Governance comprises regulations and plans to ensure the smooth functioning of government agencies. Governance also combines activities to provide the right support to government bodies.
Regulatory compliance refers to the following rules and regulations connected to business procedures. When regulatory compliance is disregarded, then it leads to a lawful penalty. Some rules and regulations that government agencies must comply with include the Dodd-Frank-Act, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS),Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Frameworks such as COBIT and NIST, a compliance standard, inform government bodies on how to keep pace with regulations.
Let's take a look at important regulations government agencies must comply with:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a standard for companies that manage registered credit cards fromlarge card schemes. The PCI Standard is commanded by the card brands, but it is supervised by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.
This standard was built to develop security all around the cardholder data. Every company that acquires and progresses card payments should cooperate with the PCI-DSS. This includes all government agencies that take card payments for provisions.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a non-regulatory government company that improves technology, metrics, and standards to encourage creativeness and business competition among U.S. based companies.
NIST creates principles to support government agencies and help them reach the necessities of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). NIST also helps those agencies by safe guarding their data. It creates the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) per FISMA. The Security Of Commerce accepts FIPS, with which the government agencies must cooperate.
The main challenge for government agencies to follow compliance rules has been an incapability to recognize and gather facts from across their company. The challenge is expanded because of mixed technologies being scattered across agencies, an absence of immediate observation across systems, and the incapability to modify and scale according to administrative requirements.
To efficiently establish compliance, knowledge exchange and involvement from various stakeholders are necessary to construct end-to-end opinions. This helps management monitor the status of compliance across different systems, confirm any non-compliance, and take required measures.
The governance challenges that a government agency faces are as follows:
1. There is a lack of an organized approach to manage compliance.
2. Compliance strategies are not followed through to the end to actually see benefits.
3. Junior-level employees are assigned to project management positions with limited help to be efficient and effective.
4. Agencies that work separately from each other keep introducing new rules and regulations, which further complicates governance.
Here are some of the costs of non-compliance that government agencies must consider:
Compliance errors can be a monetary cost, not just to an agency but also to individuals. Personal liability is an issue for compliance officers responsible for compliance at their agency. Honesty, integrity, and morals are a huge part of compliance, and individuals are held accountable for ignoring the regulations for their business.
When an agency fails to comply with the business executive necessities, it leads to a $5000 fine or imprisonment for the concerned officers.
Most of the time compliance is restricted to a small number of divisions or people, but obeying rules often demands information from more functions. Thus, it's important for everyone in a team to be informed about the meaning of compliance, how it can influence their part, and how it qualifies into the broad view.
Failure to follow compliance in an organization often points to deeper issues with communication and collaboration across an organization.
Time is another hidden cost of non-compliance. Some nations accept business filings online, but 44% of the nations need the filings to be presented personally.
The lack of a well-defined system to handle compliance procedures can cost hundreds of wasted hours to an organization. Thus, it's important for organizations to employ a specialist to arrange the filings in the domestic dialect and file the proper forms at the domestic jurisdictions office.
The best and efficient way to manage compliance advice is to adopt a system that meets present-day information gathering, observing, and circulating necessities across the organization and helps organize administrative procedures in a better way.
At its core, the best compliance management systems offer the following:
A tool should offer a system which can accommodate the company’s business procedure elements and also be flexible to modifications.
Your compliance solution should easily be able to include new users, procedures, and be used for several different compliance-related functions such as risk management and assessment.
It should immediately interact with all data sources needed to observe, evaluate, and reach compliance necessities.
With those pointers in mind, let's take a look at what good governance looks like at a government organization:
An agency must enforce sound administration obligations and liabilities, significant policies, and individual supervision.
Good governance relies on an administrative framework that assists the agency to attain the objectives.
Practical preparation helps to control and utilize resources efficiently, expand compliance capabilities, and develop asense of responsibility across an organization.
Here a few ways in which compliance management software helps government agencies better manage their governance requirements:
Timely adherence to social, legal, corporate, environmental, government, and financial compliance helps agencies avoid fines and penalties. Compliance management software helps automate these activities, so agencies never fall back on their responsibilities or miss important compliance deadlines.
