 2007, manual methods like spreadsheets sufficed for many businesses.

However, by 2023, the compliance requirement and regulatory landscape had become much stricter, with numerous compliance and reporting demands. Spreadsheets are no longer adequate for managing these complexities, making GRC automation essential for seamless compliance and risk management.

How to Automate the GRC Process?

In today's complex regulatory environment, automating Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) systems is crucial for any proactive organization. This guide presents a seven-step approach to effectively automate your GRC processes, from setting clear objectives to continuously monitoring for improvements. It ensures streamlined compliance, real-time risk assessments, and strong governance.

GRC Automation Process
  1. Define Business Case And Objective

The first step in automating GRC systems is establishing a solid business rationale. Defining clear objectives provides a roadmap, guiding all stakeholders through the process. Whether your goals include streamlining compliance reporting, improving risk visibility, or enhancing cost efficiency, these objectives will directly influence your choice of technology and implementation approach.

At this critical stage, it is crucial to involve key stakeholders from legal, IT, compliance, and business operations. Their diverse insights help build a comprehensive business case, laying a strong foundation for the automation project.

  1. Assess Current GRC Processes & Identify Areas Of Improvement

Before automating, thoroughly assess your current GRC systems to pinpoint bottlenecks, redundancies, and inefficiencies. This evaluation should identify challenges and reveal opportunities for improvement that automation can leverage.

Use process maps and flowcharts to trace data and task flows across departments. These visuals can highlight system weaknesses and offer clear targets for your automation initiatives.

3.Select the Right Tools To Support your Automation Objectives

Selecting the right technology platform is a critical decision with lasting effects. Ensure the platform meets your current needs and offers scalability for future expansion. Involve your tech team to verify compatibility with your IT infrastructure and integration potential with other systems.

Beyond technical features, you must also evaluate the vendor’s reputation, customer support, and reliability. Consulting customer reviews, seeking references, and reviewing case studies of successful implementations can offer deep insights into the platform’s fit for your organization.
CyberSierra, for example, provides tailored GRC solutions that can accommodate the nuances of different organizational structures and industries.

  1. Implement with Change Management

Implementing GRC automation tools involves significant change management. Training and supporting your staff to adopt new technologies is crucial for success. Ensure that all stakeholders understand the benefits of GRC automation and are engaged in the transition process.

Once you select your technology platform, it’s crucial to implement controls that ensure data quality and process integrity. The accuracy of your automated GRC reports and monitoring relies heavily on the reliability of your input data. A poorly designed data flow can lead to errors that may result in regulatory fines or strategic missteps.

You must establish rigorous data validation checks, error-handling procedures, and data reconciliation protocols. These measures act as your first line of defense against inaccuracies and inconsistencies, ensuring that your automated GRC systems are a reliable source of truth for your organization.

  1. Configure the Automation Solution

Off-the-shelf software often doesn’t perfectly fit all your organization’s unique needs. After purchasing the software, you’ll likely need to customize it to match your business processes, organizational structure, and compliance requirements. Collaborate closely with your vendor or internal IT team to tailor features such as user roles, permissions, and alert settings to suit your specific needs.

Conducting a pilot test of the configured system within a controlled environment or a single department can reveal necessary adjustments before a full-scale rollout. This step is crucial for identifying and addressing any unexpected challenges or gaps in the configuration, ensuring a smoother implementation for your finance, tax, or compliance operations.

  1. Train all Stakeholders before Rolling It Out Across the Organization

Implementation isn’t complete until all users are proficient with the new system. You should develop training programs tailored to your organization’s various roles, ensuring that both managerial and operational staff know how to use the system for their specific GRC tasks.

Use the training phase as a chance for final refinements. Feedback from users during this period can provide valuable insights into the system’s efficiency and user experience, allowing you to make essential tweaks before deploying the system across your organization.

This step ensures a smooth transition and optimal performance in your finance, tax, or compliance departments.

  1. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

After implementation, the journey isn’t over. Ongoing monitoring is crucial to ensure that the system continues achieving its objectives and remains current with regulatory changes and business process shifts.

You should closely track key performance indicators like compliance adherence rates, incident response times, and risk assessment durations.

Set up periodic audits and establish feedback loops with users for continuous improvement. As regulations change, business needs evolve, and technology advances, your automated GRC system must remain agile and adaptable.

Regular updates and iterative enhancements will ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness for your finance, tax, or compliance operations.

Advantages of GRC Automation

A GRC system can enhance your organization in several key ways:

GRC Automation Advantages
  1. Boosts Operational Efficiency

A GRC system automates repetitive and time-consuming tasks by continuously monitoring controls and risk indicators. This leads to streamlined business operations and less duplication of effort, saving time and improving employee productivity across your organization.

  1. Delivers Higher-Quality Information

Automation integrates various data streams, providing staff with a comprehensive view of the organization. This improves the quality of information, aiding management in making smarter, more informed and on-time decisions.

  1. Strengthens Business and Stakeholder Relationships

GRC tools facilitate easy sharing of information via cloud storage with controlled access. This reduces the need for frequent stakeholder interactions and provides clear insights into business units, risks, and challenges.

  1. Establishes a Sustainable Organizational Structure

Implementing a GRC system helps clearly define and embed an organizational hierarchy, supporting role-based access and adaptability to changes in business structure.

  1. Cuts Costs

By setting clear business rules and monitoring controls, a GRC system helps streamline GRC activities, which can significantly reduce operational costs.

  1. Enables Comprehensive Reporting

Unlike spreadsheets, GRC tools make it effortless for all the stakeholders involved in the compliance process to collaborate and allows for quick and easy generation of detailed reports, transforming what used to be a time-consuming process into a swift and simple task.

Challenges in GRC Automation

Implementing Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) effectively is crucial, yet many organizations encounter significant hurdles. Understanding these challenges can help you prepare better and implement effective GRC strategies.

GRC Automation Challenges

Here are six common pitfalls:

  1. Lack of Proper Leadership

Successful GRC implementation starts with the right team. Business leaders who want to implement GRC automation must know the latest market trends and industry-specific risks, such as equipment sabotage in manufacturing or phishing in financial services. It’s vital to tailor your GRC team to these unique challenges.

  1. Organizational Silos

The lack of collaboration across departments can severely impact GRC efforts. Security and compliance should be a company-wide initiative that goes beyond the IT department. Misalignments or a siloed approach among departments can lead to misunderstandings and impede the effective implementation of GRC.

  1. Insufficient Technology Investment

Outdated processes can derail GRC efforts. While investing in modern technologies like automation, ensure that your teams are trained on these tools. This is crucial for improving efficiency and compliance.

  1. Unclear Implementation Scope

Determining whether to adopt a phased or an all-at-once approach to GRC integration is vital. An undefined approach can be detrimental. Leadership must realistically assess the organization’s capacity and set feasible timelines to avoid overwhelming the system and causing delays.

  1. Ineffective Change Management

Inadequate organizational change management and failure to understand how new technologies integrate with existing systems are common reasons for GRC failures. Leaders must evaluate the compatibility of new technology with current systems and ensure clear communication with technology providers to facilitate smooth integration.

  1. Lack of Enterprise Resilience

Failing to incorporate resilience into the enterprise structure can hinder the benefits of GRC implementation. Organizations with a proactive approach to monitoring risks and building resilience tend to excel in GRC efforts. Leaders should establish processes that promote a risk-aware culture within the organization.

Addressing these challenges head-on can significantly enhance your GRC strategy's effectiveness and security. This makes your organization’s choice of GRC partner critical to your success.

Top 7 GRC Tools You Should Consider in 2024

How CyberSierra Can Help You

Cyber Sierra’s approach to Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) automation is designed to assist enterprises overcome the host of challenges they face while automating the compliance process. The platform takes complexity and guesswork out of compliance and helps handle all parts of your GRC program in one place. 

How-cyberserria-can-help-GRC-Automation

Whether you need compliance, risk management, better auditing, or improved controls management, Cyber Sierra’s platform is built to help you through the process swiftly and efficiently.

 Cyber Sierra offers robust solutions tailored to enhance efficiency and security across your organization. Here’s how our platform can assist:

Identify and Assess Risks: Cyber Sierra helps pinpoint risks across all asset categories, providing a comprehensive overview of your organization's potential challenges.

Develop and Implement Controls: We assist in creating and applying measures to mitigate identified risks, ensuring they align with your organizational goals and compliance requirements.

Continuous Control Monitoring: Our platform offers ongoing 24x7 monitoring of control effectiveness, allowing you to maintain and improve your security posture dynamically.

Comprehensive Reporting: Cyber Sierra enables streamlined reporting on your GRC activities, keeping stakeholders informed and engaged with up-to-date governance, risk, and compliance data.

Seamless Onboarding and Integration: Cyber Sierra offers a seamless onboarding experience and comprehensive resources to ensure a smooth transition to our GRC tool. 

By centralizing GRC management, Cyber Sierra simplifies compliance and strengthens your entire security framework, making it invaluable for any industry facing regulatory pressures. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, as organizations strive to manage increased regulatory pressures and complex risk landscapes, the role of GRC automation becomes increasingly vital.

By embracing technology solutions like Cyber Sierra, companies can ensure compliance, manage risk effectively, and refocus resources on strategic growth initiatives. 

Investing in GRC automation supports regulatory compliance and drives business efficiency and resilience, preparing your organization for the challenges of tomorrow.

Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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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

 

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.

 

Processes

 

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

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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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Governance & Compliance

A Guide to Hong Kong Monetary Authority Outsourcing Regulations

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It’s no longer news.

