Compliance Automation: Your Audit Experience Before and After

Compliance automation transforms your audit experience from a burden to an opportunity. Find out why you should automate your compliance program.
Richard Stevenson

by Rick Stevenson

December 29, 2022
Comparison Guide Audit Process Before and After Automation

Automation transforms the audit experience. What was once a burden to bear becomes a competitive advantage that lets your company maximize every opportunity. 

Streamlining the audit process is not the only benefit compliance automation. From higher productivity to stronger security posture, automation improves your compliance program.

Learn more about the benefits of compliance automation and then schedule a demo to see how you can streamline your audit processes.

What is Compliance Automation?

Security breaches can happen anytime given the complexity of modern IT systems and the pervasive threat environment. These breaches can cause operational disruption, lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, and legal or regulatory actions.

Companies simply cannot afford non-compliance.

At the same time, manual processes cannot keep up. People spend increasing amounts of their day checking systems and filling in spreadsheets. Compliance officers must map this evidence against internal policies and external compliance frameworks.

At audit time, these snapshots may not be enough. To satisfy the auditors, compliance teams must shift into overdrive to update the company’s compliance status.

Compliance automation replaces these manual spreadsheet-driven processes with software solutions that:

  • Continuously monitor security controls 24-7.

  • Cover all on-premises systems, cloud service providers, and SaaS vendors.

  • Automatically address minor compliance issues.

  • Generate alerts for issues that require staff attention.

  • Produce reports to document continuous compliance.

Why You Should Aim for Automation

Automation streamlines the auditing process. At the same time, automation improves your compliance and security posture as well as the productivity of your compliance program.

Streamlined Audits

Companies that monitor compliance manually dread requests for audits. They scramble to collect evidence, reconcile spreadsheets, and resolve any resulting issues. Missing or inaccurate data in the final report could compromise the report and present inaccurate data to your customers and prospects.

Compliance automation simplifies the auditing process. With continuous monitoring and evidence collection, all the necessary information is already in one place. 

Certifying compliance continuously rather than at a point in time gives customers more confidence in your company’s ability to maintain compliance and gives you a leg up on your competitors.

Stronger Compliance and Security Posture

Automation is the only way to monitor all systems continuously. Staff time is limited, so manual processes require prioritizing high-risk systems. Letting others go unmonitored for any length of time allows compliance gaps to linger. Software can monitor all systems all the time.

Automation also makes compliance monitoring more accurate. Spreadsheet-based manual processes are prone to human error. Mundane and repetitive spreadsheet work naturally leads to transcription errors and omissions. Letting compliance automation software handle this low-value work eliminates these errors.

With all compliance evidence collected automatically, your staff gains visibility deep into your on-premises and cloud systems. Dashboards give you quick summaries of compliance status. At the same time, you have the tools to dig into issues and gain insights into compliance performance across the organization.

Continuous, error-free monitoring and heightened visibility combine to improve your company’s compliance and security posture. Compliance systems can identify and resolve minor issues automatically. More significant problems get quickly escalated to compliance officers for immediate action. 

Improved Productivity

Employees and contractors spend too much time collecting evidence into spreadsheets. This daily grind wastes the expensive talents these people were hired for. Compliance automation frees people to focus on the high-value, meaningful work that strengthens your compliance efforts.

Things to Look for in a Compliance Partner

Given the importance of compliance to the business, you must carefully evaluate potential compliance partners. Some things to consider include the following:

Focus on the Audit Process

Compliance is a constantly-evolving field that can challenge even the largest enterprises. You can supplement your company’s in-house compliance talent by choosing partners with strong domain expertise. 

Another challenge companies face is finding independent auditors that understand compliance frameworks as well as the company’s compliance platform. Look for partners who give you access to networks of vetted independent auditors.

Control Configurability

Every company has a unique combination of IT infrastructure, risk tolerance, and compliance requirements. Look for adaptable and scalable automation solutions that offer the control variety you need. This gives you the flexibility you need in an ever-evolving risk environment.

Support for Compliance Frameworks

Solutions that support a variety of frameworks make compliance programs more robust. Rather than running redundant processes, automated evidence collection can simultaneously support ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and other audits.

Native Integrations and Open APIs

To maximize the benefits of compliance automation, look for partners that offer a wide variety of integrations up and down the tech stack. They should offer secure and reliable native integrations rather than plug-ins.

Since no partner can cover every possibility, see if they offer an Open API so your developers can quickly integrate additional systems.

User-Friendly Compliance Journeys

Compliance automation solutions should take the pain out of compliance monitoring. Developers benefit from easily used integrations and APIs, while operations benefits from accessible dashboards and alerts.

Compliance Partner Reputation

Look for a compliance partner with a proven track record of success with companies similar to yours. Testimonials provided by the partner will showcase their strengths. Sites like G2 compile independent reviews from customers to provide more complete assessments of a compliance partner’s solution.

Your Audit Experience: A Look Into the Before and After

Before automating your compliance processes, audits are monumental challenges. Your staff takes on heavier workloads as they:

  • Ensure evidence is current.

  • Update, consolidate, and reconcile spreadsheets.

  • Address newly-discovered compliance gaps.

  • Generate, review, and correct reports.

In the end, all that work may go for nothing. Manual processes increase the risk of failed audits and missed opportunities.

Automating evidence collection and control monitoring takes you from point in time to continuous compliance. Your team can proactively address compliance gaps and streamline the audit process to respond quickly, accurately, and completely to any request.

Drata’s compliance automation platform will help you turn the operational burden of your audit experience into a competitive advantage. We bring everything our customers are looking for in a compliance partner, including:

  • 75+ integrations.

  • A library of 500+ controls across your tech stack.

  • User-friendly dashboards, alerts, and reports.

  • A pre-vetted directory of independent auditors.

Across industries, businesses of all sizes rate Drata best-in-breed. We earned that reputation by understanding the audit experience and bringing that expertise to every customer engagement.

Schedule a demo to see how Drata can transform your audit experience.

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Richard Stevenson
Rick Stevenson
Richard Stevenson is Manager of Compliance Advisory Services at Drata. He advises customers on building sound cybersecurity risk management programs and security policies that meet security compliance requirements. Richard is an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, CompTIA CySA+, and Shared Assessment Certified Third-Party Risk Assessor specializing in SOC 2, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, SOX, HIPAA, third-party risk management, and enterprise risk management.
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