Compliance management software makes sure there is an appropriate record of inspections, assessments, and developments. It also helps agencies develop reliable processes and procedures to ensure everyone in an organization is aware of their compliance duties and responsibilities.
Compliance management software helps government agencies collaborate more effectively and save time on compliance activities. These resources can then be allocated to other areas that need them.
While government agencies work to improve the social life of their citizens, they must also adhere to rules and regulations that help them meet these goals.
To efficiently manage compliance and governance needs, agencies must employ tools such as GRC software such as VComply and establish a compliance strategy that helps them stay ahead of the curve.
“Compliance management is the process by which managers, plan, organize, control, and lead activities that ensure compliance with laws regulations & standards.” With the consequences of failing to comply with laws, regulations, and standards having such a high potential cost, compliance is clearly a very big issue for businesses.
Compliance Management might sound like a lot of extra work. But while it will certainly require commitment and some effort, there are tools you can use to make your job easier. When you get associated with a business, there are many categories of compliance that your company and its employees must uphold. “Compliance” refers to sticking to the rules i.e. you need to comply with relevant legislation, as well as any internal or external standards. Compliance Management System to an organization is all about:
1. Learning & understanding all the compliance responsibilities.
2. Making sure that the employees recognize their responsibilities.
3. Ensures that the essential requirements will be integrated into business processes.
4. Analyzing vital operations to assure that responsibilities are performed and requirements are fulfilled.
5. Makes a beneficial move and updates material as fundamental.
Compliance Management System plays a crucial role in the structure of every organization. A vivid and effective compliance management system will help check the risks relevant to an organization in administering several regulatory requirements. When correctly implemented and managed, issues within the organization that affects consumers will be efficiently resolved. Not sticking to compliance can lead to the damage done towards both the company and its customers. The compliance management system can include activities like Internal audits, Third-party audits, Security procedures and control, Preparing reports and providing supporting documentation, Developing and implementing policies and procedures to ensure compliances and many more.
Compliance Management is crucial for an organization for two purposes as it helps in:
VComply is an integrated platform that provides Compliance management as one of its solutions. VComply provides six simple steps to be followed in Compliance Management Process:
By acting diligently and creating complete transparency within your organization, VComply makes sure your organization systematically discovers and resolves many hidden tasks, saving you and your organization from easily avoidable losses effectively & efficiently.
According to Gartner, Vendor management is a “discipline that enables organizations to control costs, drive service excellence and mitigate risks to gain increased value from their vendors throughout the deal lifecycle.”1 Vendor management should enable organizations to select vendors suited for their business requirements, develop vendor contracts, manage and control vendor performance, and build a sustainable relationship for the long-term efficient business operations.
However, the first step in vendor management involves the selection of the right vendor. The very first step is most crucial in many management practices as they define the course for businesses. Vendor selection involves extensive research and deliberation to select the best fit for the vendor. The selection process involves understanding the supplier products and process adopted by the vendor so as to avoid any vendor risk in the future.
Step 1: Define the organization objectives
Analyze all the internal business and technical needs which the vendor’s product needs to fulfill. This can be done only if the decision maker has required expertise and knowledge of the business processes and understands the vendor management process. The final outcome should be a clear definition of resource requirement with all technical and business requirements. This requirement information gives a better idea of how the vendor is going to add value to the organization. Define the type of outsourcing agreement – Fixed Price, Time and Material costs or a hybrid of both.
Step 2: Request for Information
As vendor selection involves evaluating various possible vendors, the organization needs to have information on the capabilities of the possible vendors. With Request for Information (RFI) proposal, vendors share the required information which is further evaluated for shortlisting a few vendors for further consideration. Do not neglect a vendor on the first go but shortlist only 2-3 vendors for a request for proposal (RFP).
Step 3: Request for Proposal (RFP)
Now with only a few vendors to be evaluated, a detailed evaluation would be warranted. Develop an RFP. The RFP should contain project overview, objective, structure and timeline of the proposal, the scope of work, resource technical and business specification, vendor profile and the brief conditions of the contract.
