What Is Compliance Automation?
Compliance automation is the process of using technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to continually check systems for compliance. Compliance automation solutions replace manual processes and track all compliance procedures in one location.
Why Compliance Matters
With strict regulatory requirements and laws being such an important consideration in today’s business landscape, remaining in compliance can make the difference between engaging in smooth, efficient business operations and being the target of litigation.
Some compliance regulations include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Action planning and the implementation of policies is easier with automated processes.
In a reactive compliance strategy, an organization responds to issues as they arise as problems. However, a proactive approach is superior, in which an organization puts the tools in place ahead of time to avoid compliance problems.
Keys To an Effective Compliance Program
A successful compliance program involves the following elements:
- Testing: The system needs to be evaluated prior to the implementation of automation processes.
- Policies and procedures: The policies and procedures used to implement them must be clear and easy to understand.
- Software and tools: Compliance automation software performs manual tasks for the user.
- Continuous review: It is important to review compliance procedures on a regular basis to find ways to improve your processes.
How Does Automated Compliance Work?
Automated compliance tools work by categorizing and ensuring the protection of specific kinds of data and systems. The categorization is governed according to the applicable regulation. For example, specific kinds of patient data need to be protected according to HIPAA regulations.
Compliance automation also involves the collection, control, and analysis of data at various points in its lifecycle, followed by the generation of any necessary alerts when the analysis reveals a possible compliance violation. For instance, data organized in a spreadsheet can be compared to historical averages. When the automation software recognizes a relative spike or drop in the numbers, a report can be generated and sent to the appropriate stakeholders.
Benefits of Compliance Process Automation
Automated compliance is particularly beneficial for organizations that deal with sensitive data, and it has several benefits that impact security, cost savings, and reporting.
Reduced Compliance Risks
Compliance automation reduces the chance of an organization getting stuck with fines for slipping out of compliance. Because the responses to potential issues are automated, both human error and excess time are eliminated.
Automating compliance allows you to continually monitor your system for vulnerabilities, helping you catch far more issues than if you were doing it manually, thereby mitigating risk. This could save a company significant amounts of money. If an organization falls out of compliance with HIPAA, for example, the fine can go as high as $50,000.
More Efficient Than Manual Processes
Manual processes are prone to human error, which can cost hours or days in wasted time and thousands of dollars in fines. Even skilled, experienced employees with good intentions can miss an item on a spreadsheet, a line of code, or a detail in a compliance procedure or policy.
When compliance processes are automated, the only role a human may have to play is reacting to accurate alerts and updating the system when regulations are adjusted.
Real-time Data In One Dashboard
Compliance automation software consolidates all compliance information into one dashboard. Instead of tracking multiple applications or spreadsheets, you can get a snapshot of how your organization is complying across the board. Because data is presented in real time, you also benefit from stronger risk management.
If you begin to fall out of compliance in one area or another, with the help of real-time alerts, the problem can be addressed instantly, instead of waiting days, weeks, or months—or until you get surprised during auditing.
How Fortinet Can Help
When you reduce human interaction with workflows, compliance automation delivers both results and peace of mind when it comes to staying aligned with regulatory requirements. The Fortinet Security Fabric provides your organization with risk assessment and compliance enablement on a continual basis.
Included within the Security Fabric are FortiManager—which identifies, stops, and responds to malware, as well as enhances compliance using AI—and FortiAnalyzer, which simplifies the compliance process through automation and advanced analytics-driven reporting.
With the help of AI, responses to potential compliance issues are faster, automatic, and more thorough.