What Does Compliance Automation Enable for Your Business?

Compliance has long been a thorn in the side of IT departments — not in the least because of the frustration it creates for the wider enterprise. 

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) has, over the years, gained a reputation as an expensive, cumbersome tangle of processes and policies. The position of compliance officer has even been described as the most thankless job on Wall Street

Compliance professionals are often viewed as innovation killers, while also being blamed for compliance violations. And, given recent changes in the business landscape, it’s liable to get worse before it gets better. According to a recent report, over 40% of IT security budgets are now consumed entirely by compliance obligations. The workload required simply for basic adherence is often upwards of 10,000 hours for each compliance requirement. Unsurprisingly, 58% of businesses view the associated costs and constraints as a barrier to embracing new opportunities.

So, what options do companies have? Enforcing compliance helps your company prevent and detect trouble, protects your organization from legal problems and penalties, fosters trust, and keeps operations running efficiently and safely. For many companies, the only answer is compliance automation as a way to reduce costs and improve compliance velocity.

Read on to learn more about key compliance challenges and why many companies are turning to compliance automation as a solution.

Compliance Automation

Compliance in the Age of COVID

Prior to the pandemic, compliance was already on the verge of becoming unsustainable, particularly in the face of expanding supply chains and a perpetual talent shortage. COVID-19 was in many ways the final nail in the coffin. Simultaneously facing a global crisis and a crippling recession, business leaders slashed their operating budget wherever possible. 

Unfortunately, compliance costs were among the first to be cut. It was undoubtedly a foolish choice, particularly as distributed work exponentially amplified risk, causing countless businesses to charge headlong into an unfamiliar threat landscape without effective oversight or GRC. 

One can only imagine the glee with which cybercriminals absorbed the news. The pandemic represents a unique opportunity for the unscrupulous. Home offices are inherently less secure than the workplace, and the stress and hardship created by ongoing lockdowns and quarantines have the potential to exponentially increase fraud risk

To make matters worse, although legitimate businesses are struggling, the criminal underground is suffering from no such trouble. The cybercrime industry currently pulls in at least $6 trillion annually. For context, the GDP of the world’s third largest economy, Japan, is $5 trillion

Even in the absence of a global crisis, criminals are now more sophisticated and intelligent than ever, leveraging outsourcing, monetization, and artificial intelligence to great effect. This climate is troubling enough for businesses operating in non-regulated sectors. For regulated organizations, it has the potential to be catastrophic. 

But what exactly can be done? How can businesses meet their compliance obligations in the face of sprawling infrastructure, falling budgets, and increased risk? 

Three words — compliance automation software. 

What is Compliance Automation? 

Automated regulatory compliance operates in much the same way as automation elsewhere. Through a combination of data collection, algorithms, and predefined controls, it streamlines the entirety of the compliance process. Freed from manual busywork, compliance officers can direct their attention to more high-level challenges. 

Compliance automation solutions may comprise any or all of the following, either independently or as part of a GRC platform: 

  • Automated scanning: Allows compliance officers to monitor systems and endpoints for compliance issues in real time. 
  • Data management: Consolidates sensitive data and evidence collected for reporting, ensuring it’s centrally-stored and secure. 
  • Compliance mapping: Maps and applies compliance controls to systems, endpoints, and processes. 
  • Compliance process automation: Automates manual tasks such as risk assessments, alerts, and notification, streamlining compliance workflows and reducing process redundancy. 
  • Compliance reporting automation: Automatically collects audit data and compiles said data for reporting purposes.

It’s important to understand that although automation can make a business’s compliance efforts considerably more efficient, it cannot completely replace human oversight. Nor should it — compliance officers are still necessary for any entity operating in a regulated sector. Automation covers the manual collection and evaluation processes, yet manual questionnaires still do exist and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Compliance officers are needed for these remaining manual tasks. They are also still required to oversee, proactively use the analytics and reports to communicate with the executive level, and build compliance culture in a company. 

