In this GRC 20/20 perspective solution, the third-party research firm lays out the challenges involved in navigating the maze of risk and compliance chaos and provides valuable insights into overcoming the limitations of legacy GRC tools through RegScale’s Continuous Controls Monitoring platform. We are publishing the report in its entirety for our readers and followers. Please contact our team to discuss how we can solve risk, compliance, and security challenges.
Navigating the Maze of Risk & Compliance Chaos
Organizations today operate in a complex environment of risk, compliance requirements, and vulnerabilities that interweave through different departments, functions, processes, technologies, roles, and relationships. What may often seem like an insignificant information or technology risk in one area can have a profound, cascading, and exponential impact on other risks and significant compliance ramifications. IT has become the bedrock upon which modern organizations are built.
The complexity and interconnectivity of today’s IT infrastructure introduce various risks organizations must contend with. This is especially true in sectors that form the backbone of society: federal government, financial services, and utilities, among others. The rising challenges of IT risk, compliance, and control in these sectors necessitate a paradigm shift towards real-time Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) in an IT context. In an IT context, this is called IT GRC.
Organizations must address these sectors’ multifaceted challenges directly and build a case for real-time GRC and IT risk and compliance management visibility. Consider the following:
- Federal Government. The compromise of government IT systems can have wide-ranging implications for national security. The sheer volume of sensitive citizen data makes the government a high-value target for cybercriminals. Older IT systems are often more vulnerable to security breaches and data loss.
- Financial Services. IT failures can have cascading effects on the economy and public confidence. This sector faces many regulations, such as GDPR, Dodd- Frank, and SOX, that mandate strict compliance. With an enormous amount of sensitive customer data, the financial services sector faces heightened risks of data breaches.
- Utilities. Any compromise in utility services like electricity, water, or gas can immediately affect public safety. The complex network of physical and IT infrastructure increases the risk of system failure or sabotage. Like financial services, the utilities sector also faces complex regulations, often with an added focus on environmental sustainability.
- And Others. These issues also expand across various industries, facing the same daunting challenges to address and provide greater visibility and control into IT risk and compliance.
Common Challenges of IT Risk, Compliance, and Controls
IT risk and compliance departments are scrambling to keep up with multiple initiatives that demand greater risk and compliance oversight across the IT infrastructure, identities, processes, relationships, devices, and information. Most organizations approach these issues reactively — putting out information security fires wherever the flames are hottest.
Some of these challenges in IT GRC are:
- Complexity. IT systems’ increasing interconnectivity and sophistication makes tracking, managing, and mitigating risks increasingly challenging.
- Evolving Regulatory Landscape. The dynamic nature of regulatory requirements necessitates constant vigilance and flexibility in compliance efforts.
- Skill Gap. The complexity of today’s IT landscapes often surpasses the skills of existing IT personnel, creating a gap that can be exploited.
- Financial Constraints. Investments in advanced IT systems and skilled personnel often compete with other operational priorities.
As these pressures mount, IT often needs to think more strategically as it is too busy reacting to issues and putting out fires. What gets attention is where the pain is the greatest. A reactive approach to IT risk is unsustainable in an environment of growing pressures and is also a recipe for disaster. The dependency of organizations on IT exacerbates this problem, with the interconnectedness of third parties and the Internet of Things (IoT) causing more exposure points.
Not only does a reactive approach to IT GRC lead to greater vulnerability and exposure, but it also means higher costs for the business. Addressing IT GRC across a series of disconnected projects and assessments leads to inefficiency in IT management and operations, wasted spending on redundant approaches, and a more significant burden on the business.
The Case for Real-time GRC and Visibility
Understanding and managing IT GRC in today’s environment requires a new paradigm in managing these interconnections and information and technology risk management relationships. There is a growing need for IT risk and compliance functions to step back and think strategically and to figure out how to streamline resources and use technology efficiently, effectively, and with agility to manage and monitor IT GRC across the interconnectedness of information and technology in real time.
- Real-time Data Monitoring. Real-time GRC allows for continuous monitoring of IT systems, providing an instantaneous view of the organization’s risk profile.
- Proactive Compliance Management. By receiving real-time updates on compliance metrics, organizations can proactively manage their compliance status rather than reacting to issues as they arise.
- Automated Reporting. Automation allows for generating real-time reports tailored to different regulatory bodies’ expectations, significantly reducing the manual labor involved in compliance.