Step 4: Evaluate Response
After receiving the proposal, business should develop an effective evaluation framework along with relevant KPIs for the vendor and assign weights to them. With received information, the framework would help in the fair evaluation of the vendors on the important criteria. This step would also help in understanding how the vendor processes would be integrated with internal processes and help establish internal controls for vendor management and risk mitigation. At this step, it is also important to understand the regulatory compliances and standards followed by the vendor to assess the quality of service and assess the possible risks associated with the particular vendor. With VComply’s Compliance Library, organizations can assess the vendor regulatory compliances helping them to evaluate the vendors.
Step 5: Final Selection
Final selection of vendor involves signing an agreement contract. The contract needs to define the measurable KPIs, a timeline of service, pricing policy, integration measures to be taken by both parties, performance evaluation cycle and most importantly, agreed upon quality of work.
With VComply, manage your vendors from selection to performance review so as to build supplier intimacy and derive maximum value for the business.
With new technologies, business expansion and cost focus, the importance of vendor has increased dramatically in the past few years.
Vendors play a vital role in increasing operational efficiency, improving financial results and customer satisfaction. However, the benefits of efficient vendors come at a cost. Establishing and nurturing the vendor relationship, monitoring the vendor performance and effective communication channels in both the organization holds the key to effective vendor management.
A strong Request for Proposal (RPF) holds the key for vendor selection. RPF should include the business requirements, value output, and metrics to be measured along with the capabilities and integrations of the vendor required to achieve the business objective.
Plan your selection process with small multiple milestones and timeline. With the plan in place, the selection team would be in a position to communicate the progress well to the top management. Derive the agreed-upon selection criteria of vendors and communicate the same to the top management. Ensure that your vendor presents substantial proof of its capabilities.
Contract and SLA
The business value and terms of agreements need to capture in a contract and service level agreement (SLA). The contract and SLA are used for onboarding, performance evaluation, and relationship management. The contract should provide a clear mention of the products and services in trade. This will help in establishing compliance activities at both organizations. SLA should establish the agreed-upon expectations for delivery of services and goods. Also ensure to provide protections, recourse against vendor risks.
Effective onboarding of vendors provides a good and time-bound start to vendor relationship. A start-up integration plan needs to be developed and implemented for simplifying the complex coordination system, process, and workforce. Also, the focus should be placed on setting the performance monitoring system during this process. Setup KPIs and build tracking mechanism to promote data-based performance evaluation. Also, setup procedures which need to be followed in times of any vendor crisis.
Setup short term and long term goals for performance evaluation. The parameters for evaluation can be classified into Quality, Time, Satisfaction, Availability, and Coverage. Automate data collection processes and regularly generate reports for tracking the vendor performance. Monitor all the SLA metrics compliance and generate data based actionable reports for further issue resolution.
The time, efforts and resources devoted to building vendor relationship bears fruits in terms of the long-term vendor relationship. Conduct regular and productive meetings with the vendor to build a sense of integration and collaborative relationship. The effective communication channel in both organizations with proper escalation process for hassle-free issue resolution.
The multi-vendor approach uses multiple vendors rather than using a single vendor. For complex supplier interdependencies, set up integration points and standards to be followed. The multi-sourcing system can help business derive extra value but may bring supplier coordination complexities.
For long-term vendor relationship, a smooth contract renewal process is important. Ensuring more clear communication is required in renewal process as it involves significant changes in the contracts. Communicate any issues faced in the expiring contract. Conducting internal assessment would help unearth significant areas of improvement which should be incorporated into the renewed contract.
VComply helps organizations in implementing the vendor management lifecycle with its easy to use GRC platform. Monitoring the vendor KPIs and detailed reports enable better decision making in relation to vendors.
To read more about vendor management, click here
Enterprise Risk Management has been gaining relevance in today’s time due to the dynamic nature of regulations and a competitive market environment. Risk management internal to the company is where the majority of companies are focusing on which special emphasis on optimizing internal controls and processes. However, the major party of enterprise risk management is vendor risk. Managing multiple vendors, suppliers and partners are now difficult. With shrinking margins always the concern for corporates, companies can only focus on optimizing its costs in which effective vendor management plays an important role.
