Businesses operating online today have a lot to juggle with constantly changing rules and regulations. As well as managing their cybersecurity risk profile. Historically, organisations followed mandated government regulations, complying with industry rules, and accounting for risk separately. However, they can now all be brought under one model known as GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance). In this guide, we’ll be exploring exactly what this is and what businesses need to know to effectively implement it into their corporate structure.

Defining governance, risk, and compliance

As briefly mentioned above, governance, risk (management), and compliance describe a business’ strategy for managing 3 key online components and the many disciplines within them. These overarching elements are corporate governance policies, risk management programmes and planning, and regulatory and company compliance.


Governance is the processes and frameworks a business puts in place to achieve its goals. Within that the responsibilities and accountabilities of stakeholders, including directors and senior management will be. Good governance ensures the business and team are supported with corporate social responsibility. Other examples of best practices for governance include:

  • Conflict resolution policies
  • Resource management
  • Transparent information sharing
  • Ethics and accountability

Risk management

Risk management is essentially what the name implies, the strategies businesses have to effectively identify, manage, and mitigate risks as much as possible. There are several different types of risks that businesses can face including security, financial, and legal. So, it’s important that there are robust risk management processes to protect operations and avoid any hinderances. That would prevent an organisation from working efficiently and meeting its goals.


Compliance is when a business properly adheres to any laws, rules, and regulations enforced by governing bodies. As well as the best practices and standards that are mandated by the company itself. For example, any business that handles their customers personal or financial data must comply to UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules.


Where did GRC come from and why is it important?

Governance, risk management, and compliance are three broad topics with significant overlap, that businesses realised in the early 21st century could be better coordinated and managed together. This was important because taking a more synthesised approach meant that organisations could ensure they were acting ethically. To help them achieve their goals more efficiently by reducing the chance of errors, miscommunications, and many other potential problems that could arise surrounding GRC.

When they were dealt with as separate entities, more and more processes or systems were needed to effectively respond to specific events. Such as new regulations and cybersecurity threats. As a result, businesses often ended up with a complicated web of inefficient processes, conflicting actions, confusing and unnecessary complexity, a lack of visibility to understand the full risk landscape, and ultimately a disorganised way of running operations.

When GRC is brought together and organised as a single model, organisations can make more informed decisions and the business as a whole can become more focused with everyone knowing and understanding the framework. Some other examples of key GRC benefits are:

  • Decision-making backed by data – GRC software, tools, and frameworks can allow stakeholders or other important decision makers to have all the information they need to make vital decisions in short time frames.
  • Operations that are responsible and efficient – Clear GRC procedures helps to promote a healthy business and environment that streamlines operations, encourages positive values, and helps everyone within the workplace to feel confident and assured in their role.
  • Better cybersecurity – An integrated GRC framework encourages organisations to highlight potential vulnerabilities in their online security and take the steps needed to fill those gaps and minimise cybersecurity risks and threats as much as possible – protecting the business and its customers.


How to achieve effective GRC

Achieving effective GRC is about establishing the processes and systems that pave the way for informed, risk-aware decision making at every level. With this in mind, a good quality GRC approach should:

  • Establish one source of truth to avoid confusion.
  • Allow space for communication and collaboration.
  • Set out a common vocabulary for all disciplines.
  • Standardise policies, practices, and processes so that everyone can understand and follow them.

Effective GRC benefits all organisations, irrespective of size. When implemented correctly, every part of the business can focus on the overall objectives and actions that keeps it heading in the direction of success without the fear of undiagnosed risk.


What are the challenges of implementing GRC?

Some organisations might struggle to create the relevant components for GRC and implement them into their operations. If this sounds like you then don’t worry, our security risk specialists at CyberWhite are on hand to help you overcome the challenges. We’ll help you understand your risks and ensure you feel confident as we help you to develop your governance, risk management, and compliance framework.

Lack of clear communication

Successful GRC is reliant upon complete clarity of communication, with transparent information sharing between teams being crucial for activities like planning, creating policies, and decision-making.

Change management

When your business is used to working a certain way, change isn’t easy, especially in a fast-moving, evolving environment. Using GRC effectively will allow you to quickly adapt to changes based on report insights and industry developments, which you should consider when implementing the framework.

Missing framework parts

A full GRC framework will integrate your normal business activities with key GRC components. This helps to ensure that you can keep up with the changing business environment, especially when navigating new regulations. If your GRC processes aren’t all integrated, it will end up being fragmented and ineffective.



Governance, risk, and compliance is a framework of important processes  that all business should have as part of their operations. Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the importance and benefits to businesses who want to stay safe, compliant, and efficient online. If you need help with your GRC, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team of security risk specialists today.