Compliance is necessary for businesses to run their operations effectively, prevent heavy fines due to violations, and ensure data security. But not to miss the frustration it may create for a large-scale enterprise. Also, meeting the regulations can affect the security budgets of companies. According to a recent report, compliance obligations now consume “over 40% of the entire IT security budgets of a company”, making it challenging for businesses to manage cybersecurity in the remaining 60% of the budget.
Unsurprisingly, the same report suggests that compliance-associated costs and constraints are seen as a material barrier by 58% of businesses to embrace new business opportunities. While enforcing compliance helps companies prevent threats, protect businesses from legal problems and penalties, and enhance customer trust, managing compliance manually can be tiring for security teams.
In this era of digital transformation, compliance automation is the only way to reduce costs and time spent on it and improve compliance obligations. In this article, we will discuss what compliance automation is and why businesses need it. But first, let’s talk about the impacts of Covid-19 on compliance.
COVID-19 and Compliance
Before the pandemic hit the world, compliance and cybersecurity were already on the edge of becoming unsustainable, specifically due to the expanding supply chains and shortage of perpetual talent. COVID-19 made many businesses rethink their security posture. The data breach cost hit the highest in the 17-year report history during the pandemic, charging companies $4.24 per incident on average.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increase in cyberattacks, mostly in data exfiltration and leakage. Due to the global crisis and an immobilized downturn, business leaders started to split their security budget wherever it was possible. Unfortunately, regulation costs were the first to be cut during the pandemic.
Undoubtedly, it was not a good choice, as without effective compliance, businesses could face many risks. We can only imagine how cybercriminals would be happy to absorb the news due to the pandemic making opportunities for them. Home offices became less secure than offices, and the ongoing lockdowns increased fraud risks.
While businesses suffer from security and financial crises, cybercriminals have no such trouble. “The cybercrime industry is expected to grow by 15% per year, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.”
Even though we have passed through the global crisis, cybercriminals have become more intelligent, and attacks have become more sophisticated. They leverage Artificial Intelligence for their benefit. This is disturbing enough for businesses that are still operating in non-regulated zones. So, how can they meet compliance during the trembling infrastructure, increased threats, and crippling budgets? Compliance automation is the answer to this question.
Let’s discuss what compliance automation really is.
What is Compliance Automation?
Compliance automation is the process that uses technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, to check systems and data for compliance continuously. Compliance automation solutions can replace busy manual work, keeping track of all compliance procedures in one location.
Moreover, it enables compliance officers to pay attention to more challenging tasks. A compliance automation platform may consist of the following capabilities:
- Automated scanning to allow businesses to monitor their systems for any compliance issue.
- Compliance mapping to map and integrate compliance controls within systems, processes, and endpoints.
- Data management to protect data that is collected for reporting, making it secure.
- Compliance process automation to automate cumbersome manual tasks, including risk assessments, notifications, and alerts.
- Automated compliance reporting to collect audited data and compile it for reporting automatically.
It is important to understand that automation can benefit businesses in many ways and make their efforts more efficient, but it can’t replace human intelligence and oversight completely. Compliance automation is the automation of processes to collect and evaluate data manually.
However, manual questionnaires are still part of the process and require compliance officers for the remaining manual tasks. Also, they are necessary to oversee and proactively evaluate reports and analytics to build a compliance culture and communicate with executives in the company.
Manual Compliance VS Compliance Automation
Compliance automation has significant benefits over manual compliance. While a new system can take some work and time upfront, it can be beneficial in the long run. This section will highlight the difference between manual compliance and compliance automation.
Manual compliance is pretty straightforward but more time-consuming, expensive, and generally less effective than compliance automation. The manual approach to compliance includes the following steps or processes:
- Forming a committee to establish policies and procedures.
- Approving compliance documents by necessary personnel.
- Printing policy manuals or any other documents.
- Chasing personnel to read and sign documents.
- Filing documents in binders and storing them in your office’s cabinets.
- Reviewing and revising outdated documents.
- Starting the process again in the case of outdated documents.
Compliance automation is not a silver bullet to solve all compliance issues in your organization. However, it is less time-consuming than manual automation and increases efficiency n streamlining your processes.
Automated compliance includes the following processes:
- Distributing policy manuals and compliance documents with the click of a button to the entire organization.
- Using policy templates to ease compliance management and maintain consistency.
- Making documents approved automatically and obtaining electronic signatures by specific users.
- Setting reminders to review documents.
- Creating and running online training courses and testing.
- Going through reports to check compliance with the regulations, who hasn’t signed the documents, completed training, and filled out surveys.
|Manual Compliance||Compliance Automation|
|More time-consuming as you have to go through the processes manually and make policies and procedures all by yourself manually.||Less time-consuming as it can help streamline processes in just a matter of a few clicks; policy templates enable quick operations and policy generation.|
|Expensive due to the cost spent on paper, policies, and processes.||Inexpensive as all the processes are automated, and paper costs are also reduced.|
|An ineffective method of finding documents and making policies manually demands much effort and workforce.||Effective method as documents are stored in systems, and you can go through them whenever you want.|
Why Does Your Business Need Compliance Automation?
As discussed above, compliance automation has several advantages over manual compliance processes. Your business needs automated compliance to run operations effectively while adhering to compliance obligations automatically. If your organization is consistently missing out on compliance regulations, now is the time to integrate compliance automation throughout your systems and processes.
