Effective corporate compliance is an increasingly urgent issue for businesses. More regulations continue to proliferate across the landscape, and compliance obligations are becoming more complex.
The need for an effective compliance management tool to help CISOs and senior management meet those ever-expanding compliance requirements has never been greater. A manual approach to tracking and monitoring compliance activities drives up costs and is more prone to error. Innovative businesses need a compliance management tool to get the job done.
These tools are the key to building a robust compliance structure while streamlining workflows and risk management tasks, but they vary in capability and ease of use. This article will explore those variations.
What Is Compliance Management?
Compliance management is the effort a company undertakes to assure that employees and activities across the organization align with laws and regulations. These requirements are set by various entities, including governments, regulatory and industry bodies, and employee unions.
Documented procedures and policies are combined with audits to ensure compliance and reduce vulnerabilities. Non-compliance often leads to significant fines and business disruptions.
All that said, compliance management is much more than just a check-the-box exercise. Organizations may seem compliant on paper, but an incident can reveal weak business processes and controls.
What Is the Importance of a Compliance Management System?
The importance of regulatory compliance cannot be overstated. It reduces overall organizational risk, defines employee expectations, and protects your reputation. In addition, there are real financial benefits by avoiding regulatory penalties and ensuring business continuity.
What Are the Different Types of Compliance Management Tools?
Not all compliance management software is based on the same principles and frameworks. Accordingly, they vary in risk management, pricing, and compliance policy management.
Also, some compliance management tools are better suited to monitoring activities and change management, while others are geared toward audit management and preparing audit documentation.
Compliance management software can be classified into all-purpose, industry-specific, and GRC (governance, risk, and compliance).
All-purpose compliance management platforms
This software offers a suite of generic tools that can be used in any company or industry, but with a low level of specialization to address the remediation of risks, corporate governance, or technical issues.
Industry-specific compliance management tools
These tools focus on the needs of companies in specific sectors: healthcare, manufacturing, financial, and so forth. Specialized frameworks structure the compliance requirements of particular regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and ISO (International Standards Organization).
GRC software includes general compliance management tools and features to ease risk management, monitor compliance risk, and corporate governance tasks. Many connect to other tools that help to streamline compliance workflows and initiatives.
Coupled with industry-specific deployment frameworks, GRC software is the most robust of all three categories.
Do I Need a Compliance Management Tool?
When we picture companies needing compliance management systems, we usually imagine large corporations, financial institutions, and multinationals with many risks and much to lose. When one considers the vast realm of issues those large companies must address, the shortcomings of compliance oversight via spreadsheet quickly becomes clear.
Additionally, compliance obligations are no longer limited to the banking industry or multinational companies. Current regulations force all companies operating in specific sectors to invest in compliance risk management. For example, even small retailers must meet PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) to protect consumers’ credit card data.
As companies implement better handling and monitoring of their business processes, compliance management tools enable them to scale their activities without increasing their risk of non-compliance.
What Is Compliance Management Software?
Compliance management software is a tool that helps organizations comply with internal policies, regulatory and legal requirements, and industry standards to eliminate non-compliance risks. You can use the tool to:
- Automate compliance-related tasks and workflows
- Address risk management issues
- Assure that your policies and procedures follow the applicable laws and regulatory requirements
A standard compliance management software suite is designed with a range of features, including risk assessments, policy and procedure management, training management, audit trails, and reporting.
What Is Compliance Management Software Used For?
Compliance management software can be used across various industries, including information technology, finance, and healthcare. Here are the different ways you can use the tool:
- Update compliance forms and records and create reports with visualization, accelerating the audit process
- Automate compliance-related tasks to minimize the risk of human errors
- Digitize analog compliance processes to centralize important information and documents
- Create flexible compliance workflow and processes
- Get access to correct documentation of your compliance based on your industry
- Generate compliance checklists to improve operational efficiency and facilitate informed decision-making
What to Look for in Compliance Management Software
The following are the key features to look for when choosing compliance management software:
When choosing compliance management software, look for the following features:
- Supported platforms. Look for a solution that can aggregate and correlate event data from multiple platforms, including on-premise and cloud-based environments.
- Data classification. Choose a tool that provides data classification tools to comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR.
- Detailed and customized reporting. Ensure that the software can create industry-relevant reports in just a few clicks, showing who accessed, moved, shared, modified, and removed files containing sensitive data.
- Real-time alerting. Good compliance management software delivers real-time alerts on important changes to your sensitive data, and can detect and respond to events that match predefined threshold conditions.