 

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) updated its outsourcing regulations in December 2023. For enterprise security executives like you seeking to become compliant, a crucial first step is asking: Why did the regulatory body update it again?

 

Reviewing the recent documentation extensively, I sensed why this update and compliance to it became a necessity. The first reason is the increasing adoption of technologies by financial institutions (FIs). The second is the ever-growing reliance on third-party vendors.

 

Albert Yuen also echoed these:

 

Albert Yuen also echoed these

 

Yuen isn’t just the Head of Technology at Hong Kong-based Linklaters. He’s a Counsel with over 20 years of experience, specializing in privacy and cybersecurity. As he pointed out, this update is the HKMA’s reminder to re-evaluate your governance systems and security controls for identifying and mitigating all third-party vendor risks.

 

To help you do that, let’s begin by dissecting…

 

The New Hong Kong Monetary Authority Outsourcing Letter

 

The letter’s title, ‘Managing Cyber Risks Associated with Third-party Service Providers,’ stressed the need to facilitate becoming compliant. A section of the letter’s introduction reiterates:

 

The New Hong Kong Monetary Authority Outsourcing Letter

 

Imagine that as you read this, threat actors are busy targeting weak links in your organization’s supply chain. The HKMA observed this trend when it conducted thematic examinations. They found that cybercriminals are becoming more rampant and sophisticated in their attacks. To help security teams at financial institutions fight back, they updated their outsourcing regulations, outlining critical areas companies now need to prioritize when outsourcing to 3rd parties.

 

What the HKMA Outsourcing Regulations Entail 

 

Sound cybersecurity practices.

 

Those three words sum up what the HKMA’s recent Outsourcing Regulations entail. Specifically, they expect security teams at all Authorized Institutions (AIs) to bolster resilience against cyber threat actors by putting effective cyber defense in place. An excerpt from the HKMA’s Outsourcing ‘Sound Practises’ section confirms this.

 

It reads:

 

What the HKMA Outsourcing Regulations Entail

 

To comply with the requirement of putting effective cyber defense covering in place, the HKMA outlined six areas that must be addressed. They are as follows:

 

  1. Ensure risk governance framework has sufficient emphasis on cyber risks associated with third-parties
  2. Assess, identify, and mitigate cyber risks throughout the third-party management lifecycle holistically
  3. Assess all supply chain risks associated with 3rd parties supporting critical company operations
  4. Expand cyber threat intelligence monitoring to cover key 3rd parties and actively share information with peer institutions
  5. Strengthen the readiness to counter supply chain attacks with scenario-based response strategies and ongoing drills
  6. Enhance cyber defense capabilities by adopting the latest international standards, practices, and technologies.

 

Out of these six areas outlined, the HKMA made a crucial recommendation when summarizing the sixth requirement.

 

It noted:

 

the HKMA made a crucial recommendation when summarizing the sixth requirement

 

By encouraging organizations to adopt the technology that can automate and streamline processes, the HKMA clearly stated its importance in becoming compliant. For instance, with Cyber Sierra’s vendor risk management suite, you can automate critical third-party risk management processes and become compliant with the HKMA Outsourcing Regulations.

 

Before I show you how:

 

 

Becoming Compliant with the Updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations

 

Three critical third-party risk management stages can be deduced from the HKMA’s six updated outsourcing requirements. Although the regulatory body didn’t spell this out, our team did this grouping to outline parts of becoming compliant that can be automated.

 

  1. Third-party risk governance
  2. Threat intelligence and remediation
  3. Continuous preparedness against attacks:

 

As illustrated below:

 

Becoming Compliant with the Updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations

 

1. Third-Party Risk Governance

 

The 1st and 2nd requirements of the updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations go hand-in-hand. First, all Authorized Institutions (AIs) are mandated to involve relevant stakeholders when implementing a third-party risk governance framework:

 

Third-Party Risk Governance

 

Second, and this is more important. The implemented governance framework should enable your security team to identify all third-party risks.

 

According to the HKMA:

 

Threat Intelligence and Remediation

 

Two things we took from here:

 

  1. You need a single pane where all stakeholders can collaborate on the third-party risk governance framework to be implemented.
  2. You need a selection of third-party risk frameworks trusted for identifying all risks involved in working with third-parties.

 

You can achieve both with an enterprise governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) platform (like Cyber Sierra).

 

Specifically, the platform should be pre-built with templates of globally-accepted, third-party risk management governance frameworks such as ISO and NIST. You should also be able to invite your leadership team to jointly review, customize, and add custom questions to each. Finally, the platform should enable your organization to automate the many steps involved in implementing a holistic third-party risk management governance framework.

 

2. Threat Intelligence and Remediation 

 

The HKMA now requires organizations to prioritize third parties and threats likely to pose the most risk. This is emphasized in the 3rd and 4th requirements of the updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations.

 

According to the regulatory body:

 

Threat Intelligence and Remediation

 

A good way to do this is to segment the third-parties working with your organizations based on relevant criteria. For instance, when assessing third-party vendors, you can segment by:

 

  • Critical vendors sent custom security questionnaires
  • Assessee types (i.e., software, services, and so on)
  • Operating locations

 

Using these, your security team can easily filter and know what 3rd parties they need to conduct additional threat intelligence on. Also, by prioritizing risks from these critical vendors, they’ll know what threats and risks to prioritize when remediating.

 

A smart GRC platform helps your team automate parts of this process in two ways. First, you can enforce segmenting third-parties when sending initial security assessments. Second, your security team can easily filter and track 3rd parties that need more scrutiny based on the segmentation criteria outlined above.

 

3. Continuous Preparedness Against Attacks 

 

The threat landscape is always evolving. As such, it has become difficult, if not impossible, to know all new ways threat actors will attack your organization through third-parties.

 

Even the HKMA knows this:

 

Continuous Preparedness Against Attacks

 

One way to strengthen preparedness against attacks is through continuous employee security awareness training. When the push comes to shove, your people —security team, other company employees, and partners— are your last line of defense.

 

By continuously training employees with scenario-based response strategies and lessons from previous supply chain incidents, you equip them with the know-how for countering attacks.

 

To achieve that:

 

  1. Launch new third-party breach cybersecurity defense training as the need for them arises
  2. Continuously monitor training progress to ensure employees are completing them and equipped to counter attacks.

 

HKMA Outsourcing FAQs

 

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

 

Who does HKMA Outsourcing Regulations apply to?

 

  • The HKMA Outsourcing Regulations, as the name goes, apply to banks and financial institutions, referred to as Authorized Institutions (AIs), operating in Hong Kong. The regulator emphasizes those digitalizing financial operations and relying on third-party vendors to facilitate service delivery. The rules also apply to those based out of Hong Kong but whose operations are used by consumers and other institutions in Hong Kong.

 

What is the HKMA regulatory approach?

 

  • The HKMA’s regulatory approach provide digitalized banks and financial institutions operating in Hong Kong with a balanced and proportional risk-based approach to counter third-party risks. The regulatory body’s approach has three principles: risk differentiation, proportionality, and “zero failure” regime. These principles apply equally to all financial institutions in Hong Kong.

 

When was the release date and compliance deadline of the latest HKMA Outsourcing Regulations? 

 

  • The latest version of the HKMA Outsourcing Regulations was released in December 2023. Although the regulator didn’t give a deadline for becoming compliant, with the increasing onslaught of threat actors, financial institutions are advised to comply to protect themselves and avoid being breached.

 

How many requirements are in the updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations?

 

  • There are six requirements organizations must comply with in the updated HKMA Outsourcing Regulations.

How does the HKMA recommend organizations to facilitate becoming compliant with its updated outsourcing regulations?

 

  • According to the regulatory body, “AIs are encouraged to adopt technologies to refine, automate and streamline their third-party risk management and cybersecurity controls.

 

As stated, prioritize technology that enables your team to facilitate the entire process from a single pane. This will reduce the various mundane tasks involved in the initial implementation phase, as well as for staying compliant.

 

And that’s where Cyber Sierra’s interoperable, enterprise cybersecurity platform comes in. For instance, Cyber Sierra’s vendor risk management Assessments’ suite is pre-built with globally-accepted third-party risk management templates. So in just a few clicks, you (and your team) can customize any to your specific HKMA Outsourcing Regulations implementation needs:

 

How does the HKMA recommend organizations to facilitate becoming compliant with its updated outsourcing regulations?

 

This, among others, automates many steps involved in becoming and staying compliant with the HKMA Outsourcing Regulations.

 

And it’s why an Asian-based global bank relies on Cyber Sierra for automating its third-party risk management processes:

 

How does the HKMA recommend organizations to facilitate becoming compliant with its updated outsourcing regulations?

 

Read the bank’s success story here:

 

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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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Governance & Compliance

Top 7 GRC (Governance, Risk & Compliance) Tools in 2024

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Data breaches, regulatory nightmares, compliance headaches – running a successful business can feel like navigating a minefield. Managing modern-day risks that are complex, interconnected, and constantly evolving can be equally challenging.

 

To successfully navigate these challenges, you need to implement robust Governance Risk, and Compliance strategies. The right GRC tools can help streamline operations, ensure adherence to regulatory requirements, mitigate risks, and drive long-term business growth.

 

By automating Governance Risk, and Compliance processes, GRC software can help companies come up with a robust plan to address security vulnerabilities, prevent reputational damage, and avoid insane fines attributed to failure to protect critical customer data.

 

In March 2024 alone, the EU data protection authorities imposed approximately €4.5 million in fines due to breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR).