With businesses now focusing on specializing in a specific part of activities, outsourcing the critical processes and systems to vendors makes the vendor management a very important task.
Vendor risk management program is a challenging task due to the complexity arising from a large number of internal and external participant’s involvement and the vendor.
Your six step success guide for effective vendor risk management process:
Internal Controls: Establish strong and organization-wide internal controls. This would standardize the quality and requirements of the vendor. This would help in clearly assessing the vendor on various required parameters. Setting an internal control parameter on pollution levels to help judge the vendors on their products or services pollution level.
Vendor Contracts: In order to mitigate vendor risks and clearly communicate the value which vendor needs to provide, contracts are the most preferred way for a relationship. Mutual agreement of the necessary terms and conditions would bring both the vendor and customer on the same page with a clear understanding of each other’s role. Key elements should include review period, audit rights and security requirements.
Risk Assessments: Vendor Risk Management typically involves three distinct risk categories namely Business Profile Risk, Control Risk and Relationship Risk. Business Profile Risk addresses the financial, regulatory compliance, and geopolitical nature of the vendor; Control Risk addresses the processes and policies a vendor adopts to effectively deliver on the contract agreement. Relationship Risk is the risk associated due to engaging in business with a vendor.
To assess the risk, it is important to perform due diligence of the vendor. During risk assessment, set-up high-risk controls to measure, and indicators to alert when problems arise.
Onsite Audit: Conduct on-site audit to assess critical processes adopted by the vendor. Establish an audit plan before the visit so that critical areas are inspected and correct and relevant findings are documented for further review.
Reporting: Report your findings in a concise audit report providing important guidance to an internal team like legal and logistics to review the vendor and provide suggestion to the vendor to improve on its weak controls in order to be compliant with the organization.
Monitor Risks: Constantly monitor changing business environment of organizations as well as the vendor. This would help the organization to predict any risks arising due to non-compliance. You can effectively manage vendor risks by setting necessary compliances on VComply. Monitor the vendor’s financial health, regulatory compliances, internal controls and security measures.
GRC helps in each progression of the vendor management lifecycle in an alternate manner. The assistance ranges from better visualization of information and reminders to complete automation.
Assessment – the primary stage
The initial step is to evaluate the available vendors. This procedure is more complicated in organizations that are under a strict regulatory framework. Vendors that deliver services to the medical, financial, and energy sectors frequently need accreditations and qualifications. GRC solutions like VComply automate this procedure. They monitor every one of the qualifications and certifications of vendors and alert management if any vendor does not qualify.
On-boarding – the second stage
The second step of the vendor management lifecycle is the initial step of the vendor relationship management process. When a vendor has been chosen, they should then be on-boarded. Contracts should be reviewed, certifications should be gathered, and service delivery terms must be agreed. It is critical that the requirements of the business are communicated clearly to vendors. GRC solutions like VComply streamline the onboarding process and deal with all the documentation in one spot.
Why we are concentrating on GRC? Here you can find the solution Why do we need GRC Technology?
Ensuring Service Delivery – the third stage
After all the documentation is finished the vendor starts delivering the services they were on-boarded for. This is where GRC arrangements demonstrate their maximum potential. There is no performance tracking when vendors are being overseen physically. GRC solutions have vendor master data – information that tracks everything about vendors. Any business that manages vendors manually will note down if a disruption happens yet that is the degree of vendor performance tracking in most organizations. GRC solutions empower the management to effortlessly track and envision performance. In the event that any vendor’s service quality demonstrates a descending pattern, it is conceivable to speak with them and course-right before any serious damages or disturbances are brought about.
Off-boarding – the last stage
In case, the vendor was only hired for a solitary assignment, at that point the following step is to off-board them with legitimate documentation. The document management side of GRC Solutions demonstrates its importance in this procedure.
Vendor management involves selecting suitable vendors, sourcing pricing information, collecting quality details, evaluating amongst different vendors and maintaining relationships with them. Vendor management is the process of minimizing the costs in procuring supplies, maintaining effectiveness and quality and avoiding possible vendor risks. A robust vendor management system can help in increasing productivity, add value to operations and drive long term growth of organizations.
