If you’re going to gain control over your security and compliance management process, you’ll need to choose the right tools. Your technology solutions are the weapons you wield to slay the compliance dragon. Some of those weapons are required by your certifications, others will help you manage the compliance process itself. All of them are essential.
This is the fourth step in our series on taking control of compliance management in 2019. Just now joining the conversation? Check out the rest of the series:
- Survey the landscape of your compliance certification requirements
- Evaluate your vendors and auditors
- Build your budget
- Choose the best compliance tools (this post)
- Streamline compliance management
- Recruit your compliance team
- Train your people
- Automate ongoing compliance tasks
Although this is step four, you should do this step concurrently with your budgeting, because your budget will be influenced by the solutions you identify in this step. But since you’re purchasing the tools after your budget is set, we’re placing this step after the other. So let’s look at the weapons you need in your armory to gain control over your compliance management.
Handpicked related content: How to End Compliance Chaos for Good in 2019
What Compliance Tech Do You Need?
Remember when you took inventory of all your certification requirements (Step 1)? All those certifications that you compiled will determine the technology and tools you need to be secure and compliant. If your certifications require antivirus, firewalls or vulnerability scans, then you automatically know what technologies you should have.
Take an inventory of the compliance technology you already have in place and determine which tools are missing. That should give an adept practitioner a good sense of whether or not you’re on target for tech solutions.
Also take some time to review the list of solutions that are already in place. Evaluate the compliance technology you’re using and ask whether or not each solution is the most effective, economical and appropriate for your company.
Vet the Vendors
When you purchase your technology solutions, shop around for the right provider. Vet your vendors thoroughly, with both eyes open. Many providers will try to sell themselves as a silver bullet, one-stop shop. Be very cautious when you encounter one of these vendors, and carefully evaluate your requirements for compliance against their coverage to see what missing elements will remain. Go into these relationships with both eyes wide open. There is no silver bullet, and there is no one-stop shop. Security and compliance are just too complex for that.
Also watch out for any vendor that takes a rubber stamp approach to their services. Every single company is different, and your security and compliance needs are different from other organizations. If a vendor provides the same offering to all their customers, they’ll be charging you for options you don’t need.
Choose Your Compliance Tools
The security and compliance world is really tough. You’ll have hundreds or thousands of line-item regulations to meet compliance. Because it’s so overwhelming, many CISOs tend to take a micro approach to purchasing tech solutions, in an attempt to survive the process. They pick off one thing at a time, such as file integrity monitoring. They figure out how to solve that issue, then they look at the next thing on the list, such as logging. Then they tackle antivirus, and so on.
This approach feels like you’re making incremental progress in bite-size, manageable portions. But often what you’re actually doing is creating a chaotic mess of complexity for yourself. In choosing individual solutions for each line item, you’re likely to buy more tools than you need. For example, your new mid-market hosting provider may bundle multiple services into a single offering, yet you already purchased several solutions across multiple vendors. Now you’ve got more compliance tools than you need, implemented ineffectively, for more money than had you consolidated.
You can avoid that scenario by using a consultant who has deep experience and knows the compliance landscape—someone who can look at your technology needs from a macro level. A good security and compliance consultant can keep you from getting mired in the weeds trying to solve line items. They’ll approach your tech solutions from a holistic, overall perspective that accounts for the needs of your company. Using a consultant like this helps ensure your solutions are integrated and they cover all the gaps.
It’s also a great way to reduce your costs and accomplish more with a smaller budget.
When you’re getting ready for battle, you want to keep your weapons close at hand, right? Maybe not. It’s tempting for many CISOs to want to have their fingers on their resources and keep them on-site. Hands-on control means you can manage your resources and control them however you like. You have complete visibility over your solutions.
But in housing your solutions on-site, you also pick up all the responsibilities for keeping those resources maintained, secure and updated. There’s a whole litany of responsibilities that you have now taken on.
You may have personnel on your team who can handle the basics of supporting your IT hosting, but that doesn’t mean you’re equipped to handle the responsibilities you have now assumed. You need true, bona fide experts in security, compliance and secure administration of systems. If you don’t have those personnel, you’re putting your organization at greater risk than you realize.
You’re better off trusting the right hosting providers—secure and compliant hosting is their core competency, so they’re going to do it better than you can.
Automate Your Processes
If you’re like most CISOs, all your evidence and documentation is spread out across God’s green earth—hard drives, Google Drive, intranet folders, email servers and handwritten notes. And you probably have no idea where most of that evidence is located.
No matter what technologies and software you’re using to be secure and compliant, if your compliance management is primarily manual, you’re still getting burned by that dragon. Automation and consolidation are key for gaining control over your compliance chaos.
Using Assessors’ Systems
Don’t be satisfied with using your security/compliance assessment firm’s systems as your record keeping system. If your information is in their proprietary system, you don’t have control over your own data and it’s under their jurisdiction. Switching vendors becomes difficult, because you can’t easily give your new auditor the files your current assessor is keeping. You also have to endure the “Groundhog Day” effect each annual compliance cycle as you attempt to piece together your compliance elements for the next cycle.
Take control of your security/compliance, and take control of your data—get your own system for managing compliance, and instruct your vendors use your system of choice. Remember: they work for you, not the other way around.
A Better Option for Automation
An automated compliance tracking system does much of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is respond when prompted. Well, there’s a bit more than that, but you get the idea. The automation in TCT Portal keeps you on track and gives you all the tools you need to simplify and standardize your entire compliance process.
Here’s what TCT Portal lets you do:
- See an ROI of 68% time savings and thousands of dollars in recovered costs.
- Know your status in real time.
- Prompt your people automatically and quit herding cats.
- Standardize your document submission, collection and retention into one system that YOU control. No more wasting time collecting evidence from the four corners of the earth.
- Store all your files in one place. Never lose a piece of evidence.
- Automatically map your requirements across certifications.
- Keep track of—and preserve!— all submissions, regardless of internal personnel or vendor turnover
- Easily refer to the evidence that passed muster last year
Related: Show Your CFO the ROI of TCT Portal
TCT Portal is designed to make your compliance management more efficient, more effective and less costly. That’s why we priced TCT Portal so affordably—the decision should be an absolute no-brainer for every business. The net result is that you’re saving time, feeling less frustrated and slaying the compliance dragon.
Now Who’s Going to Wield Those Weapons?
Congratulations! You have the weapons you need to slay the compliance dragon—and nothing you don’t need. Not only do you have the right technologies in place, you’ve also managed to cut costs and reduce your budget.
Now it’s time to get messy. Time to deal with the human equation—who to hire, who to fire, and how to bolster your compliance team. We’ll tackle that mess in our next article. Stay tuned!
There really is a better way to take control of all of your compliance information. TCT Portal connects the dots between your internal resources, vendors, auditors and your clients to make sure each and every certification is completed in a cohesive, coordinated manner.
See how easy it can be—schedule your live demo today.