What to Look for in a GRC Consulting Services Provider
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of business leaders who have realized the importance of governance, risk, and compliance — also known as GRC — as part of a company’s overarching risk management strategy. But with this realization comes an appreciation of GRC’s complexity.
While the three GRC concepts are fairly straightforward, many find it challenging to come up with policy changes and other measures that align with good governance, risk management, and compliance principles. In other words, understanding GRC is one thing; putting it to work for your business in a tangible, actionable way is where it gets tricky. But there is help and it comes in the form of the GRC consulting services provider.
Defining Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)
As you begin your search for a GRC consulting services provider, it’s important to go into the process with a strong understanding of GRC and how it impacts your business. This will position you in a manner that allows you to evaluate prospective consulting partners more effectively. Here is a look at how these three concepts are related to a company’s risk management efforts.
- Governance is a reference to a company’s policies, protocols, and procedures. This encompasses everything from the company handbook, business image, company operations, and everything in between. Governance ensures that these actions and efforts all align with all applicable laws, regulations, and other similar mandates.
- Risk — or risk management — is a reference to the various vulnerabilities that represent a risk factor for your business, your business interests, and your customers/clients and employees. An organization’s risk management strategy must center around these vulnerabilities to avoid non-compliance, legal troubles, and other adverse consequences.
- Compliance refers to a company’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Many industries and business types are subject to regulatory oversight, such as the healthcare space and the financial sector. Non-compliance can result in significant fines and penalties. Plus, non-compliance can also cause harm to a brand image, leading to adverse consequences in the public relations arena. As a result, GRC efforts will include the establishment and maintenance of measures that allow a company to achieve full compliance with all laws and regulations.
In today’s highly-competitive business world, good risk management can mean the difference between wild success and epic failure. For many, this is a realization that crystallized during the COVID-19 pandemic, when lots of companies were confronted by vulnerabilities and risk management challenges that they never even knew existed. The pandemic drove home the importance of good risk management practices, as many were left stunned by the fragile nature of their company’s footing. GRC is a critical component of a well-developed risk management strategy and that is where a GRC consulting services provider can help get your business on track.
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What to Look for in a GRC Consulting Services Provider
GRC consulting is multidisciplinary and dynamic, with a focus on the entire business, its operations, and its position within the industry and marketplace. A good GRC consultant will get to know your business, its goals, and its challenges; from there, they develop a strategy for establishing and maintaining compliance. The best consultants will stand alongside your organization as you implement new GRC-friendly measures, all the while helping you to refine your overarching risk management strategy.
But how do you find the perfect GRC consulting services provider; someone who can do all this and more? Consider the following traits to look for in a GRC consulting services provider.
Look for Industry-Specific Experience – A majority of the regulatory and even legal compliance-related aspects of GRC are industry-specific. For example, a company in the healthcare space is going to have some really unique regulatory burdens such as HIPAA. This regulation impacts virtually every aspect of the organization’s operations and policies, resulting in an especially complex GRC landscape. This demands a great deal of expertise and experience on the part of a consultant. Without this expertise, important vulnerabilities may be overlooked and unrealized, resulting in non-compliance and other risk management challenges.
Look for a Defined Process – A top GRC consultant should have a well-established consulting process. They should be able to articulate how this process works so you know exactly what to expect if you opt to work with the consulting firm. Look for a process that feels logical and aligns well with your own. If they are unable to clearly articulate their process, this can suggest a lack of organization. That is a red flag that suggests that you may be better served by another GRC consulting firm.
Look for Good References – Ask the GRC consulting services provider if you can speak with current and past clients. Good references are essential in this space because you are looking at the possibility of making some significant overhauls to your company’s processes, policies, and other aspects of your business. These changes will arise from the GRC consultant’s GRC and risk management-related recommendations. But if the GRC consultant’s advice turns out to be misguided or just plain bad, then you could find yourself in a nasty bind. Stated simply, you need to know you can trust the consulting firm and their recommendations. Strong references will help you gain that confidence. The best references will be companies in your industry, ideally with a comparable size and structure.
Look for Tools and Technology – Achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance is no small feat. It can be a complex effort that spans the entire organization. Ideally, your GRC consulting services provider is one that uses technology to their advantage, such as one of the risk management / GRC software platforms. GRC software serves as a centralized platform for identifying, mitigating, and monitoring risk management-related efforts. This software is typically configured, implemented, and deployed at the start of the consulting process and the business is left with this valuable toolset, which is used to manage compliance once the consulting engagement has concluded.
Finding the right GRC consulting services provider can take some time, but when you combine a consultant’s expertise with modern technology, the results can be exceptional. At iTech, we specialize in high-tech risk management solutions, including for GRC-related efforts. We invite you to reach out to the iTech team today to discuss your risk management and governance, risk, and compliance concerns and we will work to help you find the perfect solution to achieve and maintain full compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner.