Blog | November 18, 2020 | 3 MINS

Common Problems with Using Spreadsheets for GRC Compliance

In today’s ever-changing world of GRC compliance, the stakes are high. Regulators and auditors are scrutinizing business’ enterprise risk management, regulatory mandates, cybersecurity, vendor management, and other areas like never before.

If your GRC compliance program is largely built on spreadsheets, you’re likely using them for various functions. This includes managing risk, issues, exceptions, assessments, remediation plans, vulnerabilities, workflows, and more. While spreadsheets can be an effective means of getting your compliance program off the ground, many issues can go wrong when working off of spreadsheets.

If you need more convincing, we’ve outlined the most common problems businesses face when using spreadsheets for GRC management.

GRC Compliance Problems

  1. Human Error
    • Excel is an offline resource that can’t automate the process of data entry for your GRC management operations. This means whenever you receive compliance evidence for various functions, you have to open up that sheet and register it manually. Your team must make every change, every update, every correction, and every new entry. And as we all know, people are not perfect. In fact, 90% of all spreadsheets have errors. Humans are imperfect, and therefore, so is your manually updated spreadsheet.
  2. Insufficient Visibility
    • If you have multiple constituents working off the same spreadsheet, you’re in for a world of hurt. Spreadsheets lack access models for multiple users. This increases the “human error” factor and increases the chances of inaccurate data input. The biggest problem with this is you can’t track who, what, or when changes occur.
  3. Delayed Reporting
    • Data entry and validation need to be manually processed before running a report and presenting results to your team. Often, you forfeit the ability to effectively aggregate and normalize risk insights across various data points and sources. At the very least, this type of consolidation requires heavy manual manipulation and analysis across various files.
  4. Audit Trails
    • When it comes to GRC management, audit trails are crucial to the integrated risk management process. Spreadsheets don’t have audit trail functions, but modern GRC tools do. Online collaboration tools offer ‘tracked changes,’ but there is no summary view of activity, and drilling into each version can be tedious. GRC tools provide a structured audit trail that stakeholders can easily drill into for a complete record of activities.
  5. Limited Data Analysis
    • A comprehensive GRC management program goes beyond passing IT audits. The point is to gain actionable insights that can improve both your GRC processes and your cybersecurity efforts, however spreadsheets are static. They can’t cross-reference relationships amongst data or provide meaningful business and risk management insight for reporting. Additionally, their reliance on human intervention and lack of automation hinder your ability to analyze risky developments across your GRC management threat landscape.

Simply put, as you think about your GRC management program, consider implementing the OneTrust GRC Integrated Risk Management software. The centralized platform enables risk, compliance and audit professionals to identify, measure, and remediate risk across their business to comply with internal rules and external regulations. To learn more, contact our team or request a demo today.

Further GRC compliance reading:

Next steps for GRC compliance:

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