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GRC: both a business supporter and enabler

A broad perspective of the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) approach can have a major impact on your company's security.
GRC consultant working on their laptop
Article author
Written by
Windy Chan
Published on
June 7, 2023
Last updated on
March 27, 2024

GRC, which stands for Governance, Risk and Compliance, looks at information security from a broader perspective compared to an ISMS. An Information Security Management System is a management system which is a common way of working when dealing with a multitude of ISO standards.

GRC explained

If your organization has to comply with different standards and/or regulations, an ISMS only might not be sufficient. Think about the different norms, laws and regulations you have to consider, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or other sector-specific rules for the healthcare, insurance or banking industry. What companies really need is an overarching process that can support a whole set of standards.This process is called Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC).

What is Governance?

Governance is how an organization is directed and controlled. In GRC, governance is needed to set the direction (through strategy, policy and overall management) of the organization, monitor performance and controls, and evaluate outcomes.

What is Risk?

Risk is about risk-based thinking that forms the common thread in all these matters and therefore occupies a prominent place. Risk management is about identifying, assessing and controlling threats and risks to the organization. These threats can range from financial to reputational consequences and natural disasters.

What is Compliance?

Compliance concerns what you ultimately have to comply with. On the one hand, organizations must apply the standards and laws that are relevant to them, and on the other hand, check whether they actually do apply them. Then the organization is considered to be compliant.

In GRC, being compliant means that, depending on the context, the organization has taken measures and has implemented controls to ensure that compliance requirements are met consistently. 

Benefits and challenges of the GRC approach

GRC approaches risk management in an integrative manner. It doesn't look at merely information security but also considers the political landscape, financial consequences, legal requirements, geographical environment and societal needs. This means that people with different disciplines and backgrounds, ranging from IT specialists, lawyers and the board of directors, come together in this field. This collective approach will result in improved decision-making, more optimal information security investments, elimination of silos, and reduced fragmentation of departments.

If Governance, Risk and Compliance is done right, in accordance with OCEG standards, your organization can expect a reduction in costs and duplication of business activities, faster and easier access to information, as well as improved quality and accuracy of information and communications. 

Should your organization implement the GRC approach in 2023?

Looking at GRC in 2023, risks such as cyberattacks, economic downturns and climate change will continue to be challenging for many organizations. Companies need a strong GRC culture and solid plans to evaluate the likelihood and potential effects of these events to reduce the risks associated with them. 

In conclusion, enterprises will need agility and adaptability in 2023 in order to successfully deal with the challenging and changing information security landscape. This includes investing in compliance, data protection and cybersecurity, as well as creating strategies for effective risk management and GRC integration. By staying informed of the latest industry developments, GRC experts can add value to your organization by minimizing risks and maximizing success.

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