A mature and streamlined approach to managing risk is key in today’s digital environment. Office for Students needed to mature its approach to risk management and required a single, seamless, enterprise-wide solution to manage and monitor all aspects of it.
The Office for Students (OfS) is the independent regulator of higher education in England, responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate and postgraduate students, whatever their backgrounds, have a fulfilling experience of higher education which enriches their lives and careers and delivers value for money. It is headquartered in Bristol, with a workforce of around 450 people.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Office for Students’ predecessor, become a client of SureCloud back in 2017, implementing the GDPR Data Privacy Management Suite to support and enhance its GDPR programme. As a new organisation and a successor of HEFCE, Office for Students has been looking to mature its approach to risk management. The focus of this for the team was initially to improve risk policies and procedures, to develop internal capability, enhance reporting to show transparency and allow challenge, and to identify and manage risks enterprise-wide systematically. These improvements established a highly effective risk management approach, but the organisation soon hit the ceiling in terms of its process supporting risk systems, with technology being a limiting factor rather than an enabler. The organisation was relying on numerous disparate spreadsheets to assess and monitor different types of risk – these were inconsistent, time-consuming and error-prone. Office for Students needed a single, seamless, enterprise-wide solution to manage and monitor all aspects of risk management.
Introducing SureCloud’s risk management services
Office for Students has been a SureCloud client for cybersecurity services since March 2017 and began deploying SureCloud’s governance, risk and compliance (GRC) solution in July 2017 to assist with the organisation’s responsibilities under GDPR. Knowing that SureCloud also offered a comprehensive risk management solution (recognised on Gartner’s IRM Magic Quadrant), which could be tailored to its precise needs, Office for Students opened a conversation with SureCloud about how best to configure its existing SureCloud Data Privacy Risk Management Solution to enable enterprise risk management.
SureCloud’s risk management product delivers:
- A central view of risk across the organisation via a single intuitive dashboard
- Risks organised across divisions, legal entities, business functions and geographies
- The ability to provide a central repository for enterprise risk, allow the organisation to show the entirety of the risk environment and consider overlaps and interdependences
- A range of risk management methodologies to understand the likelihood, impact and overall risk rating
- Configurable drillable dashboards and reports to provide a real-time snapshot of risk at any time
SureCloud’s centralised, cloud-based platform underpins the risk management product, allowing anyone from across an organisation deploying the application to add information at any time, from anywhere.
Rapid implementation services
Office for Students worked with SureCloud to configure the risk management application to its precise needs and was ready for rollout ahead of schedule.
“SureCloud got to grips with our requirements incredibly quickly,” said Ben Whitestone, Head of Governance at the Office for Students. “As the only independent regulator for higher education in England, we regulate in the interests of hundreds of thousands of students and we take that responsibility very seriously. Managing the risks we face is an important part of our governance. But with our legacy systems, we were focused more on updating spreadsheets than actually managing risk. SureCloud’s platform is enabling us to take a far more agile approach to risk management, focusing on taking action to mitigate threats and exploit opportunities, with substantial time and cost savings as a result.”
Streamlined, centralised risk management
“SureCloud’s platform has moved us away from using a series of disparate spreadsheets and countless emails for recording risk – with all of the potentials for errors that entails – to a single, centralised source of risk information for every member of staff,” said Whitestone. “It’s dynamic and agile – if we want to get a snapshot of risk for a particular department or function, we can.”
Intuitive and easy-to-use
“Despite us being at the start of our risk management journey, we are very pleased with how quickly staff can get to grips with the SureCloud platform, this was a key factor for us,” said Whitestone. “They can more or less log on and go – it’s extremely intuitive and easy-to-use. In turn, this means that it frees up a huge amount of time spent manually inputting or transferring information, which is a great advantage for us.”
Systems and culture working together
“We undertook a great deal of work to evolve our culture of risk management, to one that was far more consistent and proactive,” said Whitestone. “With SureCloud’s Risk Management solution in place, we have the systems to underpin that culture and enable us to take a far more streamlined, agile and accurate approach to help manage risk across the organisation.”