Where automation intersects with these techniques is in orchestration. Through compliance automation software, a business can ensure everything is connected. Reports are easier to generate on-demand, and overall management throughout the year is considerably more efficient. 

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

What Are the Benefits of Compliance Automation? 

We’ve already touched lightly on how automation can be beneficial solely from a compliance standpoint. The benefits truly become evident, with a fully automated IT security policy compliance system. By blending compliance and security controls, into a single platform, an organization may experience a number of significant returns. 

  • Efficiency: Manual compliance work is both time-intensive and error-prone. Automation puts an end to much of this workload, eliminates human error, while also reducing data complexity.
  • Growth: Compliance need no longer be a barrier to new business opportunities, as automation allows a business to ensure that new workflows, lines of business, and systems are compliant and secure from day one. 
  • Cost reduction: In a recent survey, IT leaders acknowledged that automation both reduces assessment costs and shrinks the timeline for compliance processes.
  • Better collection: Automated evidence collection improves clarity, reduces paperwork and centralizes data.
  • More effective health checks: Rather than only periodically assessing security settings and controls, automation allows a business to pursue continuous compliance, remediating compliance issues the moment they are detected. 
  • Enhanced visibility: Particularly for larger organizations, manual monitoring is no longer sufficient. Through automation, compliance and security teams can achieve a complete view of their entire ecosystem, from internal servers to supply chain partners. 
  • Agility: Any worthwhile compliance automation tool will automatically incorporate new legislation and framework updates, ensuring you aren’t caught off-guard by any unexpected changes. 
  • Bring compliance in-house: Rather than having to bring in legal counsel to interpret and apply compliance controls, an automated solution helps you not only define and apply your own requirements, but also understand them. 

How Can Your Business Enable Compliance Automation?

Understand Your Landscape

First and foremost, you need to know which compliance frameworks and regulations apply to your organization. At first glance, this may seem obvious. A healthcare provider or covered entity operating in the United States, for instance, will need to adhere to HIPAA

But what about state-specific regulations? What about a business that operates in multiple jurisdictions or regions of the world? What if your business is based in Canada, but happens to acquire a customer from the European Union? 

Compliance software will help enormously in applying and enforcing your regulatory frameworks, and that starts with knowing what those frameworks are. 

Address Vendor Risk

Even the most secure business in the world can be compromised if it fails to secure its supply chain. Your vendors and business partners are as much a part of your ecosystem as your own endpoints. As such, whatever solution you use to automate compliance needs to support multi-tenancy. 

This will allow you to deploy a client to each vendor, and assess their risk, security, and compliance in much the same way as you’ve assessed your own. 

Integrate Effectively

For employees, one of the most frustrating things about compliance is how frequently it tends to act as a roadblock for their work. It’s imperative that you integrate your compliance automation tools in such a way that they impact workflows minimally, if at all. Deep integration also carries the added benefit of ensuring that any modifications which may result in noncompliance are flagged immediately. 

Consider the Broader Business Strategy

The days when different departments and initiatives could operate in isolation from one another are behind us. Your compliance automation should be part of your overall approach to integrated risk management and GRC. And this approach should ultimately align with your business’s strategic objectives. 

As an aside, this will also make it easier to justify the need for compliance automation to your board. 

Remember That Compliance is a Process

Continuous compliance is so-named for a reason. The right solutions will make things easier to manage, but they won’t erase the need to regularly evaluate, assess, and revise your approach. There will always be a new tool, a new law, an operational change that requires your attention.

Automation ensures that you’re free to give it. 

Centraleyes: Your All-in-One Compliance Automation Platform

Centraleyes is the world’s most advanced integrated risk management platform, and makes compliance simpler than ever in a multitude of ways: 

  • More than fifty pre-loaded industry and regulatory frameworks and standards
  • Streamlined data collection
  • Automated scoring and tiering 
  • Smart mapping between systems. 
  • An intuitive dashboard
  • Cutting-edge visualization and reporting for both stakeholders and compliance officers
  • Single-click deployment for easy vendor management
  • AI-backed smart remediation

Contact us today to learn more. 

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days