Compliance Automation: How to Streamline Implementation Across Industries

What do GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA have in common?

Written by Ashley Gwilliam on August 3, 2022

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They provide even more reasons for organizations to protect their data from breaches. Simply put, no one likes to be a) on the wrong side of the law or b) in the uncomfortable position of explaining to their CEO how the organization’s existing security infrastructure allowed hackers inside. 

With the ever-increasing standards that regulate information security, IT managers need to be on top of their game to ensure organizational systems comply with industry regulations and best practices.

Compliance refers to an organization’s adherence to external and internal regulations, guidelines, or standards. The purpose of these regulations may range from protecting sensitive data to ensuring data accuracy and more. 

In this post, we’ll focus on compliance with data privacy regulations. We’ll highlight the benefits of compliance automation before revealing the best way to streamline compliance processes.

Insight Into Compliance Automation Benefits Across Industries

Compliance checklist that reads: Rules, standards, policies, requirements, regulations, transparency, law

IT managers play considerable roles in ensuring privacy compliance within their organizations by implementing various policies and procedures. This can include encrypting data, managing user access controls, or auditing systems for vulnerabilities.

Compliance is an ever-evolving requirement that varies from industry to industry. However, by automating compliance processes, organizations can take a proactive approach to meet these requirements. Let’s take a closer look at the official definition of compliance automation. 

What Is Compliance Automation?

Compliance automation is the simplification of compliance procedures through the employment of software applications that use artificial intelligence features and technology.

Compliance automation software makes it easier for organizations to meet their regulatory obligations and reduce the risk of non-compliance. 

They do this in several ways, such as continuously monitoring/regulating data access, generating reports, scheduling audits, and sending alerts when policy violations are detected.

What Are the Benefits of Automating Compliance?

Compliance automation allows organizations to enjoy several perks such as:

1. Cost Saving

Compliance automation helps organizations save money by streamlining compliance-related tasks. Some not-so-new information: advanced technology can now accomplish what humans can do in minutes (sometimes seconds) — woo-hoo! 

This reduces the need to execute time-consuming information-gathering processes that may interrupt high-value tasks. IT admins are free to spend more time updating patches, tightening security infrastructure, and providing faster support to end users. 

Running an automated program is obviously less expensive than paying multiple employees to oversee processes manually. That said, compliance automation does not completely eliminate the need to utilize the expertise of compliance officers (COs). 

Complex organizations can still benefit from paying up to $250K annually to hire in-house COs. But many small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can thrive by entrusting automated software to oversee most of their processes, while outsourcing supervisory roles to part-time officers for up to $68,000 anually, as Glassdoor’s research indicates. 

Of course, every bit of preparatory action helps shave off the often astronomical costs of regulatory audits. The average SOC 2 audit ranges from $5K to $60K, depending on organizational size. 

It also doesn’t hurt that compliance automation helps avoid those pesky fines and penalties by reducing the potential for human error. 

2. Time-Saving and Increased Productivity

The old-school, manual compliance model requires personnel to oversee tedious, redundant, and time-consuming processes. One of the biggest benefits of automating compliance is it helps to ease the strain on staff, making them more productive.

Take data access as an example. Suppose three to five IT admins working in a company of 150 employees had to manually check and verify that an employee has the required clearance to access certain levels of information. 

Talk about time-consuming! A simple workaround is to use an identity and access management tool like the JumpCloud Directory Platform. Just assign a user profile linked to specialized privilege policies to each end user. The system continuously works in the background 24/7, running checks in response to access requests. 

Depending on the industry, proving the enforcement of least privilege is paramount to achieving a successful audit. With such a system, admins expend less effort on monotonous tasks and more time on valuable work.

3. Data Collection and Audit Preparation

Automating compliance-related tasks improves data collection and audit preparation in several ways. First, it helps ensure data is collected consistently and accurately. Admins can configure automated systems to collect specific data types and flag errors or irregularities.

Second, as previously mentioned, data automation helps the process of preparing for an audit. This is because automated systems readily generate reports and analyses based on the collected data, saving time that would otherwise be spent manually reviewing records.