- User account and password management. Opt for software that can automatically manage inactive user accounts and automate password management.
- Clean and intuitive interface. It’s best to use software with a clear and easy-to-navigate interface. This can be particularly handy later when you’re integrating tools and training employees on how to use the software.
What Are the Benefits of Compliance Management Software?
A suitable compliance management software tool can provide numerous efficiencies so your compliance team can work on more meaningful initiatives.
Reduce manual work
Managing requirements and controls in a spreadsheet may start out easy, but it will become overwhelming and time-consuming in the long run. The best compliance management software will grow with your business and help you reflect improvements as they are made. Automated workflows enable easy task management and documentation of corrective actions.
Compliance management software comes loaded with relevant frameworks and templates to streamline implementation. Many regulations have the same requirements, so cross-mapping one requirement to many frameworks is a huge benefit to reducing your compliance efforts. Easy-to-use templates facilitate compliance audits and corrective actions.
Simplify ongoing monitoring and reporting
Software programs can populate real-time dashboards and alert you to compliance issues and red flags. Compliance officers can quickly inform stakeholders with up-to-date metrics on compliance with regulations and industry standards.
How to Pick the Best Compliance Management Tool for You
With so many options and features, several considerations can help you choose the right compliance management tool for your needs and strengthen how you manage the compliance lifecycle.
Mind your deployment needs
Every company has a different IT infrastructure, and therefore different implementation needs.
For example, some companies may be used to working with internal servers and need an on-premise solution to work seamlessly with the rest of the system. Others may use cloud-based systems and need compliance management tools that operate in the cloud.
Risk and liability are other concerns. While an in-house solution can reduce the number of third parties involved in a software implementation, companies will also have to invest more internal resources to keep that software up-to-date.
On the other hand, the cloud-based solution involves a third party operating in your IT infrastructure, so you’ll need to perform a third-party risk assessment and then monitor that third party.
Look out for automation options
Automation is crucial to reduce operating expenses and maintain consistent performance in large and growing companies. The risk of human error is reduced and your ability to monitor the compliance program’s performance is improved. It can also generate reports promptly and detect compliance failures more quickly.
Diverse management capabilities
When choosing a software solution, it’s essential to evaluate how the management capabilities fulfill your needs. A good compliance management software tool must have task management functionality that allows adequate monitoring of policies, projects, and other compliance activities, such as internal auditing, quality management, document management, and more.
Also, a robust compliance management solution must be able to monitor risk. Software that centralizes and facilitates risk assessments is crucial for a compliance program to perform effectively.
Every company is subject to a different set of regulations and has additional regulatory requirements accordingly.
Compliance management tools are specifically designed to address specialized regulations and industries, such as HIPAA or GDPR, with user-friendly templates and feature updates when regulatory changes occur.
What Are the Challenges of Using Compliance Management Software?
Compliance management software, although useful to simplify compliance, has certain challenges. These include:
Compliance management software can be complex and require technical expertise to set up and maintain. You may have to train your IT team to use the tool, which can take time and resources.
Your compliance management software must integrate with the other tools in your organization’s compliance management system. Integrating the software with these systems can be time-consuming and require you to hire a specialist.
Data quality and false positives
The effectiveness of your compliance management software relies on accurate data. If the data entered in the software isn’t accurate, the software will be ineffective in managing compliance.
Moreover, it’s also possible for the software to generate false positives. Much time can be wasted in investigating false positives if you don’t have a process in place to address them promptly and efficiently.
Compliance regulations change frequently. You must regularly update compliance management software to reflect these changes; otherwise, the tool won’t be effective, leading to compliance issues for your organization.
Lack of standardization
Compliance regulations vary by industry, country, and region. This makes it rather challenging to find reliable and high-performing compliance management software that can meet all the legal and regulatory requirements and standards applicable to your organization.
Streamline Compliance Management with RiskOptics ROAR
Choosing the right compliance management tool can mean boosting compliance processes versus hindering your company’s compliance management.
The RiskOptics ROAR Platform is a compliance management software with all the necessary tools to facilitate your company’s risk management and compliance processes.
Packed with various compliance frameworks from different national and international regulations, such as ISO, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology), ROAR Platform’s regulatory compliance platform offers cybersecurity risk assessments, internal audit templates, document management, reporting, and more!
Book your demo today to learn how easily you can protect your company from the risks of non-compliance with the ROAR Platform.