The union of business and security

Compliance requirements are increasing in number and complexity. As companies find themselves obligated to comply with multiple industry regulations and government mandates, investments in security and compliance-related initiatives are taking an increased share of limited IT resources. In the present threat and compliance-driven business climate, companies can spend as much as 80 percent of their compliance budgets securing IT. Despite this increase in spending, companies continue to get breached.

To date, the common approach for dealing with regulatory compliance has been to add a new team and a new project with the imposition of each new mandate. This practice has created a disparate approach of fragmented teams with parallel missions asking the same questions, creating significant inefficiencies, and hampering an organization's ability to comprehensively understand its risk position. Automating controls and integrating across “silos” is emerging as one of the greatest opportunities for improvement in risk and compliance processes.

When compliance and risk information is siloed, teams often cannot see redundancies across regulations or share a common interpretation of risk information. IT risk and compliance software products are gaining popularity based in part on their ability to solve this problem. These solutions provide a means to eliminate redundancies, improve the consistency and quality of risk data, save time and reduce the demands on managers. The end result is better security, fewer audit failures, improved leverage of IT resources, faster decision-making, and better optimization of existing business processes.

By automating previously manual and incongruent processes, IT risk and compliance solutions provide the means to consolidate and integrate technical data and to systematically prioritize security risks across assets, operations and regulations, thereby improving risk mitigation. Moving away from manual processes drives timely and cost-effective compliance, and provides improved visibility across organizational boundaries.

The bottom line is that with a solid IT risk and compliance strategy in place, organizations can refocus IT resources to support core revenue generating business operations. However, organizations must be realistic about what these types of products can and can't do. Technology can assist in maintaining a secure and compliant environment, but not by itself. Organizations still need good processes and policies in place, in addition to a clear vision of what they hope to achieve through the use of an IT risk and compliance solution.
As well, implementing the right solution can lower compliance costs and eases the burden on an already taxed IT staff.

At the core, IT risk and compliance products represent a new approach to business management and the governance of an enterprise. A successful IT risk and compliance program can help bridge the gap between senior management's business goals and IT operations by helping to ensure that consistent and accurate information flows up, down and across the organization. Organizations interested in jumping on the IT risk and compliance bandwagon should look for experienced vendors who can help quickly automate processes, deliver a scalable platform that is easy to integrate and manage, and provide a centralized enterprise-wide view of compliance. A realistic and well-executed IT risk and compliance program supported by the right technology solution can pay dividends in lower costs, reduced risk, consistent compliance, improved business processes and even better morale.

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