Many organizations face many challenges in the implementation of vendor management. Few among them are-
1. Handling multiple vendors is very complex and difficult. Maintaining the quality across vendors is time-consuming. Coordinating activities among various vendor is also a critical process.
2. Maintaining vendor data- A secure and easy to use data storage system is necessary to maintain all the vendor-related data.
3. Vendor payment- Organizations face major issues while dealing with multiple vendor payments. The payment structure varies with each vendor and ensuring effortless and uncomplicated payments is essential.
4. Compliance risk- Different standards and policies may have to be set while dealing with different vendors. This may lead to increased complexity. Hence choosing vendors who adhere to the organization’s policies and standards is important.
Vendor management is a very crucial and critical process in an organization’s operations. Ensuring the smooth functioning of this process, in combination with other processes is very important. Manually vendor management may prove to be challenging and time-consuming. The probability of errors is also very high.
There are numerous vendor management platforms which can help in ensuring a trouble-free vendor management system. These platforms help in integrating vendor management with business goals and objectives. It can aid in preventing wastage of resources and duplication of efforts. All vendor related information can be stored in a streamlined and categorical manner. It also enables minimization of vendor risk and coherence in the activities of the vendors with the goals set by the organization. Another major advantage is- performance of the vendors can be analyzed and measures can be taken in order to improve it. This is very important as companies invest a lot in the vendors and it is essential to know the returns on their investment. It can be done by setting KPIs and constantly monitoring them. Audits are also highly simplified and automated reports are produced with the data, for easier analysis.
Vcomply is an integrated, user-friendly GRC platform that helps organizations in effective vendor management. Vcomply provides various features for governance, risk management, compliance management, performance management, audit management and many more. Through these modules, vendors can be used efficiently to achieve better results. Handling risks and regulatory policies and compliances is also easy with Vcomply. Apart from vendor management, Vcomply can be used to monitor a plethora of other processes in the organization.
“Knowledge constantly makes itself obsolete with the result that today’s advanced knowledge is tomorrow’s ignorance”. One has to be on the learning curve and continuously move up. Business today operates in a highly complex & dynamic world. GRC is a discipline that brings together focus areas across corporate governance, enterprise risk management and corporate compliance. The aim of an effective GRC strategy is to ensure that the right efficiencies are brought in and more effective information sharing & reporting mechanisms are enabled.
GRC in the Past, Present & Future
GRC as an acronym denotes GOVERNANCE, RISK, and COMPLIANCE but the full story of GRC is so much more than these three words. Organizations in the past followed a non-integrated process to manage GRC. This non-integrated process led to a cumbersome environment in the organization followed by high costs, duplicacy, lack of visibility into risks, inefficiency, greater vulnerability, Inability to address third-party risks, and too many negative surprises.
The core functionality of GRC has evolved in response to the need for a standardized and centralized data and process management structure supporting compliance and risk management functions in light of increasing complexity in both activities.
VComply helps an organization manage governance in a centralized database.
An effective GRC regime is essential in today’s business world but can be challenging to implement. The organization in the present have realized that implementing the GRC system can lead to more efficiency, reliability and is important for sustainability and future development. GRC can altogether transform your business. But, there are certain challenges pertaining to a GRC system, workplace Silos being one of them. GRC processes operate in silos at many companies, creating abundant frameworks and systems which can result in:
Today, however, businesses are demanding much more from their GRC programs. When businesses accomplish these objectives well, they are positioned to excel in security, reliability, automation, and privacy. But first, they need to integrate GRC with the rest of the business to build a level of digital trust in terms of data accuracy and reliable business processes. Compliance can be overwhelming, but with a tool like VComply, the risk of noncompliance is enormously reduced. VComply is a one-time solution for all mid-size and large size organizations. VComply provides different solutions like Audit management, IT management, risk management, Enterprise GRC management, Performance management and many more.
So What is GRC’s future in the next few years?
Organizations initiating or are already in the middle of their GRC journey should ideally opt for a holistic, integrated and programmatic approach. It is important to understand that responsibility for GRC compliance lies not with just a few individuals, but rather in the combined hands of the entire organization. Regardless of GRC’s past, present, or future, GRC platforms represent the best way to meet the requirements of compliance and risk management. No matter how you define it, the adoption of a GRC platform can be a defining moment at your company.
