Maintaining compliance is a key requirement, not only for regulatory purposes, but also for maintaining credibility, mitigating the risk of security breaches, and preventing data loss. Ensuring your organization is compliant can avoid disciplinary action, whilst assuring stakeholders and third parties that they comply with industry and security standards.
Managing compliance audits and reporting can be time consuming and complex. The process of analyzing and formatting data for relevant parties can add even more resource and complexity to the process.
Compliance management solutions will alleviate some of the workload due to monitoring and assessing compliance. These solutions automate several key processes and workflows, such as report generation, monitoring and testing, and updating company policies in light of regulation changes. They can also improve collaboration between teams and stakeholders, and alert teams to any concerning events or relevant changes.
Compliance management tends to be one of the features of broad governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions. While some vendors do offer compliance management as a standalone solution, it is more common to see multi-use platforms and GRC solutions.
In this article we’ll cover the top 10 compliance management solutions available today. We’ll highlight each platform’s key features, before suggesting the type of organization that would be best suited to its use. While some of the solutions are stand-alone compliance management tools, many are part of a wider Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) platform.
Compliance Management: Everything You Need To Know
What Is Compliance Management?
Compliance management refers to solutions, procedures, and policies which help organizations stay in line with relevant regulations and compliance requirements. Compliance policies can be enforced, regulated, and managed through compliance management solutions, thereby reducing the risk of violating any regulations.
Compliance management often focuses on digital compliance risks that may affect your organizations, your employees, third-party vendors, and your customers. These solutions can update relevant users if any aspect of your digital infrastructure is not compliant. This may occur when you install a new technology, or a compliance regulation is updated. The solutions can automatically update your internal regulatory policies when regulations change, generate reports, collate data, notify stakeholders, provide insights into key risk areas, and monitor all regulatory compliance activities that occur within your organization. They can also record key metrics in the aftermath of a policy change.
What Is Compliance Risk?
Compliance risks refers to the areas that your organization could fall into non-compliance territory. For example, if information is not stored for the specified (mandated) length of time, your organization could be in breach of regulatory expectations. This compliance risk could result in a penalty, fine, or (in severe case) your organization being suspended from operating within a covered sector or location.
Common types of risk can include instances of human error such as phishing and social engineering-based attacks, lack of monitoring and recording of data, improper storage, failure to monitor and restrict access, and misconfigurations.
Why Do We Need To Be Compliant?
Compliance regulations are set by organizations that oversee a specific industry; often these are set at a governmental level (such as GDPR and SOX). In some cases, the regulations will be set be a third-party organization commonly held to be an authority. If you fail to comply with their expectations, you will not be accredited, thereby restricting your ability to create consumer confidence. One example of this would be FIDO.
Compliance ensures that your company is following best practices, following the law, producing products that are safe and made with materials that are safe for consumption, and is following strict quality standards. This is done for the benefit of protecting, both, your organization and well as your customers.
Maintaining compliance also ensures that if something does go wrong, your company can prove that it was acting in accordance with regulations and expectations. Any breaches can then be perceived as exceptional, meaning that you cannot be classed as negligent. This can have significant, practical repercussion such as protecting your organization from serious financial losses, legal consequences, fines, or affected brand image which can negatively impact revenue. Non-compliance can also lead to security issues such as data breaches and losses.
Beyond adhering to strict regulations and laws, maintaining compliance also demonstrates that you are a reputable business and take your responsibility to safely seriously. Adherence proves to stakeholders that your organization is robust, reliable, and trustworthy. This makes you a more attractive investment as you meet the high standards expected of you. Adherence to standards also benefits your brand image. While this is virtually impossible to quantify, the impact of not being compliant, of suffering an avoidable breach, could result in your organization being unable to continue operating.
Compliance Management Solution Features
Compliance management solutions can vary from vendor to vendor, and not all will offer the same thing. Some solutions are designed for SMB usage, while others are created with enterprises in mind. Some solutions are industry specific or designed to manage a specific compliance regulation like PCI DSS, SOX, and GDPR.
Some key features to look for when investigating a compliance management solution include:
- Comprehensive dashboards: For a full and complete overview of your environment and its compliance status, the platform you chose should have clean and intuitive dashboards. It is beneficial if these can be customized and reorganized to highlight information specific to your use case.
- Automation: Compliance management tasks can be time consuming and hinder productivity. Good compliance management solutions can automate the auditing process, allowing you to monitor your environment, whilst preserving resource.
- Alerts: Admins and teams can receive alerts and updates when an anomaly is detected, on compliance procedure updates, or when an action is needed. Stakeholders can also receive updates and alerts if it’s in their best interest.
- Reports: Reports should be easy to generate, easily customizable, and with a range of templates available. It should be easy to share these reports with relevant stakeholders and third parties.
- Continuous or scheduled scanning: Continuous scanning ensures that you are aware of issues as soon as they arise. Scheduled scanning ensures that scans occur at regular intervals, without any reports being missed.
- Actionable insight: When giving you updates on compliance posture and your environment, compliance management tools should explain ways that you can make changes and improve the situation.