- Resource Optimization. Real-time GRC systems can offer insights into the most vulnerable aspects of an organization’s IT infrastructure, allowing for targeted resource allocation.
- Decision-making. Better visibility and real-time data enable more informed decision-making for everyday operations and crises.
As society becomes more reliant on complex IT systems, the need for real-time GRC becomes increasingly imperative. By adopting real-time GRC solutions, organizations in these critical sectors can ensure a safer, more stable operating environment for themselves and society.
The Bottom Line: Managing IT risk, compliance, and control challenges are multi-dimensional and continually evolving. Given the complexity and sensitivity of operations, more than traditional governance and compliance management methods are needed.
Solutions that offer real-time GRC in an IT risk, compliance, and control context offer a way forward, enabling organizations to gain real-time insights into their IT landscapes, thereby facilitating proactive risk and compliance management.
RegScale Providing Real-Time GRC Visibility into IT Risk & Compliance
RegScale is a software solution that GRC 20/20 has researched and evaluated. RegScale provides an agile IT GRC solution that integrates into the broader IT and cloud architecture to provide real-time awareness of IT risk, compliance, and control. This provides real-time insight into IT risk management, internal control, compliance, and assurance needs across industries, but they have a particular focus on government, financial services, and utilities.
The RegScale solution simplifies and strengthens IT risk, compliance, internal control, and assurance processes and can grow and adapt as the organization evolves. The solution can be deployed to manage specific IT risk and compliance requirements and frameworks or implemented as an enterprise platform to address the range of IT risks and controls across the organizations. GRC 20/20 finds that the RegScale solution enables organizations to be efficient, effective, resilient, and agile in their IT risk and compliance management strategy and processes.
GRC 20/20’s evaluation, research, and interactions with RegScale clients have determined the following:
RegScale clients typically replace manual and scattered IT risk, compliance, and control assessment processes encumbered by documents, spreadsheets, emails, and custom databases. Such approaches can be very manual, time-consuming, and prone to errors – particularly in aggregation and reporting on data that involves hundreds to thousands of documents and spreadsheets. This was a point-in-time view of IT risk and compliance when they needed real-time visibility. Others moved to RegScale because their IT GRC platform for IT risk and compliance management did not deliver the real-time insight that RegScale does.
Organizations choose RegScale as they seek a single, integrated platform to automate and manage IT risk, control, assurance, and compliance processes with real-time visibility and insight. Many chose RegScale for specific depth in a solution that integrates easily into their broader IT and cloud architecture. Clients seek a single source of truth to store all cyber-security activities, strategic control assessments, compliance with standards, security plans, and more that contextually understand risks and impacts of risk and controls on the organization. Clients state they chose RegScale as the solution’s capabilities met or exceeded their needs. Still, it provided a modern and API-driven product that was easy to integrate with IT systems.
How RegScale is used
Typical use cases for RegScale vary to meet the range of IT risk, compliance, control, and assurance needs. Clients enjoy having a single system of record that has real-time visibility into controls and compliance. It provides the core automated and continuous IT risk and compliance platform.
Where RegScale has excelled
Organizations state that RegScale has improved the quality of their IT GRC-related management, monitoring, and reporting processes across their organization with real-time visibility. This improves the organization’s overall visibility into IT risk, compliance, and control with greater accountability and ownership to manage risks through a single source of truth for all activities. All this while eliminating the overhead of managing manual assessment processes encumbered by hundreds to thousands of spreadsheets, documents, and emails. Clients find that the solution is flexible to adapt to their requirements, has the capabilities needed, allows them to grow and mature their program over time, and is simple and easy to use. Overall, users found the solution was straightforward to implement and roll out in their organization. One client stated they were able to get a discount on their cyber-insurance premiums because of their RegScale implementation.
What RegScale Does
GRC 20/20 has evaluated the capabilities of the RegScale solution and finds that it delivers an intuitive and robust IT GRC management solution to manage the range of IT risk, compliance, control, and assurance activities within an organization. The solution allows organizations to increase agility in real-time management and monitoring IT risk, aligned with today’s demanding requirements and dynamic environments.
