What are some of the worries that keep compliance professionals up at night? Stressful stakeholder meetings, for one; keeping abreast of the latest regulatory changes is another. So is reporting bad news to the board or senior management, certainly.
Another nagging worry for many: Despite your best efforts, you may “misreport” an issue – that is, not report it completely or accurately.
That scenario would be this: A week after you brief the board on a particular compliance infraction, new data emerges contradicting your previous conclusions. Or, perhaps worse, overlooked data is found in someone’s email box or a department’s shared drive – data you should have included in your analysis, but didn’t.
The reality is that modern compliance management forces you to distill many individual details into a few meaningful conclusions for auditors, managers, board directors, and other groups. Those conclusions need to be accurate, reliable, and understandable; and often delivered under a deadline, too.
What Is Compliance Tracking and Reporting?
Compliance tracking and reporting is the practice of gathering, analyzing, and presenting information about an organization’s systems, to show whether those systems comply with relevant industry standards or government regulations.
That information is driven by key performance indicators (KPIs) that a compliance officer uses to measure risk and mitigation efforts. Those KPIs should include metrics to track the number of systems accessing data, as well as how customer data is collected, stored, transmitted, and deleted. In addition, the report about those KPIs should include details about the data protection controls in place and any remediation steps taken after previous compliance audits.
How does the compliance reporting system work?
Your specific compliance tracking and reporting requirements will depend on the compliance frameworks your organization follows. For example, if you follow the PCI DSS framework to protect credit card data, you’ll collect (and report on) one set of information. If you follow the HIPAA framework to protect personal health data, you’ll collect and report on another. Most companies will follow numerous frameworks, to meet multiple regulatory compliance obligations.
Those frameworks will specify the sorts of evidence your compliance program should collect to demonstrate compliance. Some of that evidence might be gathered automatically; other times, the compliance officer might need to confer with the CISO or IT security department to gather it.
Once sufficient evidence and documentation are collected, and any necessary action to implement controls or remediate issues has been completed, typically the next step is for the company to submit to an independent audit. HIPAA, PCI DSS, and many other laws and regulations routinely require compliance audits.
Smaller organizations might be able to manage this process manually, but as the business grows, that approach will quickly unravel. With compliance automation systems, you can automate tracking of projects and results, giving you the peace of mind that comes with the proper organization of compliance requirements.
What Are Compliance Tracking and Automating Tools?
Automated compliance tools help compliance programs by replacing manual spreadsheets and processes with a single source of truth – a system of record – for your compliance group and your organization. These systems consolidate all your compliance activity in one place. Policies, audit findings, testing results, control documentation, and other evidence that might be scattered across your enterprise in various databases would now all reside in one location.
Streamlining regulatory compliance with the automation of workflows is essential to tie together all the loose ends and report on your results with confidence. A person can only manage so many details with desktop software tools. There will come a time when you must grow into a solution designed to support compliance and all its intricacies.
What Are the Benefits of Automated Compliance Reporting?
Automated compliance reporting has many benefits, such as:
- Alleviate the burden of preparing for auditing
- Streamline data analytics and data collections procedures
- More timely compliance reporting, which reduces compliance risk
- Minimize risk of human error
- Reduce costs over the long term compared to legacy tools and systems
In addition to the efficiencies and real-time responses that come with automation, automated compliance solutions also help you comprehend all data collected during your project’s interviews, testing, and meetings.
There’s also assurance when you can compare the data from your compliance efforts with relevant information from other functions in your enterprise, such as internal controls or internal audits.
Simplify Compliance Automation with ROAR
Not only does an automated compliance solution such as the RiskOptics ROAR Platform generate data more quickly; it produces more meaningful and insightful key performance indicators. ROAR provides information when, where, and how you want it. So when the CFO calls you with a question that’s just been raised in a meeting, you’ll have a single source of truth that can quickly provide the answers instead of rifling through your inbox, spreadsheets, or a file folder full of reports.
For example, when fielding questions as you wrap up your PCI compliance reporting, you can use ROAR to view the latest testing and reporting around firewall configurations, cardholder data storage security, and physical access data controls. You will also be able to access related internal audit findings.
You can focus on that deep understanding of the data needed to compose your questionnaires and attestations. That is a far better use of your time. You can develop procedures and tools to track compliance procedures and results.
Schedule a demo to experience how process automation can bring ‘zen’ to your compliance monitoring and reporting.