The surge in the adoption of compliance software in the realm of IT security assurance and control services has revolutionized the digital landscape, particularly within the SOC 2 environment. While the benefits of such software are manifold, it is crucial that organizations also understand and navigate the associated risks, ensuring a secure and compliant operational architecture.
A robust compliance software suite offers myriad advantages. These include a comprehensive controls inventory that allows organizations to evaluate whether selected controls address multiple security frameworks, an inventory for evidence collection and refreshment for audits, and even automation of evidence collection from public cloud environments, leveraging existing tools such as AWS Security Hub, GuardDuty, or CloudTrail. Yet, the benefits come with considerable risks, especially for organizations that lack dedicated personnel with a deep understanding of the compliance framework and requirements.
Pitfalls to Avoid in Compliance Software
To illustrate some of the risks, consider an organization that has not thoroughly inventoried their security obligations to their customers. The compliance report is then built based on a template from the software vendor’s model and their client’s specific security requirement gets overlooked and omitted. Or a report is issued with controls that are not a true reflection of the organization’s practices. Such an oversight can lead to significant risk exposure.
In the absence of the requisite knowledge, organizations may be inclined to implement a range of controls recommended by the software, which can lead to a checkbox approach to compliance. This method often results in unnecessary expenditure on security and compliance. To avoid this pitfall, organizations should assign an internal person, either full-time or part-time, who is accountable for compliance. This person should have a profound understanding of the compliance requirements and the ability to make informed decisions about compliance software selection.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that understanding these requirements doesn’t necessitate high-end software solutions. Compliance management can be effectively achieved through simple tools such as Google Docs, Excel, folders, and automated workflows. The decision to streamline these in a web-based SaaS product should be a deliberate one, and not the initial step in thinking about compliance.
How Clark Nuber Can Help
At our firm, we offer several services to help businesses navigate this complex landscape. We assist with responding to security questionnaires and inventorying critical controls. Our team also reviews contracts, MSAs, and SOWs to inventory key security requirements. We provide compliance consultation and can introduce organizations to part-time compliance managers.
Furthermore, our SOC 2 audits delve deep to truly understand whether an organization’s service commitments and system requirements are met. This is to ensure that the controls are not merely cookie cutter but a genuine reflection of an organization’s policies and procedures.
While compliance software is a valuable tool for managing IT assurance and security risk, it’s only as effective as the people using them. With skilled personnel who understand the compliance landscape, organizations can use compliance software to its full potential, enhancing their security and governance, while avoiding unnecessary costs. It’s people and process before the technology.
If you have questions surrounding your cybersecurity, send us an email and we’d be happy to discuss them with you.
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