Clients engage RegScale to deliver a robust, real-time, integrated IT GRC solution and framework. It provides the ability to analyze IT risk and control information in real-time from multiple dimensions while avoiding the mistakes and errors found in trying to do this in point-in-time assessments with documents and spreadsheets. RegScale automates what were once labor-intensive tasks associated with managing IT risk. This functionality is essential for eliminating a maze of manual processes, documents, spreadsheets, email, and narrow point solutions.
- RegScale Delivers a Real-Time IT GRC Single Source of Truth. The RegScale solution provides an integrated application architecture that facilitates IT risk management and, in that context, compliance, control, and assurance across the organization in real time. It does this by providing an engaging, visual, and intuitive interface to enable IT risk and compliance with a single source of GRC truth that was not available in point-in-time assessments in other systems or manual processes with hundreds of documents and spreadsheets.
- RegScale effectively and efficiently enables an organization’s end-to-end real-time IT GRC management strategy by providing a platform to manage the IT risk and compliance lifecycle across the organization with real-time control visibility. The RegScale solution is delivered in a secure cloud environment or a multi-tenancy implementation behind an organization’s firewall. Specific differentiators that enable RegScale are:
- Ease of use. RegScale’s customers find the solution intuitive, engaging, and easy to use. This enables the back-office functions of IT risk and compliance management and audit and assurance functions.
- Unified architecture. RegScale has a single integrated application and information architecture. Unlike some solutions, where there are different code bases and applications that are haphazardly put together and marketed as a platform, the RegScale solution was designed from the ground up to be a consistent and unified architecture that delivers real-time insight and analytics within the organization.
Foundational Capabilities in RegScale
The RegScale solution can be implemented to address the complex requirements of a fully functional IT risk management program, or it can be implemented to address particular IT risk and compliance needs. Some organizations often start with addressing a specific, narrow IT risk and compliance need and expand the RegScale implementation over time to address a range of enterprise IT risk and compliance needs.
Specific capabilities RegScale delivers that enable organizations to manage IT risk and compliance in real-time are:
- Control Management. Organizations can completely define their controls with RegScale. This includes control documentation, implementation, monitoring, and testing of controls. This allows organizations to reduce risk, avoid reputation loss from cyber breaches, and allow for continuous improvement with real-time control monitoring.
- Audits and Assessments. RegScale provides continuous assurance as processes, people, and technology change over time. Organizations can schedule and track audits with the solution to ensure that your compliance posture remains robust.
- Security Profiles. With RegScale, organizations can create a baseline for IT compliance by assigning a collection of security controls mapped and indexed from multiple regulations, frameworks, and standards to a profile. This is mapped to security plans, policies, projects, and supply chain contracts. Customers can map controls across frameworks and toggle versions of security plans.
- Risk Management. Clients of RegScale manage risk and document effective mitigation strategies to protect the organization. This also allows the organization to align compliance requirements and controls with associated risks.
- 3rd Party Risk. RegScale provides vendor and supplier risk management with calculated risk scores across multiple factors. Organizations can mitigate third-party risks while working with subcontractors and suppliers with custom flow-down requirements.
- Manage Assets. RegScale allows organizations to document and manage the range of their physical and logical IT assets and build security plans by tracking the organization’s inventory of assets across their entire lifecycle.
- Incident & Issue Management. RegScale enables the ongoing management of incidents and issues. The system itself documents discovered issues in real time and are then tracked and managed in RegScale or other ticketing system. The solution allows for managing corrective actions and tracking issues to closure. Further, organizations can drive continuous improvement with causal analysis processes.
- Evidence Management. RegScale provides a single system of record to manage and store all compliance and control evidence that is fully AES-256 encrypted, SHA-256 hashed, and available for auditors.
- Task & Workflow Management. RegScale has task and workflow management that drives accountability and improves transparency on progress with assignments, due dates, and recurring options. With workflow, organizations can enable business processes using RegScale’s drag-and-drop workflow builder.
- Real-Time Reporting & Dashboards. RegScale delivers robust reporting with an organization’s Security Scorecard and intuitive dashboard. Users can access advanced reports and business intelligence with PowerBI. There is out-of-the-box reporting to visualize the state of compliance against all RegScale modules, including time visualizations, graphs, and expired/upcoming lists.
- Integration. RegScale provides integration with external data sources. Some of their integrations include Slack, Teams, JIRA, ServiceNow, Tenable, Prisma, and Wiz.io. Users can authenticate to RegScale using existing systems such as Active Directory (AD) or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Customers can programmatically access APIs without usernames and passwords, improving security.
