Since the beginning of business whether they knew it or not organizations have always been analyzing risk and implementing mitigation procedures. It wasn’t until 2002 when Michael Rasmussen and OCEG finally defined the field of risk management and coined the term GRC (governance, risk, and compliance). The concept was revolutionary, in a time when the world of business was becoming ever-more complex the field of thought known as GRC outlined and defined the interconnectivity of common areas of risk and established methods of prevention.
Compliance risks are defined as the risks that result from violations of laws, regulations, codes of conduct, or organizational standards of practice. Compliance risk management is a part of compliance management and it helps identify, assess, and monitor and manage risks that might cause because of non-compliance. Compliance requirements differ from sectors to sectors. The government and regulatory agencies specify rules and regulations based on which companies in a particular sector should do business. For example, banks and financial institutions face the most complicated regulatory environment.
Historically, the banking sector has always been plagued by vulnerabilities and risks. The global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 is an indicator of this fact. Robust risk and compliance management programs and use of technology have helped banks to make good progress on the risk management front. While these control systems and risk management protocols are constantly evolving, operational risk always remains a concern.
Operating as a non-profit organization in an overly competitive and capitalism-first economy means that there is no shortage of obstacles. Non-profits are bound by unending public scrutiny coupled with strict government regulations because of the special financial privileges they enjoy. The tax-exempt status combined with access to public funding is two very good reasons why compliance, on all fronts, can’t be ignored.
Regulatory watchdogs around the world served stiff penalties in 2020, with major financial institutions being asked to own up for their deficiencies and malpractices. Citigroup faced a $400 million fine for risk management shortfalls, JP Morgan was charged $920 million for illicit market activity, Westpac agreed to a record fine of AUD 1.3 billion for anti-money laundering breaches, Goldman Sachs was fined $2.9 billion in connection with the 1MDB scandal, and Wells Fargo saw a huge $3 billion penalty for he fraudulent account fiasco.
Internal audit plays a crucial role in guiding an organization with key insights on corporate governance and suggest improvements on improving compliance, reducing risks, boosting efficiency, and enhancing regular operations. It probes into soft spots and critical business areas and reports to senior management within the organization.
The year 2021 ushers in a new decade of business change, especially considering the roller-coaster that 2020 was. As organizations move forward, there are various compliance challenges both new and old that compliance officers must come to terms with. Compliance refers to playing according to the rule book, so amid geo-political changes, data privacy concerns, questions on operational resilience, and cybercrime threats, there is new interest in policy and regulatory mandates.
With digitization of services progressing at a relentless pace, businesses are storing large volume of customer data . But with sensitive information being routinely handled by service providers and third-party associates, there is a pressing need for increased information security. Data breaches and cybercrime too are a threat to security. In such a scenario, it is not uncommon for clients to want an independent review of your internal controls for data security prior to partnering with you, especially if you are a SaaS organization.
Cyber threats have grown from being plausible to probable. With organizations becoming more dependent on the internet, social media, and digitization, exposure to cyber risk has also increased manifold. Today, cyber security is among the top priorities of organizations world-wide simply because a cyber-attack can leave your organization in a dilapidated state – untethered from information systems and unable to provide services, owning a handful of compromised data, and staring at massive reputation loss.
Proper policies are integral to the good governance of any organization. Clear and actionable policies, for instance, a cybersecurity policy or an employee safety policy define the boundaries of employee conduct and set the stage for a compliant workplace.