You’ve been doing security and compliance self-assessments for years. Ever wonder why it feels like you’re starting from Square One every time? By now, your compliance process should be a well-oiled machine—instead of that sputtering jalopy you’re fighting with. But what if you could turn your compliance management into a high-performance engine?
It just takes a simple tweak of your process to get that well-oiled machine. But first, we need to understand where the problem lies in the first place.
What’s Wrong with Annual Compliance Assessments
For many companies that need to meet compliance standards, the annual assessment features a mad scramble to stumble across the finish line. Everything may be a mess and not completely buttoned up, but it’s there, and it’s done. You can pat your team on the back, take them out to lunch, and put compliance and security requirements out of your mind for another nine months or so.
And that’s exactly the problem. Security and compliance management aren’t an annual activity—they’re a daily activity.
I know what you’re thinking right now: “Yikes! Daily?? No way do I have the bandwidth to do compliance management every day.” You’ve got requirements that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. If you’re not staying on top of those tasks throughout the year, they pile up and you’ve got a major mess waiting for you when it comes time to do your annual assessment. There’s no one-and-done when it comes to compliance management. Organizations can’t get away with compliance cramming anymore.
Painless Daily Compliance Management?
Daily compliance management isn’t as painful as it sounds. Security and compliance is a lot like your high school term papers—do a little bit every day, and you’ve got plenty of time to hang out with friends. Wait till the last minute, and you’ll shoot yourself in the foot. The same is true of compliance. Do a little bit every day, and you’ll skate through your annual assessments. Here’s how to make it work.
First, don’t think about compliance as something that you do once a year. You need to maintain compliance all year long, for the long term. If you don’t, there’s a much higher likelihood for someone to miss one of their responsibilities, and you won’t discover it until your next annual cycle. If your organization gets found out under those circumstances, there could be serious financial or legal ramifications. Plus, the uncomfortable discussion with your auditor or executives explaining why important aspects of the security/compliance program haven’t been conducted.
Second, we built TCT Portal to help you master your compliance management throughout the year. We call it Operational Mode, and it’s where the Portal really shines. With TCT Portal, the day-in, day-out of security and compliance management is simple and easy to handle, because the platform helps to facilitate everything you need to be doing, and when.
TCT Operational Mode
TCT’s Operational Mode is critical. I used to walk into annual engagements and discover that clients weren’t prepared. They hadn’t been doing the activities they were supposed to do throughout the year, and they had to answer tough questions in front of an auditor as to why things weren’t buttoned up. It’s a nasty situation for everyone to be in. I didn’t want my clients to be in that position, and I didn’t want to get caught off-guard either.
So throughout the year, the TCT Portal spells out everything you need to do to keep on-track. Periodic reminders are sent to the right people at the right time, so tasks are clear and manageable. This helps you to proactively confirm that the periodic tasks of your organization are being done throughout the year, and it helps you quickly get back on track, if needed. For your executives, Operational Mode provides peace of mind that you’re staying compliant—and minimizing your company’s security risks at the same time!
TCT Portal shows the real-time status of your compliance management, so you can go in anytime and check the current state of your compliance. Get confirmation throughout the year that you’re staying on track and doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
The real magic comes about in the coming years, as your organization has a repository of evidence from prior years that’s well organized. Many things change in an organization, including the staff who supplied evidence the prior year. With the TCT Portal, all of your evidence in the coming audit cycle is easily referenceable from the prior year—so you know exactly what was provided previously that passed muster for your auditor.
TCT Portal’s organizational power saves your team hundreds of hours they would otherwise waste in subsequent compliance years while they attempt to manually realign the compliance planets for another year.
Create a Culture of Compliance
But the most important ingredient for maintaining compliance year-round is to develop a culture of compliance throughout your organization. Staying on top of security and compliance management requires an authentic, ingrained culture of compliance at every level of your organization.
The companies that master compliance realize that security is about a holistic attitude within your corporate culture rather than simply achieving a set of requirements. It’s something you do in the daily flow of your organizational life—not something to check off a To-Do list and then forget about.
Changing a culture isn’t easy—especially when it comes to something that’s a bit like pulling teeth. But it can be done, if your executives are serious about it. Check out our article on building a culture of compliance to get you started.
Painless Compliance Management, All Year Long
You can make your security and compliance management easier, if you take the right actions to automate and simplify the process all year long. The right auditing software tool can make all the difference, too. Ready to streamline your audits and quit all the agonizing and wasted manual labor? TCT Portal can help make your compliance management painless.
Find out how TCT Portal can make a difference for your company—get your personalized demo.