Control management and controls are an integral part of the line of defense in any organization’s risk framework. It is impossible to avoid risks, because every action taken has an inherent risk. Businesses thus need to ensure that they are managing risks through different mitigation strategies. That is what the controls are – the strategies and policies in place that either eliminate or limit risks that affect the organization. Organizations need to ensure that the controls are working correctly, which is why the controls are periodically tested.

The problem is that the process for testing the efficiency of these controls is usually inefficient because of the complexity of the tasks involved.

The challenges of information control management

The challenges with managing controls is that there are multiple controls working to mitigate multiple risks. Think of a bank that has many different business units. Most banks cater to multiple types of clients. They provide retail banking services, mortgages, business banking, and much more. It is normal for a bank to have 15 different product lines. Each product line has multiple risks associated with it, and each risk can have more than one control in place.

This means that the risk management department is responsible for managing 15 different business units, with multiple risks for each business unit, and with multiple controls for each risk. This can mean there being around 50 to 100 different controls, all of which need to be tested. The risk managers must first create a list of all the risks that affect the businesses. This is accomplished by getting in touch with each department’s head and asking them to do a risk assessment. Each business unit will send a document containing the risks that affect them. All these documents must then be studies and all the risks listed in the documents must be collected in one document.

Then information must be collected about all the controls that are in place for all the risks. The information about these controls also needs to be collected in one document. Once the list is complete, the risk managers must periodically investigate each control to ensure that it is still performing efficiently. Imagine having to collect information about 50 different controls from 15 different documents, and then ensuring that this information was right by again asking for 15 different risk assessments. In the end, the risk managers end up dealing with hundreds of documents, and they need to manually keep track of every document to ensure that all the information they have entered is correct.

Risk and compliance managers need to be lauded for the amazing efforts they put in to ensure that controls are working without having any tool to help them do it. Organizations need to provide these risk and compliance managers the tools that they need.

Risk and compliance technology can streamline and automate the testing process to allow for better management of controls. Click To Tweet

How technology enables better control management

Risk and compliance technology can streamline and automate the testing process to allow for better management of controls. The biggest problem with manual control management is the absence of any links between the different documents. The board gets a report which shows the health of each control, along with recommended actions for any controls that are not performing efficiently. The problem is that this is just a static document. If the board or any other manager wants an in-depth view of a risk or a control, they must ask the other department to send them the associated documents which have the required information. The board also does not have access to this information directly – they must ask for it.

Risk and compliance management solutions present the controls in a dynamic dashboard where everything is linked. This means that anyone on the dashboard can click on a control to access the documents with details about the control and the risk. They can also recommend actions right from the dashboard by opening a new task. The task is sent to the assigned stakeholders, and their actions will be reflected back on the dashboard.

Thus, instead of having to ask for documents, everyone has access to all the information that they need within one platform. The risk and compliance managers no longer need to compile all the documents – the documentation is already available within the platform. They also do not need to create static reports – the system shows the real-time information and if any information is changed, the changes are reflected on the dashboard immediately. The board can drill-down in just a few clicks and get the information that they need.

Reports that previously required risk and compliance managers to spend multiple days finding and collecting the required information can now be generated with just a few clicks. This allows businesses to get more information whenever they need, and proactively mitigate risks, which is simply not possible to do when the controls are being managed manually.

Does your organization spend a lot of time managing controls? Get in touch with our risk and compliance experts to get a demo of our control management solution and see how the control testing process can be improved for your organization.