Utilizing Machine Learning and AI in Your GRC Practice

Thomas Fox

Compliance Evangelist

I recently had the chance to visit with Andrew Robinson to discuss utilizing ML and AI into your GRC practice for a sponsored podcast.  Robinson is the co-founder and Chief Information Security Officer at 6clicks. You can check out Robinson’s podcast episode here.

We began with the very basic proposition that many compliance professionals and others are scared by AI in the GRC space. Robinson believes it is based on the fear of the unknown, both to many inside and outside of GRC. Yet, increasingly GRC professionals see how AI and ML can be used within reg tech, technology companies, as well as in the compliance space to move forward through taking advantage of natural language processing. Robinson explained this is a component of ML that can help understand text. There is a lot of text in the world of compliance. When you can then overlay an AI component on all the standards, laws, and regulations any multi-national organization must follow, you begin to see the power of such a tool.

We next turned to dealing with compliance across multiple jurisdictions. For GRC professionals working internationally, Robinson said they must “maintain mappings or what you commonly call in the US ‘crosswalks of compliance’ frameworks.” He went on to explain these frameworks are “useful because it can allow a consultant to help a client understand how they might stack up against a particular standard. Robinson provided the example that if an organization is already complying with ISO 27,001, through these mappings, it might be able to give them an idea about what that level of compliance they have through the lens of a different framework or standard that may be relevant like the NIST cybersecurity framework.”

Yet the 6clicks approach is much more than a regulatory approach. It is a business centered approach which provides discreet business advantages. Indeed, this is one of the reasons I find the 6clicks approach so exciting as it creates a business advantage by performing quality GRC. These tools increase efficiency and profitability. Robinson went further noting, that “we come out with a public estimate of 10 times saving in using machine learning to assist with building up GRC mapping.” That is some serious productivity savings and increase.

However, this productivity increase and potential cost saving does not remove the human element. This final concept is critical in moving forward. Robinson said, “I’m of the view that humans have a very important role to play. This role is supervising the machine learning models to make sure that what they are producing and the results that they are coming out with are accurate and reliable.” If they are using spreadsheets and word documents; they should, come to terms with the fact that companies and clients no longer want spreadsheets and word documents as a deliverable. GRC professionals and consultants need to need to start using similar tools and improving the way that they service their clients. Clients, both in-house and external, are starting to demand and look for this approach. Robinson noted, “the reality is that if you are doing anything else it will be seen as subpar, and no one wants to be delivering sort of subpar products. I look for a solution that can meet your customer expectations and help you deliver your services long into the future.”

We concluded by looking at GRC tools with ML and AI at a strategic level, at the senior executive level and even at the Board of Director level. Robinson feels that management at this level “understands the benefits because they understand the problem.” Their goals are to simplify compliance while understanding risk exposure. From this point, management can move to create a risk-based solution. Robinson believes, these are the types of “business problems that executives are dealing with on a daily basis. Having awareness of the machine learning model can help them navigate that complexity.” From where I sit, when you can take a tool that improves business process efficiency and use it to increase profitability through more effectual risk management it is a win for everyone.

For more information on 6clicks, check out their website here.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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