The Relationship Between GRC and Cyber and Why It’s Important to Understand It

Kezia Farnham
5 min read

With the number and range of business risks increasing constantly, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) must be a priority for today's corporate leaders.

Together, the three dimensions of GRC ensure that organizations keep track of their performance against objectives, tackle threats effectively and act with integrity. GRC is something all organizations do to a certain extent, although some are far more advanced in their approach than others.

Taking an integrated approach to GRC, making it an inbuilt part of your business operations, is vital if you want to ensure your processes are underpinned by robust governance, risk and compliance strategies. Integrated risk management is a defined way of managing risk, using automation and technology to give companies business-wide visibility of their risks and mitigation strategies.

Integrating your approach to cybersecurity with your GRC program is another must-do for companies aiming to tackle risk holistically.  


Why Cybersecurity Is an Essential Aspect of GRC

Today, cybersecurity affects every business decision and needs to be part of an enterprise-wide GRC program. For GRC to succeed, it needs to combine a top-down approach with a bottom-up operational approach, where the board and senior management set the risk appetite and rely on their executive teams to implement appropriate strategies.

Cybersecurity risk needs to be an integral part of this. Cyber risk and data privacy have catapulted to the forefront in the last year, as the pandemic accelerated homeworking, online transactions and cash-free shopping. Not surprising, then, that cyber was cited by directors as one of their most pressing issues in Diligent's Director Confidence Index earlier this year.

There is clearly a symbiotic relationship between cybersecurity and GRC. Integration, therefore, isn't just a nice-to-have; it's an essential element of a comprehensive GRC and cyber strategy.  


Taking an Integrated Operational Approach to Cyber Risk

How do you achieve this integrated approach?

GRC comprises several departments. Stakeholders need to work cross-functionally within these departments and teams ' as we noted above, there are interdependencies between them that can be invaluable in building a rounded approach. For instance, data from compliance could inform cyber risk planning and vice versa.

And because cyber is such a significant business risk, the cybersecurity and tech teams set the tone for the risk posture of not just the cyber team but also the entire business.

Having the right information is crucial to effective risk management ' yet 36% of directors interviewed for Diligent's Director Confidence Index said that their boards would benefit from better information to help them manage cyber risk.

An integrated approach to GRC and cyber reduces departmental silos, which in turn gives the CISO and entire cybersecurity team the information they need, when they need it, to identify and mitigate cyber risk. Within an integrated GRC strategy, information can be shared far faster, accelerating your response to cyber threats.

Conversely, a lack of consistent metrics and language can hinder GRC effectiveness. Managing risk across departments too often requires many different systems, reducing organizations' ability to gain a rounded view of performance and threats.  


GRC and Cyber: The Benefits of an Integrated Approach

Aside from the benefits of faster data sharing and congruent metrics, an integrated approach to GRC and cyber brings other distinct advantages.

Having a single platform to capture GRC information minimizes manual input and therefore reduces the potential for human error. It can save organizations hours in data entry and reduce costly errors that can allow cyberthreats to slip through the net.

A strong GRC platform also helps the board visualize the state of play, with clear and comprehensive MI. By telling the cross-functional risk story ' including cyber risk ' in this way, you can improve board understanding, enable data-driven decisions and equip directors to act on priority risks.  


The Role of Technology in GRC and Cybersecurity

Technology is, therefore, central to an integrated GRC and cyber approach ' in gathering consistent information, sharing it across teams and presenting a single view to the board in a way that drives focused action.

Technology, specifically a robust GRC platform, equips organizations to identify gaps in their governance, risk and compliance approach, and strategies to address them. By building a simple methodology and approach to GRC, you can get internal buy-in where ad-hoc or siloed strategies have failed. At the same time, enabling customization of approach, and allowing a clear comparison between your different risks, makes prioritization and allocation of resources simpler.

Combining external data ' your brand reputation and market sentiment ' with metrics you can capture internally and data on your third-party suppliers and partners are key here and something that organizations have historically struggled with.

More than this, though, a good GRC platform will enable you to distill the data you gather into something meaningful and actionable, something the board can get to grips with and use. And longer-term, it will allow you to use this information to build the foundations of a firm-wide ethical culture that puts GRC and cybersecurity front and center.  


GRC and Cybersecurity ' Hand in Hand Toward a Lower-Risk Future

GRC and cyber are intrinsically linked ' and by taking an integrated approach and using technology, you can devise an effective strategy that tackles them both efficiently and effectively. You can keep pace with the latest thinking on GRC and cybersecurity by signing up to our GRC newsletter for news, insight and updates.




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Kezia Farnham Diligent
Content Strategy Manager
Kezia Farnham

Kezia Farnham is the Content Strategy Manager at Diligent. She's a University of the Arts London graduate who has enjoyed over seven years working across journalism, public relations and digital marketing, with a special focus on SEO and CRO in the B2B SaaS sector.

Kezia is passionate about helping governance professionals find the right information at the right time.