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What to Know When Evaluating Compliance Solutions

If you’re ready to seek expert help with your organization’s compliance, you’re not alone. Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and government agencies alike rely on external tools, software platforms, consultants and advisors to achieve and maintain compliance. But it’s hard to know which partner to trust. Here are three things you need to know when choosing a compliance solution.  

Know Your Needs

While compliance may seem like a black box, specific compliance needs vary greatly by organization, business unit, and industry. The compliance standards you’re held to, frequency of audits, and intricacy of your systems drive your compliance needs. 

You have a lot of options when choosing a compliance “solution,” but your organization’s structure will dictate what solutions work best. If you have a big team focused wholly on compliance, you may just want to select a few different tools like a scanner or a workflow list to help them do their jobs. On the other hand, if you're a smaller organization and want to completely outsource compliance, you'll want to bring on a comprehensive platform or consultant to manage your organization's compliance efforts. 

For example, if you need hands-on-keyboard support to prepare for quarterly audits, you’ll want to look for a provider who has the staff and bandwidth to guarantee the support you’ll need. A scanner or checklist will not provide that level of custom support and availability. 

It’s also important to consider which compliance standards you’re bound by and how they must be implemented. If your company processes and stores credit card data, you’re held to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). However, only the servers and devices that actually deal with the payment process need to be compliant. It would be unnecessary to implement a compliance solution to hold your entire system to that burdensome standard. 

Know Your Auditor

In addition to your regulatory requirements and system setup, you need to consider the third-party auditors who will evaluate your compliance.

From an auditor’s perspective, compliance is checking boxes. “Here are the rules you have to adhere to in order to be compliant.” However, some rules are written in a way such that there are multiple ways to solve them. It’s important to know how your auditor responds to those instances and their general philosophy of compliance — what is “good enough”?  

Once you understand your auditor’s approach, you can evaluate whether a potential solution will help convince that auditor that you’re compliant. For example, if you have a non-technical auditor, you need to ensure the results your solution provides are easy for them to understand. 

If strict adherence to a certain policy is simply not possible in your system or would effectively break it, you'll need to implement workarounds and mitigations to provide similar effective adherence. Bottom line, you should ensure your auditor trusts the recommendations and decisions that your compliance solution implements.

Know Your Team

Finally, you need to evaluate whether this partner is going to mesh well with your team. It doesn’t matter how technical the topic, people are people. Compliance and audits can be stressful and chaotic, and the whole process will be smoother and more efficient if the partner you’ve chosen feels like part of your team. If you and your partner can agree on goals, philosophy, and have a good communication style, you're more likely to align on which remediations are acceptable, which positives are false, and which workarounds fit the spirit of the rule.

At Sicura, we evaluate potential customers the way we hope they evaluate us — in fact, the same way we evaluate potential hires — by asking, do we want to be on the same team? We seek out an openness, a willingness to admit when you don’t have the answers, and flexibility to have honest conversations respectfully. When we work with a customer, we’re on their team and they’re on ours.

If you’re ready to work with a team of experts making compliance easy, Sicura could be a good fit for your organization. Reach out to book a meeting.