Organizations looking to manage risk can leverage GRC and IRM approaches to optimize their security, governance, and compliance programs. So, what are the differences between these two common approaches to risk management? Read on for a comparison of GRC vs. IRM.
Breakdown of GRC vs. IRM
IRM and GRC are crucial approaches to improving your organization’s data security.
This blog will cover:
- Definitions of IRM and GRC
- Differences between GRC and IRM
- Benefits of GRC vs. those of IRM
A comprehensive overview of GRC vs. IRM starts with understanding the unique risks faced by your organization. Partnering with a GRC services specialist can help guide the process.
What are IRM and GRC?
Whereas both IRM and GRC approaches manage risk, there are some differences in scope and the specific implementations you can leverage to meet your risk mitigation needs.
Let’s break down the definitions of each:
Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
Governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) refer to the processes that help align an organization’s governance processes to its risk management and compliance needs.
GRC can help any organization manage risks of all kinds, regardless of industry.
Components of GRC include:
- The people involved in overseeing GRC processes
- The purpose of implementing GRC and meeting organization-specific needs
- The processes by which GRC is implemented across the organization
- Assessment of the performance of GRC tools and processes using audits
With the help of GRC, your organization can integrate governance, risk management, and compliance into a single, robust risk management program.
Integrated Risk Management (IRM)
On the other hand, integrated risk management (IRM) tends to focus more specifically on managing information security risks. IRM typically comprises three main components:
- Identifying the purposes for managing risks to information security
- Optimizing information security risk management controls to those required by industry standards
- Developing processes to oversee continuous information security risk management
IRM may also be implemented via risk management frameworks (RMFs), which define risk factors that could impact data security across an organization’s IT assets.
The Difference Between GRC and IRM
When comparing integrated risk management vs. GRC, it helps to review two main factors.
The first is the breakdown of roles and responsibilities in IRM vs GRC, which will largely depend on the expertise of the personnel implementing IRM or GRC.
The second factor is the features of GRC vs. IRM. Whereas both processes manage risk, different tools are required to meet specific risk management criteria.
Let’s dive deeper into these differences:
GRC vs. IRM: Roles & Responsibilities
In terms of roles and responsibilities, GRC requires extensive collaboration to work effectively.
An effective GRC program requires all the key stakeholders—including executive leadership—to share the roles and responsibilities for GRC implementation. When decisions are made about GRC processes, the staff responsible for implementing these controls must fully understand the requirements, needs, and implications for the program to be successful.
However, IRM may not require as much interaction between stakeholders as GRC. IRM tends to focus more on the systems that manage information security risks. Although human behavior is a core component, the need for robust process integration may not be as pressing as in GRC.
GRC vs. IRM: Features
When it comes to features, GRC functions more like a tracker of system efficiency and effectiveness. By collecting data from various sources across the organization, GRC aims to improve high-impact processes that mitigate risks related to data security.
A successful GRC program runs on:
- Governance structures delivering information to parties and achieving expected outcomes
- Continuous compliance with regulatory frameworks
- Managing risk at all levels of the organization
However, IRM directly addresses data security risks and aims to:
- Identify the risks before they can become full-blown threats
- Remediate gaps in security controls before they impact other assets in the organization
- Develop prompt responses to future threats, should they occur
Moreso, both GRC and IRM function best if automated. Optimizing the features of GRC or IRM to your unique needs will help you effectively manage risk.
Benefits of GRC Platforms
A key benefit of using GRC platforms to manage risk is the increased visibility into processes at all levels of your organization. For instance, you can track whether different departments are routinely complying with critical regulations.
You can also oversee governance across all parts of the organization, gaining more control over process optimization. Automated GRC platforms also streamline compliance and preparation for internal and external regulatory audits.
Benefits of IRM Platforms
IRM platforms can help extensively manage security risks. Specific benefits of IRM include:
- Robust sensitive data safeguards that meet the requirements of industry standards
- Fast response to security incidents before they can develop into significant threats
- Optimized compliance with regulatory standards
A comparison of GRC vs. IRM comes down to the specific risks your organization faces. Leveraging the features and benefits of both approaches will help strengthen your risk management strategy.
GRC vs. IRM: Which is Better?
Deciding between GRC vs. IRM will depend on your specific needs. If you require specialized cybersecurity risk management, IRM may be the best option. However, if you need broader risk management, GRC may apply. In some cases, you may need both approaches. Partnering with a GRC services provider can help guide you in making the right decision.
Contact RSI Security to learn more and get started!