As you consider your company’s compliance processes, do the words speed or real-time come to mind? If your organization is like most, they probably do not. Without finger pointing or complaining, let’s face it - the common ways companies manage compliance
(Excel spreadsheets and Word documents) were not designed to keep up with the speed at which threats, risks, standards and regulations are changing the compliance landscape every day.
The idea of digitally transforming compliance is daunting to many but – frankly – it’s a bit of a misnomer. Digital transformation connotes the idea of radical change- something requiring extraordinary effort. But modernizing compliance does not require
companies to start from scratch. We can borrow some lessons around modernizing compliance from an adjacent domain; cybersecurity.
LESSONS FROM CYBERSECURITY
Over the last several years, software developers have dealt with the massive increase in cybersecurity threats by changing their approach to software design itself. By adopting the principles of DevSecOps in software development, the cybersecurity industry
has been inserted into the process and served as the engine behind Digital Transformation, effectively, “Shifting Left” Security. With this approach, as software is designed and developed, security is built in from the beginning before the application is
ready for use by the customer. By doing this, security tools can be employed to expose risks in near real-time, continuously, and as completely as possible. This approach has allowed the cybersecurity industry to shift away from being reactive to breaches
that have already occurred and now allow companies to defend themselves proactively against many risks before they are realized.
The results are clear. A host of security tools now exist that continuously scan a company’s applications and infrastructure in the background for threats and vulnerabilities. Even more, those tools can now automate threat remediation. Professionals can
now focus on new strategies to combat the rapidly evolving threat landscape.
ITS TIME FOR COMPLIANCE TO SHIFT LEFT
Now imagine this “Shift Left” approach being applied to compliance. No longer would compliance professionals be forced to create their own tracking system or manually update documentation for an audit or required report. The commonplace paper driven, manual
exercises used to demonstrate compliance could be replaced with continuous updates of compliance documentation delivered to the right people regarding their company’s level of compliance with each required standard or framework.
If the company is not meeting a standard, compliance professionals would see precisely what needs to happen to bring the company back into compliance and can focus their resources on elevating compliance risk to senior management to ensure this happens.
Rather than manually searching for information in multiple file servers and legacy systems or chasing colleagues for reports and data, compliance professionals would be able to report their status per standard or framework in near-real time. Reporting is easier
and more accurate, and audits are managed efficiently with lower risk of being found non-compliant.
This is what shifting compliance left looks like. And, we have the benefit of knowing this approach works from its success in cybersecurity.
When you consider the speed and scale at which compliance obligations are growing and how the interconnectedness of our business environments makes it virtually impossible to manually monitor adherence to those obligations, we need compliance that can be
delivered at high velocity and at scale.
As we bring the same fundamental principles of DevOps to Compliance, we can create a new discipline I suggest calling Regulatory Operations or RegOps with the following definition: RegOps is a combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that
increases an organization’s ability to ensure compliance of applications and services against standards in near real-time.
It’s time to move to a world of continuous compliance bridging the best of the human and machine to demonstrate and elevate compliance risk to the right stakeholders at the right time. When compliance professionals achieve this, they will not only improve
their levels of compliance, but will decrease their organizations’ risk and increase trust much more quickly and effectively then if they continued using traditional ways of managing compliance and developing compliance artifacts.
Companies today are moving at incredible speed to deliver innovation and value in a business environment that grows increasingly complex year over year. Compliance professionals must be prepared to operate in that new reality. They must be prepared to Shift