Information security compliance is the necessary ordeal that most startups must endure prior to doing business with any company that processes sensitive information. This is the harsh reality and it may be overwhelming for many startups that are in the infancy stages of their startups.
The importance of information security compliance frameworks
Most companies today require you to prove that you’ve got the internal controls in place to ensure their data is secure, by obtaining the relevant stamps of approval from an accredited auditor prior to doing business with you. Complying with common frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO 27001 and HIPAA has become an unwritten rule or informal requirement for most companies today who store customer data on the cloud.
Accordingly, SaaS providers implement SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliance primarily for two reasons:
1. To assure their customers of the highest levels of data security, and
2. To have the right protocols in place to help them meet those high standards.
Information security compliance refers to the standards and regulations that govern how companies keep data secure, private, and safe from breaches or damage. Essentially, it demonstrates to any organization that you’re planning on doing business with, that you are taking your customer’s sensitive information seriously. SOC 2, ISO 2700, HIPAA and other common frameworks make customers stand up and take notice. Your region and industry will determine the type of compliance standard that you will adopt. The most common forms of compliance are ISO 27001, which is more prominent in Europe, and SOC 2 (Type I and Type II) in the USA.
Security compliance challenges faced by startups
Companies today not only demand but expect exceptional security. Since the way a business manages compliance and its information security in general ultimately affects the quality of the organization’s operations. Companies prefer to engage with companies that have robust security protocols and controls in place. Consequently, companies are on edge when they are reviewing if the companies with which they currently do business, follow the right protocols. Compliance becomes a necessity to demonstrate to other companies that the correct standards are adhered to, reassuring the likelihood that their data is well protected.
Sadly, for many startups, compliance is only prioritized when customers or prospects start asking questions about the level of controls and measures your organization has in place. And by that time, there is an overwhelming amount of time and effort for a startup with limited resources to take on by itself. Using internal resources to achieve compliance diverts time and attention from employees’ core responsibilities.
In the first quarter of 2022 alone, data breaches have been up by 14%, from last year, demonstrating just how vulnerable companies are to breaches. And to add to that stifling statistic, over 76% of organizations are expecting data breaches in 2022. A company’s security protocols are only as strong as its weakest link
Compliance automation is non-negotiable, especially for startups
Unfortunately, compliance isn’t something that can be taken for granted. Quite the contrary. For example, the healthcare industry has a history of disregarding compliance with HIPAA, and regulators may penalize providers for such violations. This means that in the case that providers aren’t properly securing customer data, this will put their systems in danger of being breached and hurting their reputations.
Although SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA and other frameworks provide all these benefits, it can, unfortunately, be a resource-intensive process. However, organizations can now use compliance automation technology, reducing the cost of compliance in terms of both time and money. This makes undergoing compliance frameworks more efficient and achievable for anyone seeking to take on the process.
Companies spend a great deal of time deciphering complicated spreadsheets, and employees are too busy collecting evidence and updating reports to focus on value-added tasks. The preparation for a SOC 2, ISO 2700, HIPAA and other audits can be a nightmare. For many companies, becoming compliant is more of a quest than a journey.
Automating the process not only speeds up the evidence collection process and eliminates the manual component, but also ensures that the correct information is collected and eliminates human error. Additionally, automated compliance provides inbuilt error-checking tools to ensure continuous monitoring of your compliance. This reverts back to the idea of saving time by allowing employees to focus on their core responsibilities and less time scrambling to get compliant.
With automation, you can accomplish more in less time with fewer resources. Compliance automation software makes it much easier to assess how all your security systems and procedures are functioning. It even highlights security points you wouldn’t have thought to look for, providing much richer and more detailed security insights.