- Notifications. RegScale provides email notifications and @mentions to notify users of new comments, workflow actions, or News Feed threads for real-time collaboration.
- Customization. RegScale’s schema is easily customized with custom fields to capture customer-specific data for any compliance process. Organizations can customize picklists in forms with the organization’s metadata to align with unique and finely tuned business processes that rely on collecting specific data.
- Scheduling. RegScale drives accountability; organizations can view progress against the schedule and project timelines and ensure they never miss another compliance deadline through automated tools for building audit/assessment schedules or scheduling recurring audits, data calls, or tasks.
Benefits Organizations Can Expect with RegScale
Organizations are most likely to move to the RegScale platform because they found that their manual, document-centric approaches took too many resources to administer, only addressed specific areas of IT risk, and found things slipping through the cracks because of the continuous barrage of risk and change and point-in-time assessments that did not provide real-time visibility. Some organizations choose RegScale because their existing IT GRC management platforms were too complex or too costly in the licensing and administration of the system and only provided point-in-time views of risk, compliance, and control.
Specific benefits organizations can expect from implementing the RegScale solution are:
- Significant efficiencies in time through automation real-time control monitoring, workflow, tasks, and reporting. Specifically, the time it takes to build reports from documents and spreadsheets now is seconds. One organization stated that with RegScale, they saved $500,000 a year in labor costs, which saves time in researching regulatory information.
- Reduction in errors by automating the validation of IT risk, compliance, and controls in real-time and removing errors from manual processes and incomplete or incorrectly entered reconciliation.
- Data integrity with RegScale being a single source of truth and the system of record for all IT risk and compliance management information.
- Collaboration and synergies by providing a single platform with a consistent interface to manage IT risk and interactions – instead of different departments doing similar things in different formats and processes.
- Consistency and accuracy of IT GRC information, as all functions must conform to consistent processes and information collection. A single solution with a uniform and integrated assessment process and information architecture.
- Accountability with full audit trails of who did what and when delivers value in fewer things slipping through the cracks.
- Agility to keep up with the business where the solution is highly agile and adaptable to deal with business and IT risk change.
Considerations in Context of RegScale
Every solution has its strengths and weaknesses and may only be ideal for some organizations in some situations. While GRC 20/20 has identified many positive attributes of RegScale to enable organizations to deliver consistent real-time IT GRC management and monitoring — readers should not see this as a complete and unquestionable endorsement of the RegScale solution.
Overall, organizations have a high degree of satisfaction with their use and implementation of RegScale as an IT GRC solution that enables the management and automation of the organization’s IT risk, compliance, control, and assurance activities. Clients are very satisfied with the overall product quality, the modern and API-driven platform, and their excellent partnership with the RegScale team.
GRC 20/20 finds that the RegScale solution provides value in managing the IT GRC lifecycle and enables real-time IT risk management across dynamic and distributed processes and IT assets. As many organizations respond to growing regulatory requirements and risk exposure across their environment, they look for a real-time solution like RegScale to manage and automate these processes.
About GRC 20/20 Research, LLC
GRC 20/20 Research, LLC (GRC 20/20) provides clarity of insight into governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) solutions and strategies through objective market research, benchmarking, training, and analysis. We provide objective insight into GRC market dynamics; technology trends; competitive landscape; market sizing; expenditure priorities; and mergers and acquisitions. GRC 20/20 advises the entire ecosystem of GRC solution buyers, professional service firms, and solution providers. Our research clarity is delivered through analysts with real-world expertise, independence, creativity, and objectivity that understand GRC challenges and how to solve them practically and not just theoretically. Our clients include Fortune 1000 companies, major professional service firms, and the breadth of GRC solution providers.
GRC 20/20 research reports are written by experienced analysts with experience selecting and implementing GRC solutions. GRC 20/20 evaluates all GRC solution providers using consistent and objective criteria, regardless of whether or not they are a GRC 20/20 client. The findings and analysis in GRC 20/20 research reports reflect analyst experience, opinions, research into market trends, participants, expenditure patterns, and best practices. Research facts and representations are verified with client references to validate accuracy. GRC solution providers are given the opportunity to correct factual errors, but cannot influence GRC 20/20 opinion.