 

But how do you choose the software you can trust from the host of GRC solutions out there?

 

This guide unveils the top 7 GRC tools that can help you conquer risk, ensure compliance, and focus on what matters the most – growing your business.

 

But before that, let’s get the basics straight.

 

What are GRC Tools?

 

GRC tools are software applications that provide organizations with a centralized platform to manage risks, and compliance requirements, and implement security best practices effectively.

 

They are an essential component in today’s complex regulatory environments. Some of the key functions of a GRC platform include the consolidation of information from various departments into a unified data environment.

 

GRC tools also automate processes, eliminating the need for manual processes and scattered spreadsheets. This reduces errors and saves money and time.

 

By implementing these software solutions, organizations can gain near real-time visibility into their compliance status, enabling them to make informed decisions, improve efficiency, and reduce the risk of fines and penalties.

 

GRC tools cater to a wide range of organizations across various industries. They are particularly beneficial for large enterprises with intricate regulatory obligations as they help navigate complex compliance landscapes efficiently.

 

Similarly, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can leverage GRC tools to streamline their business processes and ensure compliance without the need for extensive resources.

 

Overall, GRC software provides a host of benefits to businesses including:

  • Better decision-making
  • Enhanced risk management
  • Efficient compliance management processes
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Robust governance and strategic alignment
  • Streamlined policy management

 

benefits of grc tools

 

 

Top 7 GRC Tools For 2024

 

Best GRC Tools

 

Let’s dive into the details of each GRC system.

 

1. Cyber Sierra

 

cyber seirra

 

Best for: Small to large enterprises looking for a robust GRC solution to manage all parts of their GRC program in one place.

 

Cyber Sierra’s GRC solution is a premier tool for seamlessly managing all GRC needs via automation. The software is designed to help organizations of all sizes manage all aspects of their GRC program (compliance, risk management, auditing, controls management, and more) in one place.

 

It integrates cutting-edge technology to streamline GRC processes and ensure regulatory compliance effortlessly.

 

Through automation, the tool simplifies tasks, reducing manual efforts and enhancing operational efficiency. This enables organizations to allocate resources more strategically and focus on core objectives.

 

One of the key strengths of Cyber Sierra’s GRC system lies in its adaptability to evolving regulatory frameworks. The software continuously updates its algorithms to align with the latest compliance standards, keeping organizations ahead of regulatory changes. This ensures that businesses remain compliant and mitigate risks effectively, thereby safeguarding their reputation and financial integrity.

 

Moreover, this tool prioritizes security, employing robust encryption protocols to safeguard sensitive data. For instance, it offers role-based access control, limiting access to authorized personnel and protecting against potential breaches. This commitment to security instills confidence in users, assuring them of the platform’s reliability and trustworthiness.

 

Furthermore, the software enhances collaboration across departments, fostering seamless communication and alignment of objectives. To facilitate cross-functional teamwork the platform provides a centralized repository for documentation and workflows. This promotes transparency and accountability, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions and drive organizational success.

 

Key features

 

Here are Cyber Sierra’s standout features that make it the ultimate solution for organizations of all levels:

 

  • Intuitive user interface: Cyber Sierra’s GRC software offers a user-friendly interface that simplifies navigation and enhances user experience.

 

  • Customizable workflow automation: Unlike other GRC tools which may offer limited customization options, the software provides extensive capabilities for tailoring workflow automation to specific organizational needs, allowing for greater efficiency and adaptability.

 

  • Comprehensive risk assessment: Cyber Sierra’s GRC software stands out for its robust risk assessment module, which enables thorough identification, evaluation, and mitigation of risks across the enterprise, providing organizations with a clearer understanding of potential threats.

 

  • Real-time monitoring and reporting: Cyber Sierra’s software offers real-time monitoring capabilities coupled with advanced reporting features that allow organizations to proactively identify and address compliance issues as they arise, rather than reacting to them after the fact.

 

  • Scalability: It is designed to accommodate the evolving needs of organizations of all sizes. It is best suited for small businesses to large enterprises, with scalability built into its architecture to support growth and expansion without compromising performance.

 

  • Advanced analytics and insights: The GRC system distinguishes itself with its advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, leveraging data-driven insights to help organizations make informed decisions and optimize their governance, risk, and compliance strategies effectively.

 

Pricing

 

Cyber Sierra offers three different pricing plans. Their prices are available upon request based on your chosen plan.

 

2. SAP GRC

 

 

Best for: Large enterprises seeking comprehensive governance, risk management, and compliance solutions integrated with SAP systems for real-time visibility and control over business risks.

 

SAP GRC platform is a comprehensive suite of management, auditing, and compliance tools designed to streamline and enhance organizational governance processes.

 

With the software, enterprises can navigate regulatory landscapes effectively while mitigating risks and ensuring compliance adherence.

 

At its core, the platform offers robust management tools that facilitate seamless oversight of various aspects of governance, risk, and compliance within an organization. They include auditing tools that enable comprehensive assessment and monitoring of internal controls, ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements and industry standards.

 

For compliance management, the GRC system employs a broad range of functionalities aimed at proactively addressing regulatory obligations and mitigating security risks.

 

SAP GRC also provides users with real-time visibility into compliance efforts, enabling them to make data-driven decisions based on insights derived from the platform’s predictive analytics.

 

The platform’s workflow management features streamline processes enabling efficient collaboration and coordination across departments. This is particularly crucial in enterprise risk management and compliance where timely responses to emerging threats are vital.

 

Utilizing user access control management capabilities, SAP GRC helps organizations safeguard sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.

 

Additionally, by identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities, enterprises can boost their defenses against potential breaches and ensure regulatory compliance.

 

Furthermore, the platform caters to the evolving regulatory landscape by offering tools tailored to meet the requirements of government agencies and regulations. This facilitates seamless alignment with regulatory frameworks, reducing compliance-related complexities and enhancing operational efficiency.

 

While powerful, its high cost, complex setup, and need for SAP expertise make it less ideal for smaller businesses.

 

 

Source : G2

 

Key features

 

  • Enterprise risk compliance and management: Enables organizations to identify, assess, and mitigate various types of risks across different business processes and functions.

 

  • International trade management: Streamlines global trade compliance to ensure minimal trade risks.

 

  • Cybersecurity and data protection: SAP GRC continuously monitors cyber threats, safeguarding sensitive data.

 

  • Identity and access governance: Ensures proper access controls, reducing security vulnerabilities.

 

  • Integrated solutions: The software integrates seamlessly with existing systems for streamlined risk management.

 

Pricing

 

SAP GRC costs anywhere from $500 to $15,000 per license. Free demo available.

 

3. MetricStream GRC

 

 

Best for: Organizations requiring a scalable, integrated GRC platform with flexible and customizable modules for various compliance needs.

 

MetricStream is a cloud-based GRC platform that offers a variety of robust features to help organizations manage their enterprise risk management (ERM) program. They include internal audits, internal controls, and compliance with internal policies and external regulations.

 

The platform’s auditing tools can automate many internal audit processes such as risk assessments, control assessments, and incident management. This can help organizations streamline internal audits and improve audit efficiency.

 

Its centralized repository allows organizations to store audit trails and other audit documentation, which can facilitate collaboration between internal audit teams and other departments.

 

As a compliance management solution, MetricStream GRC can help organizations automate compliance tasks such as regulatory reporting and compliance training.

 

The platform also provides a way to track compliance activities and identify potential gaps in compliance. This can help organizations reduce their risk of non-compliance and associated fines or penalties.

 

MetricStream’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for users with varying levels of technical expertise to navigate the platform and complete GRC tasks.

 

Additionally, it offers robust integration capabilities, allowing it to connect with other enterprise systems such as ERP and CRM systems. This can help organizations streamline data collection and reporting for GRC activities.

 

Overall, MetricStream appears to be a comprehensive GRC platform that can help organizations improve their risk management, compliance, and internal audit processes.

 

Note that the specific features and benefits of MetricStream may vary depending on the specific needs of your organization.

 

A drawback to note is that its advanced customization may lead to complexity. Besides, it has a hefty license fee and requires ongoing maintenance costs.

 

Key features

 

  • Intuitive reports and analytics: The platform provides built-in analytical dashboards and reports with rich visualizations and real-time insights to enable stakeholders to make informed decisions promptly.

 

  • Integrated risk management: The GRC platform offers comprehensive risk management capabilities, allowing organizations to identify, assess, mitigate, and monitor risks across the enterprise.

 

  • Audit management: It offers capabilities for managing internal audits and assessments efficiently.

 

Pricing

 

MetricStream GRC pricing is available upon request.

 

4. StandardFusion

 

 

Best for: Ideal for small to mid-sized businesses looking for a user-friendly GRC platform with easy deployment.

 

Compliance can be a complex process for organizations but StandardFusion makes it simple to understand.

 

StandardFusion stands out as a comprehensive GRC platform, offering a reliable solution for organizations seeking an integrated risk management solution.

 

This cloud-based platform excels in providing source solutions for risk management, audit management, compliance management, vendor management, policy management, privacy management, and compliance automation.

 

With a user-friendly interface, StandardFusion enhances the management of internal controls and fosters a risk-aware culture within organizations.

 

One of the key strengths of the software is its diverse deployment options, catering to the needs of organizations at different stages of growth.

 

Besides, it streamlines the compliance process by centralizing internal policies and procedures, making it a valuable tool for business users across various industries.

 

The platform’s robust features make it a complete security solution, ideal for audit purposes and ensuring adherence to multiple standards like ISO, SOC 2®, NIST, HIPAA, GDPR, and more.

