ServiceNow GRC

GRC is an acronym for Governance, Risk, and Compliance which is a multiple and inter-reliant application that focuses on strategic management of the regulatory requirements across the enterprise that ensures business process scaling for driving efficiencies of the business. GRC helps in many ways through the right asset accessing, policy management, identifying the risks, creating controls, and conducting audits. Enterprise GRC working model is a group of repositories working, thinking, and structurally independent. ServiceNow implements the GRC module that enables organizations to automate and offers a wide range of comprehension on all GRC activities in a single window with real-time monitoring to handle risk in advance.

The business and IT challenge


Managing risk and compliance with a manual, segregated, and reactive work model is no longer effective as the global regulatory environment continues by adopting the changes across the organizations. The changes are driven by implementing the new business models, establishing new partner relationships, deploying new technologies, and addressing the rising number of threats and cyber risks. Many businesses have found that without an integrated view of risk it is virtually impossible to quickly assess the impact on their existing compliance obligations and risk posture of these changes. 

ServiceNow makes the organizations respond to business risks in real-time. GRC helps transform inefficient processes across your extended business into an integrated risk program. ServiceNow delivers a real-time view of compliance and risk, improves decision making, and increases performance across the business and vendors. All this is achieved through continuous monitoring and automation. Only ServiceNow can connect the business, security, and IT with an integrated risk framework that transforms manual, segregated, and inefficient processes into a unified program built on a single platform.


Comprehending ServiceNow GRC

ServiceNow GRC module is a robust automation framework that processes among intra and inter-business groups along with dependencies to create a better-managed workflow and time. ServiceNow GRC solutions enable enterprises to modernize their legacy methods of managing corporate governance, risk, and compliance. The prominence of ServiceNow GRC is it brings all the governance, risk, and compliance management activities together in one place through a dashboard, thereby providing enterprises true visibility in GRC management. The Forrester Total Economic Impact study By ServiceNow reveals that “ServiceNow GRC enables not only compliance experts to be more effective and well-organized, but it is playing a significant role in helping business leaders to speed up and to make improved strategic decisions with instant detailed views on risk and compliance activities.” The flow structure of the workflow automation process in ServiceNow GRC is as follows.

Defining your business rules -> Rationalizing your controls -> Consolidating your controls -> Define what’s important -> Identifying risks -> Building a GRC roadmap -> Build towards continuous monitoring.


grc comprehencive

GRC Foundation 

The base foundation of GRC is basically constructed on four standard pillars which comprise the policy and compliance management, risk management, audit management, and vendor risk management.

GRC Foundation

  • Policy and Compliance Management:
    It helps organizations with a centralized process for policies, standards, and internal control procedures adhering to external regulations and best practices. It automates the best practice lifecycles, unified compliance processes, and provides assurances around their effectiveness. The below screen illustrates the Admin View of Policy and Compliance

    GRC Policy -1

  • Risk Management:
    It helps the organization with a centralized process to identify, access, monitor, and respond to risks that can cause potential damage. It also helps in managing the assessments, indicators, and issues. The risk management detects and assesses the likelihood as well as the impact of business events based on data consolidated across the extended enterprise, and responds to critical changes in risk indicators.
  • Audit Management:
    It helps the organizations with internal audit, external audit, create and execute engagement, report back to committee and board of directors. The audit management identifies the scope and prioritizes the audit engagements using risk data and profile information to remove the recurring audit findings, audit assurance enhancement, and resource optimization around internal audits.
  • Vendor Risk Management: This manages the vendor portfolio, completes the vendor assessment, remediation life cycle, and integrates with other business applications. It ensures a standard and transparent process to manage the lifecycle for risk assessments, due diligence, and risk response with business partners and vendors.

The below screen illustrates the Admin View of ServiceNow GRC Domains.

GRC Vendor risk Management

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GRC Domain Separation


In GRC, domain separation isolates the data and administrative tasks into logical groupings. The domain separation is not required for all ServiceNow applications. Users always have access to data from domains and that access is explicitly granted by the domain visibility. Many types of records such as profiles, controls, risks, indicators, and control tests are automatically generated in GRC through user processes. While working on GRC domain separation, users must be aware of creating records at the correct domain and visible to the right set of users. The domain would appear as shown in the below example.




           >Domain A

           >Domain B

The GRC can be used by the Managing Directors, Audit Team, Compliance Officer, IT Team, Reporting auditor, and Risk Officer. GRC users are classified as Functional roles and Technical roles.


Working of GRC in ServiceNow

As the GRC application is built on the Now Platform, data and evidence is provided back to GRC which permits you to have full access to all assets, configuration, and IT data. It ensures the automatic evidence and data collection to view the working of controls. GRC provides access to the source data from real-time reporting. In ServiceNow, the test instructions are controlled by using the knowledge base. It congregates the secured integration and reports on controls outside of the instances. It has centralized access and management for all authoritative sources, policies, and controls. GRC enables working with full workflow integration and support of business processes by integrating controls directly into the business processes. Policy Management and control test instructions are supported by using the document management and knowledge base.

