Feeling stressed about the security/compliance engagement you’re trying to manage for your organization? You’re in good company. I’ve spoken with countless compliance managers and CISOs who work 90-hour weeks and lose sleep for months on end. All they can think about is trying to hold things together long enough to get to the annual assessment.

Compliance management doesn’t have to be that way. The problem isn’t inherent to compliance, the problem is using manual systems. 

Take your data repository as an example. I’ll bet that you have multiple ways that evidence is being submitted to you for collection and storage and likely evidence placed in places it’s not supposed to be. I’m also willing to bet that that situation alone is creating chaos, anxiety, and wasted time and effort. 

You’re wearing yourself out, you’re evaporating productivity, and you’re burning profitability — simply as a result of your data collection and storage system. But you can fix it, and it’s a simpler solution than you might expect.

Related: If You’re Hunting Down Evidence Every Year, You’re Doing Compliance Wrong

Your Data Collection and Storage Process Is Broken

For organizations that are trying like hell to hold their compliance program together, many of the issues exist in the storage of information. It starts with receiving inputs from a myriad of sources and locations. For example:

  • Tom sends his evidence as attachments in a thread of emails. 
  • Emma shares a public link to her OneDrive. 
  • Jennifer drops her data on the fileserver. 
  • Steve sends image evidence via text.
  • Andrew drops a stack on your desk.

It is astronomically challenging to wrangle all of that data, which is coming from dozens of individuals, and making sure it all ends up in the right place. Not only do you have to take the evidence you receive and find a central location for it, but you’re also continually hunting down the evidence that you haven’t received yet. 

Or maybe you did receive it, but you just haven’t seen it because you’re looking in the wrong places. 

Your data storage job isn’t done when you’ve received the evidence. You have to keep it in a central repository, and then track it as it progresses through the workflow. That includes:

  • Internal quality assurance review
  • The handoff to your Consultant or Assessor.
  • Tracking all the issues that they had with their initial review.
  • Making sure to get the updated information and checking it before you pass it back to the Assessor or Consultant.

Through it all, you need to have the diligence to go through the manual process every single time something changes, and manually update the central repository — for every single line item. 

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Why Manual Data Repositories Fail

Many compliance managers attempt to set up a process to ensure that data gets submitted and stored in a single location. It’s a noble effort, but no matter how many people you train, and no matter how rigorously you stick to the process, people are people. They’re lazy, they forget, and they do what’s convenient for them. 

You will always receive evidence in a multitude of ways.

And as the engagement approaches the finish line, activity is at an all-time high. Hundreds of elements are flying back and forth, and it’s damn near impossible to keep up with it all. At this point, the focus is just getting the files to the Assessor — you can clean up the repository after the engagement.

But to be honest, the cleanup rarely happens. The minute the Assessor releases you from your duties, everyone gets dragged back into the daily work that’s been piling up and the repository is still a mess when you come back to it for the next year’s cycle.

If you’re trying to create a single repository of evidence, you’re on a noble quest, but it’s an uphill battle you’ll never win.

PCI 4 Will Shake Things Up Too

If you’re going up against PCI DSS, don’t forget that we’re about to flip over from PCI 3.2.1 to PCI 4. Even if you have a rock-solid repository for PCI 3.2.1, everything gets shuffled on April 1. 

Essentially, it’s like hundreds of compliance elements and thousands of elements of evidence are being dumped into a gigantic Bingo tumbler and getting tumbled around. Trying to restructure your repository will be like pulling out numbers one at a time and trying to figure out where each one belongs. 

You’ll need to completely rebuild your repository from scratch.

The Central Repository That Actually Works 

TCT Portal gives you a fully automated central repository that you don’t have to clean up — ever. Our compliance management software provides a single location to put all of your evidence, explanations, file attachments, and policies. 

Evidence is uploaded directly to the Portal — no emails, text messages, hard copies, or file share links. When a file is uploaded, it’s automatically stored in one central location and mapped to the requirement(s) you associate it with. Hundreds of files are populated in the right spot, and you don’t have to touch any of them.

TCT Portal alleviates all of the pain of holding your compliance engagement together, trying to stay on top of all the evidence coming your way through all sorts of channels. There’s no more hounding personnel daily, no more constantly checking a dozen different possible delivery locations, and no more trying to figure out where everything is and who to keep nagging.

TCT Portal’s centralized repository preserves your company’s shared knowledge and maintains continuity. In year two, you can go into the repository and easily refer to last year’s evidence. It’s all there, organized and version controlled. You can easily see what evidence was accepted by the Assessor. 

And because the evidence is already there, you can simply refer to your prior year track, refresh and validate it, knowing your Assessor will be satisfied with it. 

You’ll save hundreds of man-hours and who knows how many sleepless nights.

Change Is Hard, But It’s Worth It

Of course, a tool is only as good as your enforcement of it. If you’re going to adopt any compliance solution, you have to commit to using the tool — and only that tool. While you may face some initial resistance to a new system, the enormous payoff of TCT Portal consistently wins over personnel who hate change. We’ve seen it happen countless times. 

The payoffs of using TCT Portal become blazingly obvious in year two. No one complains when you aren’t starting from scratch all over again, but instead have the prior year’s information at your fingertips to jumpstart your process.

Make Compliance Management Suck Less for Your Team

TCT Portal automates and eliminates an enormous amount of manual effort and pain that you’re currently experiencing on your security/compliance engagements.

With TCT Portal’s central repository, your people are less stressed and much happier. Evidence submission is streamlined, organized and simplified. Tons of hours are saved, recovering wasted time and unproductive effort. Your team is more effective and you’re finally accelerating your security/compliance engagement.

On top of that, TCT Portal is priced so affordably that purchasing the tool is a no-brainer decision. The compliance software pays for itself (and then some) in the first year, and by the end of year two you’ll end up recovering thousands of dollars per year in efficiency and productivity. The savings continue every year you use the Portal.

Find out how much money your company could recover with TCT Portal — check out our ROI calculator.

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