 

StandardFusion’s emphasis on being a single source of truth for all compliance-related activities sets it apart, offering a seamless experience for users to manage their governance processes efficiently.

 

Its ability to adapt to organizational growth, coupled with its user-friendly design and focus on internal controls, makes it a top choice for organizations looking to enhance their risk management practices and maintain a strong compliance posture.

 

A downside of the software is that it may lack advanced features for complex GRC requirements. Also, it provides limited scalability for larger enterprises.

 

Key features:

 

  • Unified data environment: Organizations can use the tool to consolidate data from various sources to get a holistic view of internal controls, and compliance processes, and launch effective risk management strategies.

 

  • Simplified compliance management: The platform breaks down compliance requirements into manageable steps, allowing businesses to track progress and identify any gaps.

 

  • Scalability and flexibility: StandardFusion offers various deployment options to cater to organizational growth. Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, the platform can adapt to your specific needs.

 

  • Risk-aware culture: StandardFusion helps foster a risk-aware culture by making risk management a more accessible and collaborative process. It allows for easy identification, assessment, and mitigation of potential threats.

 

  • Complete security solution: The software prioritizes data security with robust features to protect sensitive information. This ensures all GRC data is stored securely and meets audit purposes.

 

Pricing

 

Pricing starts from $1,500 per user, per month.

 

5. ServiceNow

 

 

Best for: Automation-focused approach to GRC, ideal for IT-heavy organizations.

 

With ServiceNow’s GRC software organizations get a comprehensive solution for managing compliance processes and mitigating potential risks by breaking down silos.

 

Designed to streamline auditing purposes, this cloud-based platform provides organizations with the tools necessary to safeguard their digital assets effectively.

 

One of the standout features of ServiceNow’s GRC software is its ability to offer insights into risks that could potentially impact organizational growth.

 

By centralizing compliance tools within a single platform, businesses can assess and address potential risks more efficiently, ensure regulatory compliance, and protect sensitive data.

 

The platform’s cloud-based GRC tools enable organizations to manage their compliance processes more effectively with greater flexibility and scalability. With the ability to automate various tasks, such as risk assessments and policy management, businesses can reduce the burden on their resources while ensuring continuous compliance.

 

The GRC software also offers a complete security solution that helps organizations identify and mitigate potential risks to their digital assets. With real-time visibility into compliance status and potential vulnerabilities, businesses can proactively address security threats before they escalate.

 

One downside to note about this software is that its initial setup and customization can be time-consuming. May also require additional modules for full GRC functionality.

 

Key features

 

  • Integrated risk management: ServiceNow helps users identify, assess, and prioritize risks across the organization and develop plans to mitigate them.

 

  • Third-party risk management: The platform helps to reduce risk, and improve organizational resilience, and compliance by taking control of the third-party risk lifecycle.

 

  • Business continuity management: It helps organizations plan for and recover from disasters

 

  • Policy and compliance management: The software can automate and manage policy lifecycles and continuously monitor for compliance. This can help reduce errors and costs associated with manual processes and improve focus on higher-value tasks.

 

Pricing

 

ServiceNow pricing is available upon request.

 

6. Fusion Framework System

 

 

Best for: Organizations prioritizing risk management and business continuity planning. Provides comprehensive data visualization for clear risk insights.

 

Fusion Framework System is a comprehensive solution for enterprise risk management. With a robust risk management plan, it addresses security, compliance, and critical risks effectively.

 

The platform’s dashboard reporting provides real-time insights into risks, aiding informed decision-making.

 

The platform’s integrated risk management features streamline the risk management process, enhancing efficiency.

 

Fusion’s focus on third-party risk management ensures thorough risk assessment across all business relationships. It also helps users mitigate compliance risks through tailored solutions, ensuring adherence to regulations.

 

The platform excels in predictive risk analysis which enables proactive risk mitigation strategies. Its emphasis on critical risks ensures timely identification and response to potential threats.

 

Additionally, the dashboard reporting feature provides clear visibility into risk exposure, facilitating strategic planning. Fusion’s approach to risk management fosters a culture of proactive risk identification and mitigation.

 

With its comprehensive suite of tools, Fusion’s platform empowers organizations to manage risks effectively. It offers tailored solutions for diverse industries, ensuring relevance and applicability.

 

Note that the software relies on existing GRC tools for data input and may require additional integration efforts.

 

Key features

 

  • Access controls/permissions: Organizations can use the software to manage user privileges and ensure data security and regulatory compliance.

 

  • Activity tracking: It can monitor user actions and system events for compliance and risk management.

 

  • Assessment management: It allows users to conduct and track risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential threats.

 

  • Audit trail: Users can maintain a comprehensive record of system activities for accountability and compliance purposes.

 

  • IT incident management: Fusion allows users to manage and resolve IT incidents efficiently to minimize disruptions and risks.

 

  • IT risk management: With the software, users can identify, assess, and mitigate IT-related risks to protect assets and operations.

 

Pricing

 

Pricing is available upon request.

 

7. SAI360 GRC

 

 

Best for: Third-party access control and monitoring.

 

SAI360’s Integrated GRC Solution offers a cutting-edge approach to operational risk management, governance, and compliance.

 

It provides a comprehensive view of risks, empowering risk managers with valuable insights into risks for informed decision-making. The platform excels in corporate governance, facilitating the management of governance processes effectively.

 

With a focus on internal auditing and controls, SAI360 ensures robust internal controls and seamless third-party risk management. It stands out in regulatory compliance, helping organizations meet regulatory requirements effortlessly.

 

The platform’s policy management tools enable efficient creation, distribution, and enforcement of corporate governance policies. Additionally, the software streamlines incident management and conflict of interest processes.

 

SAI360’s GRC software is a powerful tool that integrates industry-leading technology to deliver efficiency and security. It features tailored modules that address disruptions proactively, safeguarding businesses across various sectors.

 

The platform’s advanced reporting and analytics capabilities enable quick risk assessment and opportunity identification, supporting data-driven decision-making.

 

A downside to note is that the software primarily focuses on third-party risk and may also require additional tools for additional GRC needs.

 

Key features

 

  • Pre-configured modules: The software comes with pre-built modules for common risk management areas like operational risk, IT risk, and internal audit. This saves you time and effort in setting up the system and allows you to get started quickly.

 

  • Robust reporting and analytics: SAI360 GRC provides comprehensive reporting and analytics tools that help you gain insights into your risks. This information can be used to identify trends, track progress, and make better risk management decisions.

 

  • Industry-leading technology: The platform leverages advanced technology to streamline and secure risk management processes. This can include features like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.

 

Pricing

 

Pricing is available upon request.

 

How to Choose the Best GRC Tool

 

how to choose the best grc tool

 

Knowing the best GRC tools is one thing but determining the right software for your business is another.While there are tons of GRC solutions on the market, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all businesses.

 

Here are key considerations to help you choose the best GRC software for your specific business.

 

i. Identify Your Goals and Requirements

 

Clearly define your organization’s GRC objectives to ensure the chosen tool aligns with your specific needs and goals. Your goals may include regulatory compliance, risk management, policy enforcement, and more. This helps in selecting a solution tailored to address your unique challenges effectively.

 

ii. Consider Usability

 

Prioritize user-friendly GRC tools with intuitive interfaces and streamlined workflows to enhance adoption rates and facilitate efficient usage across your organization. Ease of navigation and accessibility features contribute to maximizing productivity and minimizing training requirements.

 

iii. Consider Customer Support

 

Assess the quality and responsiveness of the platform’s customer support services. Consider their availability, response times, and expertise levels, to ensure prompt assistance and resolution of any issues or inquiries that may arise during tool usage.

 

iv. Evaluate The Cost

 

Compare pricing models, including subscription fees, licensing options, and additional charges for features or support services. This will help you determine the overall cost-effectiveness of the GRC tool within your budget constraints while considering long-term scalability and ROI.

 

v. Consider Scalability

Choose a GRC tool capable of scaling alongside your organization’s growth and evolving needs. Ensure the tool can accommodate increased data volumes, user expansion, and additional functionalities without compromising performance or stability.

 

vi. Consider Customization Capabilities

 

Look for GRC solutions that offer customization options to tailor features, workflows, and reporting capabilities according to your organization’s unique requirements. This will help to ensure flexibility and alignment with specific business processes and compliance frameworks.

 

vii. Deployment Options

 

There are three types of deployment options for most GRC tools namely, cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid. Consider how you want to access the software and assess its suitability based on factors like security, infrastructure preferences, etc.

 

viii. Integrations Capabilities

 

Prioritize GRC tools that offer seamless integration capabilities with your existing systems, applications, and data sources within your organization’s ecosystem. This will allow smooth data sharing, automation, and interoperability to streamline workflows and enhance efficiency.

 

How Cyber Sierra Can Help You

 

how cyber seirra can help you

 

While most popular GRC tools manage risk and regulatory compliance, you need a robust and enterprise-wide tool that will help your organization manage all your GRC requirements in a centralized dashboard like Cyber Sierra does.

 

Cyber Sierra’s GRC offers unique features such as advanced risk analytics, customizable compliance frameworks, integration with emerging technologies like AI and machine learning, and more.

 

Additionally, the software focuses on specific industries as well as compliance standards which provide tailored solutions to meet diverse organizational needs.

 

Besides, it’s easy to use for both beginners and experts alike. Anyone in your team can use Cyber Sierra without prior technical knowledge.

 

Here is how you can automate your GRC processes with Cyber Sierra:

 

  • Identification and assessment: Cyber Sierra’s GRC helps identify and assess all of your risks across all asset categories. This means you can get a comprehensive picture of your vulnerabilities from data to infrastructure.