Finally, automating data collection helps improve the quality of information available for auditors. Automated systems generate accurate and up-to-date reports, providing a complete picture of an organization’s compliance status.

4. Visibility

Compliance automation is valuable for improving visibility into an organization’s compliance posture.

In any workplace, teams must have access to the same information. This ensures everyone is on the same page and increases transparency.

Compliance automation software provides a centralized repository for the same information across the board, thus increasing workplace visibility. This “single source of truth” makes it easy for everyone in the organization to view and track progress.

Increased visibility supports a speedy recognition of potential issues that could cause big problems down the line. In addition, compliance automation technology improves communication between different departments and employees. 

Compliance monitoring software provides clear and concise records of “who did what” and “when.” These records allow misunderstandings and potential conflict between teams to be resolved and prevented. 

5. Security

Compliance automation helps ensure data is adequately secured by identifying and correcting security vulnerabilities. In addition, it sees to it that information is appropriately encrypted and that access is restricted to authorized users. 

In addition, compliance automation monitors for unusual activity that might lead to or indicate a security breach. It also generates reports that can be used to assess an organization’s data security.

Automated compliance is quite a boon for businesses, as it protects their data from unwanted access and misuse.

Benefits of Streamlining Compliance Automation with JumpCloud

Organizations have unique workflows and processes. Hence, there isn’t an elixir to cure all compliance ills. There is some good news: organizations can begin to leverage ready-made options that make compliance easier.

The JumpCloud Directory Platform is the perfect solution for busy IT admins as it centrally automates several processes that nearly all organizations need to comply with PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOC, and other regulations.

  • Automate user onboarding and offboarding: For instance, firms can use JumpCloud to automate user onboarding and offboarding. Employees who join the organization are automatically given the appropriate access to company resources. And when the user is terminated, their access to company data is immediately revoked.
  • Enforce compliance templated policies: Admins can use templated policies for standard compliance regulations. Enforcing mandated policies on some or all organizational devices is as simple as toggling a switch on all of the company’s devices. Modifications that try to work around the policy are prevented and promptly overwritten by the system.
  • Strengthen password compliance: JumpCloud provides a password complexity enforcement feature that requires passwords to meet specific criteria. This aims to make users’ passwords strong and not easily guessed. Admins can also set requirements for end users to update their passwords every X number of days. 
  • Employ conditional access policies: With JumpCloud, organizations can also employ various conditional access policies that restrict access to systems and data until specific requirements are met.
  • Prove compliance with System Insights and advanced reporting: Use JumpCloud’s System Insights to help your team search, identify, and resolve security vulnerabilities. Leverage it to gather cross-platform device information that simplifies compliance auditing. That way, you can rest assured your records are squeaky clean when the sheriff, excuse me, compliance auditor comes riding into town.

For illustration, consider Patricia, an IT director at a fintech company that utilizes the JumpCloud Platform Directory for identity and device management. 

Before logging in to the company’s network daily, the JumpCloud authentication protocol checks to determine whether Patricia’s profile is registered in the organization’s database.

It then requires her to complete a multi-factor authentication (MFA) step from a device compliant with her organization’s specifications. Finally, it determines whether the login location was known and the login time was within business hours.

If these conditions are met, Patricia is cleared to begin her workday. If not, then the likely hacker pretending to be Patricia is short on luck. 

Pass Compliance Audits with JumpCloud

Don’t wait until the week before to gather your compliance materials for your next GDPR, PCI DSS, or (insert acronym of choice) audit. 

Streamline efforts, tighten security, and reduce stress with the JumpCloud Directory Platform. The best part? Organizations are welcome to test-drive these features for free for up to 10 users. Sign up for a free trial today and see just how much JumpCloud helps you focus on what matters most — providing actual value.

Ashley Gwilliam

Ashley Gwilliam is a Content Writer for JumpCloud. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from on-camera acting to interviewing NBA basketball players to ghostwriting for CEOs. Today she writes about tech, startups, and remote work. In her analog life, she is on a quest to find the world's best tacos.

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