Updated: Apr 6
Written by: Steve Cullen, Troy Hagerty, Karim Maher
To say that the evolution of cyber security compliance over the past 20 years has been “rapid” would be an understatement. With the deployment of cloud computing, rapid adoption of remote work due to the global pandemic, and prolific ransomware attacks on organizations, our environment is now more exposed than ever.
Today, the to-do list for compliance goes well beyond the technical demands. From increasing compliance scope, shortage of security and compliance staff, reallocation of security responsibility away from the IT team, it can feel like whack-a-mole for any organization.
Thankfully, with all these challenges, a lifeline has appeared to assist the overwhelmed CISOs, CIOs and CTOs in the form of security compliance automation.
What is security compliance automation?
Compliance automation tools can help organizations automate various compliance-related tasks, reducing the need for manual labor and human error. These tools are often used in the security realm for tasks such as document management, security awareness training, risk management, asset tracking, vendor management, event management, incident response, and endpoint management, among others.
By leveraging SaaS compliance management technology, organizations can streamline their compliance processes and improve overall efficiency while ensuring that they are meeting regulatory requirements.
How Do Compliance Automation Tools Help Organizations?
We Now have Visibility of the Whole Security Picture: There are far too many IT tools which don’t integrate and tell us only part of the story of our security posture. Even Azure tools can only give us what Microsoft can see. In the same vein, JAMF can only give us what Apple can see and limited information on others.
🎯 Compliance automation tools help give clarity to nearly all environments, depending on the level of integrations they provide. They can give security organizations the ability to start from scratch, all the way to making sense of an existing complex organization in just one view.
We Move from Manual Slogging to Automated Gliding: Security orgs spend considerable resources trying to figure out what is going on from department to department. In order to function, most have to set up manual processes and get buy-in from every person. If they don’t, they lose visibility into a given function, which could compromise security.
🎯Compliance automation is able to assign accountability and take stress off of individuals responsible for driving the whole organization. This puts the onus, rather, on the tool and only the team responsible for a task, while setting up a more manageable process.
By offloading some of that workload to automation, that frees up the resources that most CISOs/CIOs/CTOs desperately need. If the organization is under resource constraints, then automation becomes an invaluable tool to cut down on the manual labor required to keep organizational assets safe.
Now Auditing is a Breeze: It can take many days of pulling teeth to get the concrete and digestible data and document for an auditor. Auditors must get their head around security processes to appropriately identify vulnerabilities and nonconformities.
🎯ISO 27001, ISO 27701, GDPR, SOC2, and various compliance security and privacy frameworks are deeply integrated and mapped within most of these compliance automation tools. Internal and external audits can be more efficient when a security team uses these tools to support the audit process.
What are the Weaknesses of Compliance Automation Tools?
ARORA Solutions notes the following issues that plague, not only the compliance management sector, but the software industry as a whole:
Implementation within Corporate Context and Systems - The implementation of security compliance automation is not without its challenges. One of the biggest is ensuring that the automation tools are properly configured and integrated with the organization's existing IT infrastructure. This requires a thorough understanding of the organization's technical environment and compliance requirements.
Invalid Alerts (False positives)– These platforms automate processes. If there are no alerts, people think everything looks great. However, garbage in, garbage out. If the system was set up incorrectly, and the triggers are not appropriately calibrated, then alerts will be invalid.
Alert Fatigue (False negatives) – Now security teams are adding another tool in the mix, they achieve alert fatigue because another system is putting out incorrect or over-exaggerated issues. This could lead to...
Complacency – Security teams suffer morale issues when the overall security score is low and cannot be increased. These tools usually reset automatic triggers on a monthly or quarterly basis. One day you could have a 90% security score and the next you have 80%. Teams must constantly be on their toes to keep the security score in good order.
Underutilization – With the above three issues working against security teams, they may opt to underutilize or scrap the tool altogether. We’ve seen teams go to a manual process again, or back and forth, depending on management priority.
The above issues can be overcome by allocating an individual responsible for utilizing these tools. Just a little bit of concerted effort here has huge impacts on security compliance. Effort upfront will pay in dividends down the line.
What are the Most Well-Known Compliance Automation Tools Out There?
1. Drata – A newcomer with strong reviews on G2.com, supporting multiple frameworks and backed by several key industry leaders. Drata has a 4.9/5 rating on G2.com. The company is backed by ICONIQ Growth, GGV Capital, Alkeon Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, S Ventures, Leaders Fund, Okta Ventures, SVCI, SV Angel, and many key industry leaders.
2. Scrut Automation – Another highly rated platform that supports multiple frameworks and praised for its compliance monitoring, access control, and sensitive data compliance features. Scrut Automation has a perfect 5/5 rating on G2.com, with customers praising its ease of use and speed of achieving compliance, as well as the platform's support and customer service.
3. Secureframe - A highly effective and well established cloud compliance and security platform that supports multiple frameworks and has a 4.8/5 rating on G2.com. It's praised for its simplicity, reliability, and responsive customer service team, making it a top choice for companies looking to streamline their compliance processes. Overall, Secureframe is a highly recommended platform for businesses looking to achieve and maintain compliance with industry standards.
4. Sprinto – This platform has a 4.8/5 rating on G2.com, particularly strong in implementing SOC 2 and HIPAA frameworks, and praised for its constantly evolving product. Sprinto has raised 11.5M USD in funding in 2022 and boasts 20 audit partners in 25+ countries with a 100% audit success rate on its website.
5. Vanta – A well-established platform supporting compliance on multiple frameworks, with occasional bugs but praised for its ease of use and company response times. Vanta has a 4.7/5 rating on G2.com.
6. Laika (Newly branded as Thoropass) – This platform has a 4.7/5 rating on G2.com, supporting multiple frameworks and voted best ROI in Spring 2022 on G2.com. Laika is actively working on resolving bugs and improving its feature set, with a focus on SMEs and providing simpler policy options for smaller companies.
7. Hyperproof – This well-established platform has a 4.6/5 rating on G2.com and is US-based. Hyperproof's mission is to help organizations demonstrate their commitment to upholding laws, standards, and ethical conduct to their communities.
8. A-SCEND (from A-LIGN) – A relative newcomer to the market, A-SCEND is rapidly improving its features and working with clients to resolve any issues or bugs, indicating a commitment to customer satisfaction. A-SCEND has only one review on G2.com, resulting in an average rating of 4/5.
ARORA Sees Compliance Automation as the Present and Future of Security
Security compliance automation has the potential to be a game-changer for organizations struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of compliance. We have seen 5 to thousands of employee companies using it effectively.
However, it's important to approach automation with caution and to ensure that it's properly configured and integrated into the organization's existing IT infrastructure. With the right approach, security compliance automation can help organizations streamline their compliance processes, reduce manual errors, and improve overall efficiency.
ARORA Can Help You Optimize Your Compliance
By combining compliance automation and a human-centric approach, ARORA supports any size organization meet their compliance goals. We work and partner with many of the above compliance automation technology companies:
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