The most profound change that IT leaders need to make in their approach to strategic compliance is to their own mind. There are many self-imposed limiting beliefs that must be overcome. The map is not the territory – audits are just a static snapshot of a constantly changing business environment, which means compliance must be considered continuously.
The journey to achieving strategic compliance can be confusing with the number of myths frequently shared, but it doesn’t have to be. Think outside the checkbox – compliance is not a roadblock from winning clients, it is a business enabler that can deliver new productivity gains.
Myth #1: I can wait to get an audit until my customer asks for a certification.
Reactive audits are a defensive tactic. When customers ask for proof of compliance, organizations without a strategic approach incur lost opportunity costs. An organization that waits for customer inquiries is not in control of its own destiny. Individual customer demands result in ad hoc audit projects.
Myth #2: I can approach each audit individually to avoid getting pulled into too many projects at once.
Transactional audits are not a strategy. Each audit requires planning, preparation, interviews and evidence collection efforts, but much of this work is similar from audit to audit. Approaching each audit individually creates more work in the long run, as the entire planning, preparation, interview and collection must be repeated for each new project.
Myth #3: Every audit is different, so I should approach them with different auditors.
Common security frameworks tend to have more in common than they have apart, and the audit process between each of them is similar. Selecting multiple auditors is the same as approaching each audit individually – it takes more effort to retread the same workflows. Consolidating with a single auditor enables organizations to consolidate multiple audits to streamline their compliance process.
Myth #4: I can deploy my own governance, risk and compliance solution to manage my compliance process without an auditor.
GRC solutions tend to be heavy on governance and risk management, but light on compliance. Not to mention that many assessments require the presence (or telepresence) of an auditor. Think of it this way, if you wouldn’t rely on TurboTax to complete your corporate tax return, then you shouldn’t rely on a self-service GRC tool for your audit.
Myth #5: Compliance frameworks are changing constantly so there is no point in planning ahead.
Compliance frameworks continue to evolve, but they aren’t changing overnight. If anything, the fact that compliance requirements are so mutable means there is even more importance to planning ahead. Select an audit partner that understands not only your business and your industry, but also each and every regulation, and that can educate you every step of the way.
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Every business should have the same goal: to win more business. To win more business, you need more customers. To win more customers, a business needs to prove that it is a low-risk choice. The quicker a business can do this, the faster it can attract more customers.
Strategic compliance efficiencies enable digital transformation and new business growth, even as digital transformation initiatives are creating new cybersecurity challenges. None of the growth promised by digital transformation is possible without a strategic compliance process in place – otherwise, the gains provided will be offset by a tactical audit process. Strategic compliance is not an insurance policy, it is a growth engine that will help drive organizations through a period when growth matters most.