Thousands. That is how many compliance journeys TrustNet has taken with satisfied clients over two decades. Big or small and across industries, our clients successfully navigated the challenges of different security frameworks at every stage of the compliance cycle.
Which controls should be mapped to this specific business process? How do we update our systems to reflect the additional standards set by the latest version of SOC 2, PCI DSS, or HITRUST? Should we conduct a readiness assessment ourselves or hire an independent auditor? How can we achieve compliance without spending too much? Is there a way to speed up the certification process?
These and many more questions can certainly turn regulatory compliance into an overly complicated undertaking.
Fortunately, we have been there and done that, so you would not have to worry or do the heavy lifting. Based on our analysis of long-term data we have gathered serving our clients, we can distill regulatory best practices and the most effective compliance tactics into just a dozen essentials:
1 – Form a Compliance Team
Establish a dedicated team to manage your regulatory compliance programs. Ideally, this team should be led by a Compliance Officer (or a Data Officer if you need to meet GDPR standards) and should include representatives from relevant departments such as IT and finance.
2 – Consult Experts
Things can become much easier if you seek advice from security experts and compliance specialists. They can provide guidance, perform assessments, and offer remediation assistance to align your system controls with regulatory benchmarks. Some providers offer end-to-end services, and you can save time and money when you partner with experienced compliance service providers.
3 – Understand the Requirements
Much is accomplished when you develop a broad understanding of each regulatory framework that applies to your organization. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements, controls, and guidelines of each relevant regulation. Have your team read and understand the latest compliance documentation published by frameworks relevant to your industry.
4 – Conduct a Gap Analysis
Perform an assessment of your organization’s current posture against the standards of the framework you are currently working at. While this can be done internally in some cases, it is best to engage a third-party assessor. This process helps you detect and identify system weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and gaps preventing your organization from achieving compliance.
5 – Build a Compliance Roadmap
Outline the steps and schedule the milestones needed to achieve compliance. Break down the roadmap into manageable phases and assign tasks to team members. This roadmap will cover policies and procedures, security controls, incident response, and staff training. It will also guide the remediation process (technology adoption, process revamp, implementation of new controls, etc.) as recommended by a prior gap analysis.
6 – Monitor and Audit
Establish a system for continuous monitoring of your security and compliance posture. This process will help ensure that you can proactively detect and address potential risk issues in your day-to-day operations to prevent costly violations. Smart organizations use both manual and automated systems to sustain compliance with regulatory standards.
7 – Practice Diligent Documentation
Your compliance team should keep detailed documentation of all your compliance activities. Such documentation provides value during third-party audits and certification processes.
8 – Stay Updated
Regulatory standards and compliance frameworks evolve over time. It is your duty to stay informed of new developments, version updates, and new regulations affecting your organization. To stay ahead, you may want to subscribe to newsletters, attend conferences, and participate in industry forums.
9 – Leverage Technology
There are several tools and software on the market that focus on the management of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). They have different benefits, disadvantages, and costs. TrustNet provides a centralized compliance platform that simplifies, automates, and accelerates regulatory workflows: from control mapping to evidence collection for some of the most widely recognized frameworks.
10 – Educate and Train Employees
Regular IT security awareness training will help strengthen your people’s adherence to compliance protocols and bolster their cyber resilience.
11 – Conduct Regular Penetration Tests
Penetration tests help uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your systems and processes before bad actors do. Having one per quarter can help mitigate your risk from devastating cybercrime and keep your compliance profile in good shape.
12 – Cultivate a Compliance Culture
Regulatory compliance is best practice. It helps protect your organization’s data and your customers’ sensitive information. Encourage employees to be proactive in reporting risks, incidents, and violations. Inspire them to take ownership of organizational assets and to protect those accordingly. A culture of compliance helps build trust in your brand and grow your business.
There have been many words used to describe compliance. Challenging, burdensome, costly, and transformative are just some of them. Regardless of how you view it, compliance won’t be going anywhere soon. On the contrary, the regulatory landscape will continue to expand in response to the dramatic rise in digital fraud, data breaches, and other forms of cybercrime. That means regulatory compliance will remain a dynamic and ongoing process. Ultimately, your company’s commitment and willingness to adapt will determine the quality and impact of your compliance journey.