Accelerated digital transformation driven by the overnight move to working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally transformed both our work and personal lives. Unprecedented connectivity has given rise to a new information network and has ultimately changed business strategies and processes forever.
Alongside these changes, innovation and transformation have become business imperatives, as digital technologies have seen structures and processes and even entire value chains evolve beyond recognition. However, hand in hand with the emerging opportunities, there are a slew of new risks such as attacks against digital infrastructures, theft of data and abuse of digital communication channels.
A modern approach to GRC
Concurrently, a business environment marked by ongoing market volatility and an increasingly stringent regulatory environment has placed greater pressure on entities in every sector to adapt their processes to ensure compliance. Yesterday’s governance, risk and compliance (GRC) solutions are siloed, and simply not built to cope with the complexity of today’s dynamic regulatory and compliance environments, both locally and internationally. And as new global mandates and compliance directives continue to be introduced on an almost daily basis, businesses need to adopt a modern approach to GRC to thoroughly integrate risk management initiatives with ongoing business processes. And they need to do it now.
In any fast-changing risk landscape, legacy tools are less effective, and data collected during intermittent assessments rapidly becomes stale. This is why businesses need effective risk mitigation that features continuous monitoring to provide an up to date, near real-time view of risk exposure. The new standard in risk management must feature always-on, continuous monitoring capabilities of a full stack of risk domains, fully integrated into a company’s GRC platform.
Addressing GRC challenges
Marshall is a member organisation of Ovations, and as a gold IBM business partner it offers the IBM OpenPages GRC Platform, which gives today’s organisations a complete set of core solutions aimed at addressing GRC challenges. This platform provides a comprehensive view into the organisation’s external risk environment with automated continuous risk monitoring and near real-time risk intelligence.
OpenPages harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and automation, identifying potential risks and collecting, validating and analysing risk data to pinpoint events that have the potential to disrupt business operations. It enables near real-time risk metrics, risk ratings, risk reports, risk event alerts and risk actions on all elements that are monitored. More importantly, OpenPages provides an integrated view of risk across the full spectrum of risk domains, which enables organisations to incorporate their risk appetite, tolerances, thresholds and scores in each domain.
Leveraging innovative tools
The platform facilitates the management of risk and regulatory challenges, as well as the inevitable changes that are a constant in today’s digital world. It does this through its ability to analyse vast volumes of structured and unstructured data from emerging and pervasive sources, including social media and cybersecurity systems. In addition, OpenPages with Watson leverages tools such as robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning and AI to automate mundane, onerous tasks and assist with data collection and validation; sentiment analysis, as well as impact analysis to establish the potential risk impact on the business. By using these features, valuable human resources are freed up to focus on business-critical tasks, instead of gathering and validating data. Moreover, they can save time on risk identification while minimising false positives.
The platform also integrates with IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog (WKC), which powers intelligent, self-service discovery of business assets like data, models and reports across your enterprise. WKC integration supports OpenPages Data Privacy Management in performing privacy assessments and compliance reporting. This provides risk professionals with the confidence they need to build models that will comply with the relevant regulations.
Full visibility into risks
The platform also helps to address another major issue, cybersecurity, albeit indirectly. With increased levels of automation, more data is shared and exposed throughout the organisation. And while companies can put security operations centres (SOCs) in place, and have monitoring tools for intrusion detection, they still need to put controls in place to manage their risk of exposure. They need to understand what their policies are in terms of legal obligations such as communicating with stakeholders and the public in the aftermath of a breach. Business leadership must have full visibility into their risks and potential exposure to be able to do this effectively, and OpenPages provides this.
There are other ways in which OpenPages helps businesses pursue their enterprise goals. While a major goal for every business is having a good compliance status (which is also a requirement of public company reporting these days), many companies want to be good corporate citizens, too. This is why OpenPages can implement a layer of governance across the organisation, making individuals responsible for the appropriate implementation of all the controls that are put in place. For example, if a third-party partner gets into financial trouble, or perhaps does something inappropriate, the right people within the organisation, such as C-level executives, are made aware and can take the appropriate steps to ensure they are able to respond in the right manner to any questions from the public or the media.
These features and more are key to ensuring ongoing operations, maintaining stakeholder confidence, and meeting societal and regulatory obligations.
Ovations is a leader in enterprise digital enablement and a leader of people enablement. We drive change and business strategy with integrated technology processes and expertise, but we believe that for your business to function seamlessly, both internally and externally, the alignment of this technology and processes with your employees is paramount.
- The author, Jaco van der Merwe, is programmes manager at Ovations
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