Benefits of Compliance Automation
Time & Cost Effective
Implementing automated compliance is much more cost and time effective than implementing manual processes and controls. A recent survey shows deploying automated compliance can save up to 40-50% of internal compliance resources, including timeline and budget costs.
Reduced Compliance Risks
Automated compliance solutions enable businesses to verify compliance requirements continuously, manage risk, and identify potential weak points in the system. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of an organization encountering heavy fines due to non-compliance. It minimizes compliance risks and thereby helps companies save a significant amount of money.
Enhanced Visibility & Agility
Manual compliance monitoring is not suitable for larger organizations. Compliance automation can solve this issue by allowing organizations to view their systems and compliance processes, providing visibility into the entire infrastructure. Furthermore, a compliance automation platform automatically integrates updates into your system, ensuring you don’t go off track due to any unexpected changes.
Real-time Data in a Single Dashboard
Compliance solutions provide a consolidated view of all your compliance data into a single platform, enabling you to check compliance status and audit information in one place. Due to the real-time presentation of compliance data, you get an advantage of strong risk management.
How Would you Know if Your Business Needs Compliance Automation?
Some businesses still don’t consider the need to automate compliance. They don’t understand the importance and benefits of an automated compliance solution until they invest in one. Don’t make the mistake of becoming one of them. Want to know whether you need compliance automation or not? Check out the following signs to identify your business’ need for an automated compliance solution. You need compliance automation if your business:
Misses Out on Compliance Requirements & Legal Updates
Compliance laws vary for organizations from state to state or country to country. Any industry with a presence across different states or countries must deal with several licenses, permissions, maintenance, etc. Missing out on any of the compliance requirements or legal updates, knowingly or unknowingly, is not a good sign for businesses. In the long run, compliance negligence can impact enterprises negatively.
With ever-evolving compliance updates and requirements, it is hard for businesses to keep up with them through manual processes. If you consistently miss out on compliance requirements and legal updates, now is the time to turn toward compliance automation.
Receives Compliance Notices
Missing compliance requirements means you’re going to get a lot of missed compliance notices. It means your business is not following the industry compliance requirements. Again, this will not be a healthy sign for any enterprise, as it will trouble the business operations. Also, continuous non-compliance can lead to heavy fines or forced shutdown of the business by authorities. This is another sign for your enterprise to use a compliance automation solution.
Operates in Multiple states or Cities
As mentioned in the first point, operating in multiple states or cities means following many compliance requirements and laws to keep up with the regulation. Manual processes are more prone to errors compared to automated processes. Automated compliance will help you keep up with regulatory compliance and minimize the risk of errors, increasing business efficiency and productivity.
Deals with International Clients
In the past few years, the number of businesses dealing with international clients has increased rapidly. However, dealing with international clients demands a specific level of compliance too. For instance, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires businesses to protect user data and privacy dealing within Europe or providing services to European citizens.
So, if your business deals with international clients, keeping up with all the international compliance regulations can be daunting. In this regard, compliance automation can help you easily follow all the regulations by automating compliance processes.
Requirements for Compliance Automation
Now that you have understood the importance of compliance automation and know why your business needs it, it is time to check the requirements for compliance automation. The following checklist can help you prepare for compliance automation in your organization:
Diagnose the Security Problem
Compliance doesn’t only mean time-to-time audits, but it’s more about continuous data monitoring and protection. The first requirement of compliance automation is to diagnose your security problems, where you lack security, your potential vulnerable spots, and risk assessments.
With the increasing number of cyberattacks, data protection and privacy have become necessary for compliance. Identify your security problem and implement automation in the required system and processes.
Understand Your Landscape
The next critical requirement is identifying and understanding which compliance regulations apply to your business. For instance, HIPAA compliance is necessary for health care providers operating in the US, and GDPR for organizations that handle user data in Europe. That’s why understanding your landscape, which frameworks apply to your organization, and your business requirements are necessary for compliance automation.
Address Vendor Risk
Vendors and partners of any business are as important as their endpoints. Secure businesses can also fail if their supply chain is compromised. Therefore, vendor risk assessment is necessary for compliance automation.
Integrate a Strategic Compliance Solution
Last but not least, a strategic compliance automation solution is the utmost requirement for compliance automation. If you fail to find the right solution for your compliance, it may compromise your business operations. A solution that cannot only automate compliance but also demonstrate your compliance landscape and assess vendor and regulatory risk, enabling IT security teams to focus on more challenging threats.
In this regard, put your trust in CyberArrow Compliance Solutions. Let’s discuss how CyberArrow can simplify compliance automation and why you need it.
How CyberArrow Simplifies Compliance Automation?
CyberArrow helps you automate compliance by minimizing the manual effort of hundreds of hours required to maintain compliance.
24/7 Compliance Monitoring
CyberArrow helps you eliminate the tiresome human effort associated with compliance by automating ongoing monitoring of compliance status.
Automated Evidence Collection
CyberArrow’s compliance solution automatically gathers evidence, enabling businesses to wave off spreadsheets, screenshots, and endless meetings with auditors.
CyberArrow integrates self-evaluation of your security programs and risks.
CyberArrow provides real-time compliance reports to its customers.
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