 

  • Control development and implementation: Once the risks are identified, the software then helps develop and implement controls to mitigate those risks. These controls can be anything from security policies to technical safeguards.

 

  • Continuous control monitoring: Cyber Sierra’s GRC doesn’t stop at just identifying and mitigating risks. It also continuously monitors the effectiveness of those controls. This ensures that your controls are still working as intended over time.

 

  • Reporting: Finally, Cyber Sierra’s GRC allows you to report on your GRC activities to stakeholders. This means you can easily generate reports that demonstrate your compliance posture to auditors, regulators, or other interested parties.

 

Automate your GRC processes and take complexity and guesswork out of compliance with Cyber Sierra today!

 

 

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Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Governance & Compliance

Top 10 Alternatives to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud in 2024

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Top 10 Alternatives to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud in 2023

Are you searching for a versatile compliance management system capable of strengthening your data security and regulatory compliance procedures?

Though Acronis is a great fit for many businesses, there are other options out there. 

If you’re looking for a secure data management solution to help you meet your compliance requirements, consider the following 10 alternatives to Acronis.

 

Top 10 Acronis Cyber Protect Alternatives: Key Features, Pricing Plans, and More

Here are the top 10 alternatives to Acronis Cyber Protect that we have shortlisted for you:

  1. Cyber Sierra
  2. Vanta
  3. Scrut
  4. Drata
  5. Sprinto
  6. AuditBoard
  7. Wiz
  8. Secureframe
  9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud
  10. Duo Security

Let’s look at them one by one.

 

1. Cyber Sierra

 

Cyber Sierra - Alternatives to Acronis

Source

 

Cyber Sierra is a unified and intelligent cybersecurity platform, designed especially for the needs of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), tech innovators, and others involved in data safety.

It combines many different security features into one, cohesive product and makes for a robust enterprise cybersecurity solution.

Governance, risk handling, cybersecurity obedience, cyber insurance offerings, threat examinations, and staff training modules are all pooled into one easy-to-use platform. This successfully reduces the fragmentation often linked with cybersecurity management.

 

Key Features

  • Universal Governance: Helps companies meet widely recognized compliance standards such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and PDPA.
  • Cybersecurity Health Examination: Carries out in-depth reviews and identification of threats connected to your digital assets.
  • Employee Security Instruction: Offers learning materials that help employees recognize and ward off phishing attempts.
  • Third-Party Risk Supervision: Streamlines the security clearance process for suppliers and ensures regular tracking of potential dangers.
  • Continuous controls monitoring: Monitors in near real-time the security controls, flagging off controls breaks and risk mitigation strategies.

 

Strengths

  • Comprehensive Security Solution: Joins governance, risk handling, cybersecurity compliance, cyber insurance offerings, threat scanning, and training modules into a single neat platform.
  • Continuous Surveillance: Active, all-day risk observation, threat prediction, and risk ranking.
  • Third-party risk management: Makes managing third-party collaborators simpler and reduces possible risks.

 

Weaknesses

  • The platform is relatively new in the market.

 

Ideal For

Cyber Sierra hits the sweet spot for both big companies and small startups dealing with rule adherence, data safety, and related matters.

It’s also great for businesses planning to streamline their cybersecurity, governance, and insurance plans, moving from various suppliers to a single platform.

 

2. Vanta

 

Vanta

Source

 

Vanta is a unique platform that centralizes its attention on security and compliance management, with a particular emphasis on simplifying the process of achieving SOC 2 compliance.

Vanta’s continuous monitoring and automation of compliance processes reduces the resources required to maintain a SOC 2 certification.

 

Key Features

  • Continuous Monitoring: Vanta delivers constant security monitoring ensuring persistent compliance and security for companies.
  • Automation: Vanta uses automation for faster and more efficient SOC 2 certification processes to reduce manual intervention significantly.
  • Integration: Vanta offers a smooth integration experience with common services such as AWS, GCP, and Azure, making it adaptable to different tech environments.

 

Strengths

  • Time Efficiency: Vanta saves valuable resources by reducing the time and effort required for SOC 2 compliance.
  • Integration: Vanta can easily mingle with various popular platforms, meaning it can adapt to various tech environments.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited Scope: Although Vanta is a specialist in SOC 2 compliance, it might fall short when it comes to other security frameworks that certain businesses might need.
  • Customization: Vanta might not be the best fit for businesses requiring a higher level of customization due to its limited options in this aspect.

 

Ideal for

Vanta is especially beneficial for medium to large businesses that operate under strict security compliance norms, making it desirable for sectors like tech, healthcare, or finance.

 

3. Scrut Automation

 

Scrut Automation

Source

 

A frontline in the automation of cloud configuration testing, Scrut Automation delivers a robust cloud security framework designed to ensure cloud-native protection for services like Azure, AWS, and GCP, among others.

 

Key features

  • Automated cloud configurations testing: Industriously executes your cloud configurations’ validation according to the 150+ CIS standards.
  • Historical records: Effectively creates a comprehensive security archive over time, making it easier to track your security enhancements.
  • Integration: Smooth integration with top-tier cloud platforms, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud is guaranteed.

 

Strengths

  • Extensive security surveillance: Capable of safeguarding your cloud environment with more than 150 CIS standards.
  • Time-saver: Automates time-consuming tasks and sequences remediations, augmenting progress in your information security timeline.

 

Weaknesses

  • Learning curve: Understanding how to operate and utilize certain features might be time-consuming, specifically for users who are new to cloud security configurations.
  • Limited customization scope: While Scrut Automation is a competent cloud security framework, it might present limited options for customization based on specific user requirements.

 

Best for

Primarily beneficial for organizations that utilize AWS, Azure, GCP, and similar cloud computing services. Its wide-ranging security and compliance coverage make Scrut Automation perfect for large entities requiring substantial cloud security. 

However, medium and small-sized businesses aiming for strong automated cloud security will find value here too.

 

4. Drata

 

Drata

Source

Drata is a robust security and compliance management platform, offering full-fledged support to businesses intending to obtain and preserve SOC 2 compliance. Its audit management software module simplifies the operation of tracking, administrating, and managing necessary technical and operational controls for SOC 2 certification.

 

Key Features

  • Asset management: Drata aids companies in spotting and managing all assets, including servers, devices, and applications, facilitating effective management.
  • Policy & procedure templates: Drata’s pre-built templates allow companies to effortlessly craft internal compliance documentation.
  • User access reviews: Recurring user access reviews administered by Drata ensure appropriate access controls.
  • Security training: Continual employee training and phishing simulations offered by Drata bolster awareness of current security threats and procedures.

 

Strengths

  • Automated evidence collection: Drata’s automation in evidence gathering significantly diminishes manual workload and potential human errors.
  • Exceptional customer support: Drata’s responsive and informed support team assists clients throughout their compliance journey.

 

Weaknesses

  • Onboarding process: Some users have reported that the onboarding process could be extensive and complex, which might lead to slower initial setup.
  • Complex functionality: With a broad spectrum of features, Drata may prove overwhelming for non-technical users.
  • Scalability: Being a relatively new market entity, Drata might face difficulties when expanding to cater to larger organizations with complex compliance obligations.
  • Pricing: Drata’s pricing structure could pose challenges for smaller enterprises with tight budgets.

 

Best For

Drata is particularly advantageous for businesses looking to secure and sustain SOC 2 compliance with minimal manual involvement. Its advanced automation capabilities make it highly desirable for companies seeking a more coordinated audit experience.

 

5. Sprinto

 

sprinto

Source

 

Sprinto is a ground-breaking security and compliance automation platform that assists businesses in maintaining alignment with a myriad of frameworks like SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. It offers customization and real-time monitoring capabilities that empower companies to consistently oversee and proficiently manage their security and compliance status.

 

Key Features

  • Asset Management: Sprinto delivers a security compliance solution that enables businesses to amalgamate risks, orchestrate entity-level controls, and conduct completely automatic checks.
  • Policy Implementation: Offers automated workflows, pre-built policy templates, and educational modules that cater to an array of security compliance requirements.
  • Exceptional Support: Sprinto’s expert team offers guidance to businesses at every step of the compliance journey, from the initial risk assessment to meeting audit requirements.
  • Cloud Compatibility: Sprinto readily integrates with most contemporary business cloud services, facilitating comprehensive risk assessments and effective control mapping.

 

Strengths

  • Automation: Sprinto’s robust automation functions significantly diminish the efforts needed to achieve compliance.
  • Wide Compliance Coverage: Sprinto accommodates a wide variety of compliance frameworks, enabling enterprises to effectively manage multiple compliances concurrently.
  • Expert Support: Provides expert-driven implementation support from the get-go, assuring the setup of fitting controls and practices.
  • Integration Capability: Sprinto works fluently with various business cloud services, supporting effective control mapping and exhaustive risk assessment.

 

Weaknesses

  • Adaptive Requirements: To fully exploit the benefits of automated checks and continuous monitoring, businesses need to make certain adaptations to the use of the Sprinto platform.
  • Customer Support: As reported by a few users, there’s a potential need for improvement in Sprinto’s customer service, particularly concerning response times.

 

Best For

Sprinto is exceptionally suitable for rapidly scaling cloud-based companies that aim to simplify their security compliance processes. Its automation features and vast compliance coverage make it a top choice for businesses seeking a more efficient and autonomous approach to managing security compliance.

