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For some organizations, internal control management is only a periodic, “point-in-time” view of routine financial controls. While completing an ad hoc control assessment might tick the box for some basic compliance exercises, it lacks effectiveness if the actual purpose is to protect organizations from a growing number of internal threats. One of the biggest threats facing organizations is internal control silos. Complex business processes are often executed across multiple applications (on-premise and Cloud), creating silos as business systems and applications undergo control assessments at different times.

Siloed Approaches Lead to the Failure of Controls

Internal control silos, where distributed systems and processes maintain their own controls, data, and analytics, pose a significant challenge to achieving a complete control strategy. While many individual business applications focus on their specific controls, they ignore the aggregate picture. When an organization approaches internal controls in scattered silos without acknowledging control and process interrelationships across departments, they leave behind a critical opportunity to be intelligent about risk and control. This is because processes intersect, compound, and interrelate to create a larger risk exposure than each silo is independently aware of. As a result, a siloed approach to internal controls fails to deliver insight and context, making a connection between controls, risk management, objectives, and performance nearly impossible.

Internal Control Management is Often Misunderstood and Misapplied

For most organizations, internal control management is a combination of manual processes scattered throughout documents, spreadsheets, and emails – instead of a single holistic source of truth. Internal controls are pervasive; there are a variety of departments that manage controls with varying approaches, models, needs, and views on what controls are and how they should be measured and managed. Enterprises often struggle to unify the department and process-level controls as they continue to develop broader GRC and enterprise/operational risk management strategies that span these departments.

The management of internal controls has become increasingly challenging as the organization has:

  • Multiple lines of businesses operating globally across many jurisdictions and systems.
  • A proliferation of business applications with employees having access to dozens of systems and processes. Over time there are significant gaps and rights issues as the average user compiles access to systems and permissions they are no longer using.
  • Mergers and acquisitions that exponentially grow the systems, processes, and controls with rationalization efforts that are often delayed until years down the road.
  • Isolated systems that monitor controls from a single application perspective but fail to see the issues and rights across systems in a heterogeneous environment. Migration of applications to the Cloud furthering the need for a complete strategy to manage internal and external threats.

Making sense of internal control management and its varying factions across operational, financial, employee conduct, regulatory, security, and IT risks can be bewildering. Moreover, an internal control management strategy that is siloed and myopic makes governance a challenge.

Internal Control Management Strategies Must Change to Be Effective

Today’s organizations require full visibility into internal controls across systems, processes, transactions, and relationships. Gone are the days of random control sampling and manual control testing with random, point-in-time snapshots. This approach typically leads to lengthy (and expensive) audit cycles that lack the full context required to formulate an effective mitigation plan.

Organizations seeking a holistic view of their risk exposure and overall control effectiveness need a unified internal control automation, monitoring, and remediation platform to deliver 360° contextual awareness of internal controls.

Pathlock Enables Continuous Compliance with 360° Control Automation, Monitoring, and Enforcement

Pathlock provides an Enterprise Business Controls Automation platform designed to manage controls, monitor user and transaction activity, quantify risk exposure, and automatically remediate risks across a wide breadth of business systems, dozens of processes, and billions of transactions.

Pathlock can be used to manage, deliver, and report on a wide range of controls across the business and provide continuous, granular visibility into what users are actually doing and how that activity is genuinely impacting the organization’s risk posture.

Using Pathlock, leaders across multiple functions, including Internal Audit, Risk, and Financial Systems, can be efficient, effective, and agile in their internal control management strategy and processes. Whether deployed for a single control area or ideally for a cross-application view of controls, Pathlock is designed to be the comprehensive choice for enterprise-wide Governance, Risk, and Compliance.

360° GRC: The Key Benefits of Pathlock

  • Significant efficiencies in time through automation of workflow and tasks, as well as reporting. Specifically, the time it takes to test controls and build reports from documents and spreadsheets now is just a matter of seconds. Using Pathlock can result in reducing control monitoring efforts by 90%. 
  • Reduction in errors by automating the validation of controls, thus removing common errors in manual processes and reconciliation.
  • Decrease in false positives (SoD violations) as Pathlock can fully monitor all transactions and controls to avoid the oversight common with random sampling and manual processes.
  • Cross-function collaboration and synergies, as Pathlock provides a single platform with a consistent interface to manage controls across business applications – instead of disparate applications using a broad array of technologies without integration or consolidated visibility.
  • Consistency and accuracy of information as all internal controls conform to consistent processes, monitoring, and enforcement within a single solution with a uniform and integrated control and monitoring process.
  • Accountability with full audit trails of who did what and when to ensure no transactions are making it past the business controls implemented.

See Pathlock in Action!

Whether you are a business user, auditor, or IT Admin, Pathlock can give you the tools to unlock critical process efficiencies and deliver a more effective GRC strategy. Get in touch with us for a demo!

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