According to a Gartner study of 117 organizations at the end of 2020, IT compliance spending was expected to plateau after several years of unprecedented growth. This is mainly due to the disruptions caused by the novel COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it has also increased the burden on legal and compliance teams, as they now find themselves navigating through a barrage of organizational risk in a remote working environment.
Today, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, compliance, and continuous integrations dominate the IT compliance landscape. But the need of the hour is to decipher what they mean for small businesses and how they can capitalize on these concepts to implement a security program.
While exploring this question, keep in mind that robust computer systems are not synonymous with the most efficient or productive tools for employees. Compliance can only be achieved when people fully understand and feel comfortable with a specific security process.
Small and medium businesses need to recognize or identify exactly what will work in their compliance environment. To do this, they must be guided by a fundamental understanding of continuous compliance and how to identify the right-sized integrations and automation.
Decoding Continuous Compliance
Ongoing compliance involves having knowledge about the proper functioning of the control environment. This means you know how your organization’s controls are monitored and working in sync with specific policies. The concept of compliance assumes that there is a robust compliance environment and that there are people who remain accountable for measuring results.
It should be noted that it makes no sense to assess your compliance environment only at specific times. For example, only assess it at the time of the audit. You need to embed compliance assessment throughout the business lifecycle. Simply put, continuous compliance should become an organizational mindset rather than a series of actions. Everyone should have control and processes. But that’s easier said than done for a changing or expanding organization.
Decoding integrations for compliance
Integration refers to the ability of a compliance solution provider to obtain audit documents in an integrated platform in order to share them with a client. The role of integration becomes crucial when it comes to collecting evidence. It can save you a lot of time during these activities. It means owning the products that can connect your compliance solution provider. For startups naturally marked by labor-intensive processes, integrations like a documented workflow or Google Forms are a great option.
According to the latest trends in governance, risk and compliance or GRC, integrations are essential for organizations to scale their compliance programs. Integrations facilitate communication and collaborations, remove all manual or labor-intensive work related to evidence collection, and make continuous compliance and monitoring a reality.
What does effective compliance automation mean?
Automation means the ability to reduce a human task to a data model and establish and configure code for repeatability. Practicing compliance requires a lot of human labor. Therefore, we cannot fully apply the term automation to it. However, collecting audit evidence through integration can fit into the concept of an automated solution. Such automation ensures fast evidence collection tasks.
Small and medium-sized businesses can reap the benefits of automated compliance concepts by first analyzing tasks that typically cannot be performed without a consultant. You need to determine if this activity can be repeated between consultants. A good example here would be to perform an annual risk assessment. Another relevant example is measuring drills between your company’s cybersecurity policies against a single standard. A carefully designed automated system can achieve nearly 95% efficiency for even the most complex tasks.
Today, integration is constantly changing, mainly because mainstream technologies are constantly changing. Therefore, start-ups may not witness the effect of built-in automation. The right way forward for these organizations is to automate repeatable security practices. For example, they can incorporate checks and balances instead of investing in an expensive tool.
Understand the value of adaptive compliance
Beyond automation, adaptability is the most crucial parameter when evaluating compliance platforms. Adaptive compliance enables organizations to appropriately integrate new controls, risks, and evidence gathering needs. Basically, adaptive compliance systems are designed to manage security practices that complement your organization.
As businesses grow, so does their compliance environment. They can change a small percentage of their orders and increase overall orders by 5%. During an audit, a powerful compliance management system will allow companies to incorporate control changes. Monitoring these changes is crucial as the auditor will need constant proof of compliance. Thus, the ability to adapt or adjust your cybersecurity policies will allow your organization to become a more efficient version of itself.
An adaptive compliance inspection module allows companies to monitor and manage all inspection activities. Users can streamline the entire audit lifecycle, from planning audits to producing electronic reports. You can adequately measure knowledge and progress with it.
For small and medium-sized businesses, it all comes down to making this automation approach a priority fully aligned with their organizational goals. Consider that your priorities will change over time, so you need a system that can adapt to local changes.
Your goal should always be to integrate flexible technologies and invest in the ideal compliance technology to ensure that you are always in the direction of innovation and value creation. Contact Ezofis, an automation management company that excels in providing automation solutions for small businesses and start-ups.
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