Compliance automation: is your organization ready?

Written by Ivar van Duuren

November 3, 2023

security island

What exactly is compliance automation? Why is it important for businesses? And what are the actual benefits of it?

What is compliance automation?

Compliance is about complying with policies you’ve created yourself. Or perhaps to requirements that external parties put on you. It can also be an information security framework you want to comply with.

Automation is about automating those processes by which you ensure compliance with those policies.

The importance of compliance automation for businesses

Compliance automation is important for companies because the requirements are increasing. Both externally, and internally, companies find it increasingly important that information within a company is properly secured.

To this end, companies draw up policies that must be complied with. And all those spot checks to check whether your policy is being complied with are taking more and more time. And it’s becoming more error-prone.

So compliance automation is important to make sure that compliance with laws and regulations remains manageable and that its quality remains good as well.

The key benefits of compliance automation

The main benefit of compliance automation is, first and foremost, saving time. There are processes you can automate that are otherwise performed by humans. Especially if these are processes that take place more frequently and periodically. Then you can save a lot of time by automating those.

Another important benefit of compliance automation is that it increases the quality of compliance. If you have people doing checks, the chances of errors are fairly high. People may be distracted or have other work they’re busy with. So there’s a chance of the check not being done. There’s also a chance that the check won’t be done completely.

Compliance automation solves this by automatic and periodic checks.

How does compliance automation improve efficiency?

Compliance automation also improves efficiency because you always execute processes the same way. So no errors occur. This way you also always have the same result.

Another way compliance automation improves efficiency is because you can do checks much more frequently. For example, you might have someone do a check every quarter because it fits into that person’s work schedule.

But if you automate a process like that, you might as well do the check daily. That way you also find out much faster if policies are not being followed.

Here are three standard situations that can be improved very well with compliance automation.

1. Compliance automation: new suppliers

An example of a compliance process you can automate well is the recruitment of new suppliers. When there’s a new supplier, all kinds of checks have to be done. To automate that, the moment a supplier is added to your ERP system, you can have something triggered in our application ISOPlanner.

For example, someone gets notified and checks whether the supplier itself has an ISO certificate, or stores data in the right location.

You can automatically trigger such a task for a certain person. Ideally, you use communication channels such as a Teams notification for a trigger. This way you can be sure that the check is carried out. Because if it doesn’t, that triggers another notification to another person.

2. Compliance automation: onboarding new employees

Another example of a process that you can automate well is the onboarding of new employees. For every new employee who enters the organization, you need to do several things. Consider a background check, requesting a Certificate of Good Conduct, or creating certain accounts.

The moment you create a new employee in the system, you can add a trigger that causes a colleague to perform several checks. Who then records the result in a file to show that you have completed the check.

3. Compliance automation: customer satisfaction

Requesting customer satisfaction is another process that you can automate well. For example, if you send your customers surveys asking how satisfied they are with your services, then you store that information in ISOPlanner. This gives you insight into the scores your customers give you over a more extended period.

In addition, it is relatively easy to set a trigger if the value drops below a certain average so that you can take action to increase that satisfaction.

Is your organization ready for compliance automation?

Ever wonder if your organization is ready for compliance automation? Then take a look at how much time it currently takes you to ensure compliance with a particular policy. How much time are employees spending on all those checks they have to perform periodically?

If you discover that this requires a significant time investment, then the conclusion is that you are ready to automate such processes. And thus gain time benefits from this.

Another indication is if you notice that employees should be doing checks, but in practice this does not happen. Or it happens too little or not completely. That’s also a good reason to start with process automation.

Tips for getting started with compliance automation

Are you getting started with compliance automation? Then keep in mind that your organization has the systems in place to automate.

Often, you’ll want a system where you record the results of all those checks you do. Think of a system like ISOPlanner, for example. With that, you retrieve all the relevant information and record it in files. The big advantage? This way you can also show an auditor the result of all those automated processes.

Of course, you also need the people and capacity to automate those processes. This is a different kind of work than compliance itself. You need internal or external people to set up these automated processes.

It is advisable to start by checking which processes are now done manually. Where do people check – periodically or more frequently – whether something is being complied with? Consider the example of onboarding a new employee who goes through several stages. Which checks take place manually?

In addition, you need to know which of those steps interact with which systems. And how you connect those systems.

Also read: Compliance automation: challenges, practical tips, and KPIs

Conclusion

In short, compliance automation is essential for companies that want to comply with (changing) laws and regulations efficiently. Because internal and external information security requirements are becoming increasingly complex. The main benefits of compliance automation are time savings and improved quality of compliance.

Whether your organization is ready for compliance automation depends on the amount of time currently spent on compliance audits and whether there is room for improvement. A good approach is to start by identifying processes that are now performed manually and mapping which systems are involved.

About Ivar van Duuren

Ivar van Duuren is co-founder of ISOPlanner. He’s had experience with the fragmented ISO certification approach with separate documents and the pressure to do it within a certain deadline.

A simpler system that provided an overview and insight into the required measures and planning was the answer to this frustration. With its unique integration with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Teams, ISOPlanner provides a simple and clear tool during certification processes.

More tips about compliance automation?

Feel free to contact us. We would love to think with you!

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