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A Deeper Dive into SaaS GRC Platforms

Finding a cost-effective and efficient yet comprehensive way to manage your company’s governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) is a challenge that all organizations face doing business in today’s digital universe.

Since the size and scope of companies’ needs differ widely, each business must determine for itself what solution will best address its needs, ongoing priorities, and goals.

In recent years, a significant trend in the digital security industry has been to move toward the software as a service (SaaS) model. That involves cloud-based providers distributing software and making services available over the internet. As a result, data can be accessed from anywhere when companies choose this web-based, on-demand format.

Traditional methods are still widely used as well and are often the better and simpler choice for a variety of reasons.

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Do we need a SaaS GRC platform to manage our SOC 2 process?

The short answer is “No”

One of the primary goals of a SaaS GRC tool is to integrate compliance and control activities into standard business processes. Large organizations with complex processes and multiple compliance frameworks are good candidates. For small and mid-size organizations, many tools can provide similar functionality without the need for a dedicated SaaS GRC platform. Many organizations achieve their goals with a simple spreadsheet or a project management tool like Trello, Wrike, ClickUp, or Monday.

Some SaaS GRC tools claim to “automate continuous compliance” for SOC 2. Though, approximately 70% of the SOC 2 control objectives are non-technical and cannot be readily automated. The SOC control objective to “demonstrate a commitment to integrity and ethical values” is an excellent example of this restraint. SaaS GRC tools typically provide prebuilt policies and controls mapped to the SOC 2 framework. That sounds intriguing, but there are issues with this approach.

Firstly, there are no required controls for a SOC 2, only required controls objectives. Secondly, control activities should be based on the unique risk characteristics of the business. A canned template may include controls that are not relevant to your business or omit controls that should be in place. Those gaps in controls may result in a failed SOC 2 assessment. The lack of data mobility is another issue with SaaS GRC tools. That can become a significant issue if you decide to bring the SOC 2 process in-house or switch to an alternative approach.

How much does a SaaS GRC platform cost?

SaaS GRC tools come with a heavy price tag. Expect to pay $20,000 to $60,000 per year. You will also need to invest in internal resources to manage your GRC tool. And factor in ongoing costs to train your team (and new team members) so they can interact with the tools. The total cost of ownership (TCO) over five years can easily reach $500,000.

 

Are there alternatives to expensive SaaS GRC platforms?

Yes. Small, mid-size, and some large organizations should consider inexpensive project management tools that provide similar functionality without the high price tag. There are also open-source GRC tools that don’t include ongoing recurring costs.

 

SOC Platforms Comparison

Protecting your company’s information security involves a serious investment into software, hardware, and certified cybersecurity auditors. New vendors in the compliance industry have created platforms that map compliance to automated frameworks that work to help human experts certify your SOC compliance. In a highly competitive market, do any of these platforms standout? How do they compare to one another?

While TrustNet has experience dealing with these platforms, we do not recommend using one of them for your first cycle of a SOC audit. We do however understand the assistance they can provide in certain situations and can help guide you on whether or not selecting a platform is right for you.

Below we take a look at five of the platforms competing in the automated framework space today.

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grc platform comparison

How TrustNet Can Provide the Customized Security Solutions Your Company Needs

Determining whether an open-source solution would suit your company’s needs better than a third-party platform such as Tugboat or Vanta is an essential task with high repercussions for financial and human resources. Instead of navigating the complicated waters of SaaS, on-premise, and open-source options on your own, enlist the assistance of TrustNet, a provider of cybersecurity and compliance services. When you partner with us, we can help you determine the most fiscally responsible and effective security and compliance solution.

One of the most critical factors to evaluate is cost. When you partner with our experienced specialists, we can furnish you with actionable advice that ensures your complete understanding of all of the costs associated with each option, including average prices for set-up and training. In addition, we will discuss all that is involved in onboarding or training a person or team responsible for managing the GRC platform.

Additionally, we can sit down with you and your team to discuss the timing of engaging a GRC tool provider. Many organizations fall into the trap of purchasing services they don’t need before completing their first SOC audit. For many businesses, it makes more sense to wait until they have passed their first audit. At that time, they can assess their past SOC compliance process to determine what tools, if any, would pave the way for smoother audits in the future.

With decades of accumulated digital cyber security services and our honor roll of satisfied customers, TrustNet should be your first stop as you arrive at the most economically feasible, effective, and compliant digital security solutions.

TrustNet understands that protecting your customers and the data they entrust to you needs to be your top priority. Since compliance and security are our sole missions, you can rest assured that when you partner with TrustNet, you will receive only the most cutting-edge, customized, and business-forward advice.

Summary

Safeguarding your networks and the information they hold must be one of your company’s most important priorities in this era of a continuous and evolving data breach. The above platforms provide similar yet subtly different approaches to conducting these all-important tasks. Take the time to do careful research before making your choice, and your team will arrive at a cybersecurity solution that will ensure risk assessment and management and ongoing regulatory compliance for years to come.

Reach out to let TrustNet help determine what is right for your unique environment.