Organizations must stay on top of compliance deadlines and expiration dates. Failure to meet these deadlines can lead to costly penalties, reputational damage, and legal consequences. 

Fortunately, automated tools can help streamline compliance processes and assure that important deadlines are never missed. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to automate triggers based on expiration dates and the benefits such automation can bring to your organization.

Which Compliance Frameworks Would Benefit from Automating Triggers?

A wide range of compliance standards can benefit from automating triggers based on expiration dates. Below are several examples.

  • Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2). Automating triggers for the SOC 2 cybersecurity standard helps with the timely renewal of security certifications, policies, and procedures for securely managing customer data. This reduces the risk of lapses in security controls that could jeopardize data protection.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For covered entities dealing with protected health information (PHI), automated triggers allow timely review and updating of HIPAA security policies, workforce security training, risk assessments, and other HIPAA requirements. This assures continuous compliance to avoid penalties.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Merchants can benefit by automating triggers for renewing their PCI certification, updating security policies, testing security controls, and providing security awareness training for personnel handling credit card data. 
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Automated triggers can help assure that data processing records, data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), and breach notification processes involving European Union personal data are consistently reviewed and updated per GDPR requirements.
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001:  For ISO 27001 certification of information security management systems, automating triggers allows for timely review of information security policies, risk assessments, security controls, audits, and other requirements for maintaining accredited ISO 27001 compliance.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act. U.S.-listed companies must comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for effective internal control over financial reporting. Automated triggers can help to keep testing or documentation of internal controls on schedule. 

How Do You Automate Security Compliance?

Automating security compliance does require specialized compliance software that streamline various aspects of the compliance process, including evidence collection, continuous monitoring, reporting, and trigger notifications based on expiration dates. 

These platforms often integrate with other essential security tools and systems to provide a comprehensive view of your organization’s security posture.

Compliance automation platforms automate crucial processes such as:

  • Real-time monitoring of your IT environment, processes, and security controls such as access controls.
  • Automated alerts when something is not done, with escalation to more senior executives for follow-up action. 
  • Automated evidence collection and mapping to control requirements for streamlined audits.
  • Customizable workflows for different cybersecurity frameworks.
  • Intuitive dashboards and remediation management for identified issues.

What Should You Look For in a Compliance Automation Tool?

When evaluating compliance automation tools, consider the following essential features.

  • Support for multiple compliance frameworks (SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and so forth) with customizable workflows and templates.
  • Automated evidence collection with intelligent mapping to relevant security controls.
  • Continuous monitoring of IT environments with real-time alerts on potential issues.
  • Intuitive reporting dashboards for clear visibility into compliance posture.
  • Seamless integration with existing business tools and security solutions.

For SOC 2 compliance automation specifically, prioritize tools that offer:

  • Intuitive interface with smart questionnaires for quick onboarding.
  • Preloaded SOC 2 trust services criteria.
  • Automated mapping of controls to systems, processes, and data sources.
  • Comprehensive risk assessment capabilities to identify gaps and improve security posture.
  • Scalability to grow with your organization.

Types of Automation Processes

Compliance automation involves the following processes.

Evidence Collection

Automated evidence collection assures that all relevant documentation, logs, artifacts, and data from sources such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, and on-premise systems are gathered and mapped to specific security controls and compliance requirements. 

It streamlines the entire audit process, including SOC 2 Type II attestation, while reducing the risk of missing crucial evidence.

Continuous Monitoring

Continuous monitoring of your IT environment, processes, security controls, and change management activities is critical for identifying potential compliance deviations before they escalate into significant issues such as unauthorized access incidents. 

Automated monitoring enables real-time alerts that trigger incident response workflows based on predefined rules, control failures, and expiration dates.

Compliance Reporting

Automated compliance reporting capabilities simplify the creation of comprehensive reports, dashboards, and audit trails tailored to different compliance frameworks, such as SOC 2, HIPAA, and ISO 27001. 

These reporting tools provide internal and external stakeholders with clear visibility into an organization’s compliance posture and overall compliance program health. Reporting insights also inform risk management decisions.

Automating Triggers Based on Expiration Dates

One critical benefit of compliance automation is the ability to set up triggers based on expiration dates. These triggers can automatically launch various actions, such as:

  • Sending reminders to responsible parties to renew certificates, licenses, or contracts.
  • Generating reports or audit trails for expired items.
  • Initiating remediation processes or escalation procedures.
  • Updating risk assessments and control evaluations.

Organizations can preemptively address potential compliance issues by automating these triggers. That, in turn, reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties, human errors, or operational disruptions.

ZenGRC Lets You Automate SOC 2 Compliance Triggers and Dates

ZenGRC is a comprehensive compliance automation platform purpose-built for streamlining SOC 2 compliance. It automates key processes such as evidence collection, continuous monitoring, and reporting.

With ZenGRC’s automation, organizations maintain a robust, audit-ready SOC 2 compliance program.

Schedule a demo to see how ZenGRC can transform your SOC 2 compliance efforts through automation.