 

6. AuditBoard

 

Auditboard

Source

 

AuditBoard provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution for audit, risk, and compliance management. Its convenient and collaborative features help companies successfully manage complex audit, compliance, and risk management operations.

 

Key Features

  • Integrated Control Management: AuditBoard supports comprehensive management of audits, risk assessments, control tests, issue tracking, and reporting.
  • Operational Auditing: The platform comes equipped with a suite of integrated tools, making the execution of internal and operational audits easy and efficient.
  • Risk Assessment: AuditBoard allows for the easy identification and management of risks across the entire organization.
  • Real-Time Reporting: AuditBoard offers real-time insights and customizable reporting to help track and resolve issues quickly.

 

Strengths

  • Ease of Use: With a user-friendly interface, AuditBoard simplifies audit and risk assessment tasks.
  • Collaboration: Enhanced communication is possible with AuditBoard’s effective collaboration tools that improve the connectivity between internal teams and external auditors.

 

Weaknesses

  • Customer Support: According to some users, AuditBoard’s customer support could improve in terms of its effectiveness and response times.
  • Less Intuitive Navigation: Some users have expressed that the system navigation can be challenging when managing multiple audits or projects simultaneously.
  • Expensive: The extensive set of features offered by AuditBoard comes with a higher price tag, which may not be affordable for small or medium-sized businesses.

 

Best for

AuditBoard is exceptionally effective for large corporations seeking a comprehensive audit and risk management solution. It is ideally suited for businesses conducting regular internal and operational audits and requiring real-time insights to guide their audit and risk management procedures.

 

7. Wiz

 

wiz

Source

 

Wiz is a state-of-the-art cloud security solution that provides businesses with an in-depth insight into security risks throughout their full cloud environment. As an advanced Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool, it outperforms agent-based alternatives by scrutinizing the entire cloud stack for possible vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and hidden threats.

 

Key features

  • All-Around Visibility: Wiz grants comprehensive visibility into entire multi-cloud landscapes, yielding a consolidated snapshot of security incidents.
  • Intelligent Problem Solving: Wiz recognizes vulnerabilities and suggests actionable measures for addressing security threats.
  • Unified Collaboration: Wiz cultivates collaboration between DevOps, cloud infrastructure, and security teams using one central platform.
  • Continuous Security Surveillance: Wiz tracks cloud environments without interruption, detecting and alerting users to any security issues or misconfigurations immediately.

Strengths

  • Inclusive Security Assessment: Wiz performs thorough security appraisals across all major cloud platforms.
  • Productive Automation: Role automation and user-friendly dashboards from Wiz facilitate efficient security processes.
  • Straightforward Setup and Operation: Users have reported that Wiz is uncomplicated to implement, necessitating minimal configuration steps.

 

Weaknesses

  • Sparse Documentation: Wiz’s documentation has room for improvement, as some users have recommended enhancing its comprehensiveness and specificity.
  • Indeterminate Pricing: Some reviewers observed that pricing information is scarce, complicating efforts to gauge the cost of adopting Wiz.
  • Numerous Notifications: As Wiz continuously oversees cloud ecosystems, certain users might find the frequency of notifications overwhelming.

 

Best for

Wiz is ideally suited for businesses situated in multi-cloud environments that prioritize an all-encompassing, detailed view of their cloud security posture. Organizations managing intricate cloud infrastructures will benefit from Wiz’s ability to generate a unified security assessment.

 

8. Secureframe

 

Secureframe

Source

 

Secureframe is a dynamic compliance management framework that simplifies the route to attaining SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliances. The framework focuses on seamless, ongoing management for several services, including AWS, GCP, and Azure.

 

Key Features

  • Continuous Compliance Monitoring: Provides continuous regulatory compliance checks across varied services.
  • Automation: Boosts efficiency in completing security compliance tasks, saving valuable time and resources.
  • Integration Features: Syncs smoothly with widely-adopted cloud services like AWS, GCP, and Azure, showing robust interoperability.

 

Strengths

  • Time Efficiency: Remarkably minimizes the span traditionally consumed for documenting and supervising compliance requirements that can take weeks.
  • Seamless Integration: Operates harmoniously with prominent cloud services, offering clear advantages to enterprises leveraging these platforms.

 

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Customization: Secureframe, as per some users’ perspectives, could benefit from offering more detailed customization choices, indicating it may not be as adaptable as some firms require.

 

Best for

Secureframe is an excellent fit for businesses of diverse sizes seeking to simplify their SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliances. Companies using AWS, GCP, and Azure can especially derive benefits from its robust integration prowess.

 

9. Druva Data Resiliency Cloud

 

Druva

Source

 

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is a SaaS-fueled solution for data protection and management, delivering secure backup, disaster recovery, and information governance across diverse settings, such as endpoints, data centers, and SaaS applications.

 

Key Features

  • All-encompassing Data Protection: With Druva, expect dependable, unified backup and recovery services for endpoints, data centers, and SaaS applications.
  • Disaster Recovery: A convenient, swift, and economical approach to on-the-fly disaster recovery is provided.
  • Global Deduplication: An efficient usage of storage and bandwidth is enabled by Druva’s worldwide deduplication, which helps lower costs and accelerates backups.
  • Security and Compliance: Druva’s solution ensures compliance with different regulations like GDPR by incorporating encryption, access control, and audit trails.

 

Strengths

  • SaaS Implementation: The SaaS foundation of Druva facilitates easy deployment, maintenance, and scalability, lightening the load for IT departments.
  • Effective Data Management: The centralized control panel for overseeing data protection tasks across various environments simplifies data management processes.
  • Cost-friendly: The absence of hardware and infrastructure expenditures results in a more cost-effective solution.
  • Customer Support: Druva’s customer support team is commended for their responsiveness and assistance.

 

Weaknesses

  • Large Data Set Performance: For organizations with extensive data processing, Druva may not be ideal due to reports of reduced performance when handling sizeable data sets.
  • Pricing Complexity: The pricing structure has been reported as challenging to comprehend and possibly lacking transparency.

 

Best for

Druva Data Resiliency Cloud is well-suited for enterprises of all sizes desiring a SaaS-based, budget-friendly, and user-friendly data protection service. It is especially beneficial for those with diverse or distributed environments, such as endpoints and various data center applications.

Businesses facing large-scale data sets or unique customization requirements might want to scrutinize other options or assess Druva’s capabilities before making a final decision.

 

10. Duo Security

 

Duo

Source

 

Duo Security, an integral component of Cisco’s portfolio, is a cloud-operated access security platform that is tasked with the protection of users, data, and applications from looming security threats. It is instrumental in confirming the identity of a user and the state of the device before providing access to the applications, thus aligning with business security compliance norms.

 

Key Features

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Duo incorporates a second form of authentication in addition to the primary password to bolster the security of networks and applications.
  • Device Trust: Duo offers a comprehensive view of all devices attempting to access your applications and ensures compliance with security standards before granting access.
  • Adaptive Authentication: It employs adaptive rules and machine learning to fortify access security, drawing upon insights from user behavior and device intelligence.
  • Secure Single Sign-On (SSO): Duo’s SSO feature provides users with hassle-free and secure access to all their applications.

 

Strengths

  • User-Friendly: Duo’s simplicity in deployment and its intuitive interface are admired features.
  • Enhanced Security: Duo’s two-factor authentication significantly lowers the risk of unauthorized entry.
  • Neat Integration: The solution integrates effortlessly with several existing VPNs, cloud applications, and additional cloud infrastructure.
  • Customer Support: Duo’s customer support team is reputable for its responsiveness and efficacy.

 

Weaknesses

  • Limited Control: Some users have found Duo Security’s policy controls to be lacking granular customization.
  • Software Updates: Some users have faced challenges or disruptions following software updates.
  • Cost: Duo’s pricing matrix may seem steep for startups or small businesses.
  • Interface: While the user-friendly interface is appreciated, a portion of users believe it could be more appealing and modern.

 

Best for

Organizations with diverse software applications will find Duo’s compatibility valuable, as it works effortlessly across numerous instances and devices.

 

Top 10 Acronics Cyber Protect Cloud Alternatives: Comparative Analysis

Check out this comparative analysis of the top 10  Acronics Cyber Protect Cloud alternatives, to select the most appropriate software for your specific requirements.

 

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud Alternatives_comparision

 

Selecting the Best Software 

Making the ideal software selection requires a comprehensive assessment of their features, cost, and user testimonials.

In the crowded market of assistive software, the key is to find one that ideally aligns with your business needs.

Cyber Sierra stands out favorably among its counterparts, recognized for its wide-ranging features and superior protection capabilities.

Designed with simplicity, it guarantees a straightforward setup process, thereby enhancing your cyber defense capability promptly and efficiently.

Schedule a demo today and learn how Cyber Sierra can optimally secure your business.

  • Governance & Compliance
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
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Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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Governance & Compliance

An Ultimate Guide to Regulatory Compliance

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Table of Contents

Join thousands of professionals and get the latest insight on Compliance & Cybersecurity.


Have you watched the movie Titanic? Of course, you have. What could have changed the dreadful climax of all time? If only the Captain had a proper monitoring system to realize the ship needed more lifeboats and a thorough understanding of the icebergs along the route.

 

Now, imagine your business as a ship navigating treacherous waters. Regulatory compliance requirements are the map, navigation tools, and safety standards that guide you along the journey, steering you clear of hazards and toward safe harbors. But the waters keep changing, and that’s why this comprehensive guide will provide you with complete awareness of regulatory compliance management and how to ace it like a pro!

 

 What is Regulatory Compliance?