GRC Working    

Plugins used in GRC Integration

The GRC plugins must be activated in order to use GRC in ServiceNow. The list of plugins which need activation are as follows:

  • To use the Vendor Risk Management applications, the “Vendor Risk Management (sn_vdr_risk_asmt)” plugin must be activated.
  • To use the Policy and Compliance applications, the “GRC: Policy and Compliance Management (sn_compliance)” plugin must be activated.
  • To use Performance Analytics Integration applications, the “GRC: Performance Analytics Premium Integration (sn_grc_pa)” plugin must be activated.
  • To use Audit Management applications, the “GRC: Audit Management (sn_audit)” plugin must be activated.

Roles in GRC Matrix

  • To access the GRC module in ServiceNow, by default the below roles are declared. Depending on the user hierarchy, the admin can assign roles to a user. 

    GRC Roles

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Advantages of using ServiceNow GRC


  1. Identifying the risks in real-time
    It allows you to configure the real-time business and IT service performance data. GRC identifies the vendor requirements for enabling automated controls testing. The process defines thresholds as indicators for continuous monitoring of extended enterprise.
  2. Increase performance
    The GRC processes are made simple by removing errors for increasing the performance because of the factors which use the Now platform CMDB, process designer, service mapping, and consistent and cross-functional workflow automation.
  3. Optimize internal audit productivity
    The use of risk data and issues management enables effective audit project scope, planning, and reporting while optimizing internal audit and compliance resources.
  4. Improving strategic planning and decision making
    Well organized business impact analysis, task management, and contextual alignment with the CMDB on a single platform provides cross-functional visibility to identify, prioritize, and respond to the risks appropriately.
  5. Automating the third-party risk
    Time-consumption and vendor risk are reduced by formalized vendor risk assessment and tiering process, improved visibility, and transparency.
  6. Extending the ServiceNow investment
    The single platform of engagement offers orchestration, easy integration, and data ingest and publication capabilities.

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GRC Use Cases


Squeezing the time to identify, prioritize, and respond to changes in your risk and compliance outlook is vital. This requires continuous monitoring of data across your extended enterprise to speed up the detection of emerging risks. Automating the appropriate remediation and risk analysis actions across the business and IT processes break down the repository and ensure a rapid response. The Now platform collaboration engine and issues management capabilities work across GRC applications. These applications work with the vendor portal to create a shared understanding and expedite timely decisions.


Define a governance framework and test compliance controls

ServiceNow GRC helps in managing the governance framework, including policies, laws and regulations, and best practices of a system, and maps them to controls. Once this process is defined, you are able to automate the repetitive processes, even across functional groups. ServiceNow GRC enables identifying the relevant business, risk, and IT owners, systems, and automates the manual cross-functional processes for policy lifecycle management and compliance testing to identify non-compliant controls, respond to issues, or effectively scope a GRC engagement. The unique capabilities in the Now platform remove errors and inefficiencies associated with emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings. Moreover, you are able to create and execute tests and attestations that are specific to a policy statement by using the built-in GRC Attestation Designer. This removes the errors during evidence data collection and mitigates the need to manually reconcile test results and metrics.

Create a risk register and automate risk assessments

In ServiceNow GRC, a single register is used for identifying and managing the risks. To collect the information of existing and emerging risks and the accuracy of controls, GRC implements self-assessments to schedule them. The qualitative and quantitative risk scores are determined with the combination of asset and process-centric risk methodologies which are informed by service performance data with the business impact derived from the configuration management database (CMDB). This allows you to scale your risk exposure accurately in real-time. There is a consistent process to create and respond to issues automatically which reduces the remediation time from weeks to only minutes.

Implement real-time monitoring

ServiceNow GRC identifies non-compliant controls, monitors high-risk areas, and manages the Key Risk Indicator (KRI) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) library with automated data validation and evidence gathering. To accolade existing GRC capabilities, the out-of-the-box integration is provided with Performance Analytics (PA) for GRC, which uses PA indicators and thresholds as another means to detect failing critical controls between assessments. The risk overviews, compliance outlook, and audit activities are viewed in the interactive real-time dashboards. The status updates, priorities, and tasks associated with GRC engagements are viewed in the role-based dashboards which are allowed by the GRC Workbench. The business impacts of a control failure are visualized throughout the enterprise by dependency modeling which uses CMDB information to show upstream and downstream relationships across entities.

Assess vendor risk


It is very easy to manage and assess vendors using ServiceNow GRC which saves time and reduces the risk of vendors.  The vendors are consolidated into a single vendor catalog by using the capabilities of Portfolio management. The vendors are monitored easily through the assessment designer and built-in questionnaires that help in obtaining better quality data accurately for tracking the changes over time. The first step in a vendor risk management program is to appropriately tier the vendors. A formal tiering process, including tiering assessments and automatic tiering scores generation, helps to categorize vendors into levels or tiers. Expand the knowledge of the risk constituted by the vendors through integration with third-party security scores, allowing you to adjust vendor tier scores. Vendor risk is based on risk scores, which are dynamically generated based on vendor questionnaires, updated in real-time, and stored in the vendor catalog. The vendor portal consolidates communication and enables collaboration with your vendor and between your vendor and their response team replacing email and phone calls. Scheduled assessments and automated notifications and escalations ensure you stay on top of activities.


ServiceNow GRC helps in transforming the inefficient processes across the extended business into an integrated risk platform. The services such as continuous monitoring and automation help the applications in delivering a real-time view of compliance and risk management. ServiceNow GRC improves the decision making of an enterprise and also increases the performance of an organization along with its vendors.