Starting a compliance program can be a daunting process, especially if you are new to the GRC landscape. With that in mind, we have put together this list of common mistakes to watch out for when embarking on compliance that can mean the difference between success and failure.

1. Missing Stakeholder Buy-in

Securing early stakeholder buy-in when establishing your compliance program is critical to ongoing success. These initial, high visibility champions should be involved in driving the compliance program and socializing it to others in the company. Stakeholders need to be viewed within the organization as ongoing owners of the compliance program.

2. Lack of Adequate Training

Training and educational efforts often fall short. Successfully implementing a compliance program requires that the users and stakeholders receive adequate training on the company’s GRC goals, as well as how to use any tools being implemented. Ensure that members of your organization are aware of the role they play in meeting those goals. Spending a little extra effort upfront on training and educational efforts will help ensure the success of your compliance program.

3. Failure to Clearly Identify Goals

The goals and requirements of your compliance program must be clearly identified and communicated to your stakeholders as early as possible. One of the main pitfalls that organizations have with implementing a compliance program is failure to clearly define goals and not being able to track progress towards reaching those goals.

4. Scope Creep

While compliance is an ongoing process, it’s important to initially set up a usable system of record and expand upon it as needed. Avoid falling into the “one more feature” roadblock whereby the entire project is delayed because a non-core feature can’t be immediately satisfied. Starting with a solid system of record and expanding in measurable, achievable steps is a key component to standing up a successful compliance program.

5. Ongoing Updates

The inverse of scope creep is the idea that a compliance program is static and once implemented, no longer requires attention. Compliance is ongoing, and your programs require regular updates and maintenance in order to remain effective. Ongoing updates to standards, new regulations, and changes in the organization all need to be reflected in the overall compliance program in order to be effective.

The complicated path towards compliance takes thought and planning. By being aware of what to look for when you are starting out, you will be better positioned to be in control of the process and better influence the outcome.

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