When implementing a governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) program, it is crucial to know how the program’s controls are functioning. Conducting a GRC audit will help your organization optimize its GRC program and ensure it meets your security needs. Read on to learn more about GRC audits.
Breakdown of GRC Audits
GRC audits are critical to achieving a successful GRC program and keeping sensitive data safe.
To cover the fundamentals of a GRC audit, this blog will address:
- Standards used as baselines for GRC audits
- The need for GRC audits and how you can conduct one
- Best practices for GRC audits
- Tools that help streamline GRC audits
Beyond understanding how GRC audits work, working with a GRC services provider will help strengthen your security program.
What is a GRC Audit?
A GRC audit evaluates the effectiveness of an organization’s governance, risk management, and compliance infrastructure. With the help of a GRC audit, you can:
- Identify gaps in the implementation of controls stipulated by an IT security policy.
- Manage data privacy and security risks by identifying threats early in their lifecycle.
- Remain compliant with regulatory frameworks and keep sensitive data safe.
Even when your cybersecurity controls seem to function as expected, a GRC audit will reveal gaps that might pose data security risks.
GRC Audit Professional Standards
Whether you are conducting GRC audits for the first time or as part of optimizing your GRC program, professional standards serve as the baselines upon which to assess GRC controls.
Examples of GRC audit professional standards include:
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors
- Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) for organizations that handle card payments
The guidelines in these professional standards ensure that GRC audits achieve their intended governance outcomes, minimize risk, and optimize compliance across your organization.
Why Audit a GRC Program?
Auditing a GRC program is critical to identifying weaknesses or gaps that may impact the program’s effectiveness and increase the risk of data breaches.
For instance, large organizations may choose to optimize their GRC controls to meet specific governance, risk management, or compliance requirements. Testing these controls via GRC audits is crucial to achieving the intended outcomes of a GRC program.
Auditing a GRC program also ensures that each component within the program compiles with your organization’s security policy.
How GRC Auditing Works
In principle, GRC auditing involves evaluating an organization’s implementation of GRC processes relative to a specific GRC framework. Activities in a GRC audit may include:
- Evaluating evidence collected on the GRC controls implemented across the organization
- Testing the security controls required to manage cybersecurity risks
- Reviewing department-specific compliance with regulatory frameworks
Since the specific requirements of GRC frameworks may vary with your particular governance, risk management, and compliance needs, auditing is critical to assessing the effectiveness of these GRC processes.
Best Practices for Successfully Auditing GRC Programs
Like any other cybersecurity audit, a successful GRC audit will depend on:
- Comprehensive planning – A GRC audit will likely go faster if:
- The goals of the audit are well-defined and shared with all parties involved.
- Staff members are trained and prepared to conduct the internal audit.
- The specific GRC components being audited are identified beforehand.
- Audit testing – A dry run of the GRC audit is crucial to identifying effective audit processes and those requiring further optimization. In some cases, the overall magnitude of the audit will determine which audit processes may need to be tested.
- Reporting audit outcomes – Once an internal GRC audit is conducted, documenting the results from all audit processes ensures learnings are applied to the future optimization and development of the GRC program.
In general, the scope and structure of each GRC program will vary based on an organization’s specific needs. Likewise, the best practices for conducting an effective GRC audit may change from time to time, especially as your organization grows its GRC program.
How To Use GRC Tools In The Audit Process
When conducting GRC audits, governance, risk management, and compliance tools enable designated audit teams to improve the effectiveness of the audit process.
GRC audit software can help streamline audits by:
- Simplifying evidence collection from various assets across an organization
- Governing audit processes as stipulated by the broader GRC policy
- Matching the compliance requirements of regulatory frameworks to internal GRC audits
- Increasing the rate at which GRC audits are completed
When conducting a GRC internal audit, tools like GRC internal audit software simplify GRC management and streamline the growth of your GRC program.
How RSI Security Can Help With GRC
Optimizing GRC audits will help you maximize the effectiveness of your GRC program. With the help of a GRC services provider like RSI Security, you will enhance the controls you implement across your GRC program and promptly identify gaps in governance, risk management, and compliance. To learn more about services for GRC, contact RSI Security today.
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