 

Regulatory compliance refers to an organization’s adherence to the laws, regulations, guidelines, and business practices relevant to its industry and countries of operation. It also includes complying with the organization’s specific procedures, standards, and guidelines.

 

Regulatory compliance management and regulatory compliance requirements vary significantly depending on the industry, vertical, jurisdiction, and business geography. For organizations with a global footprint, it becomes increasingly important to comply with regulatory compliance requirements across the wide range of geographies they operate. Also, certain industries, such as financial services, information technology, and healthcare, include more complex regulatory risk management. The reason is simple: the impact of these industries on aspects of the economy, business, and infrastructure is significant.

 

According toNavex Global’s 2023 Definitive Risk & Compliance Benchmark Report, 76% of risk and compliance professionals stated that ensuring their organization builds and maintains an ethical culture of compliance was a very important or absolutely essential consideration in its decision-making processes.

 

Importance of Regulatory Compliance

 

Regulatory compliance has become more important than ever, as businesses are now more susceptible to cybersecurity breaches. Moreover, the significance of regulatory compliance is indispensable for the following reasons:

 

  • Upholds the integrity of the business. Everything gets lost when there is no integrity.
  • Protects and strengthens stakeholder and public interest.
  • Allows the company to operate ethically and fairly and circles back to brand reputation.
  • Helps you conquer more clients and business partners. When goodwill and trust increase, it is obvious!
  • As a byproduct of the above, the brand perception increases, and so does profitability.
  • Helps with steering clear of criminal liability and other major fraudulent crises that can topple not only businesses but even governments. Ask about the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008!
  • Helps avoid loss to finance and reputation in case of non-compliance

 

In a nutshell, be future-ready to manage and mitigate risks when regulatory compliance management is in place.

 

Challenges in Regulatory Compliance

 

challenges in regulatory compliance

 

Adhering to regulatory compliance is not that easy. Going back to the Titanic example, even when the rescue team wanted to help, they faced many challenges. Rose jumped back onto the deck (she was crazy and in love, of course!), passengers grew agitated, clashes broke out, and more. Similarly, regulatory compliance management comes with its own set of obstacles.

 

Just as the Titanic crew had to navigate tumultuous situations amidst the sinking ship, businesses must steer through turbulent waters to achieve and maintain compliance. Changing regulations, complex requirements, data management issues, and resource constraints can all act as icebergs threatening to derail your compliance efforts.

 

However, just like the bravery of the Titanic crew inspired hope, a comprehensive plan can guide your organization safely through compliance challenges. With the right map, tools, and expertise, you can chart a course towards fully adhering to all relevant rules and standards governing your industry.

 

When Regulatory changes keep changing

 

Regulatory compliance requirements have experienced a surge in recent years, posing significant challenges for compliance teams across various industries and regions. Major regulations worldwide have undergone substantial revisions and upgrades, such as Singapore’s Compliance Code of Practice (CCoP) 2.0, Hong Kong’s Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) guidelines, the United States’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, and Australia’s Comprehensive Income and Risk Management Program (CIRMP).

 

These evolving regulatory requirements demand continuous adaptation from compliance professionals to stay abreast of the latest standards and requirements. As regulations become more stringent and complex, compliance teams face mounting pressure to maintain comprehensive knowledge and effectively manage their organization’s compliance obligations. Failure to keep pace with these changes can result in substantial risks, including financial penalties, reputational damage, and potential legal consequences.

 

When finance and technology joined hands

 

The integration of technology into financial services brings undeniable benefits, but it necessitates increased collaboration between fintech and traditional institutions. This collaboration is essential to address potential overlaps and gaps in regulatory compliance requirements. Regulatory authorities face the challenge of understanding and regulating the combined characteristics of these entities from both financial and technological perspectives. As a result, there’s a growing need for new regulatory guidelines, particularly concerning anti-money laundering (AML) and privacy, to safeguard consumer security.

 

When cybersecurity and data privacy risks became common

 

Increasing global footprints and digital transformations have made all of us heavily rely on third-party technologies. There is a rise in cyber-attacks and data privacy issues when there is a third party involved. Third-party risk management is one of the top things to achieve in regulatory compliance management for every regulator. Proper data management and cybersecurity practices are the need of the hour.

 

Cost of compliance management

 

Besides the significant fees and penalties of non-compliance, budget constraints are a very important challenge for many businesses when it comes to regulatory compliance. While the costs associated with compliance are undeniable, it’s crucial to recognize that a strategic, enterprise-wide approach can not only mitigate these expenses but also unlock long-term benefits.

 

Building a proactive compliance culture

 

Establishing a strong culture of compliance is crucial for promoting good employee conduct, especially with the rise of remote and hybrid work models after the pandemic. Amidst these changes, the growing importance of culture and conduct risks highlights the need for compliance teams to encourage proactive reporting. However, achieving this goal presents numerous challenges. From effectively communicating regulatory updates to instilling a sense of caution regarding compliance management risks, compliance teams face the difficult task of ensuring that every employee is well-informed and engaged. Overcoming these obstacles and emphasizing the significance of regulatory compliance across the organization emerges as a formidable challenge for compliance teams.

 

Regulatory Compliance by Industry

 

Regulatory Compliance By industry

 

The nature of regulatory compliance management and regulatory compliance requirements vary depending on different industries. Certain industries require heavy regulations compared to others.

 

Regulatory compliance for financial services

 

The financial services industry demands a tailored approach to compliance management due to the comprehensive and complex nature of regulations it is subject to. These regulations are designed to uphold stability, transparency, and consumer protection within the sector.

 

Regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) , the Federal Reserve in the US, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) across geographies, oversee compliance.

 

Regulatory compliance requirements mandate anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, know-your-customer (KYC) requirements, data security standards, including Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard – PCI DSS), and other financial reporting, regulatory standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – GAAP).

 

Furthermore, specific jurisdictions like Singapore (Monetary Authority of Singapore – MAS), India (Reserve Bank of India – RBI, Securities and Exchange Board of India – SEBI), Australia (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority – APRA, Australian Securities and Investments Commission – ASIC), and Hong Kong (Securities and Futures Commission – SFC, Hong Kong Monetary Authority – HKMA) have their own unique regulatory frameworks governing the financial services industry.

 

  • Singapore: MAS regulates financial stability, AML/CFT, and cybersecurity.
  • India: RBI and SEBI enforce prudential norms, risk management, and securities laws.
  • Australia: APRA ensures financial stability, while ASIC focuses on consumer and investor protection.
  • Hong Kong: SFC and HKMA overseas market integrity, AML, KYC, and data privacy.

 

Regulatory compliance for energy suppliers

 

Regulatory compliance in the energy suppliers industry mandates regulations for safety and environmental protection. Regulatory risk management for this industry aims to ensure safety, environmental protection, and efficient operations. These include compliance requirements related to environmental regulations (e.g., emissions standards, waste management), safety standards (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA in the US), and industry-specific regulations governing energy production, distribution, and pricing.

 

Regulatory compliance for government agencies

 

Government agencies are subjected to strict compliance regulations. This mandate helps in achieving equality for everyone and encourages ethical staff behavior. Compliance management for the government sector includes federal, state/provincial, and local laws, as well as regulations specific to the agency’s mandate. These can be budgetary regulations, procurement laws, and administrative procedures acts. Ethical standards are indispensable, and regulatory complaint requirements here foster avoiding conflicts of interest, maintaining transparency and accountability, and adhering to codes of conduct and ethics guidelines.

 

Since government agencies deal with sensitive information, such as citizen data, financial records, and classified materials, compliance with data security and privacy regulations is crucial to protect this information from unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse. For example, in the United States, you are expected to comply with laws such as the Privacy Act, in the European Union, you are expected to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

They are also required to ensure accessibility and non-discrimination in the delivery of their services and programs. This includes compliance with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States, which mandates accessibility accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

 

Regulatory compliance for the healthcare sector

 

Healthcare companies require strict compliance laws. This is obvious as they store a lot of sensitive and personal patient data. Hospitals and other healthcare providers are built majorly on trust and reputation. This requires them to exhibit the necessary steps that they have taken to comply with certain regulations, such as patient privacy rules, including providing adequate server security and encryption.

 

How Does Regulatory Compliance Work?

 

How does regulatory compliance work

 

Regulatory compliance works as a systematic process. It enables organizations to adhere to relevant laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines that govern its operations. Here’s an overview of the process it entails:

 

Identify applicable regulations:

 

The organization first identifies the necessary regulations, laws, and standards relevant to its industry, jurisdiction, and activities. This process requires thorough research and understanding of the regulatory landscape.

 

Assessment and analysis:

 

Now that the applicable regulations are identified, it’s time to conduct a comprehensive assessment to understand the specific regulatory compliance requirements and implications for its business operations. This is usually done by analyzing the regulatory provisions, assessing current practices, and identifying any areas of non-compliance.

 

Developing a compliance framework:

 

The assessment is done and the findings are ready; now the organization develops a compliance framework that clearly outlines compliance management policies, procedures, controls, and measures that will ensure adherence to regulatory compliance requirements. Now, the roadmap for achieving and maintaining compliance is ready.

 

Implementing controls and processes:

 

Kudos! The compliance framework is in place now, and the organization implements the necessary controls, processes, and systems to operationalize the outlined compliance requirements. This is usually executed by establishing protocols for data protection, implementing safety procedures, conducting employee training, and integrating compliance into everyday business operations.

 

Monitoring and review:

 

One thing that needs to be understood is that compliance is an ongoing process. It requires continuous monitoring and constant review to ensure that the controls are effective, that the regulations are being followed, and tracking any changes in requirements are promptly addressed.

