“Vanta guided us…. and we got SOC 2 Type II compliant in just a few weeks” says a testimony written in Vanta’s website. And many other fantastic companies also claim how powerful their compliance management software is.
Yes, those GRC (Governance, Risk, Compliance) automation software can be very helpful but you cannot depend only on software for your organizational IT Risk transformation. You need to excel in the whole process:
- Choosing the suitable software for your needs,
- Your staff being able to utilize the advanced features in the software,
- Making policy adjustments for the compliance standard,
- Implementing the adjusted policies in the context of your business, and
- Preparing the annual audits for certification’s audit and maintenance.
GRC Software boosts your productivity but with some caveats
There are hundreds of GRC Platforms in the market. And the number is still growing. Each of them promises you to achieve SOC 2 or other security and privacy certifications faster than you ever think.
But on the other hand we often hear about companies’ experiences of buying smart software but it turns out that it’s useless. It simply doesn’t suit the company’s needs and situations. And/or, the users are reluctant to change their traditional way of working and hence leave the purchased technology untapped.
This is where consulting firms come to fill this gap. Their job is to make sure that you buy the GRC software that you will use. An independent consultant knows and has experiences on a variety of software in the market as they go from one firm to another and are at the same time being approached by various software companies.
Consultants help you choose the right software
A GRC Expert will first see what is your business and which products or services you want to cover in your compliance program. That differs from one company to another. If you only want to cover parts instead of the whole business, then the expert will gauge how far you’ll use the software.
Another aspect to be considered is the cloud platform and applications your company uses, and make sure that the GRC software has an integration with those systems.
Usually GRC platforms have integrations with the known platforms such as Azure and AWS and known HR software such as Namely. But certain types of organizations such as governmental ones do not use those known systems in the market. Therefore, it is important to check whether the GRC software has plugins to connect to your existing systems.
Furthermore, the consultant will look at your budget. An independent, reliable consultant will suggest software that is within the range of your budget. As the GRC Software market is getting wider, there is always software within your budget range.
Then there is a necessary condition to get benefits from any GRC software: the executives’ willingness to disclose data to the software. Companies often miss this. Please note that you’ll enjoy the automation process provided by the software only if your company is willing to let the technology absorb your data automatically.
During consideration to purchase, many companies are dazzled by the capability of the software but miss to check this necessary condition. Therefore, make sure beforehand that your top-level management will give consent for the automatic data collection.
Consultants help you utilize the software to accelerate the process
The subject of executives’ privacy preference brings us to the topic of your staff’ preferred way of working. As the change management theory says “Technology is nothing without the right people following the right process to enable it”, your team’s knowledge of the software and their working habits has to be aligned with the technology you now have.
We meet not a few organizations buying softwares taking into account only its functionality, not how to use them. They realized too late that their staff had employed a manual way of working and were not used to the intelligent software.
If you hire an implementation consultant, then you have one thing less to worry about. Your consultant will work together with your staff to prepare the compliance program using the software. Our experience tells us that during this process internal staff grows in capabilities and shifts their way of working.
Consultants help you implement the compliance standard in your ISMS (Information Security Management System)
While compliance software speeds up the documentation process, it cannot change the system in your company. Management has to adjust policies according to the controls in the compliance standard and makes everyone follow the adjusted policies. It is the implementation consultant’s responsibility to tell you which policies have to be adjusted and what actions have to be taken to remedy the current non-compliant practices.
The consultant guides you along the process including the internal and external audits. Together with your team, a consultant will make improvements according to the audits’ findings.
[If you are aiming for an ISO 27001 certificate, please read here for a detailed journey to get it.]
Consultants help you in the annual audits for the certification maintenance.
Once you succeed to obtain the certification, you of course feel happy and satisfied with the software. But please remember that there will be recurring audits to maintain the certificate. While testimonies from software companies always tell you how fast they are to obtain certificates with the help of the software, keep in mind you still have to pass the surveillance audit by an external party every year.
If you feel overwhelmed with this, you don’t need to as your consultant will prepare all these for you.
So, are IT GRC Experts more important than the Software?
If we use a healthy life transformation as an analogy, then yes it seems experts that pay attention to the whole process are more important than the software alone. Being fit and healthy cannot be achieved by only consuming super-nutritious food, but also by changing a whole set of lifestyle: eating, sleeping, exercise, and sanitation. Likewise, you may need to walk your ISMS (Information Security Management System) transformational journey from A to Z to meet the compliance standard.
Looking for IT GRC Experts? Ring us up to discuss what we can help you with.