Tech isn’t just evolving; it’s morphing into a complex cloud-based ecosystem.
Businesses are collecting and storing data at an unprecedented rate and must adhere to the highest security standards and comply with different data regulations.
Compliance standards are also constantly changing to keep up. Forward-thinking companies need to stay ahead of these changes or risk losing millions in business.
Enter compliance automation – an emerging concept that eliminates tackling manual compliance tasks. Compliance automation software helps you avoid costly fines, reduce risks, and expedite compliance.
Top 5 compliance automation trends shaping tech
Compliance isn’t a one-time activity. It's a proactive process. In the past, compliance was considered "good to have," but it’s now a basic requirement for companies to conduct business. The necessity has paved the way for many emerging trends.
1. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
AI and ML have been at the forefront of tech evolution, finding numerous new use cases in compliance automation every day.
AI and ML help automate multiple facets of compliance-related tasks, such as evidence gathering and control monitoring. These technologies aren’t just prescriptive but also predictive.
As much as you can automate certain tasks, you can also identify and predict potential risks more accurately and quickly and deal with problems before they arise.
Risk assessment is taking the front seat with AI and ML in the picture. Making data-driven and accurate decisions about compliance-related risks and creating a remediation plan is a breeze with AI and ML technologies.
When talking about innovation, the first thing that springs to mind is how best it averts crises. AI and ML undoubtedly, ensure smooth crisis management. They allow you to identify practices that may be potential data breaches and the root cause of such incidents so you’re prepared to take countermeasures.
A great compliance automation tool equipped with AI and ML takes preventive action and helps you avoid severe fines or consequences due to non-compliance.
Smarter planning behind the scenes
AI and ML have already seen success with prescriptive analytics. The next big thing for them is predictive analytics.
AI’s ability to quickly analyze large amounts of data will help companies identify potential risks, assess the impact, and translate compliance requirements into tactical action plans faster. These features will go a long way in keeping businesses current with the latest compliance best practices.
However, implementing AI in a critical function like compliance isn’t without its challenges. If you’re starting out, you’ll have trouble implementing precise digital rules and ensuring accuracy. But the long-term rewards definitely outweigh the risks. Big issues will look more like habitual occurrences down the line.
2. Emphasizing data privacy
Data privacy is one of the biggest talking points in compliance. With businesses collecting and processing tons of data, the principle of least privilege that limits user access to data will become a cornerstone of any infosec framework.
Privacy laws require organizations to collect data for necessary or disclosed purposes only. In other words, data processors have to be transparent about what data they collect, how, where, and how they use it.
Data protection laws took control back from companies and handed it over to data owners to ensure they had a say in processing. The GDPR is a prominent example of specific data frameworks putting greater emphasis on privacy. But how does this concern compliance automation?
With compliance automation, businesses can easily classify data, enable policy management, and give subjects more control over the data their data.
Consent automation allows them to opt out of certain processes, redact personal data, and request data access from a single interface.
Incident management is another area facing change. Data breaches have serious consequences. You need preventive action, but when those initiatives aren't enough, you need to think smarter. You’ll also want to deal with these incidents quickly and efficiently to avoid downtime, financial loss, and reputational damage.
Managing incidents is tedious. But compliance automation makes it more fun, easy, and helpful. With an AI-powered compliance automation solution, you’ll be able to easily collect all the evidence and data to resolve issues without disruption or delay.
Such advances will simplify adapting to the ever-changing compliance landscape and adhere to stricter data privacy standards.
Privacy is staring right at businesses. It's not far from entering the compliance fabric as a "must-have" rather than just an add-on that many consider now.
3. Focusing on continuous monitoring
Implementing a strong security posture is no longer enough. Given the rapid rate at which the nature of cyberattacks and industry countermeasures are evolving, organizations need to stay ahead of the curve and react quickly to incidents.
Continuous monitoring is one way of achieving this. For the uninitiated, continuous monitoring is the process of monitoring internal data security controls in real-time allowing for more accurate vulnerability assessment and rapid response.
Apart from facilitating a proactive approach, as a practice, continuous monitoring is highly reliable and allows for greater process visibility.
Staying ahead of the curve
As compliance automation becomes more recognized as a solution, it will most likely lay the emphasis on the increasing role of automation within continuous monitoring. Implementing automation will become an invaluable tool for organizations looking to make the move from manual security controls to automated control management.
With continuous monitoring, organizations are better prepared. The approach allows them to focus on maintaining evidence of compliance naturally as opposed to collecting evidence isolated in multiple silos during a compliance audit.