VComply ensures your organization is at the right track by providing a hassle-free environment that your business requires!
The most basic GRC components are provided by most of the GRC Vendors with their platforms that can be configured to fit different GRC solutions. Organizations who are looking to implement GRC technology for a specific need will evaluate the functionality and cost of the solution differently when compared to organizations seeking an integrated GRC solution.
The basic functional components of a GRC platform include:
Some other components that important for supporting the core architecture are:
• Configuration – Configurability is essential to meeting unique customer requirements related to the data model, data input and visualization, and reporting.
• Data integration – GRC platforms mostly provide seamless integration across third-party systems via a web-based application program interface (API) as well as automated common-data-format (.xml, .csv) uploads.
• Data security – GRC platform vendors typically offer a role-based security architecture that supports enterprise, entity, record and field-level security.
• Contextualization – When there is integration in GRC implementation, the ability to provide different navigation and input screens becomes very important for organizations because they are likely to use a more intuitive platform.
• Performance – The organization must start evaluating architecture performance by establishing performance standards based on the composition of users. Many GRC platforms lack “snappiness” even when not under heavy load. Knowing the vendor’s largest implementation and comparing it with the size of yours will help ensure that the platform meets your load requirements.
While the cloud is an extremely hot topic for organizations worldwide, it is still a pretty broad concept that covers a plethora of services and delivery models. As businesses begin to consider switching to the cloud, be it for application or infrastructure deployment, it is more important than ever to understand the differences between the various cloud services.
There are three main models of cloud service to compare: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each having its own benefits, as well as variances, making it necessary to understand the differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS to know how to choose the best one.
SaaS: Software as a Service
Software as a Service, also known as cloud application services, is the most commonly utilized option for businesses in the cloud market. SaaS uses the internet to deliver applications, which are managed by a third-party vendor, to its users. Most of the SaaS applications are run directly through the web browser and do not require any downloads or installations on the client side.
Due to its web delivery model, businesses don’t need to have IT staff download and install applications on each individual computer. Vendors manage all of the potential technical issues, such as data, middleware, servers, and storage, allowing businesses to streamline their maintenance and support, thanks to SaaS.
PaaS: Platform as a Service
Cloud platform services, or Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide cloud components to certain software and is mainly used for applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers that can be built upon and used to create customized applications. All servers, storage, and networking are managed by the enterprise or a third-party provider while the developers maintain management of the applications.
The delivery model of PaaS is similar to SaaS, apart from the fact that instead of delivering the software over the internet, PaaS provides a platform for software creation. This platform is delivered over the web and gives developers the freedom to concentrate on building the software without having to worry about operating systems, software updates, storage, or infrastructure. PaaS also allows businesses to design and create applications built into the PaaS with special software components.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is composed of highly scalable and automated computer resources. IaaS is fully self-service for accessing and monitoring things like computers, networking, storage, and other services, allowing businesses to purchase resources on-demand and as-needed instead of having to buy the hardware outright.
IaaS delivers Cloud Computing infrastructure, such as servers, network, operating systems, and storage, through virtualization technology. These cloud servers are provided to the organization through a dashboard or an API, and IaaS clients have complete control over the entire infrastructure. IaaS provides the same technologies and capabilities as a traditional data center without having to physically maintain or manage it. IaaS clients can access their servers and storage directly, but it is all outsourced through a “virtual data center” in the cloud.
Unlike SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for managing aspects such as applications, runtime, OSes, middleware, and data. Also, providers of the IaaS manage the servers, hard drives, networking, virtualization, and storage. Some providers also offer extra services outside of the virtualization layer, such as databases or message queues.
As we can see, each cloud model offers its own specific features and functionalities, and it is crucial for businesses to understand the differences. Be its cloud-based software for storage options, a smooth platform to create customized applications, complete control over the entire infrastructure without having to physically maintain it, there is a cloud service available. No matter which option companies choose, migrating to the cloud is the future of business and technology as we know it, and it is necessary to be properly informed.