Compliance

One Size Does Not Fit All: Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compliance Automation Solution

Michal Norman
January 15, 2023

Imagine this scenario: Eric, the Compliance leader at a hyper-growth company, is fed up with the myriad of manual tasks that bottleneck his day-to-day work as he inches his organization toward its desired Compliance posture. Frustrated, he asks a colleague at another company for their solution. With a recommendation in hand, he rushes to sign the contract for a Compliance automation solution that he just knows will be the answer to all his problems. 

Unfortunately, Eric learns the hard way that not all Compliance automation solutions are created equal. What works well for his colleague’s startup ends up being a waste of time and money for his hyper-growth organization, as each company has unique requirements and needs when it comes to Compliance automation. After spending months attempting to work with the new software, Eric finally throws in the towel. The solution he chose simply does not have the features and capabilities he was looking for, and the value is just not there. Eric sighs and goes back to his Excel spreadsheets and screenshots.

You can learn from Eric’s mistakes. 

Selecting the right Compliance automation solution for your organization is a significant decision. Make sure you ask the right questions and evaluate the tool based on its nature, intent, capabilities, use cases, and value. Understand that some solutions are tailored for smaller startups, some are designed especially for growing companies, and some focus primarily on enterprises.

To help you make the best decision for your organization (and to ensure you can show real ROI), we’ve created a list of key factors to consider in your evaluation. The complete list can be found here, but here are a few tips to get you started:

Compliance Maturity Fit: Assess your organization’s Compliance maturity level. Think hard about your human resources, existing tools and capabilities, audit cycle approach, control approach, and leadership perception. Recognize where your organization stands today, and determine where you would like it to be going forward. This is the first step towards determining what type of Compliance automation solution is right for you.

Approach to Automation: Start by deciding what processes you’d like to automate and how much of the work you’d like to transition to the automated solution. Your approach will help you determine the amount and type of automation you need. Some solutions focus on workflow automation, others are audit-centric, while still others offer continuous Compliance capabilities. 

Scope of Integrations: Integrations are an efficient way to manage the Compliance workload. Consider whether your existing tech stack -- on-prem, private, or public cloud – can be integrated with the Compliance automation tool. If so, check what type of integration is offered, as different APIs offer varying levels of authentication and security controls. The deeper the integration, the more likely the tool will be able to handle complex interactions.

Cooperation with Auditors: Choose a tool that the leading audit firms trust. Some tools even offer the benefit of collaboration with auditors, enabling the auditors to gain direct access to the solution and perform assigned tasks.

Range of Frameworks: Check whether the Compliance tool under consideration supports the Security Compliance framework you need. If you must comply with multiple frameworks, see if the tool allows you to cross-map between frameworks to save time and effort. 

Configurability & Flexibility: The “one size fits all” approach to Security Compliance is insufficient for most organizations. So when looking at solutions, consider whether the tool can be configured to meet your unique needs. Frameworks, controls, workflows, evidence, and reports may all need to be configured based on your organization’s specifications and requirements. Check whether the Compliance solution is flexible enough for your use cases and whether the solution allows you to take control of your data management.

Pricing: When evaluating the cost of the solution, make sure you understand the components that make up the pricing, such as the number of users, the number of modules, and the number of frameworks/content. Ask about hidden ‘add-ons’ and what future factors will affect price hikes. Aside from the cost, consider the potential ROI. A more expensive vendor that automates 80% of your tech stack may deliver a higher ROI than a less expensive vendor that automates only 40%. Make sure your evaluation covers the big picture.

Onboarding and Customer Service: Consider how much time and resources your organization is expected to expend on onboarding. Check the vendor’s reputation and track record when it comes to Customer Service and technical support. After-sales support is critical to ensuring your success with the solution. 

Security: Believe it or not, it is necessary to check whether the vendor has its own robust Security Compliance program. The integrity of the solution provider is just as important as the security of the solution itself, so check out both.

Range of Applications for Future Needs: As your organization grows and evolves, you will likely need supportive tools and applications for your ongoing Compliance efforts. Check whether the Compliance automation tool can scale along with you by offering additional apps, add-on solutions, and premium features that support the ongoing efforts of Compliance teams, such as a risk assessment and management tool or automated user access reviews.

Keeping these factors in mind and asking the right questions during the evaluation period is critical for making the right decision for your organization. We at anecdotes have prepared a helpful Guide designed to take a deep dive into these factors to help you assess the different solutions on the market. We provide a list of essential questions to ask during the evaluation period and ensure you are armed with enough background knowledge to ask the tough questions we lay out.

Don’t end up like Eric. Click here to access “The Ultimate Compliance Automation Buyer's Guide” and take the first step toward automating your Compliance journey with the confidence that you’ve chosen wisely.

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