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What is Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC)?

GRC is a strategy for managing an organization's overall Governance (Governance), managing risk (Risk) and complying with regulations (Compliance). Think of GRC as a structured approach to complying with regulations, while effectively managing risk and meeting compliance requirements. It is not always specifically invested and set up, but in one form or another GRC is present.

What organizations may not realize is that all three pillars of GRC work together in relation to business objectives:


Governance is about the management approach used to guide the organization toward the successful completion of its objectives. It involves the direction, control, accountability and monitoring of policies, procedures and measures to enable the organization to function in accordance with its objectives. The approach includes rules, policies and internal procedures.

Risc (risk management)

Risk management helps identify, manage and mitigate the risks that may prevent the organization from achieving its objectives.

The methods, procedures and measures are aimed at:
- identifying risks
- taking control measures
- reporting on and monitoring the risks
- measures that interfere with the achievement of organizational objectives.


Compliance is about successfully addressing the requirements of laws, regulations, policies, internal procedures, contracts, etc. With compliance you remove a significant obstacle to the successful achievement of objectives. Compliance is supported by, for example, registration, progress and reporting of improvement actions. Providing insight into risks, in the form of identification, weighing and monitoring of risks or showing the standards frameworks in relation to the necessary measures. It helps to set up, monitor and direct targeted risk management.

GRC tool

The constant interaction between governance, risk management and compliance is the main reason the three components work together. Many organizations are orienting themselves toward or using tools to manage GRC in an automated and centralized manner across the organization. More mature organizations have a different reason for investing in a GRC tool. They realize that GRC not only reduces risk, but also ensures that objectives are met.

Organizations must (demonstrably) meet more and more standards in the areas of information security and privacy. A Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) tool helps organizations manage processes and policies. GRC can be implemented by any organization that wants to align its IT activities with business goals, effectively manage risk and stay on top of compliance.

How does a GRC tool support information security and privacy?

GRC functionality provides insight into the degree of control of processes, processing and risks. The dashboards of a GRC tool provide organizations with insight into the current status, allowing them to be better and more demonstrably "in control. Depending on the tool, it offers a compliance-based or a risk-based approach or both. These complement each other. Sometimes the tool already links the threats to measures, so that an organization does not have to think about the measures it can take to reduce the risk.

What functionalities does a GRC tool have?

Insight and grip on standards frameworks

A collective approach is the best choice for any organization that wants to get a grip on the ever-changing landscape of laws and regulations. A GRC tool provides the relevant standards frameworks (for example, the BIO, the Privacy Control Framework, DigiD and Suwinet). Sometimes it is also possible to add and set up another desired standards framework. With the standards framework you not only define the status, but also the responsible and accountable party. This gives the organization insight into and control over the set of standards. Using tasks, it is then possible to issue assignments to take measures and to keep the status up-to-date. The GRC tool's dashboard then shows the progress made.

Risk analysis with measures

A GRC tool provides a risk analysis that gets the organization started with identifying, analyzing and assessing risks. This can be done, for example, through a quick scan AVG or the Availability, Integrity and Confidentiality (BIV) consisting of questionnaire. By providing answers to the questions, the organization goes through the risk analysis. Depending on the tool, this sometimes provides insight into the threats and risks as well as an overview of possible measures. In this way, the risk can be properly assessed and outstanding threats can be managed.

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