How Audits Enhance Your Business and Drive Revenue

Today, many businesses are presented with the opportunity for growth and development. With these new opportunities come risks and challenges, many of which they have never seen before.

The digital landscape is as vast as it is complex, and businesses are seeking proactive guidance to address their information security risks, as well as meet their compliance requirements. Some of the available solutions for tackling these emerging challenges are through specific audit and security assessments.

Although audits can seem daunting, there are many benefits beyond complying with customer requests and improved information security. Conducting annual audits and assessments can also lead to an overall increase in revenue.

Some of the advantages of having an audit conducted include:

  • Winning and retaining clients
  • Improving operations
  • Facilitating strategic initiatives

Winning and Retaining Clients

In most industries, an assessment of the organization’s information security is required prior to conducting business. This necessity is key to driving and winning new business, as well as retaining existing clients, as audits demonstrate an organization’s due diligence in adhering to security requirements and safeguarding client data.

One of the largest benefits is the source of revenue affiliated with the audits. Through maintaining, assessing, and validating controls, a business can attract prospective clients and provide current clients with necessary assurance of processes.

“We are fast growing and we keep expanding our scope adding additional audit frameworks, locations around the globe, and new services. Our clients depend on the accuracy and details that are provided in these audits,” stated Virtustream, an A-LIGN client since 2011.

By complying and maintaining current customer requirements, businesses can easily meet future requests from prospective customers, thus streamlining the sales cycle. Audits can even help a business enter new markets. Through adhering to robust requirements businesses can address unique needs of new clients in different sectors. This competitive advantage can diversify a client base and be used to facilitate future sales.

Operational Effectiveness

Everyone knows the foundation to a good business often relies on management’s commitment to good governance. When businesses undergo an audit, it can promote a sound infrastructure and system through the implementation of the proper internal policies, procedures, and controls.

myMatrixx, a client since 2011, described how A-LIGN became an invaluable partner providing solutions that “helped [them] establish and maintain [their] compliance and governance initiatives.”

By building a reliable foundation, businesses can cut costs and make business operations more efficient, allowing executives to focus on improving products and services with opportunities for scalable expansion.

During an audit or assessment, an independent third party examines the business process controls to validate legitimacy, the reports generated post-audit can identify areas for improvement and provide possible remediation, allowing businesses to enhance their operational system to work more efficiently.

Facilitating the Future

Audits are great snapshots of a businesses’ current processes, therefore when brainstorming and planning for strategic initiatives, audit reports can provide valuable insights to help business executives focus on what matters most.

“A-LIGN looked beyond the foyer, as to whether these things could be regularly done or performed. That’s important because you’re not just auditing the client for the current period, hopefully, you’re setting the client up for continued success” said Advanticom, Inc., a client since 2016.

An audit report can help identify areas of weakness that may need to be addressed prior to future development and expansion. Thus, a business can become proactive, rather than reactive when planning for growth.

The A-LIGN Difference

A-LIGN customizes our compliance solutions on a case by case basis to streamline the audit process allowing our clients to have the peace of mind of improved security and reduced risk, along with the ease of working with a single provider.

A-LIGN’s goal is to exceed expectations on every level and help our clients overcome any security or compliance hurdle they may face. We use a company-wide approach to ensure our team of professionals perform at the highest possible standard, delivering the best quality in support.

“Part of our mission at A-LIGN is that we believe every client deserves the highest quality audit execution and deliverables. Therefore, we are universally committed and invested in our clients and their success for the future. By maximizing the long-term value of our audits, we can help our clients build a lasting infrastructure scalable for any lifecycle growth.” said Scott Price, CEO of A-LIGN.

When organizations improve their operations and facilitate strategic initiatives, executives can expand and develop their business thus diversifying and increasing their revenue streams.

If you would like to learn more about A-LIGN and how we can assist your organization in meeting your security, compliance, and privacy needs, please contact us at info@a-lign.com or 1-888-702-5446.

 

HITRUST Assessment Scoping Guidelines

HITRUST-assessmentWe are asked routinely “which controls will A-LIGN test as part of the HITRUST assessment?”.  The answer to that question depends on the environment and the outcome of the scoping process.  Scoping occurs in the initial phases of your HITRUST assessment process in order to determine which controls will be included in your assessment.

When determining the scope of an assessment, there are three major factors that affect the risk within an organization. These are the type and size of an organization, the system that is being utilized, and what external regulations affect the organization. In combination, these three factors determine the appropriate implementation requirements.

However, one of the first things an organization should determine before attempting to configure their scope is why they are seeking HITRUST compliance. Are they seeking to satisfy the requirements of business associates? Are they looking to utilize the certification to demonstrate their level of information security and increase marketability through differentiation? Is it a regulatory requirement?

By determining this information, it makes the scoping process much easier by developing a better understanding of the needs of your organization and those affected by its decision to receive a HITRUST assessment.

Type and Size of an Organization

The type and size of the organization affects the risk and complexity of the organization being assessed.  The organizational factors impact the controls which are included in the scope.  This is driven by the volume of business, which is determined by factors such as the number of transactions or number of records.  It is also driven by the geographic location of the organization, whether in one state, multiple states or even global.

It may be helpful for large companies to break down the organization into the different business units. Because many healthcare organizations have many different functions within the entity, they should be broken down by their distinct operational differences. At times, it is also necessary to separate the organization by geographic segments in order to more appropriately comply with regional differences in regulation.

Systems in Use

Once the organizational size and type are clear, determining which systems are in use is the next step. When referring to the systems that are in use, focus on those that are used in the transmission, storage, or processing of electronic protected health information (ePHI) or other types of PHI.

Important factors include the accessibility of the systems:

  • From the Internet or other remote access operation.
  • Through a third-party of any kind.
  • From any public location.
  • From other systems.

Regulatory Factors

Regulatory factors have also affect the scope of the assessment and can be dependent on geographic determinations, as well as the other compliance needs of an organization.  For example, if the organization also processes payment card data, the PCI DSS standard may be included in scope, or a state specific data security standard may be included in the assessment.

Setting the proper scope is an important first step when pursuing HITRUST certification.  The scope drives the subsequent steps in the process.  If you have questions or would like additional information on HITRUST or how to establish the proper scope, please contact one of A-LIGN’s HITRUST CSF assessors to learn more.

Interested in learning more about HITRUST?

Contact one of our certified HITRUST practitioners at info@a-lign.com or 1-888-702-5446