According to a study of 117 organizations by Gartner in the later part of 2020, spending on IT compliance was bound to plateau after witnessing multiple years of unprecedented growth. It is mainly due to the disruption caused by the novel COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it has also increased a load of legal and compliance teams as they now find themselves navigating through a barrage of organizational risks in a remote work environment.
Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, and continuous compliance and integrations are dominating the landscape of IT compliance. But the need of the hour is to decode their meaning for small enterprises and the way they can capitalize on these concepts to set up a security program.
While exploring this issue, one needs to keep in mind the truth that robust computing systems are not synonymous with the most efficient or productive tools for employees. Compliance can only be achieved when people understand a specific security process entirely and find themselves comfortable with it.
Small and medium-scale enterprises need to recognize or pinpoint exactly what will work in their compliance environment. For it, they should be guided by a fundamental understanding of continuous compliance and the way to identify right-size integrations and automation.
Decoding Continuous Compliance
Continuous compliance involves possessing knowledge about how well the control environment is functioning. It means that you know the way the controls in your organization are monitored and operating in synchronization with specific policies. The concept of compliance assumes that there exists a robust compliance environment and that there are people who stay accountable for measuring the output.
It is to be noted that it makes no sense to evaluate your compliance landscape at only specific periods. For example, assessing it only at times of audit. You should integrate compliance assessment throughout the business lifecycle. In simple words, continuous compliance should become a state of mind of the organization rather than a series of metrics. Everyone should have the should the controls and processes. But it is easier said than done for an organization in a state of flux or expansion.
Decoding Integrations for Compliance
Integration means the capacity of a compliance solution provider to obtain audit documents into an integrated platform so as to share them with a customer. The role of integration becomes crucial when you need to collect evidence. It can save you a lot of time during these activities. It means possessing those products that can connect your compliance solution provider. For start-ups naturally marked by labour-intensive processes, integrations like a documented workflow or Google Forms are a great option.
According to the latest governance-risk-compliance or GRC trends, integrations are indispensable for organizations to scale their compliance programs. Integrations make communication and collaborations smoother, remove all the manual or labour-intensive work that revolve around evidence collection, and makes continuous compliance and monitoring a reality.
What does Effective Compliance Automation mean?
Automation means the capability to reduce a human-operated task into a data model and establish and set up a code for repeatability. The compliance practice requires a lot of human labour. Hence, we cannot fully apply the term automation to it. However, the collection of audit evidence through integration can fit into the concept of an automated solution. Such automation ensures prompt evidence collection tasks.
Small to medium enterprises can achieve the advantages of automated compliance concepts by first analyzing those tasks that conventionally cannot be executed without a consultant. You need to determine if that activity can be repeated across consultants. An apt example here would be performing a yearly risk assessment. Yet another suitable example is measuring exercises between your company’s cybersecurity policies against a single standard. A thoughtfully designed automated system can accomplish nearly 95 percent efficiency, even for the most complicated tasks.
At present, integration is ever changing mainly because common technologies are constantly undergoing transformation. Hence, start-ups may find themselves not witnessing the effect of integrated automation. The correct course of action for such organizations is to automate repeatable security practices. For example, they can integrate checks and balances instead of investing in an expensive tool.
Understanding the Value of Adaptive Compliance
Beyond automation, adaptability is the single most crucial parameter when evaluating compliance platforms. An adaptive compliance permits enterprises to suitably integrate new controls, risks, and evidence collection needs. Basically, adaptive compliance systems are designed to manage security practices that complement your organization.
As enterprises expand, their compliance environment also matures. They can edit a small percentage of their controls and increase the overall controls by 5 per cent. During an audit, a powerful compliance management system will permit companies to integrate control modifications. Monitoring these modifications is crucial as the auditor will need some proof of consistent compliance. Hence, the capacity to adapt or adjust your cybersecurity policies will allow your organization to turn into a more efficient version of itself.
An adaptive compliance inspection module enables businesses to monitor and handle all inspection activities. Users can streamline the whole auditing lifecycle, right from scheduling audits to producing electronic reports. You can adequately measure knowledge and progress with it.
For small to medium enterprises, it all boils down to making that automation approach a priority that is fully tailored to their organizational goals. Take into account that your priorities will undergo modifications over time, so you need a system that can adjust to changes at the grassroots levels.