Regulatory compliance is more complex than ever, meaning organizations need to have robust governance and compliance policies in place. Compliance monitoring ensures that an organization is meeting its regulatory obligations. It’s a necessary part of business operations, but too often gets overlooked or is seen as a tick-box exercise. Automating compliance monitoring ensures that compliance exercises can be completed with due diligence. Automation streamlines what can be an otherwise painstaking process, allowing organizations to remain compliant with less input from the c-suite, and facilitating the process for monitoring compliance officers.
Why is compliance monitoring important?
The COVID-19 pandemic, and its implications for new ways of working, initiated a move toward cloud-based technologies. These cloud-based services gave freedom to homebound employees, who could access company databases remotely, but also opened organizations up to risk of cyberattacks. In 2021, organizations suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts, and it was revealed that cybercriminals can penetrate over 90% of company networks.
In 2022, business leaders are having to react to the fast-paced technology landscape, and it’s important that organizations build a robust compliance policy around these technologies. However, there are other compliance risks to take into consideration, including corruption, employee behavior, workplace health and safety, environmental impact, and social responsibility. With organizations under increasing pressure to act morally and appropriately, as well as to protect customer data, it’s important that organizations build robust policies around these issues and think thoroughly about how they are monitored.
What are the risks for non-compliance?
Risks for non-compliance include:
- Legal penalties
- Voided contracts
- Material loss
- Damaged reputation
The consequences of non–compliance affect an organization’s capital, its customers and, in severe cases, will irreparably damage a company’s reputation. An organization must adhere to a wide range of rules, regulations, and laws to remain compliant, but monitoring these can be a complex task, especially for larger organizations. Using an automated tool can take the load off compliance officers, streamline the process, and ensure all facets of a compliance policy are accounted for and recorded.
Solving compliance issues with automation
So, what does compliance automation look like, and how do automated tools help day-to-day? We look at three examples, to help build a better picture of compliance automation.
- Chasing approvals
Compliance monitoring will often involve chasing approvals from C-suite executives or other decision makers in a business. Ensuring information is approved by the right people, and following up with non-responders, can be a time-consuming task for compliance officers, who have tasks of higher value to complete.
With automated workflows, information will be automatically routed to the correct recipient and users will be alerted for a response if they haven’t acted on a task. This eliminates the manual effort of compliance officers and other employees and ensures that approvals aren’t forgotten.
- Audit trails
Many organizations have large volumes of data stored in different environments. A regular data audit ensures that the integrity and location of data can be monitored, mitigating the risk for data breaches or cyberattacks. Ensuring this process is efficient is one concern; transparency is another. Manual auditing processes are typically slow, and the audit trails documented in spreadsheets or emails can be open to misinterpretation or inaccurate.
Compliance automation helps to speed up the auditing process, while providing full transparency across the auditing lifecycle.
- Securing documents
Many organizations still send compliance documents over email, but this is not a secure method compared to storing information directly on a company database. Emails are more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and sensitive information carried in an email is at risk of being forwarded to employees who should not have access.
An automated workflow form ensures that data can be input securely (directly into the form) and relevant documents attached to the form. The data is then automatically saved in SharePoint, with employees able to set permissions to ensure that sensitive compliance documents are not at risk of being tampered with or wrongly distributed.
In 2022, compliance procedures need to be automated
The trend toward automation frees up time for employees, mitigates the risk of human error, and offers a new streamlined way of working. For compliance, it provides the necessary transparency, security, and efficiency for processes which involve sensitive information and data.
As cloud and other data-storing technology improves, and is leveraged more widely throughout businesses, compliance officers are under pressure to account for new risks and non-compliance possibilities. Streamlining the multitude of processes with compliance automation solves problems down the line and gives business leaders greater peace of mind.