Remember the last time your teen outgrew their [insert super-expensive brand of your choice here] sneakers? Maybe you told them to just keep wearing the old ones because... Okay. You didn’t say that. You bought them another pair of new sneakers.
That’s because if your kid is healthy and growing, you’re doing something right—and enabling their continued progress is a no-brainer (even if it means whipping out your credit card, yet again).
We know this instinctively: Growth, though sometimes challenging, is a good thing.
Startups in their infancy handle new Compliance requirements as they come. You can hear it now, can’t you? “Just get SOC 2 done,”, “Go figure out ISO 27k.” It’s an ad-hoc, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of approach, but with one framework, plus a simple infrastructure, it gets the job done.
The thing is, as companies and their infrastructure and tooling grow, Compliance requirements change. And for many of these companies, they are stuck with an approach to Compliance that hasn’t changed since their earlier, smaller, and far less complex days. This approach, based on the on-the-fly approach mentioned above, lacks a unifying fabric between efforts, uses resources inefficiently, and worse, fails to prepare for continued growth.
And because Compliance done “the old way” is a continuing stream of complexity and exhaustion, it’s seen as an obstacle to further growth. So if you want to enter a deal that will create a HIPAA Compliance requirement, what then? Or if you want to go public, dare you wrestle with SOX? Companies with this type of mindset—Compliance as the enemy—see it as a barrier to growth.
When a company is in hyper-growth, the methodologies that worked previously don’t cut it anymore. Screenshots and endless trails of emails, with their manual labor and the risk of human error, won’t do the job. A hyper-growth company needs a tailor-made Compliance approach—or may I call it, a PROGRAM—that grows with them seamlessly.
What would this program look like?
*Handle multiple tools and frameworks smoothly and easily
*Effortlessly onboard new frameworks, without the need to hire someone new
*Enable the company to easily grow its business
*Make an IPO or an upcoming certificate the next logical step, not an unattainable dream
Compliance, done right, can be a growth enabler. And that’s what your company needs if it wants to be able to sleep at night (metaphorically speaking, of course).
So how can your hyper-growth company achieve this wondrous state?
First of all, it should provide a unified controls workspace. With cross-framework control mapping, companies can save time and effort and it can be seamlessly updated to accommodate new frameworks.
It should also look at the business roadmap. You know which frameworks your business needs today, but as your business grows, what additional frameworks will apply? For example, if your business is now solely in the European market, you’ve made sure to meet ISO 27001—but if you expand to the American market, what regulatory requirements are you looking at? So as you grow, how will your business evolve?
Another key element, it anticipates a complex and evolving tech stack. For a hyper-growth company, a Compliance program must be able to accommodate whatever complexity the company needs to introduce as it grows.
It considers where the product is headed and accounts for future requirements. It considers what kind of changes—aside from business and tech stack changes—you anticipate making to your product going forward, and whether those changes will trigger additional frameworks.
And lastly, it supports future legal requirements A hyper-growth company might not be imminently considering an IPO, but the very fact of its rapid expansion means it should at least consider having to meet SOX requirements someday. Or they may expand to a new product that makes HIPAA Compliance a requirement. Companies need a Compliance program that accounts for the legal and regulatory realities that come along with growth.
These elements are the underpinnings of a Compliance ecosystem in which Compliance morphs from “a necessary evil” to a business enabler: an indispensable aspect of your business that helps deals go through faster, reduces friction, and allows evidence to go from one framework to another, without any need for additional resources. This type of program seamlessly allows your business to scale because it grows with your business.
So enjoy this rollercoaster that is hyper-growth. But recognize that with increased growth comes new challenges.