Compliance

“Let’s Just Pass This Audit” Doesn’t Cut it Anymore—Why Hyper-Growth Companies NEED a New Approach to Compliance

Eden Amitai
October 21, 2021

Hyper-growth (ˈhī-pər - ɡrōTH/) - noun

Definition: A stage of extremely active and rapid expansion.

(Or, more simply put, a wild ride, but one that leaves knots in the pit of your stomach.)

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If you’re a CISO or Compliance Leader at a hyper-growth company, you are living and breathing that “extremely active and rapid expansion.” The promise of massive funding rounds, new hot-shot board members, and exciting opportunities abound. It’s just one dizzying experience, with lots of well-wishes and cheers to go ‘round.

But while it sure is a fun ride, you know all too well that it brings with it some new—and very tricky—challenges.

One of the most critical challenges that comes along with growth is a new and far more complex InfoSec Compliance reality. If you’ve gotten this far, chances are that your first round of SOC 2 or ISO 27k has been successfully completed—and that’s awesome. But in this reality of new departments, new hires and offices, mergers and acquisitions, and new policies, a primitive and perfunctory approach no longer cuts it. Now more is required—more frameworks, more controls, more evidence, more SaaS tools and cloud environments, and better overall security and Compliance maturity.

Quite naturally, the result is that companies in this mode quickly outgrow the ad-hoc Compliance projects that had served their needs in the past.

Here are some problems with this one-time-project approach:

It requires repeat work - In the ad-hoc approach, each audit cycle is a world onto its own; there’s no underlying continuity between efforts and work performed for previous audits is rarely leveraged or used to enrich current Compliance activities. The result? Overburdened team members spend their time collecting evidence that has already been collected in the past.

It doesn't account for the changing business reality - The business landscape of a hyper-growth company is dynamic and always changing, with new deals, locations, and even lines of business on the horizon. In an ad-hoc approach, controls for the new frameworks that correlate with the changing business requirements must be constantly added and updated, consuming precious time and resources.

It cannot deal with a changing and increasingly complex tech stack - While the tech stack at startups is typically limited, the tech stack of a hyper-growth company is constantly evolving and becoming more complex and varied. Scaling Compliance work in a one-time-project model is difficult, but it becomes nearly impossible with an ever-evolving tech stack.

It doesn't consider the changing product roadmap - As companies grow, their products likely change as well, with new features and integrations. The once-off approach doesn't account for the proper controls, policies, and procedures that correlate to the product roadmap as it transforms in hyper-growth.

It cannot anticipate changing legal requirements - Changing legal requirements often accompany growth; Companies going public must adhere to SOX, while others may incorporate new lines of business that now require compliance with HIPAA. A siloed project approach lacks an underlying continuity between efforts, which could help companies easily adjust to their new requirements.  

This is why scaling Compliance through these periods of growth and beyond requires a new approach.

How should hyper-growth Compliance issues be addressed?

To continue on the path to success, Compliance leaders at hyper-growth companies need a new strategy, one that leverages their growth and drives the business forward. What hyper-growth companies need is a new model, one that makes it possible to achieve true and lasting Compliance maturity—i.e., a complete Compliance Program.

What does this new Compliance Program look like?

But like anything worthwhile, building a comprehensive Compliance Program takes time and planning—and groundwork. To help lay the foundation and get you started on your way, we’ve developed an in-depth guide, “The Complete Compliance Program Guide for Hyper-Growth Companies” that outlines everything you need to know to get started with building your own Compliance Program, including:

  • The 5 key elements of a comprehensive Compliance Program;  
  • The steps companies can take to get started with a Compliance Program;
  • How to redefine Compliance as a tools for enhanced growth;
  • Expert-backed tips from industry giants;
  • And lots more!

Download the guide and get ready to fast-track your way to a Comprehensive Compliance Program.

Eden Amitai
Love Technology, User Psychology, and Marketing. Believe in working hard to play hard. Director of Product Marketing at anecdotes.

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