It isn’t all about implementation - automation will also have a strong say in how continuous monitoring is performed. With AI and automation techniques, the learnings from control monitoring can give leaders a glimpse of the organization’s security posture in real time.
It can also help derive added context by connecting systems that don’t typically speak to one another. This can especially be useful during crisis situations where the speed of decision-making can quite easily determine impact.
4. Coupling compliance automation with business processes
This year, we predict that the scope of compliance will extend beyond the activities centered around audits and will move into a more prominent position within the realm of daily operations.
Changing a well-known perception
Compliance was previously seen as a one-time activity. But this perception is quickly changing. Organizations are now looking at compliance as a continuous process - one that involves setting strong policies, changing redundant ones, and being extremely data-oriented while making crucial decisions.
Despite the world largely moving back into on-premise workspaces, there are organizations that still prefer working with a hybrid or remote setup.
It is incredibly challenging to roll out policy changes and monitor controls over remote setups and a single breach anywhere along the line can have a chain reaction with devastating effects.
These roadblocks can only be addressed when the organization has granular, entity-level control over aspects of their compliance program.
Seeding an integrated approach to compliance
Compliance automation greatly reduces the operational challenges that come with rolling out new policies, scanning for vulnerabilities, and implementing best practices across a distributed workforce.
At an enterprise scale, the risk of non-compliance is significantly larger than the investment needed to make it happen. With an integrated approach, organizations will treat compliance automation as a single source that converges multiple business functions within a single interface.
Coupled with automation, it can significantly mitigate risk factors, improve workflow efficiency, and considerably reduce the risks associated with non-compliance.
Much like continuous monitoring, integrating compliance within business processes across functions will result in siloed systems communicating with each other more efficiently. This will increase data visibility and make functional workflows easier to govern from a compliance perspective.
5. Scaling compliance beyond borders
Compliance is now a prerequisite that often determines if business is won or lost. Organizations are facing an uphill battle to ensure growth and drive customer focus despite the challenges they face from a regulation point of view.
Expansion is a prominent business objective as well. When organizations look at reeling in clients from other regions, they’re often tasked with accommodating their unique needs. This can be a daunting task by itself, but add compliance to the mix and it quickly becomes a complex problem to solve.
Different geographies can have different regulatory requirements.
Complying with regulations such as GDPR for any business looking to process personal information of citizens of EU nations or HIPAA as an enforcement of federal law, for example, may be non-negotiable. But in addition to these mandatory regulations, there may be some others that apply across multiple countries and jurisdictions.
Some organizations may even have other compliance requirements such as SOC 2 compliance or ISO 27001 certification, as an extension of their vendor selection process. This makes it incredibly difficult to work out such intricacies and win businesses over.
Mapping control commonalities
Fortunately, rather than referring to multiple lists of applicable control changes, a number of frameworks have commonalities. So it boils down to mapping them accurately, adding exceptions, and taking a tactical approach to obtain certifications.
This may still be a hurdle given the sheer number of controls and policies that have to be rolled out to stay within requirements. But these challenges are relatively simpler to resolve with a compliance automation solution.
A good compliance automation solution is one that helps organizations keep abreast with the latest compliance changes and amendments across frameworks. It can proactively create inventory or regulatory controls while providing updates on the introduction of new rules and changes in specific articles within the framework.
This year will notice one compliance automation trend come into light - control mapping. This essentially creates a matrix of control commonalities that applies across frameworks enabling organizations to prepare for multiple compliance certifications without needing to address the requirements for each individually.
Compliance is no longer optional
The very nature of compliance is changing on a global scale. Organizations cannot afford to play catch up any longer. With global trade on the rise, regulatory obligations are becoming more and more stringent and complex.
As a result, CISOs are now turning to compliance automation to help automate various aspects of compliance while implementing zero-trust infrastructure and initiatives. This directly translates to the predicted growth of the category as a whole in parallel with the governance and compliance markets.
According to a study, the markets are all set to grow to an estimated $97 billion in the next five years.
And in the short term, the next twelve months are bound to see an incredible surge in organizations adopting compliance automation solutions with special significance noticed in the software and banking, finance, and insurance industries.
The compliance automation trends mentioned above are but a few that will surely shape the future of the industry. Irrespective of your company’s industry or scale, compliance automation is the key to enabling a stronger, updated, and adaptable compliance program that isn’t an administrative requirement but rather one that adds a competitive advantage.
Pritesh is a founding team member of
Sprinto. He is a strong data-driven person with over a decade of experience in growth strategy, sales, and marketing designed to get traction and increase 10X revenue, and grew two early-stage SaaS startups from zero to 7 digit revenues within a year.
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