 

Documentation and reporting:

 

Every organization should maintain detailed documentation of its compliance efforts, including policies, procedures, records, and reports. Regulatory compliance documentation not only serves as evidence of adherence to regulatory requirements but will also be required for regulatory inspections, audits, and reporting obligations.

 

Adapting to changes:

 

Regulatory requirements will keep changing due to new legislation, updates, and evolving industry standards. Here, the organization stays informed about changes in regulations relevant to its operations and immediately adapts its compliance efforts accordingly.

 

How to Implement a Regulatory Compliance Plan?

 

Congratulations! You’ve made the wise decision to establish a robust regulatory compliance plan for your organization. Navigating the complex landscape of industry regulations can be daunting, but fear not – Cyber Sierra’s proven 8-step framework will guide you through the process, ensuring an effective and rewarding implementation.

 

  1. What are your goals?

 

The first step is simply to simply define your goals. Ask yourself what you wish to achieve with your regulatory compliance management plan. The goals can be diverse – you might want to cut down the hefty fines, penalties, and payouts of the company, save time and expense based on retrospective investigations, or work with everyone in the team to use complaints to increase growth or it could be even as simple as getting awareness on a new piece of incoming legislation that might affect your organization in the future.

 

Begin by clearly defining your objectives for the regulatory compliance management plan. Whether it’s reducing financial liabilities, saving time on retrospective investigations, fostering team collaboration for growth, or staying ahead of upcoming legislation, establishing clear goals is essential. Sit down with your team to map out a risk assessment and prioritize goals for the short and long term, setting achievable targets to work towards. It’s crucial to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) targets to track progress effectively.

 

For example, if you head the operations of an international bank, the primary goal is to strengthen its regulatory compliance program to mitigate the risk of money laundering activities and ensure adherence to AML regulations. By implementing stricter compliance measures, you can aim to enhance your reputation, safeguard your assets, and maintain the trust of your customers and regulators.

 

  1. What is your corporate culture?

 

Understand and draft what corporate culture your business falls into. When this is done, it is easier to align compliance with corporate culture. Aligning regulatory compliance with corporate culture makes it easier for everyone in the company to bring acceptance of your new policies. Ensure you outline the advantages of regulatory compliance management at each level of the company’s structure, and it will come a long way in making your employees understand its importance more clearly.

 

Identify and define the risks that compliance can help you avoid in each strategic area of the organization to build a strong case for your policy. Everyone in the company must be aware of your regulatory compliance management. Or your risk management efforts will turn out to be ineffective. For example, understand your bank’s corporate culture of integrity and transparency and encourage the compliance team to integrate AML compliance training into the organization’s values and mission. By emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct and regulatory adherence, you can foster a culture of compliance where every employee understands their role in preventing financial crimes.

 

  1. What is your functional scope?

 

The scope of regulatory risk management is no longer a retrospective role. But it is more forward-facing and it only acts as a preventative function in the organization. If you want to foresee regulatory issues before they occur, you have to increase resources, and your compliance management plan needs to reflect that. Start at a basic level and gradually increase the scope over time.

 

Consider incorporating technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance efficiency and accuracy. Start with a foundational level of compliance and gradually expand the scope over time as resources allow. For example, by recognizing the proactive nature of regulatory risk management, you can allocate resources to enhance your AML compliance capabilities. Starting with basic transaction monitoring systems, you can gradually expand the scope to include advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to detect suspicious activities and prevent potential money laundering risks.

 

  1. What is the nature of your regulatory environment?

 

As discussed in the challenges already, the regulatory environment is always changing. This makes it essential for your team to stay on top of regulatory compliance trends at all times. Monitor legislative developments not only in your primary operating region but also in any other jurisdictions where your business operates. Thoroughly analyze proposed regulations to anticipate their impact on your operations. Break down regulatory requirements into actionable steps to ensure full compliance.

 

For example, your bank’s compliance team can stay vigilant in monitoring regulatory developments related to AML regulations globally. They can analyze updates to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations to ensure CityBank’s compliance procedures remain up-to-date and align with evolving regulatory standards.

 

  1. How to develop formal procedures, rules, and standards?

 

Now, you have a clear understanding of the prospective regulatory landscape. It’s time to develop the formal policies, standards, and procedures required to comply with the law. Though most of these procedures will closely follow the technical standards outlined in the legislation, you should also consider adding your own internal checks. This helps in identifying potential human or software errors and avoiding consequences.

 

For example, with a clear understanding of AML regulatory requirements, you can develop formal policies and procedures tailored to detect and prevent money laundering activities effectively. Collaborating with industry experts and regulatory authorities, you can establish robust customer due diligence processes and transaction monitoring protocols to comply with AML laws.

 

  1. Have you trained your employees?

 

All your efforts will become null if your employees are not trained. Thorough training about your procedures is important, and making them understand the reasons behind them is mandatory to make sure that the business remains compliant. Train your employees to spot a compliance issue, report it accurately, and escalate it through the right means. At the next level, your management should be well-equipped to handle reports and take swift calls on what to do next, as well as how their operations with business partners are affected.

 

For example, you can conduct comprehensive AML compliance training programs for all employees, ranging from frontline staff to senior management. Through interactive workshops and scenario-based simulations, employees learn to identify red flags indicative of money laundering activities and understand the importance of reporting suspicious transactions promptly.

 

  1. Do you practice accurate record-keeping?

 

Accurate record-keeping is crucial for demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitating audits or investigations. Establish clear guidelines for documenting compliance-related activities and maintaining records securely. Regularly review and update record-keeping practices to adapt to changing regulatory landscapes.

 

For example, you can implement electronic record-keeping systems to maintain detailed transaction records and customer profiles, ensuring accurate documentation of AML compliance efforts and enabling timely reporting to regulatory authorities.

 

  1. Do you monitor compliance consistently?

 

Continuously monitor and evaluate compliance performance to identify areas for improvement and ensure ongoing adherence to regulatory standards. Utilize analytics tools and metrics to track progress toward goals and measure the effectiveness of compliance initiatives. Regularly report findings to senior leadership to demonstrate the value of compliance efforts and secure support for future initiatives. You can use a digital tool such as CyberSierra to keep a central control repository, identify third-party risks, and automate data collection and risk assessment.

 

For example, you can continuously monitor your AML compliance performance using data analytics tools and risk assessment frameworks. By tracking key performance indicators such as transaction monitoring alerts and suspicious activity reports, you can assess the effectiveness of its AML controls and identify areas for improvement to strengthen your compliance program further.

 

Keeping a regular check on your goals on a quarterly or annual basis will help in evaluating your support compliance efforts. Present the results to your senior leadership and explain the benefits of an effective program. This motivates decision-makers to justify the efforts and investment in corporate regulatory compliance.

 

How does Cyber Sierra help you with regulatory compliance management?

 

Cyber Sierra understands business challenges and offers a comprehensive solution to simplify data collection, risk assessments, and compliance management. Our cutting-edge AI platform streamlines the entire process, making it effortless to gather, analyze, and interpret data, enabling you to identify and mitigate risks proactively.

 

Cyber Sierra automates data collection & risk assessments, helps with policies management, generates comprehensive reports and maintains detailed records for transparency and accountability. The platform also streamline compliance management across various regulatory frameworks using automation

 

Don’t let compliance complexities sink your operations. Take a proactive approach and experience the best regulatory compliance management for your business. Schedule a demo with Cyber Sierra today and unlock the power of automated, streamlined, and efficient compliance management.

 

FAQs

 

What is regulatory compliance management?

 

Regulatory compliance management, in simple terms, is a company’s adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines, procedures, rules, and other necessary specifications relevant to its business processes, industry and country of operation. Not adhering to regulatory compliance results in legal punishment, including hefty federal penalties.

 

Is regulatory compliance management important?

 

Regulatory compliance management is very important. It goes beyond merely adhering to legal requirements; it serves as a cornerstone for establishing a credible brand reputation, fostering trust with partners, customers, and stakeholders, and safeguarding the organization from potential breaches. Non-compliance can have severe consequences, including financial penalties, reputational damage, loss of consumer confidence, and even the potential termination of business operations.

 

How can regulatory compliance management benefit your organization?

 

Regulatory compliance benefits businesses by identifying and mitigating risks associated with legal and regulatory obligations. A robust compliance framework, encompassing comprehensive processes and stringent security controls, equips organizations to proactively mitigate and circumvent non-compliance incidents, such as data breaches, workplace accidents, or environmental contraventions. Adherence to regulatory mandates not only safeguards organizations from substantial financial penalties but also fortifies their brand reputation and credibility within the industry.

 

How often should you create a compliance management plan?

 

The frequency of creating a compliance management plan varies based on factors like industry standards, regulatory requirements, and organizational needs. While there’s no fixed rule, it’s generally recommended to review and update the plan at least annually. This ensures that it remains aligned with evolving regulations, business changes, and emerging risks, helping to maintain compliance effectiveness and mitigate potential issues.

 

Can we use automation for compliance management?

 

Yes, you can use compliance automation technology, such as Cyber Sierra, to continually check your systems for compliance. Compliance automation helps automate workflows and removes manual processes. For example, Cyber Sierra’s smart GRC automation helps in streamlining Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) processes, saving time and effort in data collection, analyses, and reporting.

  • Governance & Compliance
  • CISOs
  • CTOs
  • Cybersecurity Enthusiasts
  • Enterprise Leaders
  • Startup Founders
Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

A weekly newsletter sharing actionable tips for CTOs & CISOs to secure their software.


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