The Benefits of a Compliance Automation Platform

An organization without established security and governance is as good as a straw home; a wolf is bound to blow it down. A critical task for young organizations is to determine how governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) should be incorporated into their culture to ensure their formative years set them up for success.

Although compliance does not equal security, compliance allows organizations to outline what their processes and procedures should be, which in return allows organizations to grow alongside a framework of generally accepted standards. With this in mind, the rise of compliance automation platforms has helped alleviate some of the stress that goes along with understanding the requirements of various compliance and/or frameworks (System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to name a few).

It is important to note that although these tools can help an organization determine their compliance, the compliance automation platform provider cannot produce an official attestation or certificate to report on an organization’s compliance. Organizations may find a compliance automation platform beneficial for the following reasons:

1. Transparency & Centralization

Some compliance automation platforms utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect to various company systems (Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), HR systems, code repositories, etc.). These AP’s connect company systems to the compliance platform, allowing the compliance platform to display results of various tests that they apply to the configurations within company systems.

These tests (i.e., controls) can be  mapped to a desired requirement or criteria. Depending on the framework or standard an organization wants to achieve, the centralization of tests performed through the APIs allow an organization to visualize where they stand in terms of being compliant.

Once an organization initially assesses their current state of compliance, they can then begin evaluating how to achieve the compliance they desire. This could be by implementing a policy, remediating current processes in place, and other multitudinous options that help provide perspective on the comprehensive state of compliance, thereby allowing for visibility.

2. Continuous monitoring

Some compliance platforms also provide the ability for organizations to continuously monitor controls using automation. Within these compliance automation platforms, tests are run on a schedule to ensure that controls are effective. When a control is not operating effectively, management can see how long it was ineffective, and determine a course of action to remediate. Without the platform, the ineffective control may go unnoticed, opening the organization to preventable risks.

3. Resources & Education

Compliance platforms typically provide organizations with a point of contact or Customer Success Manager that can help aid organizations in understanding controls, compliance, and GRC as a whole. This individual is assigned to help answer questions on the platform, questions on the frameworks, and questions on your organization’s current compliance. Taking on an audit or gaining compliance does not have to be scary or intimidating – these platforms can provide endless support and educational resources from the start to the finish.

With these benefits in mind, a compliance automation platform may be something to consider for your organization. It gives companies the opportunity to visualize how effective their current internal programs are. When choosing your platform, it is important to choose one that has strong security standards themselves. Be conscious in trusting all of your company data in a platform and be sure to select one that practices what they preach. Whichever route you choose for your organization, any opportunity to gain compliance and address the effectiveness of your organization’s current operations is a step in the right direction.

If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to view the recent episode of Drata's "Ask an Auditor" featuring Schneider Downs' Timothy Wolfgang and Drata's Troy Fine answering some of the top questions about SOC 2 and compliance. The replay is available at

About Schneider Downs IT Risk Advisory

Our IT Risk Advisory practice helps ensure that your organization is risk-focused, promotes sound IT controls, ensures the timely resolution of audit deficiencies, and informs the board of directors of the effectiveness of risk management practices. We will partner with you to provide comprehensive IT audits and compliance reviews that will ensure your organization has effective and efficient technology controls that better align the technology function with their business and risk strategies.

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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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