Navigating a rapidly evolving and complex regulatory landscape has always been a difficult challenge for businesses, let alone during a global pandemic. That landscape is now changing at breakneck speeds as businesses continue to work overtime to ensure they’re compliant with regulations such as GDPR, CMMC, CCPA and HIPAA. Not only do organizations need to maintain compliance with these regulations, they need to do so in a way that maximizes efficiency; otherwise they risk getting lost in a tangled web of repetitive manual processes that are inefficient and mistakes can result in hefty penalties and reputational damage.
With so many repetitive and manual processes, automation increasingly becomes the key to securely unlocking digital transformation and enabling a state of continuous compliance.
Why is compliance something your business should automate?
The list of regulatory requirements imposed on businesses is greater than it’s ever been, and that list will only continue to grow. As well mandatory obligations such as GDPR, a significant number of organizations also have self-imposed security standards or requirements they’re contractually obliged to meet, such as NIST CSF, SOC2, ISO 27001, CSA and CIS control.
Compliance regulations are undoubtedly a force for good, protecting industries and consumers alike, but being “compliance-ready” for regular and frequent auditing is something that puts a great deal of strain on businesses. For businesses still using legacy systems or manual processes, that strain is compounded by fatigue, duplication of effort, and massively overstretched resources. Naturally, this can lead to missed details, audit findings and even fines.
What do we mean by “continuous compliance”?
Annual compliance audits aren’t something a business typically looks forward to. As it currently stands, for many businesses, it’s a labor-intensive check box exercise that usually goes out of date the minute it’s completed, so being “audit-ready” is never more than an aspiration. It’s not technically possible. Mistakes are easily made due to fatigue, crucial details are often overlooked because of the manual processes involved, and getting an up-to-date view of an organization’s risk posture and compliance status is near impossible.
Continuous compliance circumvents the last-minute stress usually associated with auditing by making compliance a continuous, year-round objective. There are some crucial technologies that underpin and facilitate continuous compliance, which we’ll talk about in a moment. But first, it’s important to highlight that continuous compliance is as much about culture as it is about technology. Building compliance into your day-to-day processes and thinking about it continuously is far better than shelving it and putting it out of your mind until auditing day rolls around again.
One of the things businesses often shy away from when thinking about continuous compliance is the idea that they’ll be creating more work for themselves. This isn’t true. In fact, continuous compliance will actually save you time. It’s about collecting compliance data quickly and more often using technology and automation to enable your business to have a live view of compliance. That, in turn, will enable you to pivot and focus your precious resources on the highest risk areas within your organization.
How does technology support continuous compliance?
Having the right technology in place can help to alleviate your business of the burden usually associated with the “check box” approach to compliance outlined above. Instead, it can provide you with process automation, live notifications, and dynamic workflows that enable more regular and higher quality data collection from control owners. Imagine fully automating some of your processes by using technology to directly retrieve data from the source, then reading and analyzing said data to provide an instant compliance rating. It’s a world apart from the usual web of emails, word documents and Excel files, and once set up would require considerably fewer resources to orchestrate effectively.
Digital transformation has skyrocketed in the past few years, accelerated dramatically by the pandemic. While this is a positive step for businesses and their industries, it does open the door to endless new risks and challenges. By using a more agile, continuous approach to compliance – including ongoing control assessments, process automation and real-time notifications – your business can ensure it’s always compliance-ready and fully prepared for its next audit with minimal effort and maximum value.
To learn more about SureCloud Compliance Management Solution, contact us today.
Matthew Davies is a Senior Director of Product Management at SureCloud and works with Information Security, Risk and Compliance professionals to help them establish consistent and repeatable Governance, Risk and Compliance processes and tooling.
Matthew has been working in GRC technology and IT Risk assurance for the last seven years. In that time, he worked at PwC and Deloitte before joining SureCloud, working with RSA Archer, ServiceNow GRC, Auris GRC, IBM OpenPages and Bwise. Matthew supported organizations with building their GRC framework to automate and optimize their manual GRC processes.