2020 has been a year of significant change for businesses, but with this change comes opportunity. While businesses might have had their day-to-day operations severely disrupted, most have adapted fairly quickly by accelerating their digital transformation strategies, adapting to working remotely, and deployment of new cloud technology. In the first quarter of 2020, just three months into the pandemic, global corporate spending on cloud infrastructure services reached £21 billion, a 37% increase from the previous year. This rapid uptake of new cloud-based operations, together with other third-party dependencies, has put compliance and risk mitigation under the spotlight for many businesses.
The concept of ‘risk’ itself has evolved enormously in recent years, with the development of digital transformation, globalisation, and consumer awareness, businesses have become more “risk-conscious”. In particular, cloud-adoption has normalised the use of multiple third-party vendors and the outsourcing of non-critical business functions leading to greater risk uncertainty. According to Statista, 57% of organisations outsource non-core processes in order to help them focus more on the core aspects of their business.
The use of third-party vendors is undoubtedly beneficial to businesses, often allowing them to free up internal resources, gain access to specialist experts and improve their bottom line due to lower cost with a better outcome, but with each third-party relationship comes additional risk to privacy and security. As a business creates more dependencies on a third party, that third party is likely to create dependencies of its own, which can lead to an exponential network of risk and vulnerability. For a GRC program to keep up, businesses will need to take a similarly interconnected approach, tying together all of the disparate functions such as risk, compliance, privacy, and TPRM, to align data and provide real-time end-to-end integrated reporting that will enable organisations to make smarter decisions and gain the much needed holistic view.
Customer data legislation such as GDPR may seem like old news in 2020, but as businesses have severely altered their processes in many instances during this year of enforced remote working, doesn’t mean they can afford to be complacent where data privacy is concerned. Organisations need to still align to data privacy management requirements which include effective handling of IT security and physical data security to prevent data loss or breaches. This has found to be challenging for many working within their personal spaces. Businesses will need to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to ensuring customer and employee data is handled correctly and will have to adapt their policies and procedures accordingly. This may include more educational/training sessions managed remotely, eliminating the use of free tools, and investing in more physical security equipment for homeworkers- screen guards, etc.
So how can a business effectively manage an ever-expanding web of third-party vendors, compliance controls, and risk incidences? There’s a limit to what can be done internally, both in terms of capacity and sophistication, therefore an increasing number of organisations will seek to partner with external Risk and Compliance specialists. Ideally, with a technology GRC cloud platform to enable more effective outsourcing, which is easy to embed back into the business. While it may seem ironic to outsource the handling of your third-party risk management and other GRC needs, the benefits are obvious. Specialist GRC providers will be able to consolidate all aspects of risk into easily digestible risk-scoring metrics that can be used to make fast, intelligent decisions. What’s more, GRC providers are likely to have the capacity and focus to offer ongoing compliance assessments and escalation frameworks, ensuring that organisations stay compliant and as risk-averse as possible.
If 2020 has taught businesses anything about GRC, it’s that modern risk management practices, such as risk scoring and predictive analytics, are critical to success. If organisations have the ability to monitor and analyse business-wide initiatives and present up-to-date assessments to C-suite executives, it will lead to greater reduced risk and better decision-making.
Great businesses are often built on taking risks, but there’s no reason those risks shouldn’t be carefully calculated in 2021 and beyond. The rush toward digital transformation this year has, by many accounts, not been a calculated risk but a reactive response to external pressures. This has left many businesses vulnerable in a rapidly changing digital landscape. However, with an increased focus on cloud-based GRC, organisations will steady the ship and move to calmer waters.
SureCloud is a provider of cloud-based, Integrated Risk Management products and Cybersecurity services, which reinvent the way you manage risk. SureCloud connects the dots with Integrated Risk Management solutions enabling you to make better decisions and achieve your desired business outcomes. SureCloud is underpinned by a highly configurable technology platform, which is simple, intuitive, and flexible. Unlike other GRC Platform providers, SureCloud is adaptable enough to fit your current business processes without forcing you to make concessions during implementation; meaning you get immediate and sustained value from the outset.