Let’s face it – Security compliance is a hassle. (Almost) nobody likes it, it’s boring and perceived as a tedious checklist that must be completed in order to achieve the prestigious mark of being “XYZ” compliant.
Why is that, and how can we better tackle this challenge?
The Compliance Challenge
Companies need compliance mainly for 2 reasons – they either sell to other companies (B2B) who require certain compliance standards to be met, or they sell to consumers (B2C) and are required to maintain certain compliance standards in order to transact with their credit cards or store their Personal Identifiable Information (PII) like name, emails, addresses etc.
There are various compliance standards related to different sectors and use-cases: PCI-DSS, SOC2, ISO-27001, GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, FISMA, FedRAMP and more. Each of these has a list of requirements the organization must meet and provide evidence to a 3rd party auditor in order to gain the compliance status.
Too Much Time and Effort
More often than not, getting from zero to one requires company-wide effort, especially for early stage startups dealing with this challenge for the first time. There are a few reasons for the amounts of time and effort required for this project:
- Scope of Work – the project owner needs to research what are the compliance standard’s requirements, which teams need to be involved, what systems they need access to in order to collect the required evidence and basically – how to get started. In some cases there is a need to hire outside experts to get help with this specific field of expertise.
- Evidence Collection – once the project is created, there is a need to start evidence collection, in order to prove to the auditor the company meets the compliance requirements. This is where the heavy lifting of the project lies – taking screenshots, creating procedure documents, downloading graphs and configuration files and organizing all the data based on the compliance standard’s structure.
- Involvement of Multiple Teams – most compliance standards address security across the entire organization, thus require involvement and cooperation from multiple teams: IT, DevOps, InfoSec, HR, Product and more. These teams don’t have any incentive to help the project owner and the whole project is typically perceived as one big time waste from their perspective.
- Repeatable and Manual Process – after all the time, efforts and energy invested in this project, assuming the compliance auditor certifies the company and the longed for compliance standard achieved, this is not the end. Most compliance standards require recertifications on a quarterly, bi-yearly or on an annual cadence, since companies change and with them all the configurations, systems and procedures that were certified at one point in time. As the entire project is traditionally done in a manual manner, some of the work will have to be repeated over and over again.
Some advanced technology solutions, like Cloud Workload Protection or Zero Trust Access Governance support automated compliance reporting. While this function is extremely helpful, it only yields one evidence at at time, so it does not provide a holistic solution for the entire audit journey.
With all the recent technological advancements such as digital transformation, automation and the migration to the cloud, there must be a better way to achieve compliance while reducing the amount of time and resources, right?
Cloud Compliance Platforms
Meet Cloud Compliance Platforms – these SaaS-based companies aim to tackle all the above mentioned challenges and turn the compliance process from business detractor to business enabler. They do so by seamlessly connecting to the company’s systems, automatically collecting the required compliance evidence data and providing gap analysis reports to the project owner, so they will know how to move forward and where to invest resources.
When it comes to evaluating a cloud compliance platform, the main capabilities you should be looking for are:
- Easy Integration – as with many SaaS-based products, this one is a key to achieve customer adoption: both in terms of the effort to integrate the service and the number of enterprise applications supported. It should take less than a few hours to integrate and should include integrations to most common apps and systems out of the box.
- Compliance Scoping Guidance – the ability to guide the compliance project owner how to even start the compliance process, which teams should be involved, what type of evidence should be collected and in what format, etc. This capability is valuable for startup companies getting started in the compliance process for the first time, or more mature companies trying to tackle a new type of compliance standard.
- Continuous Evidence Collection – one of the most important features of cloud compliance platforms: automatically collect the required data from the enterprise apps and systems and organize them based on the compliance standard’s format. Traditional evidence collection for compliance purposes is done in one point in time, which should be repeated upon recertification. Continuous evidence collection ensures the freshness of the compliance status of the company.
- Gap Analysis – once most of the compliance related data is collected, the solution should provide a gap analysis which is basically a list of tasks to be performed in order to get to the compliance-ready status and prepare for an external compliance audit.
- Daily Compliance Management – providing a holistic view on the company’s compliance status on a daily basis, as systems and configurations change constantly and may create deviation from being 100% compliant. The compliance project owner can review any gaps that were recently created due to changing environments and connect with compliance auditors and experts as needed.
Cloud compliance platforms bring the compliance process into the 2020s. They can help both startup companies and large enterprises going through the tedious compliance process in a faster and less resource consuming manner.
They empower the compliance project owner to be more self-reliant by connecting and integrating with the company’s enterprise apps and systems, pulling the necessary data automatically and providing gap analysis, recommendations and a clear roadmap towards getting to compliance-ready status.
No need to ask for favors and chase multiple teams and departments in the company to gain visibility into their systems and configurations for the compliance audit.
Cloud compliance platforms enable your startup to move fast without interruptions while getting enterprise-grade compliance faster and with less hassle.
GlobalDots, a cloud innovation explorer always on the hunt for the next impactful cutting edge solution, stepped into that challenge. Our innovation hunting team conducted a thorough research to find the best compliance platforms solutions out there. A handful of them had been examined and tested with our design partners, with as little as 3 solutions that tackle this pain successfully. Click here to find out more on how to ease your ongoing compliance processes.